Honeymoon Destinations in July
Where to go on Honeymoon in July
By Jane Anderson, Editor of 101 Honeymoons
July is peak wedding season when the arrival of summer makes the UK an excellent choice of honeymoon destination. The Mediterranean awaits for couples that want guaranteed sunshine, but there are also many great long-haul options, or you could think outside the box and head north to enjoy the romance of the midnight sun.
If you’ve booked your wedding in the first half of July, you can avoid the school holiday rush and inflated summer prices. This is a great time to be in the Med. Even if you tie in the knot in late July, you can still find outstanding honeymoon destinations where it’s low season, such as the Caribbean. July is also a great month for safaris in Africa, which you can easily combine with a beach stay.
Mediterranean Honeymoons in July
The Mediterranean is in full holiday mode at this time of year and perfect if you worship the sun but want some culture too.
Greece is a guaranteed winner, whether you choose a luxury hotel or a simple self-catering villa or apartment. For glamour and romance it’s hard to beat the chic hotels perched on cliff tops in Santorini. Check out Hotel Grace Santorini and these charming hideaway houses for two.
For simpler pleasures, choose a less developed Greek island such as Alonissos where you’ll find cosy cottages and villas right on the beach including the lovely Sea Horse Cottage. I recommend GIC The Villa Collection which specialises in the lesser-known islands such as Paxos and Skopelos. One advantage of travelling in July is that you’ll be there before the French and Italians arrive.
What could be more romantic than a honeymoon in Italy? The Amalfi coast is a beautiful destination with elegant restaurants, eye-popping views across the Bay of Naples and a dramatic coastline. Rent a villa or apartment for two with CV Travel and rent a car to explore Sorrento, the ruins of Pompeii and the mighty Vesuvius.
From the coast you’ll be able to visit the chic island of Capri. Or why not go one better and stay there. The best address is the fabulous Capri Palace Hotel & Spa where previous guests include Gwyneth Paltrow and some suites have their own private pool and garden.
Puglia in the south of Italy has fabulous uncrowded beaches plus historic towns and great food, and is home to the five-star Borgo Egnazia Hotel. It has just 63 rooms and suites – some with private swimming pools – set in 49 acres of ancient olive groves.
For the best of Italy’s beaches head to Sardinia where you’ll find soft white sand dunes, clear turquoise bays and a great choice of hotels including Forte Village – which also has a great spa and sports facilities – and boutique gems such as the Coluccia Hotel & Beach Club and the L’Ea Bianca Luxury Resort, which features a stylish mix of contemporary design and antique furniture.
One of the hottest new honeymoon destinations is Croatia, where you can stay on a traffic-free island, swim in clear turquoise seas, take glamorous boat trips and dine al fresco. See my recommended hotels in Croatia and the latest special offers.
Turkey has many gorgeous boutique hotels yet remains good value as it’s outside the Eurozone. I love the glamorous Hotel Villa Mahal which has just 13 rooms, each with a glorious view over the bay at Kalkan. The Turkey specialist Exclusive Escapes also recommends Mehmet Ali Aga, a 19th-century mansion set amidst fig and palm trees and rose gardens on the unspoilt the Datça Peninsula. Check out their full range of boutique hotels.
Another option in Turkey is the Mandarin Boutique Hotel, a romantic hideaway set in quite countryside close to the lively resorts of Fethiye and Oludeniz. Each of the double rooms has a kingsize four-poster bes and Jacuzzi for two.
The French island of Corsica is ignored by most British holidaymakers yet has exquisite beaches, a rugged mountainous interior and lashings of great food and wine. There’s a great choice of places to stay – you could one of these hotels, each of which boast Michelin stars – the Casadelmar in Porto Vecchio, the luxurious Grand Hotel de la Cala Rossa or the Hotel la Villa in Calvi. Or hide away at a one-bedroom villa with private pool such as Le Hameau Sant’Andria (wow!).
