When February 14th rolls around every year, too many of us fall into the same old tired routine. Another box of chocolates and another card. A bouquet of flowers – all too predictable. And dinner for two at a local restaurant is something you can do any day of the week.
What better way to spark romance than a new adventure shared with the one you love the most? Europe has many winding roads and scenic destinations that make the perfect ingredients for a road trip that will revive the kind of passion experienced when you first met.
Whether it’s the high performance driving dynamics of the i30 N and i30 Fastback N, the refined, roomy luxury of the Tucson and Santa Fe SUVs or the outstanding 449-kilometre range of the Kona Electric, Hyundai has the perfect vehicle to take you on that trip. So forget the train or plane, hit the road and rediscover each other – no crowded, impersonal airports or stations required!
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast has been renowned as one of Italy’s most breath-taking regions for centuries, visited by everyone from Roman emperors of yore to the social media influencers of today. Starting from Castellammare di Stabia, head east to Sorrento, then prepare yourselves for the thrill of the narrow, coastal road to Positano.
If the adrenaline this induces doesn’t inspire passion, one of the most romantic restaurants in the world – the Michelin-starred La Sponda at Positano’s La Sirenuse Hotel – certainly will. Lit by 400 candles, the glow it leaves in your eyes should last for the remaining stretch through postcard-perfect Amalfi and finishing in the medieval port city of Salerno.
Basque Circuit, Spain & France
If you are after romance of a more classic flavour, this 480km route between Bilbao and Biarritz takes in such a variety of different attractions and sites it will be as if you’ve taken several holidays in one trip. In the space of just a few days, you and your significant other can explore the renowned Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, spend a day in Pamplona soaking in the atmosphere at its historic centre, take in the spectacular views of the Pyrenees massifs, walk along the period promenades of Biarritz and enjoy some delicious Spanish seafood at San Sebastiàn.
The scenic splendour reaches a peak when you get to the winding stone staircase to the hermitage at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the real-life location used to depict Dragonstone castle in hit television drama Game of Thrones. The route also passes through the Rioja wine region, characterised by its pleasing patchwork of vineyard-covered hills and medieval villages.
The Bloemen Route, Netherlands
Okay, we might have said that flowers are a bit too obvious for Valentine’s Day. But imagine the romance of going somewhere where – rather than just a simple bouquet – your horizon will be filled with a spectrum of the world's most beautiful flowers for as far as the eye can see.
Taking you through western Netherlands, the Bloemen (Flower) Route stretches on through around 40-kilometres of fields bursting with vibrancy from their multi-coloured blooms. This spectacular site starts in January, when the first crocuses start to come through, joined by a blanket of daffodils, irises, tulips, lilies and more over the subsequent months.
Heart-shaped Road, Slovenia
This might be quite literally taking the road to love, but what better excuse to had to Slovenia, home to some of the European continent’s most under-appreciated beauty spots. One of the most unique is to be found just 30 minutes' drive from the city of Maribor, along Road 937.
This scenic route passes through picturesque villages and vineyards, offering ample opportunity to stop for a romantic picnic or meal, until you reach tiny settlement of Špičnik. Head to the Tourist Kmetija Dreisiebner hotel and restaurant (1 Špičnik in the satnav) and look downhill over the vineyard to see the road you’ve just ascended take the shape of what is perhaps the most romantic symbol of them all.
Romantic Road, Germany
Based loosely on the old Roman route between a range of charmingly chocolate-box towns from Würzburg to Füssen, Germany’s Romantic Road really does live up to its name. Taking you to the foot of the Alps, it is particularly pretty at this time of the year, with a dusting of snow bringing out the sheer beauty of the landscape.
The road is studded with plenty of gorgeous spots to stop and explore along its 460 kilometres, revealing a wealth of European history, art and culture. Perhaps the star of the show is Neuschwanstein, the dream-like castle of Bavarian King Ludwig II that sits atop its rocky crest and forms a fitting marker for the end of the most scenic of journeys.