Mother Teresa once said: "Love to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self."

It is not exactly what prompted Saint Teresa of Calcutta is utter these words, but it may well have been the cost of Valentine's Day in Los Angeles.

The US city boasts an unassailable lead as the most expensive city in the world to celebrate February 14, according to a new price index, with lovers in LA forced to spend $340 more than romantics in the next dearest destination, Venice.

Assuming the identity of someone putting a suspicious amount of effort into the Hallmark holiday, purchasing a dozen red roses, a day at the spa, a Michelin-starred dinner, cinema tickets and a night in a luxury hotel, the occasion in LA will set you back $1849, says online florist Bloomy Days. Venice came in second, with $1512, followed by New York, with $1484. Sydney and Zurich complete the top five.

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Though LA may be the most expensive city overall for a Valentine's Day getaway, when you ignore the cost of a four or five-star hotel, other destinations start to look a lot dearer.

For example, Sydney in Australia is where roses are the most extortionate, with a dozen reported to cost a remarkable $128.75. Chaps in LA can pick them up for a mere $71.37 — but it's lotharios in Cape Town, who make the greatest saving, spending just $31.19.

A day at the spa in Copenhagen will set you back $206, but in Toronto just $75.

How much does a dozen roses cost around the world

The cheapest

Cape Town - $31.19
Toronto - $32.27
Bruges - $32.86
Brussels - $32.86
Vienna - $37.32

The dearest

Sydney - $128.75
Seoul - $120.72
New York - $107.05
Taipei - $102.25
Boston - $98.49

A bunch of red roses might set you back a bit, depending on what city you buy them in. Photo / Getty Images
A bunch of red roses might set you back a bit, depending on what city you buy them in. Photo / Getty Images

For anyone with a better half that appreciates scrimping more than splurging, the Czech capital of Prague is where you must head, where the full works costs just $644. The second cheapest Valentine's destination is Cork in Ireland, with a cost of $681, and third is Madrid, with a cost of $743.

What about Paris, the actual, christened, City of Love?

The French capital is an attainable goal for many couples this February, ranked 27th out of 50, with an overall cost of $970. It also boasts one of the cheapest Michelin-starred dinner options, at $894, according to the florist.

Prague is not only good value but also actually romantic. Photo / Getty Images
Prague is not only good value but also actually romantic. Photo / Getty Images

London was unsurprisingly the most expensive British destination for couples, with a total cost of $1115. It came in 34th cheapest overall - or 17th most expensive, depending on how you look at it.

A spokesperson for Bloomy Days said it conducted the research after noticing that the average price spent on Valentine's bouquets varied greatly from city to city.

The most expensive cities for Valentine's Day

Los Angeles - $1847 for luxury hotel, spa day, roses et al
Venice - $1510
New York - $1483
Sydney - $1462
Zurich - $1457
Melbourne - $1449
San Francisco - $1433
Boston - $1375
Washington DC - $1339
Basel - $1336

The cheapest cities for Valentine's Day

Prague - $644 for luxury hotel, spa day, roses et al
Cork - $681
Madrid - $743
Belfast - $792
Cardiff - $799
Berlin - $823
Vienna - $827
Brussels - $857
Lisbon - $859
Vancouver - $861