Best Summer Honeymoon Destinations
Where to honeymoon during the traditional UK wedding season (May to September)
If you’re planning a summer wedding in the UK, you’ll be crossing your fingers for glorious weather and wondering which parts of the globe are best for honeymoons at this time of year. Is it monsoon in India or winter in South Africa? And are there any other pitfalls to be aware of?
A major consideration is whether to honeymoon during school summer holiday times (usually last week of July to the beginning of September). Be aware that flights and accommodation will be more expensive as this is peak season.
If you are likely to be bothered by the presence of children, then choose a resort that is adults-only such as Sandals in the Caribbean. Alternatively, pick a hotel that is more geared to adults without a kids clubs. Departing in late August can make a difference to airport congestion as most families will have already left for their holidays.
Remember that the shoulder seasons of May, June and September are often more lovely in Europe anyway with hot, but not sweltering weather, fewer crowds and kids. Prices will also be significantly lower than in July and August.
The other alternative is take a “mini moon” in peak holiday season and save your long honeymoon for the winter months when you can leave everyone behind in the cold and head for the Indian Ocean or the Caribbean.
UK and Ireland
Little needs saying about UK summer weather. If the sun shines, places like Cornwall or the Scottish isles rival anywhere in the world, and even if the sun doesn’t shine, you need to make sure you’re in a fabulous hotel such as Gwel an Mor in Cornwall or The Cary Arms in Devon (as you’re not splashing out on flights).
Gilpin Lake House is quite remarkable. A collection of six suites set in the grounds of a Relais & Châteaux hotel in the Lake District, it has a fabulous lakefront spa, along with an indoor swimming pool. The idea is you take breakfast and afternoon tea in your suite, or the conservatory or on the lake jetty then in the evening a chauffeur drives you up to the main house for a candlelit dinner.
In Wales, you can escape to the countryside in one of these cosy honeymoon hideaways which include cottages for two and luxury yurts. My favourites include Starlight Cottage, a converted hayloft in the Black Mountains.
In Ireland you can enjoy the warm hospitality of country house hotels along with special experiences such as whale and dolphin watching, whiskey tasting and foodie tours. You could rent a classic car such as an Alfa Romeo Spider or Mercedes 350SL. This Irish Honeymoon combines the rugged coastline of County Wexford with the rolling countryside of County Cork.
Europe and the Mediterranean
The Mediterranean comes alive during the summer months as the weather improves. If you can honeymoon in May and June or September, before and after the crowds descend, then you’ll probably have a more relaxed time. Having said that, there’s nothing like iconic spots like the Amalfi Coast or Ibiza in high season when everything is in full swing. Other options include Halkidiki in Greece for luxury all-inclusive resorts.
And don’t forget about traditionally winter/ski destinations in summer such as the Swiss Alps and Iceland. Switzerland offers beautiful mountain scenery and exciting outdoor activities at off-peak rates while in Iceland you can enjoy the midnight sun, explore geysers, glaciers and volcanoes and go whale watching – between June and mid-August the whale watching cruises make an extra evening trip in search of minke and humpback whales under the midnight sun, a truly magical experience.
May to September is the time to enjoy countries that can be wet and chilly at other times of year such as Scandinavia. Stockholm in summer is a delight and you can combine the city with a stay on its 30,000 island archipelago enjoying kayaking and great seafood. Head further north to enjoy the romance of the midnight sun in June and July.
Italy is also wonderful in summer. See my selection of the best honeymoons in Italy.
See my personal pick of the best Mediterranean honeymoon destinations.
May to November is technically low season in the Caribbean, yet the weather is still beautiful from May through to mid August. Don’t go after mid August unless you want to risk hurricane season which lasts until late November. This means that during the summer wedding seasons prices should be lower in hotels and resorts and there are likely to be exciting packages around to tempt to you honeymoon here.
If at all possible, try to avoid school holiday dates including May half term (usually towards the end of May/early June) and the school summer holidays (last week of July until the end of August) as flights with BA and Virgin Atlantic will be higher.
Find my tips for the best honeymoon destinations in the Caribbean.
Generally speaking the USA is a great place to honeymoon in the summer months, though it’s best to check regionally. Like the Caribbean, it may be best to avoid South East USA from late August onwards and the Rocky Mountain states could be a little changeable in July and August. California is one of the best places to go for sunshine. If you’re going to Alaska, Canada, Hawaii or the North East USA, summer is definitely best. To catch the beginning of the Fall foliage, you’ll have to go late September.
The classic way to explore the USA is on a road trip and we think Exsus has reinvented the genre with its range of luxury USA fly drive honeymoons. Its most popular trip is this classic California Highlights Trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in 10 nights. It costs from only £1,925 per person, including flights and car hire. American Sky also has a range of California honeymoons including some budget options. It also has options in Florida including some lovely fly-drives.
In Canada, I recommend the French-speaking province of Québec – perfect between May and September. It’s just seven hours flying time to the fun, cosmopolitan city of Montréal – spend a few days there before renting a car to discover pristine lakes, mountains and forests. This two-week Québec Explorer fly-drive is just the ticket.
As a general rule, South America’s seasons are opposite to North America and the UK’s, so our summer time is often their winter. However you can visit Peru year round as it’s near the Equator. Machu Picchu is high in the Andes but the wet season is from Nov-Feb, so our summer months are fine, though this is high season. Shoulder season of May is best for Argentina. The south of Brazil will be experiencing its winter but head for the north and you’ll find tropical temperatures.
July is a great month for safari holidays in Africa. It’s the beginning of the world’s largest animal movement as zebra, gazelle and wildebeest migrate across the Masai Mara in Kenya which last through the summer months. Unless you don’t mind the chill, avoid South Africa as this is mid winter, though it’s still spectacular and you will have much of the wine route to yourselves for example.
If you’re thinking of going to Northern Africa – including Morocco and Egypt – and avoid the extremely hot months of July and August. May and September would be much more comfortable. This also applies to the Middle East.
May to September is technically winter in Mauritius and the best time to go as it’s cooler and drier, but still fabulously warm and sunny. It can be a little windy on the east coast in July and August, but great if you like windsurfing! The Seychelles are fine at this time of year.
Maldives has a steady year round temperature of 30ºC, with a chance of wind and rain from May to November as this is the wet southwestern monsoon. However chances are you will get fine weather in summer with just a few showers, plus it’s cheaper and less crowded except for August when many Italians travel there. Surfing is also best in the summer months.
Generally speaking June to October is monsoon season in India so not a good time to head out there, though May is a good month to visit the Himalayan foothills and hill stations of Shimla and Darjeeling. High summer is also pleasant in Kashmir and Ladakh. I recommend Ananda in the Himalayas.
Bali is a great honeymoon spot for summer weddings in the UK as April to October is the dry season. The best time to visit Thailand is between November and February with a secondary peak in July and August. If you want to avoid crowds and get lower rates, travel in June and September. It is the rain from July to October but temperatures are more comfortable and depending on the region, the rain may be confined to hour long down pours after lunch. It’s also a lot lusher. If you’re considering Vietnam for your honeymoon, May is the best month to visit.
May to September is winter in Australia, though the further north you go, the warmer it will get. However airfares are lowest from mid April to late August and this is a great time to visit the Red Centre, the Top End and the Great Barrier Reef. I recommend these honeymoons in South Australia including this Wildlife & Wine fly-drive that includes wineries in the Barossa Valley along with national parks, beaches and Kangaroo Island, where you can encounter kangaroos, sea lions, possums and penguin colonies.
Last updated: 3 April 2017