Running away from Valentine’s Day is possible, and the best place to flee to is apparently Istanbul.
Every year, there are plenty of single people who try to escape this arbitrary, consumer-driven holiday and decide to dedicate that same day to pampering themselves. Whether with a solo date at a fancy restaurant or a relaxing trip abroad, there are many ways to enjoy yourself if you are on your own.
This year, singles have been looking at one destination in particular: Istanbul.
Turkey’s biggest city was the most searched destination for solo travellers in Europe, according to the travel search engine KAYAK.
And if there’s one thing that’s true about Istanbul, is that there’s so much to see, visit and experience in the city that there’s hardly a chance someone on their own could feel bored.
With over 3,000 mosques - including the majestic Süleymaniye Mosque and the Blue Mosque -, buzzing markets - the Grand Bazaar is unmissable - and the magnificent view of the Bosporus, the city has plenty to fill up your time.
In fact, there’s so much that the city can feel overwhelming. But there are so many solo travellers in Istanbul that the opportunity to meet friends - and even start a romance - could be right around the corner.
One thing that travellers won’t find at the moment in Istanbul, however, is that party vibe that has long been a characteristic of the city.
Istanbul's cultural life has been significantly dampened by a tax on alcohol and cigarettes.
Since January 1, the cost of tobacco and booze has risen by 47 per cent, affecting club-goers and restaurants which were already struggling with the impact of the pandemic on their business.
Where else are solo travellers visiting?
Surprisingly, the second most-searched city was Paris, the city of love. It suggests that people are either looking for a fairytale romance to sweep them off their feet, or simply trying to have an Emily in Paris experience in the French capital.
Rome follows Paris as the third most-searched destination. You’re probably once again thinking about something romantic like travelling on the back of a Vespa through the streets of the Eternal City, Roman holidays-style.
But the truth is that Rome is also a great city for singles, as you can just hang around amazing architecture and historic gems and eat amazing food. Mandatory mask-wearing outdoors in Italy has just been lifted too.
If your budget isn’t that big this Valentine’s, then flight search engines suggest you go to another Italian city: Milan, the cheapest city to fly to.
Much less romantic, but after all that’s exactly what an anti-Valentine’s getaway is for.