It might feel like an occasion that the retail industry has invented to get us spending more money, but Valentine’s Day can actually provide a good excuse to make the one you love feel special.

If you want to avoid overpriced set menus and heart-shaped balloons, then Scotland has plenty of places where you can celebrate all things romantic.

1. St Valentine’s Bones, Glasgow

Blessed St John Duns Scotus Church, Gorbals, Glasgow

0141 429 0740

As those around you spend money on cheesy Valentine's teddy bears, you can go one better and take your other half to visit the real deal. In the entrance of Glasgow’s inconspicuous Blessed St John Duns Scotus Church lies a small casket, which contains the remains of Saint Valentine himself.

The bones were in the possession of a wealthy French family until the 1860s, when they donated them to Franciscan monks, who brought them to Glasgow and placed them in a church they had built in the Gorbals.

The bones remained there – in anonymity – until 1999, when the relic was uncovered, and now the casket is decorated with floral tributes every year on Valentine’s Day.

2. Huntingtower Castle, Perth

Huntingtower, Perthshire

Open Saturday-Wednesday, 10am to 4pm

Adults £5

01738 627231

With a rich history of romantic tales, the 15th century Huntingtower Castle is a great place for couples to wander round and soak up the history within its walls.

One of the castle’s famous love stories was that of Dorothea, the daughter of the first Earl of Gowrie, who was said to have been making illicit visits to her lover in the eastern of the castle’s two towers. Her mother then made her way through the castle to catch her daughter in the act: so Dorothea made a leap of more than eight feet back to the balcony of her own bedroom.

Modern visitors can see The Maiden's Leap for themselves, as well as where Mary Queen of Scots honeymooned with her second husband Lord Darnley.

3. Nevis Range Mountain Experience

Torlundy, Fort William

Open every day, 9.30am-dusk

Adults £19.50

01397 705825

Home to the only mountain range gondola in the British Isles, a trip to the Nevis Range Experience offers couples a day out with a difference.

Particularly good at this snowy time of year, the gondolas take you up the side of Aonach Mor mountain to a height of 650m. Once there you can enjoy a great outlook of Ben Nevis and the surrounding hills and have a bite to eat in the Snowgoose restaurant.

If you are feeling adventurous, there is also the option to walk one of the routes leading further up the mountain, getting even better views of the spellbinding scenery. And if the real love of your life is your dog, good news: you can take them in the gondola too.

4. Dark Sky Park, Creebridge

Galloway Forest Park

There are few activities that are more romantic than star gazing, but in some parts of Scotland the night sky is ruined by the yellow hue of light pollution.

But in the designated Dark Sky Park of the Galloway Forest Park, you are guaranteed a spectacular night sky in an area where light pollution is controlled. Named as the UK’s first dark sky park, the forest has a sky quality meter of around 22: with a photographer’s dark room measuring 24 and Glasgow or Edinburgh reading around 8. The park has three visitor centres that serve as good observation points, as well as its own observatory, complete with telescopes and a viewing deck.

Scotland also has another dark sky park in the Glenlivet and Tomintoul area of the Cairngorms National Park, where you might even be lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.

5. Rizzio’s Chestnut, Melville Castle Hotel, near Dalkeith

Anyone who has been to see the new Mary Queen of Scots film will be familiar with the harrowing scene where her secretary David Rizzio was murdered in front of her eyes. But the reason for this brutality was a simple act of devotion: Rizzio planted a sweet chestnut in the grounds of Melville Castle as a token of his affection for Mary. The influential lords of Scotland were convinced that the tree was proof of an affair between the two, and saw to it that Rizzio was killed at the tender age of 33. But more than 450 years later, his tree still stands tall, alongside the five oak trees that Mary planted in response.

6. Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa & Island

Benderloch, Near Oban, Argyll

01631 720371

It isn’t the cheapest hotel – with double rooms starting at £295 – but if you want to really pull out the stops for Valentine’s Day then a night at the Eriska will certainly do the job.

It is set on a 300-acre private island overlooking Loch Linnhe, with privacy and tranquillity pretty much guaranteed. As well as relaxing in the 19th-century hotel, you can also play a round on the Eriska golf course, get a treatment in the spa, or simply stroll around the impressive grounds.

And if you want to really push the boat out, try staying in one of the private hilltop reserves, with hot tubs sunken into an outdoor deck that offer glorious views of the surrounding hills. Brownie points are guaranteed.

7. Duff House, Aberdeenshire

Banff, Aberdeenshire

Open Thursday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm

01261 818181

Adults £7.50

The gorgeous Georgian architecture of Banff’s Duff House conjures up an undeniable air of romance as you wander round its stately corridors.

Built in 1735, the three-storey mansion is a Category A listed structure that is considered to be one of the finest buildings in the north of Scotland. Take your other half for a stroll around the house and admire the array of artworks on display there, with Sir John Lavery’s The Pergola a particular highlight. Last exhibited in 1940, Lavery’s post-impressionist depiction of a leisurely Moroccan breakfast is only on display until October. You can then head through Duff’s landscaped grounds and on to the two mile walk to the Bridge of Alvah, where you will pass the Duff Ice House and a striking neo-Gothic mausoleum.

It might not seem particularly romantic, but its 18th century architecture and peaceful woodland setting has seen the mausoleum host several weddings in recent years.

8. Luskentyre Beach, Harris

If it wasn’t for the weather, Luskentyre Beach in Harris could be mistaken for a tropical Caribbean paradise.

With its turquoise water and immaculate white sands, Luskentyre was used as the setting for BBC’s Castaway and was named as one of the UK’s best beaches by TripAdvisor. But unlike the beaches in Barbados, you are likely to have the place pretty much to yourself, with miles of unblemished sand to choose from.

So wrap up warm, coorie in on a blanket and gaze out on to the beauty of the Scottish coast.

9. Falls of Falloch, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

Off the A82 near Crianlarich, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

It might only be an hour out of Glasgow, but the Falls of Falloch and surrounding woodland feel a world away from the city.

A short walk through the atmospheric woodland will lead you to the 30ft high falls, where the River Falloch passes through Glen Falloch as it makes its way towards Loch Lomond. The falls are best viewed from an enchanting walkway that leads right out over the water, offering a great spot to take a cheesy selfie together.

The edge of the walkway also hosts an art instillation engraved with a poem, adding an extra air of magic to the glen.

10. Ubiquitous Chip, Glasgow

12 Ashton Lane, Glasgow

0141 334 5007

Cosying up outside with a drink is undeniably romantic, but it tends to be more suitable for summertime than February.

The Ubiquitous Chip should have you covered: with plenty of outdoor heaters across its Ashton Lane seating area and twinkly lights strung up overhead to create a bit of atmosphere. A great place to watch the world go by.