Corsica has a delicious sophistication and old world charm that only the French could achieve slap bang in the Med. For powder white sand without the long-haul flight, this is the island for you, with beaches like Palombaggia. Throw in dramatic mountains, historic towns and fabulous cuisine, and Napoleon’s birthplace makes perfect sense.
Just a two-hour flight away, it’s easy to forget just how outrageously romantic the classic Italian cities are. Take in the glory of Rome, the sheer romance of Florence and wander the streets of Siena. Whether you’re culture vultures, followers of fashion or simply hopeless romantics, this Italian trilogy delivers.
‘It’s who you know’ couldn’t be more apt than when honeymooning with Enchanting Travels – a company with the inside track on delivering the most original of romantic tours whether it’s a look at Mumbai’s booming modern art scene or exploring the Rajput glories of Udaipur. And with people on the ground, any last minute tweak to heighten the romance is as good as done.
Turkey is a honeymoon no-brainer. It’s a four-hour flight with a fabulous climate, stunning coast and a heritage to rival any destination. The stylish adult-only Mandarin Boutique Hotel has just eight rooms with king-sized beds and Jacuzzis for two. With delicious organic cuisine on the menu, it’s both gorgeous and affordable.
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.
Botswana is the Rolls Royce of safaris, home to the Okavango Delta and some of Africa’s most gorgeous camps. Watching big game from a mokoro canoe, meeting the bushmen tribes of the Makgadikgadi Pans and experiencing the beauty of the Kalahari Desert are just some of the highlights. Round off with some R&R in Mozambique, Mauritius or South Africa. Bliss!
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.
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?
Meeru Island Resort is textbook Maldives: powder white sand and turquoise lagoon. Except here you get 4-star quality at 3-star prices. Bag the all-inclusive option and look out for complimentary room upgrades. Newlyweds should aim for the Jacuzzi Water Villas or the Honeymoon Suites, a short dhoni boat ride away.
Who’d have thought that a guitar donated by rock legend Eric Clapton to London’s original Hard Rock Café would expand into an empire of ace resorts? Hard Rock’s all-inclusive hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic are incredible value for money for couples. If you regard your honeymoon as a chance to chill, pamper and party hard, this is for you.
Don’t be fooled by the twee sugar cube dwellings that adorn Santorini. This is the most sought after of the Cyclades Islands. Behind the cobbled streets and blue domes lies a world of Greek chic. You’ll find short-haul island-hopping honeymoon heaven, too, on lesser-known islands such as Folegandros, Naxos or Andros – and Mykonos of course.
Honeymooners will be bowled over by St Kitts’ natural beauty and creativity. Choose from a wide mix of hotels from plantation chic to an “all singing and dancing” resort. And when you’re not cocooned in your love-nest, take a rainforest hike, visit neighbouring Nevis and ‘lime’ the night away at a rustic beach bar.
For a small island, Sri Lanka delivers a staggering range of experiences. Add to that some stylish hotels – including amazing creations by local architect Geoffrey Bawa, Amanwella in the 17th century Dutch town of Galle and Amangalla on the sandy shore of Tangalle. If you fancy tying the knot here, you can even do it on elephant back.
Practically on the doorstep and boasting some seriously stylish hotels, southern Spain best suits an early or late summer honeymoon to catch the best climate and avoid the crowds. Seville is a spectacular starting point with its gold-encrusted Alcazar Palace. Add Cordoba and Granada, and you have three sumptuous honeymoon cities for the price of one.
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.
From nautical hideaways on the water at Fowey in Cornwall to a dinky cottage in the Cotswolds or Yorkshire Dales, there’s something so civilised about a self-catering hideaway in the UK, not least the privacy and affordability. Stock up on your favourite treats, and throw another log on the fire.
If I were searching for a Maldives honeymoon, there would be two resorts at the top of my list: Niyama and Huvafen Fushi. The former is pushing the boundaries of cool in the Indian Ocean, whilst the latter is the pioneer of barefoot luxury. Bag yourselves an overwater ocean bungalow and let real life drift away.
A few years ago I wrote a book called ‘A Place to Wed’ featuring just 25 places worldwide to tie the knot. Hayman Island was high on my list. Located in Australia’s castaway Whitsunday Islands, you’ll fall in love all over again in your sumptous beach villa with private pool and 24-hour concierge, spa pampering and the Great Barrier Reef all around.
Follow in the footsteps of the poet W.B. Yeats by honeymooning in Ireland. Cruise out of Dublin in an Alfa Romeo Spider, en route to Dromoland Castle for the ultimate minimoon. Or how about a week on the County Wexford coast and the lush valleys of County Cork with moonlit kayaking, country house hotels and top cuisine?
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.
All I can say about this incredible honeymoon is that you’d better be ready for a series of sensory overloads. The first time I went to Indonesia I was bowled over by its staggering beauty and vibrant culture. This honeymoon is perfect for couples who like to combine luxury with adventure. Well worth getting married for!
Sometimes the ultimate honeymoon is closer and more affordable than you think. Heralding a new style of all-inclusive, Ikos Oceania and Ikos Olivia promise ‘infinite lifestyle’ honeymoons in gorgeous Halkidiki. With everything from bungalows with private pools to couples’ treatments at the dreamy Anne Semonin Spa, you can’t go wrong.
Laluna is one of my favourite honeymoon retreats. Even its singsongy name makes me feel happy. Created by an Italian couple from a fashion industry background, this place is infused with the romance of the Spice Island of Grenada, the glamour of Italy and the gentle soul of Bali. Laluna is like Kate Moss – effortlessly chic and a little bit edgy.
Closer to Africa than Italy, Sardinia is a tried and tested honeymoon hotspot, especially in late spring and early autumn. Honeymoon boltholes range from the all-singing all-dancing Forte Village with its choice of eight hotels and some of the best sports and spa facilities in the Med to luxurious boutique hideaways such as L’Ea Bianca Resort.