Honeymoon blog: Top 5

Top 5 Honeymoon Hotspots from our Travel Concierges

Tuesday 4 September 2012

1) Italy.

A sophisticated and idyllic honeymoon hotspot with something for everyone. Your perfect romantic getaway could be a luxury beach break on one of Italy’s beautiful coastal resorts, islands or lake resorts, a romantic city escape or an action packed ski break to the Alps or the Dolomites, the options are endless. Located in Southern Europe, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a honeymoon in Italy as hotels and villas here offer total luxury with delicious wines, gourmet food and top quality service.

Travelling North you will find the picture perfect Italian Lakes. Lake Garda is the largest, with pretty towns dotted around the peaceful lake shore. Lake Como is romantic, chic and glamorous with a rugged beauty and dramatic mountain backdrops. 

If a beach honeymoon is more tempting, how about considering honeymooning on the Adriatic Riviera with long stretches of sandy beach or even the Neapolitan Riviera which is considered to be one of Italy’s most spectacular stretches of coastline. The Amalfi Coast is a picture perfect place and the best spot for a romantic coastal escape, with its famous mountain roads, ideal for long days out exploring the region!

For rugged countryside and stunning hill towns and villages visit the central region of Umbria or the stunning and tranquil Tuscany.  If you choose to visit Florence, take a visit to the Ponte Vecchio which is a must do,  if only to see the medieval cubby holes that house the designer gold jewellery sold there. Alternatively, one of the most spectacular sites you will encounter while walking through Florence is the Cathedral with its magnificent Brunelleschi’s Dome. This building is absolutely awe inspiring, so large with amazing sculptures all over. 

Travel Tips:

Must do: When visiting Lake Garda, take a trip to Monte Baldo rotating cable car from Malcesine - unless you are scared of heights that is  A room with a view: When picking your accommodation, we insist you pick a room with a view of the beautiful lakes and mountains; it will be worth every penny!

Shopping: Italy is the perfect destinations to shop till you drop, beautiful handmade jewellery, clothes, accessories can all be found in Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence or if you hoping to sample local delicacies as cheese, salami, Parma ham, olive oil and wine are widely available .

Best time to visit- May-August

2) Maldives, Indian Ocean.

The Maldives are a collection of more than 1000 tiny, idyllic coral islands and resorts set in the enchanting turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean and a perfect place to honeymoon and the ultimate diving destination. Honeymoons are made up of relaxing days on the white sandy beaches, staying in some of the most luxurious hotels, with fine dining and utterly relaxing spa treatments which are available in most hotels, some with underwater treatment rooms, enabling you to watch life on the sea bed go by whilst having a signature treatment!

The enchanting islands are grouped into atolls and some of the most popular resorts are Kuredu Island Resort in Lhaviyani Atoll which is famous for its marine life and a vibrant underwater world.

Cruising or island hopping is a great way to explore the stunning islands and a great opportunity to visit the world’s greatest dive sites and experience the stunning coral reef, colourful sponges and the abundance of marine life.  All resorts here offer an amazing array of water sports including snorkelling, windsurfing, catamaran sailing, and parasailing, kayaking, kite-surfing, water-skiing and jet skiing.

The islands do not differ greatly, except in shape, whichever one you choose you are guaranteed to be sheltered by tropical palms trees and fine sandy beaches.  Accommodation is usually in thatched-roof bungalows, sometimes built over the water, with facilities varying from simple to luxurious. Each resort had its own self-contained community with sport and leisure facilities a varied amount of restaurants, shops, and generally its own private reef. .

Travel tips:

Must do: Take a sightseeing sea plane over the atolls for amazing panoramic view of the deep blue Indian Ocean which is sparkling and crystal clear, with coral reefs and magnificent island resorts all on show to dazzle your eyes!

Weather: May to July and September to November have a higher rainfall with some cloud, but still see plenty of sunshine amidst short spells of rainfall. December to April is generally drier and hotter.

Shopping: The best place to pick some island souvenirs is in Male, you will find plenty of market traders showcasing local handmade products such as intricate and brightly coloured clothing and postage stamps or how about something a little more tropical and purchase as shells and other tropical artefacts from the Indian Ocean. 

3) Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is a tropical, lush island paradise and one of the top weddings and honeymoon locations available.

