One of the most spectacular and unforgettable sites you could ever hope to see, also a wonderful experience to encounter with someone you love. The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are most visible when the skies are fully dark making February a promising month for sightings. Sadly we can’t vouch for the weather and there is a chance that pesky clouds will obstruct your view. What we can suggest is you check the Icelandic Met Office website, they have a page dedicated to the Aurora Forecast to help you predict the best night for viewing.
There’s an abundance of boutique hotels and package holidays based around sightings and if you’re unlucky with the weather, there are many other awe inspiring attractions in Iceland including volcanoes, waterfalls and a blue lagoon.
For those seeking adventure, Iceland’s rugged landscape offers a tempting opportunity to grab a 4x4 and explore. If you’re travelling around in a normal car hire vehicle though beware of potentially tricky terrain and weather while driving in Iceland. Read our guide to driving in Iceland for more info.
Visit ‘the city that never sleeps’ for tons of opportunities to make Valentine’s Day memories that will last a lifetime. There are hundreds of hotels and restaurants geared up to celebrate the date. Times Square (AKA ‘the crossroads of the world) is a particular hot spot for all things love related and is often elaborately decorated in a Valentine’s theme. It is especially well known for Valentine’s Day proposals. Even if you’re not ready to pop the question yourself, the experience will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Our personal favourite of the many Valentine’s Day attractions offered in New York comes from Hayden Planetarium Space Theatre. Here you can experience an afterhours Valentine’s Day soiree - a night of celestial entertainment where all you need to do is cosy up under the stars. Enjoy ancient stories of heavenly romances in their space stadium with access to a bar and snacks while you relax.
Another great New York tradition is the yellow cab. We definitely recommend flagging one down to get around the city as Valentine’s Day is likely to be a busy one on the roads. If you do decide to hire a car however, be prepared for some serious city driving! Read our guide on driving in the USA for a few more pointers.
Celebrate your eternal love in the Eternal City! In Rome, Valentine’s Day is called ‘La Festa Degli Innamorati’ (sounds cool right?). As well as being a tad warmer in February than the rest of the destinations on our list, Rome is known as a city of love and offers a whole host of incredible sights to see. If you’re worried about fitting it all in you can purchase an OMNIA card. Helping you achieve a VIP experience of the city, this card allows you queue jump entry to some of the top tourist destinations. It has some great reviews online so worth a look before you travel.
In past years there has been a trend of locking padlocks to bridge railings and throwing the key in the river. This thanks to the bestselling book I Want You by Federico Moccia. However, we wouldn’t recommend it, the Italian authorities have banned ‘love locking’.
Italian cities are up there with the most challenging places to drive in. If you are driving around yourself, expect a lot of honking, not much indicating and a whole lot of ‘Italian passion’ from other drivers. If you don’t fancy the sound of that, the attractions in Rome are reasonably close together so you’d do just fine to travel around in taxis or on public transport. More on driving in Europe here.
Hire a car and take a cruise down the romantic road in Bavaria, Germany. This route runs from Wurzburg to Fussen and is loosely based on an old Roman route. Most importantly, it’s jam packed with romantic scenery and places of interest. In fact there are castles, craters, rolling hills, vineyards and picturesque villages to name a few.
There are a few sights we particularly recommend; Neuschwanstein Castle screams romance with its enchanting silhouette set in amongst a beautiful natural landscape, the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is fascinating for its historical value but is also insanely pretty and, if you spot them, try Schneeballen (snowball) pastry - deep fried pastry coated in sugar and often dipped in chocolate.
The main appeal on this route is you can plan something really individual based on what you will both enjoy doing.
Before setting off on your romantic drive, it’s best to plan your route including stop offs so that you can concentrate on the roads and travel safely. Of course, if you’ve got more time on your hands you could get the ferry across to France or the Netherlands and drive all the way down or, car hire will be available at most major airports.
Lastly we recommend the home of Valentine’s Day, Ireland. In Dublin on Whitefriar Street, Carmelite Church houses the shrine of St Valentine and many visitors flock there to pay respects each year. Not just that but there is a great deal of poetry and literature on the subject of love, all attributed to this great city.
On Valentine’s Day itself, there are an abundance of activities you can take part in from romantic themed tours to prom style parties and taking in some classic films at the Lighthouse Cinema.
You can’t beat a castle for some romance, right? Clontarf Castle is an ideal place to stay - just ten minutes from the heart of Dublin. The rooms are decadent and dressed with stylish furniture that suits the overall setting to a tee.
One final word on driving in Ireland, they drive on the left just like here in the UK so that makes life ten times easier! However, for a few more tips on driving in Ireland, read our guide.
So that’s our list but whatever you do, enjoy your day and drive safely.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
OMNIA card reviews - http://www.viator.com/tours/Rome/Rome-Card-and-Omnia-Vatican-Card-Valid-for-3-Days/d511-6040ROMCARD/TR
Hayden Planetarium 2015 - http://www.amnh.org/learn-teach/adults/lectures-and-special-events/special-event-romance-under-the-stars