Romantic Road Trips

Continued (page 3 of 5)


Maui’s Road to Hana

With 54 one-lane bridges, 600 curves, and jungle-like foliage all around, the Road to Hana isn’t your average drive—though the two-hour trip (sans detours) is a divine way to pass an afternoon. Set your odometer to 0 in Kahului and make for the surfing town of Paia, a great place to pick up homemade muffins and fish tacos. It’s also the last gas station before Hana, so stock the cooler, take a bathroom break, and fill ’er up. Heading out of Paia, take time to check out the windsurfers at Hookipa Beach. Then say bye-bye to the waves and head deep into Maui’s rain forest on the Hana Highway. As the landscape changes, you’ll spot the first of many milepost signs—Hana is just 32 luscious miles away.

Islanders might suggest a week’s worth of mini-stops along the way for swimming, noshing, and photo snapping. Our favorites: Near the 17-mile marker, pause at the Keanae Peninsula and gaze down on valleys of taro fields; take an easy hike into Keanae Arboretum’s natural gardens; and cool off in local swimming hole Ching’s Pond. Farther ahead, pull off and pick up fresh banana bread and home-grown Roselani ice cream at the aptly named Halfway to Hana Fruit Stand. If it’s cappuccino you crave, venture into Nahiku, the village’s only coffee shop, which whips up one frothy winner. If you think you’re stimulated now, wait till you get a load of Hana—so gloriously removed from the rest of Maui that it was once ruled by Big Island chiefs. Enjoy its deep green pastures, foam-licked beaches, and otherworldly beauty from your digs at the Hotel Hana-Maui, preferably a Sea Ranch Cottage with a hot tub and thrilling views. Doubles from $375, including activities, year-round; 800-321-4262, hotelhanamaui.com.

Germany’s Romantic Road

Dubbing a place "The Romantic Road" is like tattooing your lover’s name on your arm—talk about tempting fate. But that’s exactly what Germany did about 50 years ago, and, astonishingly, instead of transforming the frozen-in-time castles and walled villages into a strip of chain motels and souvenir shops, the name seems to have stuck, and, in fact, has lent the place even more honeymoon credibility.

Begin your trip by veering off the Autobahn and heading to Würzburg, a town blessed with the rococo splendor of the Residence of the Prince Bishop and an overwhelming richness of wine taverns. Next, head to Burgerspital, a watering hole dating back to 1319, and order two flasks of Franconia, but sip slowly—you still have some driving to do.

Follow the road until you run into Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber. Seemingly untouched by the modern world—the walled city is still dominated by 12th-century houses—it’s the perfect place to play damsel and knight. Along with medieval homes, you’ll also find a Medieval Criminal Museum. (After hearing about the era’s interrogation methods, you’ll understand why historians call it the Dark Ages.) You’ll also discover the Eisenhut (Iron Hut), a relatively contemporary 16th-century inn with a beer garden and an enchanting terrace. Doubles from $246, year-round; 011-49-0-9861-70-50, eisenhut.com.

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