A romantic break does wonders for the soul, and The Luxury Travel Book has a plethora of stunning luxury villas and apartments to rent across Europe that are perfect whether you are a newly blossoming relationship, or partners for life. Discover our round-up of the best luxury villas and apartments to rent in France, Italy, Greece and beyond and book a charming holiday that will get you in the mood for love.
The origins of Valentine’s Day can be traced back centuries to the ancient pagan festival of Lupercalia which was held in Rome in mid-February to celebrate the coming of Spring. At the end of the 5th century, the celebration of Lupercalia was forbidden by the Pope – and Valentine’s Day did not come to be celebrated as a day of romance until around the 14th century. The first Valentine was sent in the 15th century, and the first mass-produced Valentine’s cards weren’t available until the 1840s.Valentine’s Day is still a good excuse to celebrate romance, and an even better excuse to travel, whether it’s for a honeymoon or just an intimate holiday. For some of the most romantic luxury villas to rent across Europe, you will find some inspiration below!
ParisWith a reputation for being one of the most romantic cities in the world, Paris is the perfect choice for a Valentine’s stay. We particularly recommend exploring the Ile St Louis, and neighbourhoods including St Germain, the Ile St Louis. the Marais and Montmartre, as each has its own special and unique character. To add to the itinerary, we recommend a sunset cruise on the Seine, dining in atmospheric and intimate restaurants, and visiting some wonderful smaller art galleries. Our favourites include: Monet’s galleries at the Musée de l’Orangerie, the Musée Picasso, the Musée Maillol, the Musée de Montmartre and also the charming Musée Bourdelle, originally the home of sculptor Antoine Bourdelle.Recommended apartments: Quai d’Anjou lll (2 guests, 1 bedroom) Quai d’Orléans 2 (2 guests, 1 bedroom) Trocadero 1 (2 guests, 1 bedroom)
FlorenceFlorence offers many enticing locations, including the beautiful Piazza della Signoria, with the Palazzo Vecchio and also the Loggia dei Lanzi, an open-air sculpture gallery by the Uffizi Galleries. From here is it just a few minutes’ walk to the Ponte Vecchio, and the sunset views from the bridge are amazing. On the other side of the Arno, we recommend visiting the Boboli Gardens, part of the Pitti Palace, where you can wander past fountains, statues, rose gardens and romantic tunnels of flowers. Another short walk from the Pitti Palace is the authentic Campo Santo Spirito, where you can enjoy an evening drink on the romantic upper floor loggia at Palazzo Guadagni. As well as offering many luxury apartments to rent in Florence, we also boast a small romantic villa just outside the city. Villa Viale dei Colli is just 1km from Piazzale Michelangelo and makes the perfect accommodation for a romantic getaway.Recommended apartments and villas: Via de’Bardi (4 guests, 2 bedrooms) Villa Viale dei Colli (2 guests, 1 bedroom)
VeniceA romantic city that’s also very walkable, there are numerous ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Venice. Top of our list is a picturesque gondola ride through the smaller canals (if you’re lucky, you might get a singing gondolier!) Next, you must enjoy a glass (or two) of champagne at a rooftop bar. We recommend the large terrace of Settimo Cielo at the Hotel Bauer Palazzo near San Marco, with its wonderful views directly over the Grand Canal. Be sure to wander across the Piazza San Marco to the Doge’s Palace, which has access to the captivating Bridge of Sighs. In the other direction, the atmospheric district of Dorsoduro offers some small, intimate restaurants and wine bars. It’s definitely worth a walk along the Fondamente Zattere here, to escape the crowds.Recommended apartments: Ca’Nova 2 (4 guests, 2 bedrooms) Apartment Zattere (4 guests, 2 bedrooms)