Over in the Adriatic, the restored city of Dubrovnik is a much under-rated honeymoon destination. The old town is incredibly romantic and if you in July you’ll be able to witness the summer festival.
Other Honeymoon Destinations in Europe
If beaches aren’t your thing, how about escaping to a luxury hotel in the rolling countryside of Tuscany. My favourites include Villa Campestri, a country manor house surrounded by lawns and wooded parkland and the elegantly-restored Castello del Nero. Another great option is Relais la Suvera, a Renaissance villa richly decorated with art and antiques.
You could take a romantic tour of Italy by train. Jump on the Eurostar in London, spend a night in Luceren, Switzerland, then head onwards to explore Venice, Florence and Rome. Or how about a romantic 8-night cruise on the Danube – take the train to Nuremberg then sail through Austria and Germany to Budapest. Find more rail ideas with prices from £499.
It’s not an obvious choice, but Iceland in July is amazing. You’ll find warm weather – ideal for a dip in the Blue Lagoon – and of course you’ll be able to experience the amazing phenomenon of the midnight sun. There are many live bars and romantic and hip places to stay such as the Art Deco Hotel Borg.
Love cycling? Why not take an independent cycling tour of Italy. Explore beautiful unspoilt countryside, visit vineyards and remote villages, eat at gorgeous restaurants while your luggage is transported each day from one charming hotel to the next.
Africa and the Indian Ocean
If you’ve always dreamed of a safari honeymoon, July is the time to go. It’s the beginning of the world’s largest animal movement as zebra, gazelle and wildebeest migrate across the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Humpback whales migrate to the seas off Madagascar in July, and this is a great time to visit one of the world’s most exciting honeymoon destinations. As well as whale watching, you can spot lemurs in the rainforest while staying at Vakona Forest Lodge and relax at the secluded Anjajavy Hotel set on a magnificent white sand beach. Try this 11-night honeymoon in Madagascar.
It’s the cool, dry season in Zambia and Malawi where you treat yourselves to a thrilling Lake and Bush honeymoon. De-stress at Pumulani, a luxury beach lodge on Lake Malawi, then go rhino tracking at Mkulumadzi Lodge before taking a short flight to Zambia where you will stay at Tena Tena, a luxury tented camp, a perfect base for walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
Other options that work well in July include Botswana where the weather will be dry and the nights cool. It has some amazingly romantic luxury camps and lodges, such as Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp in the Okavango Delta and Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero in Chobe National Park.
It’s the dry season in Namibia with temperatures of around 20ºC and the best time to view game, including the desert elephant and black rhino. Take a hot air balloon ride over the pristine desert, see shipwrecks scattered along the Skeleton Coast, climb the world’s tallest sand dunes and stay at stunning lodges such as Wolwedans Dune Camp and Ongava Tented Camp, where you can gaze up at sparkling night skies. This Ultimate Namibia tour is perfect for a honeymoon.
For the ultimate safari honeymoon, take a look at Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson’s private game reserve in South Africa.
Technically it may be winter in Mauritius, but that doesn’t stop the sun from shining and if you like surfing, June through to August is the best time to go. My personal favourite hotels include hotels such as LUX* Le Morne and Trou aux Biches. Bargain options include the four-star Centara Poste Lafayette Resort & Spa where a week’s half-board with flights will set you back less than £1,000 per person.
The Maldives and Seychelles are not at their best in July, but the island of Mozambique makes a wonderful Indian Ocean alternative. As well as pristine white sand beaches, you’ll find sailing trips on traditional dhows, snorkelling in turquoise waters, exquisite seafood and barefoot luxury lodges such as Ibo Island Lodge and Vamizi Island Lodge. See a full range of honeymoons.
Zanzibar and Tanzania is another exotic two-centre option. Rainbow Tours will find you wonderful retreats like Fumba Beach Lodge and Siwandu Camp. It has a great selection of honeymoon ideas across Africa.
