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Valentine vacations

Valentine’s Day is approaching! How will you show your loved one you care? Chocolates, roses, a visit to the theatre or maybe a candle-lit dinner at a fancy restaurant? How about something different like going away for a break?

When it comes to a romantic trip the destinations that immediately spring to mind for most are Paris, Rome or Venice.

True to form, the Flexicover Team suggest some great alternatives for places to feel the love.

Stockholm, Sweden

Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, it's not hard to see why Stockholm's sometimes referred to as the 'Venice of the North'. Visit Gamla stan, one of the best preserved medieval city centres in the world where you can walk through small, winding streets lined with stores full of handicrafts, antiques, art galleries and cafés. The baroque Royal Palace,Nobel Museum and Stockholm Cathedral are also located in this historic area.

Flexicover’s Valentine tip: Try the restaurant Erik’s Gondolen, and enjoy delightful Swedish-Mediterranean food with breathtaking views from the restaurant, 33 metres above the sea. It’s located under the footbridge that connects Gamla Stan with the island of Södermalm, accessible by elevator from the Stadtsgården.

Istanbul, Turkey

Although Istanbul is not the capital of Turkey, it has been the seat of power for 3 different empires (Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman) and each culture has left its impression on the city, reflecting its unique character. There is so much to do, whether you want to visit the Topkapi Palace and Blue Mosque, surrender to the steam of a hammam or passionately haggle in the Grand Bazaar. As this is the city of two continents, no visit would be complete without a boat trip across the Bosphorus! The boat zigzags between Asia and Europe and you can admire the old Ottoman wooden houses, with stunning views that include six palaces, two suspended bridges and two medieval castles.

Flexicover’s Valentine tip: Slow things down and keep a romantic feel by visiting Heybeliada (only a short ferry ride from the centre of the city). With no traffic on the island, the best way to explore the stunning Byzantine monasteries and Greek Orthodox churches is by a horse-drawn carriage or bicycle.

Reykjavík, Iceland

In the world’s most northerly capital, you don’t have to leave the environs of the city to experience the rugged nature of Icelandic life as outdoor activities in the immediate vicinity are easy to locate. The best way to experience Reykjavík is under your own power as many attractions are within walking distance from the central areas. And no visit to the city would be complete without taking a dip in at least one of its many geothermal pools. Plus the city enjoys a reputation for some of the liveliest nightlife in the Northern hemisphere!

Flexicover’s Valentine tip: What could be more romantic than the Aurora Borealis (the northern lights), undeniably one of the world’s most breathtakingly beautiful natural phenomena. And with sunspot activity currently at its height, which happens every 11 years, there’s no better time than now!

St Petersburg, Russia

Founded in 1703 by Emperor Peter the Great as his "window on the West", St. Petersburg enjoys a vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere and displays some of the most beautiful architecture in Europe. The Peter and Paul Fortress, the White Palace, the Alexander Nevskiy Monastery and the Kunstkamera are just some of the architectural complexes, not forgetting the 4,000 outstanding individual monuments of history and culture. With probably too many sights to see in just one visit, you could well make this a romantic tradition year on year!

Flexicover’s Valentine tip: At this time of year the city takes on a new romantic quality as snow shrouds its famous landmarks and buries its parks in a veil of white. This is a perfect time for Troika rides (a three-armed amusement park ride) in the countryside and devouring steaming bowls of the traditional beetroot-soup, borscht.

Bansko, Bulgaria

This historic town is located at the foot of the Pirin Mountains and is home to Bulgaria's premier ski resort. While skiing and snowboarding at this time of year are major pastimes in Bansko, that’s not all the region has to offer. Dating back to the 10th century, the town itself is steeped in culture and is rich in colourful folklore. This is another location best experienced on foot. Admire the unique Bulgarian architecture, with carved stone and wooden buildings, soak up the atmosphere by strolling through the cobbled streets or by taking a guided walk, watching local folk dances and listening to native music.

Flexicover’s Valentine tip: Visit a rustic mehana (traditional Bulgarian tavern) with its exceptional charm, local cuisine and an enviable selection of Bulgarian wines. Most offer live folk music for good measure!

Wherever you do decide to travel with your loved one, don’t forget the security a helping hand can give Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialist, is committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you and your Valentine are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!