How To “Romance Yourself” Around Europe
“I’d love to go Paris. But it’s way too romantic. I have to wait until I find a boyfriend so I don’t have to go alone.”
I’ve heard women say these kinds of things. While it’s great to be coupled, do you really want to wait to be able to visit places the dream about?
I’m here to tell you that as a single woman and solo traveller, that you do not have to wait. You shouldn’t wait. Why would you when there’s such a beautiful world out there to experience? If you have the time, the desire, and the means, book that trip!
Being single is not a bad thing. As any boyfriend or husband might romance you, you can also experience romance alone. It’s simply a matter of being good to yourself.
How To “Romance Yourself” Around Europe
I’m not the type of person who likes waiting. Patience is definitely not one of my virtues. If I want to eat dinner at a fabulous restaurant, I go there alone. If I want to see a movie, I feel comfortable watching it by myself. If I want some pretty flowers to cheer me up, I buy them. I feel the same way about travel.
So one day, I moved to Berlin and happily spent most of my time there romancing myself around Europe. Here are my top ten ways to experience love and romance as a solo female traveller. Oh, and it works for solo male travellers too!
1) Watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean at Cap de Creus
While on a blog trip in Costa Brava, I convinced Richard from Charming Villas to take me out to Cap de Creus to watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean even though it was an ungodly hour and I was terribly hung over.
While the other bloggers slept in, I stood at what felt like the edge of the world and watched this glorious sunrise unfold before me.
2) Witness the sunset over the Danube in Budapest
Spending a weekend in Budapest, I stayed at the glorious Four Seasons Gresham Palace in a room with a Danube View. When dusk arrived, I stood breathless on my terrace as I saw the transformation of Budapest as it changed from day into night.
As the sunset over the Danube, I fell even more in love with my favorite city on earth. If a glimpse of Buda is not enough, I recommend heading to the Buda Castle district, to catch darkness slowly descending on the Pest side of the city.
3) Stay at Hotel Rivalago in Sulzano, Italy
Spending three days visiting the Italian lakes of Iseo and Garda, I was captivated by the quiet understated beauty of the smaller Lake Iseo.
Leaving the door to my terrace open at night, I was lulled to sleep by the sound of the water gently lapping against the shore. Waking up and taking breakfast here couldn’t have made my stay at the Hotel Rivalago any more romantic.
4) Take a cooking class and learn how to cook dumplings outside in the Italian Alps
Taking a cooking class outside in Italy with the alps surrounding you from all sides takes romance to a new level.
This is a very happy me at the Gostner Schwaige in Alpe Di Siusi, laughing when the chef told me that my dumpling making skills were meagre at best.
If cooking classes aren’t your thing, at least stop by the mountain hut for lunch or dinner. The food whipped up by chef Franz Mulser is incredible.
5) Hike through the Italian Alps
I am sure you’re not surprised that Italy figures so prominently on this list. It’s one hell of a romantic country and I found myself called back by that seductive temptress four times last year!
Hiking through the charming and quaint Alpe Di Siusi not only helps you work off the pounds gained by indulging on all of that Tyrolean cooking, but is a great way to experience the romance and allure of the Italian Alps.
6) Race through the streets of Lisbon on a motorcycle and side car tour
Lisbon is a hot sexy city and there’s no better way to explore it than by taking a motorcycle and sidecar tour at night.
Jump on vintage hog and race through the streets with a knowledgeable tour guide (possibly one gentleman named Hannibal) who will not only highlight the city’s main attractions but also take you to a couple of vantage points where you can watch the sunset.
The very first picture featured in this post was snapped by a friend as I was staring out into the vividly coloured Lisbon sunset.
7) Have Dinner at Belga Queen in Brussels
Ladies, if you want to feel like a queen for the day than romance yourself and have dinner at Belga Queen in Brussels. This swanky designer restaurant set in a historical property takes pride in using only locally supplied ingredients in all of their dishes. If you really want to feel like you’re living large, you can enjoy their oyster bar and cigar lounge too.
Perhaps you’ve already filled up on frites, chocolate and waffles during your time in Brussels? Then opt for the lighter seafood tasting menu which I highly recommend as both healthy and delicious.
8) Ride a donkey through the mountains in Umbria
Forget for a moment that donkeys don’t smell very nice or that they have a mind of their own and stop to eat grass whenever they feel like (as did my steed Daphne here).
Imagine riding a donkey in Umbria’s Monti Sibillini National Park through Castelluccio plateau, sitting at 1500 meters above sea level. The landscape is stark, dramatic, lonely and surreal and you feel as if you’re the only person on the planet.
Prepare yourself for a quiet, contemplative journey as you make your way along the plateau running only into an occasional shepherd herding sheep. It’s an uniquely stunning part of Italy that will stay in your mind long after you leave.
9) Watch flag throwing men in tights perform ancient traditions
Do you remember Under the Tuscan Sun when the young Polish boy entered a flag throwing competition to impress his Italian girlfriend and her family? While a bit odd (I mean couldn’t he have found a more manly way to show his love?), his gesture was totally romantic.
Maybe you don’t have a Polish boy donning a pair of tights for you but you can still watch these performers in Umbria through Compagnia Sbandieratori e Musici di Città della Pieve, a group who takes a great amount of pride in preserving their ancient traditions.
I watched these amazing young men and women perform in Umbria last year at a resort just outside of Assisi.
10) Walk through a park on a beautiful fall day in Berlin
This list would not be complete without mention of my Berlin home. While graffiti filled Berlin can’t compete with the romance heavy Paris or Rome, it doesn’t mean the city is without its romantic spots.
The large, forested parks of Berlin are perfect for sleeping a summer’s afternoon away under the sun, impromptu BBQ’s with friends and long bike rides. In autumn, the parks become even more beautiful as the leaves begin to change color, fall off the trees and carpet the ground.
I took this picture while taking an uber romantic walk by myself through Volkspark Friedrichshain in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg area, on a crisp November morning.
Romancing Yourself. Are you up for the challenge ladies? How about you men? Could you get over your shyness and experience romance all on your own? Have you ever gone to a romantic place alone? Tell us all about it in the comments below.