The best places to spend Valentine’s Day in Spain

The 10 best places to spend Valentine’s Day in Spain. Image: Pixabay

LOVE is in the air in sunny Spain. Renowned for being one of the most romantic countries in the world, Spain is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day with that special someone.

Whether you want to surprise your partner or meet your next great love, we’ve compiled a list of the most romantic cities to spend Valentine’s Day in Spain.

All guaranteed to make you swoon.

But before that, let’s take a trip back in time with a brief history of Valentine’s Day traditions in Spain.

Valentine’s Day traditions in Spain

Valentine’s Day, or ‘El Dia de San Valentin’ as it is called in Spain, is celebrated in a similar style in the UK and the rest of the world.

Lovers treat their lovers to a lavish dinner, shower their partners with gifts, and generally celebrate the power of love.

‘El Dia de San Valentin’ is a relatively new addition to Spanish culture.

In 1948, José ‘Pepín’ Fernández, the founder of a newly opened department store called Galerías Preciados, saw an opportunity to leverage the opportunity to increase sales.

He launched a campaign with what would soon become a famous motto ‘Practicing la elegancia social del regalo’ (Practice the social elegance of giving).

The Galerías Preciados were later acquired by el Corte Inglés, where this iconic phrase continues to shape the way Spaniards shop.

It is perhaps because of this unique history that many people in Spain now refer to Valentine’s Day as “the Dia de El Corte Inglés’ (Day of Corte Inglés).

But make no mistake, when it comes to Valentine’s Day, the Spanish go all out.

According to StatisticsSpain topped the list in 2018, spending more on Valentine’s Day gifts than any other country in the world.

In 2021, Spaniards spent an average of €67 on Valentine’s Day gifts, ranking them as the ninth biggest spender in the world.

How “Lovers’ Day” is celebrated throughout Spain

February 14 may be Valentine’s Day in Spain, but it’s not the only day Cupid shoots his arrows.

In some regions of Spain, ‘Dia de los Enamorados’ (Lovers’ Day) is celebrated at distinct times of the year and with unique traditions.

The Roses and Books of Saint Jordi, Catalonia

In Catalonia, on April 23, there is a feast in honor of the patron saint Saint Jordi (Saint George).

This special day in the Catalan calendar is also hailed as a day for lovers.

This is also the reason for the Catalan saying “A rose for love and a book forever”.

Couples and loved ones mark the occasion by offering each other roses or books.

To this day, the streets of Catalonia (especially Las Ramblas, Barcelona) are full of street vendors selling flowers, books and other trinkets.

Bookstores organize book readings, artists take to the streets to wow the crowds, and the Palau de la Generalitat opens its doors to the public.

On April 23, Catalans celebrate Saint George's Day with roses and books.
Valentine’s Day in Spain is not the only romantic holiday in Spain. On April 23, Catalans celebrate Saint George’s Day with roses and books. Image: Pixabay

The “Mocadora” of Valencia

October 9 is a big day in the province of Valencia.

Not only does it mark the day of the Autonomous Community of Valencia, but it is also the day of Saint Dionysius.

Now a public holiday, it is celebrated with costume parades and festivities in the area’s main squares.

In honor of Saint Dionysius, the patron saint of Valencian lovers, Valencians celebrate the “mocadora”.

Dating back to the 16th century, this tradition originated when Philip V of Spain banned the celebration of James I.

Hearing this, the guild of Valencian pastry chefs responded by making small marzipan cakes in the shape of male and female genitals called ‘piruleta’ and ‘tronador‘.

Local men started giving these sweets to their lovers and started hiding the sweets in their handkerchief (which is called a ‘mocador’ in Valencian).

Legend has it that the lucky recipient must keep the handkerchief to prove how long he has been with his beloved.

As the custom took off, it became known as ‘mocadora’.

The locks of love in Seville

If you’ve ever crossed the Milvio Bridge in Rome or the Pont des Arts in Paris, you might be familiar with love padlocks.

This romantic and dreamy tradition was born in Rome.

In honor of their undying love, couples engrave their names (or initials) on a padlock, lock it to the Milvio Bridge, and throw the key into the Tiber.

This romantic custom has spread all over the world to the Triana Bridge in Seville.

The lovers fix their padlocks on the bridge and throw the key into the Guadalquivir river.

As romantic as it may be, local governments begged the star-crossed lovers to find another way to declare their undying love for each other.