Flying over Sri Lanka, the first thing that catches the eye is the distinctive teardrop shape of the tropical island, nicknamed as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. There are very few destinations which offer such a variety of experiences, with exotic sandy beaches, spectacular historical sites and national parks alive with exotic animals and tropical rainforests bursting with colour, all give reasons for this being the ideal romantic getaway destination.

Packed full of activities there is plenty to see and do here such as ‘Lion Rock’ fortress of Sigiriya, the ruins are truly magnificent with such a historic story behind it and if you are lucky you may see monkeys swinging through the tress as you approach it. Another must do and by far one of the most popular and romantic excursions is an elephant ride for two or take an early morning hot air balloon ride over the Udawalawe national park and watch the wildlife roaming below. Visit the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and watch the baby elephants bathing in the river or visit one of the many ornate temples or taste some of the world’s finest tea at a plantation. 

Our recommended resorts would be the Saman Villas, a luxury boutique hotel in an enchanting location, The Blue Water hotel is the perfect and exotic location for your fairy tale wedding, Jetwing Lighthouse is an exquisite colonial hotel overlooking the sparkling Indian Ocean, The Fortress is a luxury spa resort perfect for honeymooning at or perhaps try Vivanta By Taj Bentota, with a stunning location on one of the finest beaches in Sri Lanka.

When to travel:  The monsoon period is April/May so make sure you choose your trip carefully to get best weather.

Flying time to destination: 10¾ hours

What to do: Visit Negombo and head to the lagoon at dawn as prawn fishermen set out in traditional outrigger canoes and Indian-style catamaran. Between October and March the best place to visit is Unawatuna where you witness sea turtles lay their eggs on the beach and then collected by local hatchery’s to be looked after until they are ready to be sent off into their next chapter of life!

Shopping: The town of Galle is busy and has a colourful fruit markets with a huge choice of local produce including aromatic teas and fragrant spices. There are some lovely shops & boutiques here, in particular if you wanting to buy some unique jewellery, with colourful gems semi-precious stones a plenty.     

Travel Advice: When travelling to Sri Lanka you must apply for an ETA visa which allows entry into the country. Don’t drink the water and only use bottled water to brush your teeth. Carry small notes with you when out and about as it common courtesy to tip all staff and finally, when out shopping in the markets, have a go at some haggling for a bargain, its expected!

4) Caribbean

The options are endless when it comes to choosing the perfect place to Honeymoon in the Caribbean, from Barbados to Barbuda, Cuba to the Cayman Islands, there is no denying that whichever island you choose you are destined to be staying in luxurious accommodation, surrounded by idyllic views, fine white sandy beaches and crystal clear sparkling waters along with many more treats along the way!  

Anguilla is the most northerly of the Leeward Islands and has a unique blend of high style and low key elegance. For the ultimate tropical island getaway head to Antigua, which has developed a reputation for being a lover’s paradise!

The Bahamas is made up of 700 islands scattered in the clear tropical sea, here you will find near perfect weather and never ending fine sandy beaches in a tropical location!  Barbados will take you to the birthplace of rum and some of the best all-inclusive resorts, boutique hotels and fabulous spa hotels available. Bermuda, famous for the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and pink sand beaches, a tropical sanctuary with a subtropical climate.

The Cayman Islands are three islands nestled in the calm, turquoise waters in the west and blessed with endless sunshine with postcard like sunsets. Grenada is the island of rhythm and spice with historic old forts, tropical rain forests and amazing coral reefs, a feast or the eyes and perfect for exploring! In Jamaica, the third largest Caribbean island, a beautiful and lively island, spend lazy days in your secluded villa, overlooking pretty coves or head to the beach and mix with the locals, sampling some traditional rum whilst dancing the night away to authentic reggae music, watching the sunset, a real Caribbean experience!

St Kitts and St Nevis have intoxicating natural beauty where more than a quarter of its land is National Park with an expanding rain forest, offering some amazing and untouched dive sites. St Lucia is a seductive island with palm fringed beaches and miles of un-spoilt rain forest and natural waterfalls. The stunningly beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands have endless stretches of un-crowded beaches, vibrant coral reefs and world class hotels. Puerto Rico is a magnificent and exotic island with miles and miles of white sandy beaches to relax and unwind.

