Best Mediterranean Honeymoon Destinations
By Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons
The Mediterranean is a rich source of honeymoon inspiration. Yes, this is one of the world’s most well-trodden paths in terms of tourism, yet there are still hidden gems to be found and iconic places are constantly innovating. The Med excels in beaches, sparkling sea, culture, cuisine and classic five-star service, though this comes at a price in high profile areas such as the Cote d’Azur, as well as more rustic, authentic options.
The major advantage of the Mediterranean is that it’s easily accessible and served well by both scheduled and budget airlines. Flight time from the UK can be under two hours. If you’ve had a hectic build up to your wedding, this can be a great advantage and there’s no jetlag either. It’s a great place for two or even three centre honeymoons, and a top spot for island hopping.
France’s southern coast continues to be one of the most sought after destinations in the world – and rightly so for its natural beauty and cosmopolitan yet very French charm. The Cote D’Azur has been beguiling couples ever since Brigitte Bardot graced the town of St Tropez. Today it’s more likely to be Kate Moss. Classic Collection Holidays has a great range of honeymoon ideas all along the coast from Nice to Monte Carlo. Find more holidays in France.
Italy is of course an iconic destination for romance. The Amalfi Coast is perfect for honeymooners with iconic towns like Sorrento to explore, craggy coves and delicious cuisine, not to mention incredible history, culture and natural sights from Pompeii to Mount Vesuvius. CV Travel offers a fantastic range of honeymoons on the Amalfi Coast in hideaway apartments and villas.
Lesser known regions such as Puglia in the southwesterly part of Italy has unspoilt beaches, fairytale villages and fabulous places to stay including refurbished masserias and flashy five-stars such as the elegant Borgo Egnazia Hotel where honeymooners will be spoilt rotten. This was also the location for Justin Timberlake’s wedding to Jessica Biel in 2012. Another charming option is Masseria Torre Maizza which has just 26 rooms, an Aveda spa, cookery school and private beach club. Sardatur Holidays has a great range of weddings and honeymoons.
See my pick of the best honeymoons in Italy.
In the hills of Andalucia, the charming boutique DDG Retreat is a very special little hideaway with the choice of a romantic casa or tented suites with boho-chic interiors. It’s less than an hour’s drive from Malaga airport.
Croatia and Montenegro are high on my honeymoon list. Technically speaking, this is the Adriatic which meets the Med, but this coastline is one of the great hotspots of Europe that is fast becoming a more affordable rival to France’s Cote D’Azur. Croatia is beloved of yachties who sail between the unspoilt islands, the stunning walled town of Dubrovnik and fashionable spots like Hvar Town with great four-star resort such as Hotel Podstine.
On the Adriatic near Budva in Montenegro, a six-year renovation of a 15th fortified village on a tiny islet named Sveti Stefan, sees the opening of Aman Sveti Stefan Village with 50 rooms, cottages and suites amongst cobbled lanes, quaint courtyards and remarkable sea views, plus eight suites across the bay at Villa Milocer. Completely Croatia is a fabulous tour operator which has the low down on this region.
Turkey has been climbing up the honeymoon hit list steadily as its hotels improve and the world wakes up to its authentic charms and value for money. It’s a four-hour flight with a reliably sunny year round climate, stunning coast and heritage to rival any Mediterranean destination. Turkey has a vast range of romantic places to stay from sophisticated five-stars such as the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay to charming boutique hotels such as Mandarin Boutique Hotel in the unspoilt countryside just a short drive from the popular resorts of Fethiye and Oludeniz.
On the Greek mainland, Halkidiki is a beautiful unspoilt region with fine sandy beaches. It’s home to Ikos Oceania and Ikos Olivia, sister hotels offering five-star all-inclusive honeymoons at great prices.
The Greek Islands take some beating when it comes to honeymoons. Easy to get to and yet exotic, laid back and yet exciting, there’s an island for every kind of couple. For sophisticated nightlife go to Mykonos, and for stunning views and boutique hotels I recommend Santorini. For a secluded hideaway in the Greek Islands, see the collection of boutique hotels at i-escape.com.
I personally love the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera) as they all combine old school Med with innovative design and a happening vibe. They have that exciting feel you get from an island destination and all have strong cultures all of their own. Mallorca is the perfect honeymoon island – I recommend Vintage Travel if you want to rent a private villa for two.
The Italian islands are hard to beat for romance. Sardinia is closer to Africa than Italy and a tried and tested honeymoon spot with all singing all dancing resorts like Forte Village to contemporary boutique hideaways such as Coluccia Hotel and Beach Club. We recommend Sardatur Holidays.
The largest island in the Med, Sicily combines rugged countryside with idyllic beaches and Byzantine and Baroque antiquities. It’s great to explore by car and the shadow of Mount Etna – an active volcano – adds more drama. Best hotels for honeymooners include include The Ashbee and Villa Athena. For all-out luxury, check out Sir Rocco Forte’s Verdura Resort.
Capri off the Amalfi Coast is one of those chichi islands known as a hangout for celebs and millionaires. You’re not going to find a bargain here, but you are going to find a classy, memorable honeymoon with superb service and style. Exsus features ones of the most elegant hotels in the Med, the Capri Palace Hotel & Spa with sensational views across the Bay of Naples. Book a suite with a private pool and garden for ultimate honeymoon luxury.
The French island of Corsica has a sophistication and old world charm. Add in powder white sand, dramatic mountains and historic towns, and why would you bother flying long haul? Simpson Travel is one of the leading specialists on the island offering hotels, villas and apartments across most budgets.
And of course if you fancy exploring multiple islands, a great solution is a honeymoon cruise. Although there are many ships plying the Med over the summer months, I would steer clear of the huge floating hotels which lack intimacy. The better options are the luxury ships where the focus is on high levels of food, service and comfort.
Check out the SeaDream Yacht Club which has just 57 cabins, all for adults only, and 96 crew, or the Regent Seven Seas Cruises where your shore excursions are included in the price, as well as all drinks and gratuities. Also check out the small, intimate ships operated by Seabourn where all passengers get a suite with private balcony.
For old school romance, try Star Clippers which operates a small fleet of tall sailing ships. Itineraries include the Greek Islands, the turquoise waters off Turkey’s coastline, mini moons along the Riviera Coast and cruises to Italy, Corsica, Sicily, Montenegro and Croatia. As these ships are much smaller and more intimate than mega liners, they are able to drop anchor in picturesque bays and harbours.
North Coast of Africa
Honeymooners might not readily think of North Africa when they’re considering the Med, but of course it’s home to one of the most spectacular coast lines in the world. It’s also good for spring and autumn honeymoons if you want sunshine but you don’t want to go long haul.
Egypt is such as well-known yet often overlooked honeymoon destination. At present it’s super affordable and has all its wonders in tact from the pyramids to the ancient tombs. There are sublime places to stay and felucca’s to sail down the Nile.
Finding value for money
Egypt is similarly good value at the moment and Turkey is still good value for money, especially outside the school holidays. So even in the peak wedding season of May, June, early July and September, it is affordable. Croatia and Montenegro are other places to find a honeymoon bargain.
Last updated: 4 April 2017
More great honeymoon advice from Jane
Need help with arrangements? Read Jane’s advice on honeymoon planning.
Need more inspiration? Here’s a selection of honeymoon packages.
See Jane’s 20 tips on How to make your honeymoon more special
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