No partner? No problem. Whether you’re seeking culture, thrill, or natural beauty, make this Valentine’s Day about you. Forget bumming on a beach and feeling sorry for yourself; pick somewhere to keep you busy, get lost, immerse yourself in a new culture, learn a foreign language. Not sure where to start? We’ve rounded up 5 destinations that will enrich your mind and body this Valentine’s Day because self-love should never be overlooked.
Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda said it best: “Valparaiso, what an absurdity you are, how crazy: a crazy port. What a head of disheveled hills, that you never finish combing. Never did you have time to dress yourself, and always you were surprised by life.” An unassuming Chilean hillside port, Valparaiso’s character lies in its maze-like streets and stairways full of gritty, colorful architecture. The city is a beautiful chaos that will enrich both your mind and soul. Rejuvenated by the alchemy of new innovation as of late, Valparaiso has become a worthy alternative to the more touristy Santiago. Boutique hotels, such as Casa Higueras, Fauna Hotel and Hotel Palacio Astoreca make for an idyllic reprieve after long days navigating through the graffitied streets. Known for its street art, the city boasts color and decades-old street murals on almost every corner.
The best street art can be found at Museo a Cielo Abierto and Templeman Street. The city’s authentic beauty once captivated the attention of writers, poets, and artists; most famously, Pablo Neruda’s, whose house, La Sebastiana, was turned into a museum that offers insight into his life and musings. Cerro Alegre and Concepción hills are the most popular among tourists. Known for their incredible city views, boutiques, independent galeries and quaint cafes and restaurants, a day getting lost in these hills are a must.
There is so much to see and do in Sweden’s fashion-forward capital, Stockholm. Whether you’re perusing the shops and cafés in the old city of Gamla Stan, touring the royal palace, the Vasa Museum, Fotografiska, and Moderna Museet, you still won’t have seen it all. Also be sure to designate a day for island hopping in the Stockholm archipelago. Apart from the tourist attractions, Stockholm’s local culture is cooler than ever. Chic hotels and restaurants are booming season to season, nightlife is open until the wee hours (visit Kåken, V at Sturecompagniet, and Bernie's), and each of its five boroughs offer something unique; from the younger and cooler Södermalm and Kungsholmen districts to the more commercial city center of Norrmalm, to the higher end neighborhood of Östermalm. Stay in one of the 12 rooms at Ett Hem, a private residence-turned-hotel that provides an unparalleled warmth that you’ll look forward to coming home to after a long day.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
The charming colonial city in Mexico’s central highlands, San Miguel de Allende, is a solo-traveler’s paradise. Cobblestoned streets, baroque Spanish architecture, a thriving art scene, and artisan handicraft market, Mercado de Artesanias are among the city’s highlights. From the city’s main garden, Jardín Principal, you’ll spot the pink towers of the neo-Gothic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel Church, which is located in the city’s historic center. It is also worth visiting the 18th century-made Templo de San Francisco church nearby. The hotels remain consistent in mirroring the colonial landscape of the city. Well-located and beautifully designed, Belmond Casa De Sierra Nevada, Casa Schuck, Hacienda Las Trancas and Santa Monica will make you feel warm and welcome. Along with its cultural-richness, San Miguel de Allende is known for its international cuisine. You can’t visit the city without breakfast at San Augustin Chocolates & Churros. A plate of churros and coffee, it really doesn’t get more indulgent than that. For even more authentic eats, don’t miss El Pegaso, La Posadita and La Virundela.
If you’re seeking a humbling experience, then there’s nothing more visceral than a trip to Alberta, Canada. The natural beauty and tranquility will strip you from all the stresses of city life. Let Moraine Lake Lodge be your homebase. The turquoise hues of Banff National Park’s Moraine Lake and the backdrop of snow capped peaks at Jasper National Park’s Medicine Lake feels like the natural remedy we all need. Whether you’re hiking, canoeing, or dipping into hot springs, you’ll return home with the mental, emotional, and physical clarity you went seeking.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Known as a surfer and yogi’s paradise and for its white sand beaches and rainforests, Santa Teresa is the perfect beach getaway to visit as a solo traveler. Not as much of a romantic tropical getaway as it is community driven. The beaches and nightlife are bustling with solo travelers from all over the world seeking adventure in a secluded tropical destination far from the bustle of the city. Stay at newly opened adults-only boutique hotel Mint Santa Teresa. With only four rooms, each with a rooftop terrace, the maximum capacity is eight guests, so naturally, you’ll feel like you’re apart of a small community among the other guests. Every morning, you’ll find a homemade breakfast buffet served in the communal area or poolside, and by sunset guests gather at the hotel bar to share their experiences from the day. As the hotel is 400 meters from Playa Carmen Beach and walking distance to all of the restaurants, bars, and shops, it’s the ideal place to stay and feel in the center of it all. When you’re not surfing the world class breaks, you can stop by local favorite restaurants Olam Pure Food and Al Chile Viola for some international flavor. Then end the nights meeting bohemian thrill-seekers like yourself at La Lora Amarilla and Ranchos Itauna for a night of tropical cocktails and dancing.