After studying up on the traditions of Valentine‟s Day celebrations around the world, I have come to the conclusion that there are certain prevailing themes everywhere. Although the types, meanings, and methods may differ, flowers, chocolates or candies, and cards appear in almost all the countries that recognize the holiday. There is a little variance in therecipients of the gifts for example in England “Jack Valentine” leaves small gifts in the homes of young children, but in Italy the holiday is really theexchange of gifts between couples. I believe that what makes the holiday so appealing to celebrate is that there is room for traditions to be tailored to each couple‟s (or family‟s) unique tastes. This year Cyclomundo wants to help add to the romance of your holiday, whenever or wherever you choose to celebrate. So weather your idea of romance is to stroll along a beach hand-in-hand with your sweetheart or to cozy up in front of a fire while snow drifts down outside, we have compiled a list of our most romantic places to visit in 2013.
Romantic Destinations CITIES FOR STROLLING – Annecy, Rhone-Alps – Peratallada, Catalonia COSTAL DESTINATIONS – Cassis, Catalonia – Venice, Vento HOTEL AND SPA – La Coquillade Hotel DINNER AND NIGHTSPOT – Tamariu, Catalonia LUNCH/PICNIC SPOT – Lac du Bourget, Rhone-Alps HINTS FOR HIM – Chocolates – Flowers – Jewelry
Cities for StrollingAnnecy, Rhone-AlpsLocated on the edge of Lake Annecy in theheart of the French Alps, this charmingdestination can be considered the capital ofthe Haute Savoie region. The city was builtaround a 14th century chateau that preservesits splendid medieval character to this day.Known best as the „Venice of Savoy‟, Annecyis zigzagged by tiny canals and streams thatflow into pristine Lake Annecy.Although walking through the twisting streetsand taking in the small details of the city isendlessly amusing, Annecy has much more tooffer. If you like to swim or sunbathe andrelax, you will be satisfied with the beachesaround Lake Annecy. The gorgeouswaterfront park offers breathtaking views ofthe lake and French Alps. Our Three-LakeTour that ends in Annecy is perfect for thosecouples who love the mountains andwater, history and nature, adventure andrelaxation.
Cities for StrollingPeratallada, CataloniaIn the heart of Catalonia, Peratalladais one of the most beautiful villages inSpain. As a fortified medieval townwith walls and castles carved fromstone it is recognized as a historicalsite. For any couples who are medievalhistory buffs or those who just casuallyadmire the ancient architecture andstructures this town is a true gem.With the well preservedwall, hospital, prison, and tower thatsurround the castle, it is the perfectplace to spend time wandering thegrounds and exploring the village. Partof the castle has even beenrefurbished and converted into aluxurious hotel. Surrounded by thebeautiful Catalonian countryside andonly a short jaunt from thecoast, Peratallada is a great romanticstop on our Gastronomic CataloniaTour.
Coastal Destinations Cassis, Provence The small fishing port town of Cassis provides couples a great costal escape. Its smaller size and down-to-earth feel combined with picture perfect harbor, cliffs, and beaches makes it an ideal spot for couples to soak in the Mediterranean rays while avoiding much of the crowds of nearby Marseille.Whether you prefer to stroll along the docks of the gorgeous harbor or explorethe neighboring protected natural sites, this small town hosts whatever costalsetting you find most romantic. On the heels of five days of cycling throughProvence on our Bike to the Sea Tour, Cassis is the perfect place for costal R&R(romance and relaxation).
Coastal DestinationsVenice, VenetoVenice is one of the most iconic cities inthe world, and a gondola ride along onisolated city canal while being serenadedby an Italian or splitting a plate ofspaghetti are some of the most clichéromantic scenes of all time. However evenwith the abundance of corny overusedromantic scenes of the city, it still retainsthe magnetism and uniqueness that bringsout a little of the romantic in us all. Thewinding streets, enchanting canals, quirkyshops, and salty sea breeze combine tokeep this city romantic no matter how overrun with tourists it may get. The key tofinding the authentic romance of the city isto explore, get lost, and find what isspecial for you or your relationship. As thelast stop on most of our VenetoTours, Venice is a great city to help addsome magic and romance to anyrelationship.
