Romantic Destinations for Solo Travelers
It’s February. Romance is in the air and the theme of Solo Traveler is “Romance on the Road”. But don’t expect the usual fare that you’ll be seeing on the magazine stands. No, on Solo Traveler you’ll be reading about:
- Romantic destinations for the solo traveler.
- Falling in love with Varanasi
- The Romance of the Solo Traveler – thank you Lord Byron.
- And, should romantic love come into the picture, rules for romance on the road.
Romantic Destinations for Solo Travelers
Romance. It’s not all hearts and candlelit dinners. In fact, until the card industry hijacked Valentine’s Day, romance had a much broader meaning.
The Romantic Era began in the late 18th century largely in reaction to the Age of Enlightenment and the industrial revolution. It hung on well into the 19th century being epitomized by the likes of William Wordsworth in poetry, Beethoven in music and J.W.M. Turner in painting.
Romanticism was a European phenomenon and certain places in Europe reflect the Romantic Era better than others. Here are a few that make absolutely stunning and romantic destinations for solo travelers.
The Romantic Road – Germany.
The Romantic Road offers beautiful scenery, historic towns and fairy tale castles. Running from Würzburg in the north to Füssen in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps in the south, it’s one of the busiest routes in Germany.
The Romantic Road is famous for Neuschwanstein Castle built by Ludwig II (sometimes referred to as Mad King Ludwig. You’ll see enough eccentricities to warrant the title if you visit.) It was built as an escape for himself and in homage to the operas of Wagner. It is stunning on the approach through the mountains and throughout the tour.
Also popular on the Romantic Road are: Wurzburg, famous for it’s wines and the Residence Palace; Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a well preserved medieval town; Hohenschwangau Castle; and the Fussen Abbey. You can cycle as well as drive the route.
Vienna – Austria.
It was only 10 years ago that I wandered the Romantic Road. It was almost 25 years ago that I traveled to Vienna alone – yet the memories linger still. (Since writing this post I, finally, returned to Vienna for a Solo Day Tour of Vienna)
What could be more romantic than the Vienna State Opera House? The tour is great but if you can get a ticket, go. Even if you’re not into opera the extravaganza both on and off the stage is a show not to be missed.
Also on the list should be the Hofberg Imperial Apartments, the Schönbrunn Palace and the Spanish Riding School (if you’re into that sort of thing.) There’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hotel Sacher for their famous Sacher Torte (developed in 1832 by Franz Sacher – appropriately during the Romantic era.)
The Lake District – England
The Lake District is where I first realized that one could go alone to a romantic destination.
William Wordsworth and the Lake Poets drew attention to this special area in the northwest corner of England during the 19th century. The landscape inspired many poems including the famous I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. The Lake District has since become a destination for nature lovers and walking enthusiasts everywhere.
The beauty of the fells is the source of much of the Lake District’s romance. But there is also Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage, the history of the Coffin Walk between Ambleside and Grasmere, tea rooms like Rydal Hall and centuries old pubs like the Unicorn. You might want to read Falling in Love in the Lake District and Pub Life in the Lake District – Solo Evenings.
Paris is for lovers. But it is also for solo lovers of Paris. This planned city was beautifully designed by Haussman during the Romantic Era. After being hired by Napoleon III to modernize the city (and design it to keep down rebellions), Haussman created wide, tree-lined boulevards, expansive gardens, the Arc de Triomphe and the Grand Opera House. All this makes Paris a beautiful and romantic destination for solo travelers.
While in Paris please take the time to see Notre Dame Cathedral, then walk along the left bank of the Seine and stop in at Shakespeare and Company, a book store where famous authors like as Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce would meet. Romance? There you go. Keep wandering along the banks of the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, then cross and go back the other side. It’s free to walk and such a joy. There’s also the many museums but, I suggest just finding a cafe and enjoying the scene. You might want to read about my first time in Paris when I crashed the Opera House.
These are just a few destinations that are wonderfully romantic yet not crowded with couples hanging off of each other. Please share your favorite romantic destinations in the comments.