RomeThere are plenty of romantic activities to enjoy in Rome, whether it be throwing coins in the magnificent Trevi Fountain, or an early evening walk to the Orange Gardens on Aventine Hill to see the wonderful sunset views. A quiet neighbourhood with both gardens and ancient ruins, it’s also home to the famous Green Door, with its keyhole framing St. Peter’s majestic dome. We also recommend walking the old, cobbled streets and dining in the quaint and historic Monti area. The food market in Campo dei Fiori is always worth a visit, as is the market in Trastevere on the other side of the Tiber River. On the way to Trastevere, make sure you cross the ancient stone bridge, Ponte Sisto, to admire the romantic sunset!Recommended apartment:Via Condotti (2-6 guests, 1-2 bedrooms)
PositanoWith many shops and restaurants closed over the winter, February might not necessarily be the best time to visit Positano, but it’s still worth considering a break in the Amalfi coast while it’s relatively quiet. With its sea views, sunsets, architecture and charm, Positano has lured many famous visitors over the centuries – no matter what time of year – and a stay in an authentic old watch tower that dates back to the 13th century and directly overlooks the sea could be tempting for a Valentine’s celebration? Within 4 acres of terraces and gardens, shared with four other villas, La Torre di Positano is a short walk from the town and has a private staircase of about 200 steps, which leads down to a small, sandy beach.Recommended apartment:La Torre di Positano (2-4 guests, 1 bedroom)
LondonAlthough you will definitely experience winter weather in London in February, there iis still a great choice of romantic activities to enjoy. You might want to book tickets for the London Eye, or take in the sunset at View from the Shard, explore London’s wonderful parks, or take a cruise on the Thames. With a huge choice of restaurants, bars, authentic pubs, cinemas, theatres, museums and art galleries – not to mention shopping ­– you certainly won’t be short of choices.Recommended apartment:Knightsbridge Luxury Suites(2-6 guests, 1-2 bedrooms)
SantoriniIn terms of tourism, Santorini used to be almost completely closed during the winter, but it has become very popular out of high season – mainly because you can enjoy the history and authenticity of the island without the crowds. With temperatures usually ranging between 10 – 16°C, it’s not too cold, either. It’s the perfect time of year to take long walks and explore this beautiful island, its sensational views and sunsets. We are told that prices in shops and restaurants are less than they are in high season, and local vineyards are still open for wine tastings.Recommended villas:Villa Skaros (2-4 guests, 2 bedrooms)Captain’s House (2 guests, 1 bedroom)
AlgarveThe Algarve also offers an intoxicating escape during the winter months, especially the very pretty and authentic fishing village of Salema, with its beautiful white sandy beach. Average temperatures here in winter are around 16°C – so perfect for taking long walks on the beach, and dining in the excellent local restaurants. With its peaceful ambience, it’s also a perfect base for exploring the Western Algarve area.Recommended villa:Salema Beachside (4 guests, 2 bedrooms)
LisbonIf you’re seeking a milder climate than many other European cities can offer at this time of year, we highly recommend a visit to Lisbon. With its position on the coast, its narrow, steep streets, beautiful colourful architecture and amazing monuments, Lisbon is an ideal choice for a city break. Its famous yellow trams are a great way to get around the centre of the city and, being so close to the sea, the city offers plenty of restaurant options that make the most of Portuguese seafood. Sunset cruises on sailboats – which take around two hours – are romantic, and a great way to see many of Lisbon’s popular landmarks from a different perspective.  Recommended apartment:Rua da Atalaia (2 guests, 1 bedroom)
Ready for a romantic European escape? Whisk off your beloved to one of our fabulous luxury villas or apartments to rent, just in time for Valentine’s Day. With luxury apartments and villas in Portugal, France, Italy, Greece and the United Kingdom, you will be truly spoilt for choice:Rome, Florence, Venice, Amalfi Coast, Santorini, Paris, London, Lisbon, AlgarveJoin our inner circle and be in the know about our stunning selection of international luxury villas and apartments, our tempting new properties and our impressive array of unique travel itineraries. Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter here.