The weather will be almost perfect, as there is a tropical climate and while weather patterns vary between the islands, one thing that is consistent is its year round temperatures with very little seasonal variation. The UK winter season is the best time for your Caribbean holiday with long sunny days and very little rainfall. The high season is between the months of December and April and you can enjoy temperatures up to 32°C! 

Travel tips:

Eat: one thing to do is to get in with the Caribbean culture and sample some local delicacies, for example in St Lucia why not try 'Accras' a lightly fried herbed codfish ball in a piquant style sauce follwowed by fresh banana cake and home-made coconut, mango and pineapple ice-cream for a sweet treat

Visit: Barbados has a number of historical places to visit and famous sights for example The Baobab Tree- the oldest living tree in Barbados, and one of only two Baobab trees on the island or spend a day through an incredible natural paradise by solar-powered tram visiting Harrison’s Cave, be amazed by the beautiful rock formations, glistening pools and an impressive 40ft waterfall.

Explore: Go deep-sea fishing for marlin, tuna, mackerel, sailfish and mahi mahi; battle grouper, snappers and yellow fins along the reef, and get technical with bone fishing in the deep blue waters of the Bahamas.

Dance:  let go and have fun, why not try some salsa dancing and experience traditional music including the lively rhythms of reggae and soca or limbo dancing on the beach as it is otherwise known.

5) Africa

Africa is a stunning, exotic and diverse continent with something to suit all tastes.  Your honeymoon here could be the adventure of a lifetime as well as a romantic escape as there are many tropical beaches in South Africa. South Africa is one of the top destinations for wildlife enthusiasts who want to see the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda or the magnificent wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara. 

Africa is not just about going on safari; you can experience dramatic scenery, stunning beaches, luxury world class hotels and intimate hideaways.

Whichever destination you choose you won’t be disappointed.  Kenya is the original home of the safari and the Masai Mara, teeming with wildlife and home to the big five and one of the best places to see the truly magnificent wildebeest migration.  It’s also perfect for stays in quaint beach resorts to enjoy water sports and diving amongst the rich coral reefs and spotting turtles and dolphins along the way.  Tanzania has some of the best game viewing in the world and is a favourite safari destination with spectacular reserves and charming safari lodges and is home to the world famous Serengeti National Park with lions, wildebeest, zebra and the chance to see the endangered black rhino.  Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world and is a haven for wildlife.

Heading over to South Africa, a must do to get the most of a safari trip is to visit the big five at the Kruger National Park, a once in a lifetime chance to capture the world’s most beautiful and wild species in spectacular surroundings!

The cosmopolitan city of Cape Town and a stay in some of Africa’s finest safari lodges.  For dramatic landscapes and ghostly wrecks along the Skeleton Coast and a chance to see the famous desert elephants visit Botswana. One of southern Africa’s least visited destinations but offers some fine game viewing at the Moremi Game Reserve and birdlife is plentiful in Botswana’s Okovango Delta. Malawi is an emerging destination with stunning wildlife.

Visit Uganda which is famous for mountains, gorillas and is home to several National Parks. Zambia is perfect for wildlife and bird enthusiasts and is also home to the stunning Victoria Falls. Much of Africa enjoys a tropical climate and is a great place to visit year round but temperatures do vary by region, ask before you book! 

Travel tips:

Be amazed: Visit the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to see the endangered black rhino, wildlife enthusiasts should take a trip to the Ngorongoro Crater or the more active could climb Kilimanjaro. No trip to South Africa would be complete without a trip to the Kruger National Park or a city break in Johannesburg to visit the Soweto Township or Cape Town for a cable car ride up Table Mountain. 

Visit the impressive natural beauty of Victoria Falls on your holiday in Zambia and fly over these mighty falls in a helicopter or small plane to witness the incredible beauty and power of these falls.

Events and Festivals :April – Cape Town Jazz Festival.  June to November – South Africa, Whale watching season along the Cape coast.  September – Johannesburg Good Food & Wine Show. Be prepared: If opting to experience staying in the bush, there will always be insects so a good quality insect repellent is absolutely essential!

Tip: take a good set of binoculars if you are going on safari and if you can, book a two or three night hotel stay post safari to relax. 
 

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