Other Long-Haul Summer Honeymoon Ideas
Many destinations in South East Asia are a bit wet in July, but there are a few exceptions. It’s the dry season on the Gulf coast of Thailand where you’ll find the lovely island of Koh Samui which enjoys wonderful weather from May to October, when rain is an occasional surprise rather than a persistent nuisance.
As well as being famous for its spas, Samui also has some superb seafront hotels, the best of which include the splendidly isolated such as the Napasai and the Four Seasons, which is set in tropical gardens on a hillside and has villas with private infinity pools.
Borneo also works well as a summer honeymoon destination – the best time to travel is between March and October. Audley Travel can tailor-make a honeymoon that includes stays at charming lodges and wildlife tours to see orang-utans and clouded leopards.
Bali is also good in July. There is no shortage of honeymoon hotels in Bali though I particularly like the ultra-hip The Bale with its private infinity pools and The Purist, a boutique villa hideaway. On the island’s unspoilt north-east shore you’ll find the exquisite Spa Village Resort Tembok Bali an adults-only haven of peace.
And then, of course, there’s the Caribbean. It will be hot in July but hurricane season has not yet begun and prices are relatively low. This is a great time to book a luxury hideaway and take advantage of lower hotel rates.
If you want a fabulous hotel on an island with lots to see and do, I recommend Anse Chastanet and the all-inclusive Sandals Grande St Lucian in St Lucia, and Jamaica Inn near Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Grenada is a small, beautiful island where you’ll find the very stylish Laluna.
If you simply want to crash out on acres of blinding white-sand beaches, I recommend several options: you could maroon yourselves on the Turks & Caicos Islands where you can hop between islands on boat trips and snorkel or dive on colourful reefs. Alternatively, take the short flight from Antigua to tiny Anguilla which has more than 30 world-class beaches plus many great beachfront restaurants.
A different side of the Caribbean can be found in Cuba. As well as wonderful beaches, there is an exciting local culture with vibrant nightlife. You can drink mojitos, visit cigar factories and dance the night away at salsa clubs in the capital Havana (stay at the historic Hotel Saratoga) then crash out on the coast at a hotel such as Paradisus Varadero or Melia Cayo Coco.
Or take one of these classic US fly drive honeymoons including Grand Canyon and the Rockies or Miami and the Florida Keys. Prices start at just £2,450 per person for 14 nights including flights and rental of a convertible car.
Beach babes should consider Fiji where you’ll find stunning beaches and colourful culture. You can visit traditional local beaches, dive with sharks and explore by traditional canoe poled by ‘warriors’. Break the journey with a city break in Hong Kong or Los Angeles. Find out more.
For something different, why not consider a volunteering honeymoon in Bali. You’ll spend a few days teaching at a school for impoverished children, while enjoying the finest luxury eco-hotels and enjoying mountain biking, rafting, trekking and surfing.
UK and Ireland Honeymoons in July
It’s a glorious time to be in Scotland and explore the beautiful countryside of the West Coast. Try this selection of honeymoon ideas in Scotland which includes a 6-night Seafood Trail travelling from Glasgow past Loch Lomond and onward to Wester Ross. Or stay on a private island off the coast of Argyll.
The West Country is one of the UK’s most romantic destinations when the sun shines and temperatures rise. In Devon, you can pamper yourselves with great food and spa treatments at The Cary Arms. Stay there before the school holidays for peaceful sunbathing and swimming in Babbacombe Bay.
Gilpin Lake House is made up of six spacious suites set in the private grounds of Gilpin House, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in the Lake District. You can get massages in the spa and drink champagne in a lakeside hot tub before a chauffeur drives you up to the main house for a candlelit dinner.
If you want something romantic, rustic and chic, I recommend Sheepskin which has a beautiful collection of cottages and retreats in Wales and Devon. I particularly like Tailor’s Cottage in Snowdonia, Tamar Cottages in Devon’s Tamar Valley and Hafod Glan Gwy on the banks of the River Wye.
Try another month…