Adventurous couples looking for a wow factor honeymoon will find their nirvana in the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand. Heli-hike vast glaciers, horse-ride across the bush, swim in hot springs and cruise the Milford Sound. Choose a self-drive tour for the freedom of the road, staying either in motels or boutique B&Bs en route.
Couples that play together, stay together. If you share a love of cycling, Headwater has come up with inspiring routes, some off-road. Romantic itineraries include gastronomic routes in Piedmont and Chianti. And the best thing is, your bags are taken from hotel to hotel for you. They’ll even get the wine orders in.
Peru is famed for its lost Inca cities – including magical Machu Picchu – but who knew it also had stunning Pacific surf beaches? Take a luxury private tour of this vast fascinating country, from snowy peaks to lush Amazonian rainforest, staying in smart lodges. Go trekking together or simply sit back and soak up those views. Truly a trip of a lifetime.
There are plenty of family-friendly all-inclusives in swanky Barbados, but only one for couples-only. Sandals Barbados, opened in January 2015 on the iridescent white sands of Dover Beach in the lively south of the island, is the ultimate all-inclusive with everything from gourmet dining to scuba diving and yoga. You can even tie the knot for free.
The tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla is one of those eye-poppingly beautiful places that you can’t quite believe exists. Just a short hop from Antigua, it is encircled by platinum-white beaches with an exclusive yet laidback feel. It’s perfect for honeymooners who crave lazy days on the beach, barefoot gourmet dining in waterfront restaurants and cool, contemporary hotels.
For a union of mind, body and soul, a spa honeymoon at Ananda is great value with many treatments and activities included. Book a private pool villa or save a little and stay in a valley view room to soak up views of the Ganges from your bed and bath. Visit Rishikesh at nightfall for Ganga Aarati (lighting of lamps and chanting).
With an exotic romance you’d expect to have to fly long-haul to find, DDG Retreat is a short hop to the hills of southern Spain. Stay in one of six intimate casas, each individually styled – some have a plunge pool, hot tub or alfresco bed for sleeping under the stars. Venture out to explore Andalucía and the Costa del Sol and pamper yourselves in the spa.
Essential Detail’s portfolio is like a cherry-picked box of romantic one-off hotels all owned and run by folk who know and love the Caribbean and who really care about your honeymoon. The London-based team will recommend the perfect hideaway for you both, be it a glamorous beachfront retreat in Jamaica or a barefoot private island hotel in the Grenadines.
Cambodia is exotic, authentic and primed for adventure. You’ll be wowed by the jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat and charmed by the grace and friendliness of the people. Cruise the mighty Mekong, walk with elephants, stay on floating river lodges and immerse yourselves in the café society of Phnom Penh.
Honeymoon in Kerala, India’s sublime southern state, and a tingle will run up your spine every time you reminisce. Wildlife reserves, ancient temples and spice plantations will fascinate, there are beaches for down time and you can enjoy a voyage on your very own houseboat for two around the exotic backwaters. You’ll quickly understand what all the fuss is about.
Sleeping under the stars in Balinese Dream Beds on a luxury cruise ship more akin to a private yacht, visiting a new destination every day and toasting one another on your cabin balcony with a cocktail as your cruise ship pulls out of port. These are just some of the romantic highs on a luxury cruise honeymoon.
The dream of saying ‘I do’ at the Sydney Opera House, amongst the glitz of Las Vegas or on the white sand of a private island in the Indian Ocean can all come true these days. Weddings abroad are a magical experience and overseas vows often work out much cheaper than getting married at home. Some are even free.
Havaiana flip-flops at the ready, it’s time to pull out all the stops with an intoxicating Brazilian honeymoon. Follow the jet-set and combine Ipanema beach life with partying in Rio, change pace with an Amazonian riverboat adventure then kick back in trendy Trancoso on the Bahia coast or an exclusive retreat on the Emerald Coast.
From buzzing Hanoi and Saigon to a lazy Mekong river cruise, Vietnam is an inspired choice for a honeymoon. There’s culture, nightlife, cookery classes in street food, gourmet dining, colonial hotels and jaw-dropping romantic gems like the Six Senses Hideaway. A Chinese junk cruise of Halong Bay is one of my do-before-you-die experiences.
Northern India and Rajasthan have all the ingredients for an uber-romantic honeymoon. Enjoy an insider’s view of Old and New Delhi, discover the jaw-dropping Pink City of Jaipur and marvel at the Taj Mahal, the world’s greatest monument to love – then unwind with some beach time in Kerala or Goa. If India doesn’t work its magic, nothing will.
If you crave Indian Ocean island but want something more adventurous, Madagascar is the perfect choice. It’s the fourth largest island in the world and 90% of its wildlife is found nowhere else on earth. Combine golden beaches, teeming rainforest and traditional Malagasy villages with tranquil lodges and romantic beach resorts for one memorable honeymoon.
Mozambique is a honeymoon hotspot well worth getting married for! Africa’s Indian Ocean is at its most exotic here, with hideaway hotels, traditional sailing dhows, sand dune camping, exquisite seafood and all within reach of a full-on safari. In my mind, Mozambique satisfies that yearning for a new frontier with a generous helping of feet-in-the-sand chic.
Calling all wannabee gauchos! Argentina is one of the hottest honeymoon spots around and great value for money to boot. Bright lights and adventure are assured when one moment you can be partying in Buenos Aires, the next standing hand in hand atop a Patagonian glacier. With meandering vineyards, breathtaking lakes and cutting-edge hotels, what’s not to like?
From walking on glaciers to basking in the midnight sun, a summer honeymoon in Iceland is magical. Or go in winter for the Northern Lights. Stop over in hip Reykjavik before heading to the Hotel Ranga, not only home to great food and natural spring hot tubs but also one of Iceland’s best spots for a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.
There’s a new cool about Mallorca. Its capital Palma couldn’t get more hip if it tried. Add to that the idyllic beaches, stunning mountains, fabulous local cuisine and some of the best villas in the Med for the ultimate in privacy. We love the beautifully restored farmhouses with private pools in charming spots like Sencelles and Selva.
Egypt is so very easy to get to, yet so very foreign, making it all the more alluring for couples who have never visited. Cairo is a crazy sprawl of a city with breathtaking delights, from the Sphinx to Mena House, a landmark hotel. Take a romantic cruise down the Nile on a super-stylish boat and soak up the sights and sites.
Known for its provocative coco de mer or love nut and as the original site of the Garden of Eden, you don’t get much more seductive than the Seychelles. Push the boat out and stay at one of the luxury hotels on the main island of Mahé or perhaps Praslin Island, then head out to one of the smaller coral islands for some serious barefoot luxury.
Logs for the fire, iPod docking stations and fluffy bathrobes. This isn’t a blow-the-budget honeymoon hotel, it’s one of Sheepskin’s beguiling, self-catering hideaways set in the UK’s most awe-inspiring countryside. Newlyweds enjoy a concierge style service to find everything from gastro pubs to white-water rafting. We love!
When I visited Tahiti, I understood why French painter Paul Gauguin was so utterly seduced. The beauty of its outrageously gorgeous lagoons, volcanic peaks and tattooed, flower-wearing locals is hard to take on board. You may feel like you are honeymooning on a magical film set full of vanilla plantations and dinner served to you in the turquoise shallows. Enjoy!