14 Unromantic Valentine’s Day Destinations

Written by: Dave Owen

Ah, Valentine’s Day. An occasion for the attached to labour under the unyielding pressure of human relationships and expectation; a time to rinse out the dregs of your wallet on marked-up supermarket flowers and overcrowded restaurants, before returning home to carelessly combine your unmentionable flesh; a time to snatch profound sadness from the jaws of apparent joy.

Have we succeeded in making the occasion seem like a terrifying feat of endurance and futility? Good! That sets the tone for our collection of the worst places on the planet you could take your loved one to complete the arbitrary ritual of Valentine’s Day.

Dubai, UAE

In many ways Dubai is an unabashedly erotic city: sizzling heat, a veneer of decadence, a building like the world’s most fabulously erect penis. But this is somewhat undermined by the fact that kissing in public is an offence punishable by a prison sentence/deportation. Bit of a mood killer.

Hull, UK

According to a recent poll from Hotels.com, Brits voted Hull the least romantic city in Britain. Initially this seems harsh (it’s the UK City of Culture 2017, after all). But picture the scene: your beau blindfolds you, promises you a romantic adventure, and then you pitch up in Hull. Exactly.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras

How do you feel about being murdered? It definitely reduces your chances of sex. San Pedro Sula boasts the highest murder rate in the world, averaging a healthy 3 a day, and is a hotbed for arms trafficking. Hull doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

Chernobyl, Ukraine

There’s nothing like a lethal dose of radiation to put a dent in your love life. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster rendered a 30km area around the former plant uninhabitable for 20,000 years. Tourists can visit, but we really wouldn’t recommend making babies while you’re there.

Vatican City

A jaunt through Italy followed by a stroll to St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel = pretty impressive date locations. The cramped, tangible melancholy of Catholic guilt hanging over everything = a date without a happy ending.

Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb, Croatia

As the name suggests, this museum celebrates the ignominious decoupling of relationships by displaying the disused detritus of expired romance, from photographs to handcuffs to soiled underwear. Bring your date here and you might soon be adding to the collection.

City of the Dead, Russia

Some people find cemeteries sexy, the proximity of death reminding them of the limited time we have to see each other naked. Normal people, however, probably don’t fancy taking off their pants amongst formerly plague-ridden tombs where skeletons are still plainly visible.

La Grange, Kentucky, USA

Why do 10,000 birds suddenly appear, every winter when you’re near La Grange? It’s to defecate so ferociously on the town that residents must carry umbrellas to protect themselves against the torrents of faeces. It won’t be a story to tell the kids (because you’re never having kids).

Door to Hell, Turkmenistan

Roaring fire? Check. Incredible, glowing vistas? Check. Pervading unusual aroma? Double-check. All this four-decade-strong natural gas fire needs to make it the ideal Valentine’s Day spot is a healthy re-branding. May we suggest ‘Burning Love Chasm’?

Felixstowe Boating Lake, UK

Does dogging count as a date? Find the answer to this dilemma while you question the point of your existence at what reviewers on Trip Advisor have lovingly dubbed a ‘slurry pit’ and ‘a derelict eyesore.’ That’s what my last girlfriend called me before we broke up.

Rotorua, New Zealand

On the surface taking your lover to Rotorua seems like a good idea. It has mountain biking, ziplining, and vast stretches of greenery in which to pester them for public sex. The catch? Geothermal springs make the entire area reek of rotten eggs. At least it covers the natural odour of your underwear.

Pyongyang, North Korea

Can romance blossom during the course of a tightly regimented tour through a secretive third-world capital built on the bones of its subjugated citizens, and where people can be snatched off the street for even the most furtive of glances? Um, probably not, no.

The International Space Station

Space: the final romantic gesture. It is your mission to boldly bone where no man has boned before. There are a few obstacles to joining the 268 mile high club. Sex is prohibited on the International Space Station, for one. Plus, dodging your partner’s bodily fluids at zero gravity is a guaranteed turn off.

Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar, Costa Rica

Romance has flourished surprisingly frequently on the dinosaur infested island, and we all know that life finds a way. But here that’s usually a way to bite off your head and gargle your arterial spray. Your half-chewed heart rotting in the underbrush isn’t much of a romantic gift.

Single on Valentine’s Day? We’ve got some travel ideas for that too.

Check out these top gap year experiences


New Zealand Mountain Bike Tour

from £2365

16 days

New Zealand

The best of the North. The best of the South. They both come together over an epic 16 days to...

Africa Overland Coast to Coast

from £1695

56 days

Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa...

Travelling overland from Kenya to the Cape, this trip is for adventurous travelers who are willing to be part of...

Nile Trans Nairobi to Cairo Overland

from £2475

63 days

Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan

An expedition through the heart of Africa, crossing deserts, rivers and mountains and overcoming a multitude of challenges this continent...

Cairo to Cape Town Overland

from £3695

119 days

Botswana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nami...

A trip for those who are happy to rough it and willing to muck in with a group of like-minded...

Kyrgyzstan Overland

from £575

15 days


Join this expedition to venture off the tourist trail through Kyrgyzstan and take in the stunning scenery in one of...

Savanna Dawn Nairobi to Victoria Falls

from £1145

34 days

Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe

Get up close to the amazing wildlife in the Serengeti National park, chill out on the white sandy beaches of...

South Africa and Lesotho Cape Town to Johannesburg

from £795

17 days

South Africa

Witness first-hand all that is fantastic about South Africa - stunning beaches, dense forests and abundant marine and bush wildlife.

Andes and Amazon Quito to La Paz

from £1750

37 days

Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru

Experience the Amazon rainforest at first-hand in a jungle lodge, follow the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, stay overnight with...

Colombian Adventure Cartagena to Lima

from £1895

39 days

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Experience the flavours, curiosities and contradictions of these three fascinating South American countries.

South Island Mountain Bike Tour

from £1025

7 days

New Zealand

The South Island is renowned for its outstanding beauty and adventures. Plant your feet on your pedals as you take...

Check out more unusual gap year ideas

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]