Ticket to Dumpsville
Sick of shelling out for roses and fancy restaurants? Then read our guide to the best places to dump your boyfriend/ girlfriend, and make this Valentine's Day one to remember, says William Dunn. Illustration by Alec Doherty
Walk past Palazzo Merati, Casanova’s old home, to the Doge’s Palace, where he was imprisoned for seducing half the city. Take a vaporetto (water bus) down the Grand Canal, where Byron used to sleep in his gondola to get a bit of peace from all his ladies, then say: “They don’t make ’em like that any more — great lovers who could fit more passion into one night than most people do in a lifetime, and refuse to be chained to one person. Speaking of which, I’m seeing someone else. Fancy a Bellini?”
FLY TO VENICE (TREVISO) FROM 21 DESTINATIONS, INCLUDING BARI, BREMEN AND ROME (CIAMPINO).
The medina (city centre) of Fez is a maze-like warren of tiny streets, and the world’s largest car-free urban area. Spice shops, tea houses and centuries-old mosques await you around every haphazard corner. This makes it one of the easiest places in the world to get lost or “accidentally” separated, should you need some time apart after that difficult discussion. The adventurous should bear in mind most Moroccan buildings have a flat roof – providing you with the opportunity for a James Bond-style chase, during which you can shout “It’s not you, it’s me!”, while leaping from roof to roof.
FLY TO FEZ FROM NINE DESTINATIONS, INCLUDING ALICANTE, FRANKFURT (HAHN) AND SEVILLE.
Misery loves company
If you’ve been dumped, the last thing you want is to be surrounded by other people’s happiness. So why not head to Slovakia, said to be the world’s sixth-most miserable country? Your ex will form an instant bond with the 48% of the population who reported being “not very happy, or not at all happy”, according to the World Values Survey. Meanwhile, you can enjoy sights like Bratislava Castle, which perches on a plateau 85m above the Danube; the huge Novy Most bridge with its UFO-shaped restaurant; or even a day out in the Carpathian Mountains.
FLY TO BRATISLAVA FROM 18 DESTINATIONS, INCLUDING BARCELONA (GIRONA), DUBLIN AND MILAN (BERGAMO).
With a little help from my friends
If you really are going to dump someone on holiday, what they (and you) need is to have some mates around. Dublin is one of the easiest places in the world to make new friends, and was voted Europe’s Friendliest City 2009 by users of TripAdvisor.com. And with 50% of the population aged under 25, Dublin has unbeatable nightlife – great both for drowning your sorrows and celebrating your new-found freedom. If your pals back home live anywhere near an airport, chances are they can be in Dublin by your side in only a couple of hours, too.
FLY TO DUBLIN FROM 79 DESTINATIONS, INCLUDING ABERDEEN, FARO (ALGARVE) AND GDANSK.
When breaking off a relationship you should give the other person space, and avoid conflict. The Global Peace Index ranks Norway as one of the three most-peaceful nations on Earth, and Haugesund, a small city on the west coast, offers long white beaches and heather-covered hills alongside mountains and fjords. Take a boat out to the idyllic islands of Røvær and Utsira, take a deep breath of Scandinavian air, and dispatch the bad news. For anyone worried about their dumpee going off on a drunken rampage, a pint here costs about 60 NOK (€7). So unless they’re loaded, they’ll just have to stay sober and explore this fascinating little city, while trying not to think about how you betrayed them.
FLY TO HAUGESUND FROM ALICANTE, BREMEN, EDINBURGH AND LONDON (STANSTED).
One of the family
Avoid that awkward conversation altogether by spending a weekend in Palermo, the sun-baked, sultry Sicilian capital. Take a day trip to the nearby town of Corleone, disappear for a few hours to “do a favour for Uncle Vito”, then return to visit some old family members at the Catacombe dei Cappuccini, a musty network of catacombs in which 8,000 of Palermo’s former residents hang, mummified, from the walls. Pause meaningfully by one of the couples preserved for eternity in their wedding finery, mutter something like “That’s gonna be us, one day”, and you should be single in no time. NB: this will probably only work if you have an Italian-sounding name. If your partner knows you grew up in Dorking, wait until you get home.
FLY TO PALERMO FROM LONDON (STANSTED), MILAN (BERGAMO) AND PISA (FLORENCE).
This could get ugly
Ladies, let him do the dumping for you with a little help from Stockholm’s famously beautiful women. Dress in your best baggy, worn-out tracksuit bottoms, forget to wash, then take in some majestic buildings like the Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) and City Hall (Stadshuset), where the annual banquet for Nobel prizewinners is held. You should be good and sweaty by then, so take a break in one of the city’s many beautiful parks, which will be swarming with breathtaking blondes. If he’s not rethinking your relationship by then, well, maybe he’s not so bad after all. Gentlemen, nothing weakens a lady’s knees like a sense of humour, so try Edinburgh at festival time to bring on a wandering eye.
FLY TO STOCKHOLM (SKAVSTA AND VASTERAS) FROM 38 DESTINATIONS INCLUDING ALICANTE.
If you’re going to let a lady go, the kindest thing you can do is ensure there’s a good supply of chocolate on hand to soft en the blow. Nowhere does chocolate like the Belgian capital, where you can watch craft smen working at swanky chocolate-makers’ like Le Chocolatier Manon (www.chocolatiermanon.com). Try your hand at making your own at Planète Chocolat (www.planetechocolat.be), then deliver the bad news through a mouthful of delicious choccy. There, there, have a Bounty. Bounty still loves you. If you’re dumping a chap, Rome has some of the world’s best pizza (and shopping), while Jerez and Porto, the homes of sherry and port, will help him drown his sorrows in style.
FLY TO BRUSSELS (CHARLEROI) FROM 51 DESTINATIONS, INCLUDING BARI, LANZAROTE AND TANGIER.