Padlocks impact the structural integrity of bridges and keys pollute local rivers.

Maybe it’s best to stick with a nice box of chocolates.

Love locks have become a popular symbol of eternal love.
Love locks have become a popular symbol of eternal love. Visit the Triana Bridge in Seville to admire the locks of this Valentine’s Day in Spain. Image: Pixabay

The best places to spend Valentine’s Day in Spain

If you’re looking for the perfect place to spend Valentine’s Day in Spain, we’ve got you covered. From stunning sunsets to gorgeous greenery, these ten spots will get you in the mood for love.

Grenade

Granada is perhaps the ideal destination for Valentine’s Day.

Granada in February is cool but sunny, so wrap up warm and stroll hand-in-hand through the quaint cobbled streets.

Dominating the city against a backdrop of jagged snow-capped peaks stands the Alhambra Palace.

For an unforgettable Valentine’s Day weekend, book a sunset tour of the Alhambra Palace. You will not be disappointed.

After the tour, stop for complimentary tapas, sip hot tea in one of the many teahouses in the Moorish quarter of Albaicin, or watch a flamenco show in the Sacramonte Caves.

Granada is full of upscale restaurants and bars where you can end the weekend with a delicious meal and a few drinks.

Why not spend Valentine's Day at the Alhambra in Granada.
Why not spend Valentine’s Day in Spain at the majestic Alhambra in romantic Granada. Image: Pixabay

Madrid

Madrid is full of incredible parks and gardens just waiting to be explored hand in hand.

There are plenty of ways to spend a memorable Valentine’s Day in the Spanish capital.

Madrid’s most famous park is perhaps The Retiro park, located near the wealthy neighborhood of Salamanca.

Spend an afternoon exploring the perfectly groomed park and take a punt ride around the lake.

A few steps from Plaza España you will find the Temple of Debod. Given to Spain by the Egyptian government, the temple offers the best sunset views in Madrid.

Bring a blanket and champagne to enjoy the view in style. They may call New York the city that never sleeps, but Madrid get what they pay for.

No trip to the Spanish capital is complete without dinner and drinks in the city center followed by a trip to the theatre.

For the ultimate lavish experience, visit the rooftop of Circulo de Bellas Artes for a drink with a view.

The Temple of Debod is the most romantic place to watch the sunset in Madrid.
The Temple of Debod is the most romantic place to watch the sunset in Madrid this Valentine’s Day in Spain. Image: Pixabay

Seville

There’s just something about Seville.

Lose yourself in the winding alleys, stroll through the town squares, marvel at the Moorish architecture or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city for the ultimate romantic experience.

Seville has some of the most beautiful parks in Spain, such as Parque María Luisa, perfect for an intimate picnic.

End the evening in style watching the sunset over the Puente de Isabel II and taking a midnight stroll along the river.

For a truly perfect Valentine’s Day in Spain, take that special someone to see the Love Padlocks on the beautiful Triana Bridge.

Valentine's Day in sultry Seville is unforgettable.
Spend an unforgettable Valentine’s Day in Spain with a getaway to sultry Seville. Image: Pixabay

City of Malaga

The beautiful city of Malaga is full of romantic experiences for couples in love hoping to spend a special Valentine’s Day in Spain.

Malaga is full of stellar restaurants, live music venues and intimate bars to make your Valentine’s Day special.

Take in spectacular views of the city from the Alcazaba, stroll through the lush botanical gardens, or head to the harbor for dinner and drinks. Malaga is a city where it is good to get lost.

If you still haven’t found the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, head to La Calle Larios. Paved in marble with stunning architecture, this main shopping street is a sight to behold.

Beautiful Málaga is a top destination for Valentine's Day.
Beautiful Málaga is a top destination for Valentine’s Day. Image: Pixabay

For the not so desperate romantics

Don’t despair if romance isn’t your thing. There’s a day to celebrate not being in love too.

Spain, like many other parts of the world, is quickly embracing a new holiday; singles day (“El Dia de los Solteros”).

This relatively new holiday celebrates single life.

While the Chinese choose to celebrate November 11 (11/11) because 1 is the loneliest number, Spain chose to mark the occasion on February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day.

Final Thoughts

Brimming with charm, romance and mystique, Spain is home to an abundance of alluring locations for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day surprise trip.

This year, why not take your partner to enjoy Valentine’s Day in Spain.

As we say in Spain, ¡Feliz Dia de San Valentin!’ (Happy Valentine day!).


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