Something for every kind of honeymooner
Best for romance – Maldives
This tiny group of coral atolls in the Indian Ocean are loved by the loved up. Blue sparkling waters, the softest white sand and resorts that treat every guest like a king (or queen), it’s considered by many to be the most romantic place on earth. The two- in-a-million feeling is underscored by the mode of transport. Seaplanes touch down ever so briefly and happy couples are met by a dhoni, a traditional wooden sailboat, which skims off to the resort. A complete escape.
Best for luxe lovers – Oman
Oh man, what a destination this Sultanate is. Quiet, tiny and very old, with wonderful scuba diving (its coastline stretches for almost 2,000km), bask-worthy beaches (for humans as well as turtles) and even greater riches inland. Caving, rock-climbing, horse riding, and for maximum rush, dune-bashing in a 4×4, provide white-knuckle diversions, a welcome relief perhaps from the sybaritic service and opulent decor of the luxury hotels.
Best for a Weddingmoon – Cyprus
Cyprus ticks all the boxes, including the prosaic, legal, one. It’s by far and away one of the most popular places for UK couples to marry and honeymoon. You’ve got the year-round sunshine, beautiful landscapes, Mediterranean lifestyle and, a must for planning a wedding, minimum red tape. The paperwork is in English (no pesky translation or notarisation required when you arrive home) and there’s a short pre-wedding residency period of three working days. The island is well served from the UK by the low-costers and a civil wedding costs a reasonable £1,500 or so – the service, photographer, flowers and cake.
Best for a Familymoon – Orlando
Yes, yes, we know… but if your children are accompanying you on your honeymoon it’s vital that they’re happy too. Who better to entertain the little ones, and offer some good, old-fashioned family fun, than the walking, talking mouse with enormous ears. At Disney World alone, there are four theme parks, two water parks, more than 20 themed resort hotels, a campground, spas and more. Other theme parks are Universal Studios, SeaWorld Orlando and Discovery Cove, any of which will delight the littles and usher in a new era in family life.
Best for a Mini-moon – Paris
If you don’t have much time, there’s no better place to start married life than in Paris. It’s a two-hour flight or about the same via Eurostar. Romance oozes from every stone in Paris and you don’t have to try very, very hard. Just strolling around, taking in the sights and smells of the city, walking along the Seine, a coffee or two in a pavement cafe, gazing at the Eiffel Tower or meandering through Montmartre. Paris will do the rest.
Best for a Honeymonth – Australia
It’d be a shame to have to take 24-hour flights and stay for less than a month. Australia certainly has the attractions to keep honeymooning couples busy for an entire month. Sydney is Australia’s oldest, biggest and most recognisable city, Melbourne its cultural heart and Perth, its Western capital, hugely popular now with emigrants from this side of the world. On the eastern side of Australia, you’ve got the sun-kissed coasts – Gold Coast, Sunshine coast, Fraser Coast – and the Gondwana Rainforests, Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef. At the Top End is Darwin and its nearby World Heritage-listed lands – Kakadu National Park, Litchfield and Nitmiluk National Parks, the Tiwi Islands and Arnhem Land. In the Red Centre is Uluru, on which the sunlight dances and shimmers, providing heart-stoppingly beautiful vistas.
Best for Honeyteering – Mozambique
It’s not unusual now for couples to eschew a wedding list and ask for donations to charity instead. Honeyteering is an extension of that, where couples give something back – teaching, conservation work, pitching in with community projects – in less-developed parts of the world. Mozambique, that country in southeastern Africa with a coastline of 2,500km, has a host of projects from whale shark research and coral reef monitoring to teaching and volunteering with arts organisations.
Best for eco-tourists – Costa Rica
Costa Rica, the tiny Central American country that lies between Nicaragua and Panama, is like Eden. Towering mountains give way to beautiful beaches, rainforests to temperate forests, volcanoes to marshy lowlands. From the animal and birdlife of the rainforest to the teeming sealife of the Pacific and Caribbean waters, a honeymoon in Costa Rica will keep couples in awe and adventure.
Best for a safari – Namibia
Yes, Kenya and South Africa are popular with honeymooning couples. And Kenya has the Royal seal of approval; it was where Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton. However, Namibia is a wonderful destination, slightly less well-known, despite the efforts of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who had their daughter there in 2006 and more recently holidayed there. Three times the size of the UK, it’s home to only two million people. Namibia is a land teeming with wildlife. In the north, the Etosha National Park is home to hundreds of species of mammal, amphibian, bird and reptile. In the south is the Namib Desert, a beautiful, out-of-this-world landscape of red sand dunes.
Best for culture vultures – Dubrovnik
This dazzingly beautiful walled city has culture in spades. It stands, red-roofed and sturdy, at the southern tip of Croatia and looks out onto the shimmering Adriatic Sea. Churches, monasteries and museums, palaces, piazzas and smooth-stone streets conspire to create a fairytale city. Cultural festivals run throughout the year – early February for the Feast of St Blaise, Dubrovnik’s patron saint, Carnival, a film festival in April, and the renowned Dubrovnik Summer Festival in July and August.