To make sure you find the newlywed getaway that’s right for you, we’ve rounded up the best honeymoon destinations for 2020 and 2021. Not everyone has the same priorities when it comes to honeymoons, so we’ve divided them into categories to suit different holiday styles – from unexpected and unique to all-inclusive beach breaks, we’ve got it covered.
Looking for your dream honeymoon destination can be so much fun. Part of that is having the chance to scroll through amazing places and resorts. But that’s not the only thing that makes looking at potential honeymoon destinations special.
Just like putting together your gift list, planning your honeymoon means making an emotional investment in your future as a married couple. After all, your honeymoon memories will stay with you for years – this is a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
What’s more, you’ll deserve a break after dealing with the stressful parts of wedding planning. And having something to look forward to is also crucial for staving off the post-wedding blues!
Get ready to be inspired by the world’s best honeymoon destinations.
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What are the top 10 honeymoon destinations?
According to the UK wedding survey, the top 10 most popular honeymoon destinations in Europe are:
- Spain (mainland or an island)
- Central & Eastern Europe
Puglia, Italy. Image | Getty
The top 10 most popular honeymoon destinations in the rest of the world are:
- The Maldives
- The United States
- The Caribbean
- South Africa
READ MORE: How to look good on honeymoon after a long-haul flight
How do I choose my honeymoon destination?
- Start by each of you making a list of the destinations you’ve dreamed of visiting, then compare the lists.
- Work out how much annual leave you have. It won’t be much fun flying long-haul if you only have a week.
- Set your budget, including spending money while you’re there.
- Decide whether it’s important to you to go on honeymoon soon after the wedding to keep the excitement going, or whether you’d prefer to have it later in the year so you can have something to look forward to for longer (and have the chance to save up more money!).
- Think about your favourite holidays and what they had in common – are you happiest on beach breaks or exploring a city?
- If you each have very different holiday styles, consider compromising with a twin-centre honeymoon, so you both get to try something you want.
- Consider what you want out of the honeymoon – is it relaxation, discovering somewhere new together, spending time somewhere you love, having adventures?
- Once you have some potential destinations, check what the weather is like in different months.
READ MORE: Where to honeymoon at different times of year
Who pays for the honeymoon?
Usually, the couple pay for the honeymoon. However, honeymoon funds are an increasingly popular part of gift lists. You can have a standalone fund that guests contribute to, your you can ask for ‘honeymoney’ along with the traditional homewares. Some companies also let your guests buy you honeymoon experiences, such as a night in a luxury hotel or cocktails on the beach.
READ MORE: How to start your gift list
How much should your honeymoon cost?
Sometimes companies claim they know how much the perfect honeymoon costs. We say there’s no ‘perfect’ amount – it’s what you can afford, without going into debt. Your honeymoon budget isn’t the only factor that will influence your enjoyment. You could spend thousands on a luxury Maldives getaway, for example, only to feel bored once you’re there because neither of you is a beach person. The most important thing is to choose a honeymoon style you’ll both enjoy.
The 50 best honeymoon destinations for 2020/2021
We’ve picked the top honeymoon destinations to suit different holiday styles. As well as bringing you these amazing places, we’ll also introduce you to some of our favourite resorts for romantic getaways.
Image | Yoann Boyer on Unsplash
Unique honeymoon destinations
These are the honeymoon destinations for when you want something amazing but different, from underrated locations to secluded gems.
Kazbegi, Georgia. Image | Iman Gozal on Unsplash
Why we love it: Georgia is beginning to make its mark on travel wishlists – and it’s about time too. Located between Western Asia and Eastern Europe, the country has it all: excellent food and wine; magnificent mountains and a thriving ski scene; countryside that’s paradise for hikers; and beautiful beach resorts such as Batumi. What’s more, we sent a writer to Tbilisi, and she found it to be one of the most bewitching capital cities she’s ever visited. This is the perfect time to visit. Georgia isn’t yet overrun with tourists, but the industry is starting to take off, which means there are some truly excellent hotels. If you’re looking for a twin-centre trip, pair with a visit to Armenia, to experience even more breathtaking beauty.
When to go: April-June & September
Where to stay: We highly recommend the three Rooms Hotels. The Tbilisi outpost is ideal for a stylish city break, while Kazbegi takes you into the heart of the mountains. For skiing, it has to be Kokhta.
Rooms Hotel Tbilisi
2. British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands. Image | Getty
Why we love it: This collection of idyllic Caribbean islands used to be a honeymoon hotspot. That ended with Hurricane Irma in 2017: as well as the tragic loss of life, the tourism industry was decimated,. Now, these glorious islands are coming back into their own, and they certainly deserve a visit. The vibe is barefoot luxury at its best, with stunning resorts set against natural beauty.
