Pop the bubbly, now’s the time to re-schedule that first holiday as a married couple. The wait may have been painful, but the trip of a lifetime is your just reward. To help you find your perfect getaway, we’ve selected some of the dreamiest destinations in the world – tropical beaches, jungle pools and geothermal spas should get you both feeling a little flush.
When you think of love, you think of Paris. The City of Light – with cobblestone streets, chocolate-box cafes and bistros, and even the touristy Eiffel Tower – just screams romance. Honeymoon here for riverside strolls along the Seine, romantic boat rides in an open-air bateau mouche, and to taste sweet macarons after visiting the Louvre. The most romantic spot in the city, though, has to be Montmartre hill. Climb to the summit at night to see the Sacré-Cœur basilica lit by candles and to enjoy views from the highest point in Paris – a busker might even play love ballads just for you.
Where to stay in Paris
There probably isn’t a better place to spend your first days as a married couple than this sumptuous château. Saint James was built in 1892 on the site of the first aerodrome in Paris – the balloon-shaped pergolas on the 300sqm (3,200sqft) terrace pay homage to the French air-balloon fleet. It now serves as a luxurious sanctuary in the city centre, where velvet drapes meet grand staircases, and the Michelin-starred Bellefeuille restaurant invites you in for a fine mushroom tart by the fireplace. Pamper yourselves with a visit to the full-service spa.
If bateau-mouche trips aren’t your thing, then a lovey-dovey gondola ride in Venice could be more to your liking. Cruise smoothly along the canals from one islet to the next (there are more than 100), under charming bridges and past lavish palazzos as you soak up the Italian culture one gothic or Renaissance building at a time. And when you tire of the water, stop by Piazza San Marco to browse handmade goods or climb the bell tower at St Mark’s Basilica for the best views in town. If you feel like venturing a bit further, the nearby island group of Murano – the islands are linked by bridges – is just as romantic and a lot less crowded.
Where to stay in Venice
More canals and cobbled streets await in Bruges. This pretty town in northern Belgium feels like it’s part of a storybook, oozing romance in every corner. Cruise the canals that cross the centre or stroll around the cute squares to explore the hidden treasures of the city. Bruges is chock-full of lovely cafes and medieval castles, allowing for the old to beautifully co-exist with the new. Visit the many churches and museums and get swept into a different time and place.
This romantic tour around town promises to take you to all the must-see love spots.
Where to stay in Bruges
This lovely boutique hotel on a quiet street in the heart of Bruges encapsulates all that is great about the city. The Pand was a carriage house in the 18th century, and now exudes old-world finesse through floral tapestries and old-fashioned furnishings including wooden desks and decorative vintage suitcases. You can ask for breakfast to be served to your room; other swoon-worthy honeymoon perks include limousine rides, in-room jacuzzis in some suites, and a cosy library with an open fireplace.
Tangerine sunsets, volcanic beaches and picturesque villages are the ideal setting for a honeymoon; and you will find them all in Santorini. This Greek island sits on a half-submerged caldera in the Aegean Sea, which makes for some unbelievable views marked by blue waters, domed churches and cobblestone alleys frequented by donkeys. Brave the crowds in the summer or – better yet – get here in autumn and spend your days staring at the sunset in Oia, wandering around ancient ruins or climbing to the top of the active volcano. Don’t miss your chance to swim in the sulphur-filled springs of Palea Kameni.
Where to stay in Santorini
What could be more romantic than turquoise waters and white sands? Thailand has loads of dreamy beaches, spread across many provinces and islands – Maya Bay on Phi Phi Leh island is where The Beach (2000), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed, while Phuket is full of beautiful coastlines. But there are many more gorgeous spots to admire, including the abundant vegetation and emerald waters in the resort town of Krabi, or the wildlife-rich Khao Yai National Park. You could also enjoy a romantic dinner on a floating deck in the Indian Ocean, or cuddle up gazing at a Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai.
Where to stay in Thailand
Sitting on a secluded white-sand beach in the Khao Lak area, not too far from Phuket, the Sarojin guarantees a holiday to remember. Private dining by a jungle waterfall, late-night cocktails under the stars and luxury boat rides are only some of the romantic treats on offer. Weddings are also held here, so you can have your dream ceremony in the leafy gardens, followed by a honeymoon right after. The resort has a number of idyllic relaxation spots, including a couple’s bathtub, a palm-fringed pool and various spa settings surrounded by water and trees.
Bali is paradise on earth, perfect for a nature-filled honeymoon. It’s known for having bright-green paddies, superb beaches, and volcanoes that soar over jungles. Make the most of the amazing scenery and sleep in a treehouse suspended above the forest in Ubud, or head to Nusa Dua and Jimbaran Bay for white sands and unreal sunsets. Climb an active volcano in Kintamani and visit Kuta if you want a taste of Balinese nightlife – yes, newlyweds are allowed to go clubbing, too. Finally, stay in one of the many lavish resorts here and indulge in spa treatments, luscious delicacies and endless sunbathing next to your sweetie.
Where to stay in Bali
Seeking a jungle hideout? You’ll find it in the super-Instagrammable Hanging Gardens of Bali, where a series of pools seem to float above a verdant valley. The resort overlooks the Ayung River and the ancient Dalem Segara temple, creating a sense of freedom and mystique. Enjoy candlelit dinners in the privacy of your villa, soak in a bath of roses and take a plunge in the infinity pool, letting nature engulf you.
For tropical waters, spa treatments and fun adventures, the Maldives is an excellent choice. This marvellous archipelago with ring-shaped atolls and islands is home to some of the plushest resorts in the world – simply lie down and do nothing, either by the pool or on the shores. Bask in the sunshine amid unspoiled nature and dine in underwater restaurants, as marine life passes by. Swim with turtles and sharks, or in a glowing Sea of Stars, and snorkel through rainbow-coloured coral reefs, before tucking into fresh fish in the capital Malé. This is what dreams are made of.
Where to stay in the Maldives
Nowhere will you feel more connected to the sea than in these thatched overwater villas that dot the Indian Ocean. Lie in a hammock above the water with your other half, dive into your infinity tub or eat sushi by the sea. Even spa treatments are done on a deck in the middle of the ocean – achieve ultimate relaxation and mindfulness as you listen to the waves. There’s also a wedding pavilion if you’re looking for the complete package.
If you love adventure but you’re not the summery, tropical-beach type, then Iceland could be for you. Think cross-country skiing, riding tiny horses, exploring volcanoes and ice caves, and heli-skiing down millennia-old glaciers in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsjökull national parks. And if you find yourselves getting tired, soak in thermal pools – find them at a natural spa in Iceland or visit the human-made Blue Lagoon. For a completely transcendental experience, snuggle up with your new spouse and watch the trippy Northern Lights – the best time to see the natural wonder in all its kaleidoscopic glory is between November and January.
Where to stay in Iceland
Staying at the Blue Lagoon is way better than just visiting, so make sure to book a suite right where all the geothermal action happens. With a stay in this sophisticated retreat, you will have those milky hot waters right at your feet. The minimalist suites echo the serenity of the area, while the Lagoon Suite is an excellent choice if you’re craving your own mini, in-room, mineral-rich lagoon. Couple float therapies, in-water massages and daily yoga sessions are all part of the mix. Book a guided group hike or dine at the fine-dining Moss restaurant if you’re looking to mingle.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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