By: Lisa Harper
Give your loved one an unforgettable present this Valentine’s Day by organising a romantic road trip. Travelling is one of the best ways to get to really know someone and offers a great opportunity for you and your loved one to spend some quality time together. Getting behind the wheel is also a great way to see more of the country you are visiting, allowing you to explore off the beaten-track places for a truly memorable trip.
If you've never driven abroad before it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the driving practices of the country you are travelling to. Why not take a look at our top tips for driving in Europe or driving in the USA?
To make a road trip truly special, you need to make sure you plan your trip thoroughly. You should think about where you want to go, what you what to do and what you want to see on the journey. To give you some inspiration we’ve taken a look at some of the most romantic road trips around the world.
Let’s face it, Germany isn’t the first place many of us think of when it comes to romance. However, travelling on the Romantic Road, in Southern Germany, is akin to stepping back in time to a land of long-lost chivalry.
The road takes in the Southern provinces of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and is based loosely on an old Roman route. Meandering through Medieval towns, small villages and dramatic scenery, the views are simply spectacular. You can expect breath-taking mountainous alpine scenery, glistening rivers and dark forests that jump straight out of the pages of the works of the Grimm Brothers.
It’s not just amazing scenery either, there’s a wealth of culture on offer too, from ancient cathedrals with gothic spires to half-timber houses that have a gingerbread-esque quality and fairy-tale castles. Neuschwanstein Castle, which is said to have been the inspiration behind Walt Disney’s Disneyland Castle, is an unmissable stop and is sure to inject a sense of romance to your trip.
Würzburg is a great starting point, not only does it have a wealth of history, with the Residence Palace being a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, it is also in the heart of Germany’s wine-producing area. Most people choose to end the trip at Füssen, which is home to the unforgettable Neuschwanstein castle and is just 82 miles southwest of Munich for flights home.
The Amalfi Coast has been a protected UNESCO site since 1997 and continues to delight the hordes of visitors who make the trip every year. It’s located to the South of the Sorrento Peninsula and goes from Positano to Vietri Sul Mare.
We’d recommend starting your trip in Naples, as it is easy to fly into and incidentally is also the town that is credited with inventing the pizza, so make sure you tuck into one while you're in town. That being said, there’s a wealth of traditional Italian food and wine on offer along the route, so wherever you stop you won't miss out. Although it might mean that it is not just your suitcase that comes home heavier.
Not for the faint-hearted, you will be driving on narrow, winding roads that cling to the mountainside while scooters dart and weave through traffic at will. However, the upside of these pulse-that you can enjoy panoramic views of the sea and mountainside views with coloured houses nestled into the rocks. Positano is one of the most photographed stops on the Amalfi coast and is a great place for a stop-over. It looks spectacular at night when lit up it and makes the perfect romantic background for a meal for two.
Summer can be a busy time to visit, however, head there in spring and you will be amazed by the swathes of bright colours from the bountiful spring flowers. While autumn is a great time for food-lovers as there is an abundance of seasonal produce including mushrooms, black truffles and chestnuts. The sea is still pretty warm in autumn too, so if you fancy a dip, it is a great time to enjoy to head to the less crowded beaches.
If you fancy heading further afield, then Australia is a road tripper’s paradise. The Great Ocean Road is a haven for couples, stretching –miles along South-Eastern Australia. It’s not all about sandy beaches on this route though, you can also take in pristine forests, hidden waterfalls and secluded beach coves, ripe for exploration.
The twelve Apostles are magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria's dramatic coastline and are well-worth stopping at to enjoy a sunset on the beach.
Australia is the adventurer’s paradise so there will never be a dull moment on this trip, and getting the adrenaline pumping is a sure way to help you bond with your loved one. However, for those who prefer things at a slower pace can enjoy trying to spot the abundant wildlife, from whale and dolphin spotting just off the coast to watching whole colonies of koala bears at Kennet River.
If you’ve always wanted to have a go at surfing why not start your trip in Torquay, Australia’s surf capital. You can then make your way down to Port Campbell taking in the seaside villages and towns en-route.
Ideal for those looking for real escapism, Iceland’s Ring Road (Route 1), circumnavigates the Island allowing you to soak up all that this atmospheric Nordic country has to offer. With dramatic scenery that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones, Iceland offers an immersive awe-inspiring road trip.
The route can technically be completed in around 15-16hours if you drive non-stop and are blessed with favourable conditions. However, we’d definitely recommend taking everything in at a much slower pace so you can really get to grips with the evocative landscape.
Bear in mind that 98% of the route is paved and the majority of the route is two lanes, there are a number of single-road bridges and less well-paved areas to contend with.
Iceland has relatively few trees which means you can enjoy uniquely uninterrupted views of picturesque farms, mystical waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs as well as views of the formidable North Atlantic Sea. You’ll still need to keep your eyes peeled though as animals, including sheep, cows, horses and reindeer, regularly stroll onto less populated areas of the ring road.
This circular route allows you to start and end your escape to Iceland in Reykjavik a vibrant capital city.
For couples who want to get back to nature, there is no better place to go than the Alaskan Highway taking in both Canada and the USA. An unforgettably wild and romantic trip you can really get away from it all on expansive roads that roll on into the distance.
Start the trip at Mile 0, Dawson Creek for an Instagram worthy pic under the World Famous Alaskan Highway sign. The official end of the Highway is at Delta Junction, Alaska, however, the great thing about this journey is that you can take in as much or as little of the 1382 mile trip, as you like.
The highway was an engineering marvel of World War II and was originally put in place to allow American troops to get across Canada to Alaska. As such, it is still a fairly uninhabited landscape where you may stumble across black bears, buffalo and caribou. So if you’re planning to camp along the route, remember to pack a bear box for all of your food!
Some great stops on the way include Kluane National Park and Reserve, Liard River Hot Springs and Mount Logan, Canada’s highest peak. Plus don't forget to leave your mark at Sign Post Forest, Watson Lake, Yukon by creating your very own road sign from your home town.
The route is open year-round, however, May to September is the best time to visit. It will still get fairly cool on an evening and in May you can still expect to see ice on some of the lakes, so packing warmer layers is recommended.
We hope we’ve managed to inspire you to take a romantic road trip of your own and we’d love you to share your stories and pics. Simply get in touch via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
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