Bespoke travel experts, Original Travel, return to give us the low down on the best summer honeymoon destinations...
One of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in the world, Italy is a great place for sightseeing, top quality places to stay and of course, fantastic food. The landscape – from beautiful island beaches to cypress tree-topped hills and soaring mountains – offers something for both the sun seeker and hiker alike. The perfect short-haul honeymoon destination; it’s all there on our metaphorical doorstep so you don’t have to kick off what should be a well-earned rest with a long overnight flight.
Namibia is a refreshingly original honeymoon destination, with attractions such as the dramatic giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei, in the heart of the Namib desert; one of the most iconic sights in Africa. The nearby NamibRand Nature Reserve lies on the eastern edge of the Namib Desert and offers walking, game drives and hot air balloon trips.
If you feel more like relaxing, simply enjoy the immensity of the landscape and staying in some of Africa’s most sophisticated and romantic properties at Wolwedans - a private camp with a beautifully private lodge several miles from the main camp where a couple can spend a day or two in blissful solitude. Gourmet meals are delivered to order but otherwise the newlyweds are left alone to enjoy the silence, and at night, stars all the way down to the horizon.
Great for nature lovers and the ultimate ‘bush and beach’ destination, Kenya is best known for its lodges and the landscape of the Masai Mara where two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migrate annually. The lodges in Meru National Park and in the Laikipia region offer luxurious and romantic seclusion that contrasts with the Mara and makes a welcome extension to your honeymoon. Elsewhere, the Lamu archipelago is a cluster of car-free islands that are fringed by coral and lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean - the perfect beach complement to the safaris of the interior.
Of the thousands of islands dotted around the Aegean, the Cyclades - home to Santorini and Mykonos among others - are perhaps the most picturesque. Santorini, its giant sea-filled caldera created by an ancient volcanic eruption, is one of the most spectacular islands in the world. The beautiful town of Fira clings to towering cliffs that plunge straight into the sea providing excellent views from its chic boutique hotels. Mykonos, on the other hand, is known for its nightlife, trademark windmills and its attractive capital, Hora. The hotels here are a little more upbeat and cosmopolitan making them fun honeymoon hangouts.
From the metropolis of Mexico City to rustic coastal hideaways; Maya ruins, Caribbean beaches and historic properties, there’s so much to choose from in Mexico. The Baja Peninsula, high on Mexico’s northwestern tip, and just south of San Diego and Los Angeles, is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and accompanying climate and delivers near-constant sunshine, low humidity and sea breezes that keep the temperature at a manageable level. Further south are well-known glitzy resorts such as Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco which share space with smaller, more exclusive towns, villages and hotels. So much choice!
If it’s the prestine white beaches and sublime hotels you’re after look no further. The Maldives is a classic beach honeymoon destination for good reason: white sandy beaches framing the jungle and surrounded by atolls of crystal clear waters dropping away into the depths, is like paradise on earth. The charm of the locals and their natural instinct for good service, excellent food and amazing marine life and diving makes it easy to understand why a beach honeymoon in the Maldives is honeymoon heaven.
Imagine vast swathes of unspoilt coastline, warm turquoise waters and pristine coral reef and you have Mozambique, an idyllic beach honeymoon destination. With the addition of Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique ticks all the boxes for a ‘bush and beach’ honeymoon. The North and the South both have remote beaches dotted with luxury lodges like Vamizi, located on its own island in the North, and Azura, at Benguerra in the South.
The waters around Mozambique offer superb diving and are blessed with an abundance of fascinating marine creatures such as turtles, manta rays, dolphins and even the endangered sea cow. For whale watchers, see humpback whales migrate along the Mozambique channel between the mainland and Madagascar. There are also over 150 species of birds including flamingos, who visit the beaches at certain times of the year. Other honeymoon activities include island hopping, riding and exploring the colourful architecture of old colonial towns.
Oman is ideal for a shortish-haul honeymoon thanks to sophisticated hotels, almost guaranteed good weather and plenty of adventures to boot. Blessed with spectacular mountain, desert and coastal scenery, Oman boasts top-class beach hotels in the vicinity of the capital, Muscat, and in Musandam (an enclave at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula) which are perfect for a romantic honeymoon. Spoil yourself with spa treatments, enjoy snorkeling along the coast or, excellent scuba diving or an adverture such as a guided desert safari.
If you fancy a walk on the wild side during the day with the convenience of luxury accommodation at night, the camps of the Okavango Delta are some of the most romantic in Africa. Botswana is home to some of Africa’s finest and most wildly expensive lodges, but luckily we also know the hidden gems which enjoy a similar location but with fewer zeros on the price tag.
Seeing big game from a mokoro canoe, guided silently through the channels of the delta by an expert guide is a once in a lifetime experience and after a few days in the bush, the beaches of Mozambique and Mauritius are easily accessible via Johannesburg in neighbouring South Africa. For a less conventional ‘beach’ combo, why not consider a few days in the heart of the stunning and suitably sandy Kalahari Desert at Jack’s Camp.