Amore in the Mediterranean: Our favourite Valentine's Day travel destinations
Amore, Αγάπη, l’amour - whatever you call it, love is in the air. Synonymous with passion and romance, the Mediterranean is the perfect place for couples to escape this Valentine’s Day. To make sure that when you fall head over heels you land somewhere perfect, we’ve curated a choice selection of the most romantic getaways in the Mediterranean, along with this amorous region’s Valentine’s Day traditions.
The best Valentine’s Day travel destinations
Valentine’s Day takes many forms across the Mediterranean. In Catalonia, couples often wait until April, on the day of Sant Jordi, to celebrate their sweethearts with a rose and a book. Greece, meanwhile, does not feature Valentine’s Day in its traditional calendar. Instead, the Greek Orthodox Church honours the married saints, St Priscilla and St Aquila, on 13 February.
Across the Mediterranean Sea, Italy claims to be the home of St Valentine himself, with the tradition stemming from an Ancient Roman celebration of the fertility god Lupercus. Known as La Festa Degli Innamorati (the Feast of the Lovers), an Italian Valentine’s Day is a whirlwind of bouquets, candlelit dinners and romantic gestures.
Wherever you choose to celebrate your amore, our utterly gorgeous villas for couples in the Mediterranean offer the perfect setting for your love story.
Valentine’s Day in Italy
Italians see Valentine’s Day as an important part of their culture and history, rooted in the Ancient Roman celebration of the fertility god Lupercus. Legend has it that these pagan celebrations often became rowdy and risqué, so much so that Pope Gelasius replaced the raucous festivities with a new, tamer Christian celebration. And so, in 496 AD, the first ‘modern’ Valentine’s Day took place.
Today on Valentine’s Day in Italy, you can expect to see bouquets of flowers and couples dining by candlelight in local ristorantes. There are a few special quintessentially Italian touches to be discovered, too, like red-wrapped, cherry-centred Baci chocolates (which contain a love note) from the country’s much-loved chocolatier Perugina. Verona, the setting for Romeo and Juliet, indulges particularly heavily in this day of love, with hearts painted on the streets and heart-shaped lanterns bedecking the city.
Puglia also features many romantic destinations and traditions. For example, the charming village of Vico del Gargano is often called the Village of Love for good reason. Couples visit the iconic alley called Vicolo Del Bacio (or Alley of Kisses) to take photographs sharing a romantic embrace. Additionally, the region’s rustic trulli (traditional white-painted conical houses) make a novel-worthy backdrop to photos snapped on any rural romantic getaway. The gorgeous Fichimori is one such fairytale location - a luxurious two bedroom villa formed from interconnecting refurbished trulli, complete with a spa, Jacuzzi and hammam steam room.
On the other side of Italy, the captivating island of Sicily is a magical place for couples on Valentine’s Day. The indulgent DolceVita is an idyllic villa set just 11km from Marzamemi, a charming traditional fishing village that is perfect for romantic walks by the sea. Casa delle Sirene in Marza faces the beach and offers a stylish base for the most discerning of couples. Marea, also in Marza, is an elegant option as well, with its breathtaking sea views, direct access to a Blue Flag beach and welcoming living area. A short and scenic sea journey from mainland Sicily lies Hiera, which sits on the almost untouched Egadi Island of Marettimo - a place where you and your partner can truly get away from it all.
Belich in mesmerising Menfi is a one-bedroom wonder - perfect for couples. Beautifully finished and romantic, you and your significant other can enjoy serenity, glorious sea views and an easy stroll to a long sandy beach. Sensationally simple Cinnamon is based nearby in Porto Palo di Menfi and offers all the peace and quiet you want from a couple’s holiday. You can find Al Profondo Blu in the same area, which is a wonderful fit for those seeking a secluded space amid nature - it is idyllically set in a private nature reserve, overlooking a quiet beach.
We also love Lo Scarabeo in Granelli, a romantic, design-inspired villa right on the sea with garden gate access to a winding beach. Ortigia, located in spellbinding Syracuse’s beautifully historic centre, is ideal for couples who enjoy dining out at restaurants, exploring vibrant street markets and truly getting to know a city’s culture and local colours.
Is Valentine's Day celebrated in France?
Yes, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in France as it is celebrated in much of Europe and the US. In the past, this romantic day involved a tradition known as une loterie d’amour (a love lottery). Single people would stand in the street, calling for others who were not romantically involved to come out of their houses in order to be paired off. If the male partner did not like his beau, he would leave her and she would gather with other spurned paramours to burn images of the men who jilted them.
Paris, the city of love, may be a traditionally popular destination for couples on Valentine’s Day. However, for those looking to be truly whisked off their feet, Corsica (aptly nicknamed the Island of Beauty) is a wonderfully unexpected - and, therefore, much more private - destination in France. Explore our collection of villas in Corsica to discover locations on the island’s picturesque coastline, close to beautiful old towns like Porto Vecchio, which is home to many fine restaurants where you can enjoy a serene meal with your partner. Within our collection, the lovely L'Alpana offers seclusion, privacy and romance in the form of spellbinding views of the sea and countryside and homely, cosy accommodation ideal for two.
Valentine’s Day in Greece
Although this worldwide day of love is not recognised by the Greek Orthodox Church, Valentine’s Day in Greece is celebrated today with gifts, flowers and romantic dinners.
Considered to be one of the most romantic Valentine’s Day travel destinations, Greece and its many escapist islands offer true relaxation and romance by the Aegean Sea. Romantic Greek Islands like Zakynthos offer couples a dreamy retreat amidst spectacular scenery, at villas like the panoramic Ibid, which is within easy reach of cosy fishing towns and charming candlelit tavernas.
For lovers looking to truly escape from the ‘real world’ on Valentine’s Day, the Aegean Sea is scattered with tiny, unspoilt islands. We have a selection of secret and secluded island hideaways like Antipaxos, where we can arrange everything you need for a one-of-a-kind romantic holiday, from deliveries of the finest local foods and wines to services like in-villa massages and chefs.
Explore our complete collection of luxury villas in Greece to rent.
Fall in love with The Thinking Traveller
Discover the setting for your love story within our diverse villa collection. From elegant French romance to vibrant Italian passion, we can help you handpick luxury accommodation in locations rich with local colour and customs. Contact our team to find your perfect romantic retreat, then allow us to arrange the Valentine’s surprises and luxuries you deserve. We will be with you every step of the way, offering a wealth of local knowledge to ensure your stay is truly special. After all, is there a better time to plan a couple’s massage, enjoy a dinner overlooking the sea or make reservations at your destination’s finest restaurant?