Hotel and SpaLa Coquillade, Gargas, ProvenceLocated in the middle of their 30 hectare vineyard, La CoquilladeHotel is an oasis of romance. Secluded and luxurious, quaint andchic, this hotel exemplifies the best that Provence has to offer. LaCoquillade is well suited to all types of getaways. The locationprovides easy access to activities in the nearby natural park likecycling, hiking as well as six nearby golf courses and they even offera hot air balloon package. The onsite facilities are also top notchincluding swimming pool, tennis courts, pétanque strip, as well as afull list of spa amenities. There are also several onsiterestaurants, and Le Gourmet boasts a Michelin starredchef, Christoph e Renaud with an exquisite gourmet menu. They arecurrently offering a “You & Me” well-being special that includes a twonight stay, dinner at Le Gourmet and massages for two. Aftertraveling through the mountains and valleys on our Upper ProvenceTour this beautiful Hotel is a perfectly romantic stop.
Dinner and Nightspot Tamariu, Catalonia As part of three coastal towns that belong to the municipality of Palafrugell, Tamariu is an exciting yet intimate place to have a romantic dinner followed by an evening exploring the town or strolling along beaches. Although smaller than the neighboring town of Calella de Palafrugell, the concentrated number of elegant resorts along the coastal strip gives couples the opportunity to walk along the beach and have their pick ofseaside restaurants, many of which have live music from localCatalan bands (the soft romantic kind with just vocals and guitarthat perfectly accompanies the sounds of the waves while dining). Asa stopover on our Pedal and Pamper Tour, Tamariu is a greatopportunity to get gussied up and spend the night out with yoursweetheart.
Lunch/Picnic SpotLac du Bourget, Rhone-AlpsFrance‟s largest natural lake isboth a major ecological siteand an important relic ofFrench natural heritage. Ahaven of peace, visitors willdiscover wild creeks, reedbeds, and inviting beachessurrounding the lake. Thevillage of Bourget du Lacconsiders itself the GourmetLakeside City.Much of the village economy is based on the delicious cuisine that can be createdusing the fish of the lake. The town boasts three Michelin Starred restaurants, as wellas countless more casual restaurants along the boardwalk of the lake. For those whodesire a simpler dining experience, the area around the lake and the ability to easilyget food from the village make this lake the optimal place for a lakeside picnic. As partof our Three-Lake Tour don‟t miss this opportunity to have a romantic afternoonenjoying all the splendors of nature, cuisine, and good company.
Hint for Him Whether you have made the big declaration oflove or not, women still appreciate small gestures of your affection through the universal symbolsof Valentine‟s Day. Below we have included some of the best spots in the world to pick up your next romantic gift. If she likes:
ChocolatesSwitzerland has the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in the world so why not pop into one of the many chocolate shops of Geneva or for the chocolate connoisseur check out the process, history, and deliciousness of Valrhona‟s prestigious chocolate in Tain l‟Hermitage while on one of our Alps Tours.
Flowers The flowers of Provence have long been theinspiration of many famous artists like Monet and Van Gogh. To many the lavender fields are as iconic to Provence as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Nice is alsohome to the Cours Saleya an extensive flower market that assembles all the best from the fields of Provence. Take advantage of the abundance of flowers throughout any of our Provence Tours to treat her to a bouquet.
Jewelry After centuries of hosting shops on this world famousbridge, Ponte Vecchio in Florence is still seen as a one of the biggest hubs for artisan gold jewelry. Theshops and window displays that line the bridge can be so alluring, and it will be hard to find a more concentrated extensive collection of jewelry (excluding online). Along one of our Tuscany Tour be sure to stop here and pick up a treasured gift for your special someone.