When to go: February-May
Where to stay: Guana Island is a must-visit – this private island resort is all soft sands, swaying palm trees and rustic-chic accommodation. It’s a nature-lovers’ paradise, with giant iguanas, flamingos and much more. For glamping with extra luxury, it has to be Anegada Beach Club, which has beachside tents with en-suite bathrooms, Wifi and private decks.
Anegada Beach Club
3. Queensland, Australia
Brisbane, Australia. Image | Brisbane Local Marketing on Unsplash
Why we love it: While Sydney and Melbourne may draw most of the overseas tourism, in-the-know Aussies have long been heading to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland for their beach breaks. And aside from the sun-and-sand culture the country is famous for, Queensland has much to explore, from semi-deserted Fraser Island to the razzle dazzle of Brisbane, where the redeveloped wharves have become cultural and foodie hubs.
When to go: June-October
Where to stay: The W Hotel Brisbane has cool and quirky accommodation, as well as one of the city’s best restaurants, Three Blue Ducks – the breakfast buffet there is epic. If Insta-worth interiors are what you love, you have to check out The Calile – from the rooms to the rooftop pool, everything is immaculately designed. Outside the city in Maleny, Spicers Tamarind Resort is a soothing retreat known for its excellent Asian food and cooking school.
The rooftop pool deck at The Calile
READ MORE: 6 things to know about long-haul honeymoons
Casco Viejo, Panama City. Image | Angel Lopez on Unsplash
Why we love it: While Costa Rica has long been popular for ecotourism, its Central American sister Panama has yet to enjoy the same popularity – for now. The country has cloud forests, coffee farms and astoundingly beautiful, pristine beaches on the surrounding archipelagos. Panama City is worth a visit, too, not least to see the famous Panama Canal.
When to go: January-April
Where to stay: Eco-luxe Islas Secas, which opened in December 2019, is on every travel insider’s bucket list. Set across 14 islands, the resort hosts just 18 guests at a time, and has a large coral reef and rainforest. Based in pretty-as-a-picture Casco Viejo, the historic district of Panama City, American Trade Hotel is a luxuriously elegant base.
The pool at Islas Secas
5. Sweden’s Islands
Sandhamn, Sweden. Image | Robert Eklund on Unsplash
Why we love it: Sweden may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you’re picturing a beach honeymoon. However, the Stockland Archipelago alone is made up of 30,000 islands, and there are more archipelagos around the country. While many of the islands are uninhabited, others are beloved of Swedes in the summer months, and you can easily move between them via ferries and taxi boats. If your idea of a dream honeymoon is wandering charming villages, swimming in the sea and enjoying gourmet food, an island-hopping trip to Sweden could be just the ticket.
When to go: June-September
Where to stay: You could always base yourself in Stockholm and visit the islands on day trips. The city has no shortage of cool, design-led hotels, and Haymarket by Scandic is foremost among them. Located in a former 1920s department store, there are Art Deco details aplenty. In the outer archipelago, the enchanting island of Sandhamn is well worth a visit – stay at the chic Seglarhotell, which overlooks the harbour.
Haymarket by Scandic
Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Image | JK Baseer on Unsplash
Why we love it: The Silk Road – famous trading routes that go back 3,000 years and stretch from China to Turkey – is a an iconic travel experience. However, if you don’t have time to do the whole thing, it’s worth exploring Uzbekistan, once of the most surprisingly fascinating countries along the route. This is a country with a treasure trove of magnificent cities, from the mosques of Samarkand to the ancient architecture of Bukhara.
When to go: April-May & September-November
Where to stay: There are several travel companies offering group tours to Uzbekistan, but as this is your honeymoon, we’d recommend going with a private tour if your budget allows – Cox & Kings have a couple of private tours that sound incredible.
7. Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Charleston. Image | Jonathan Zeman on Unsplash
Why we love it: Think of a honeymoon in an American city, and we bet it’s New York that comes to mind first, maybe followed by San Francisco, Los Angeles and New Orleans. But it’s charming Charleston that has our hearts. This laidback city has such beautiful architecture, best explored first by carriage tour and then on foot – you can easily spend a couple of days doing nothing but wandering and taking photos. When you’re ready to refuel, Charleston has an excellent dining scene, whether you’re feasting on shrimp and grits or snacking on fried chicken. BA started flying there direct from the UK last year, so it’s an easy win.
When to go: March-May & September-November
Where to stay: The Dewberry is easily our favourite, with an aesthetic that brings together historic charm and contemporary cool. Service is impeccable, and the rooftop bar is a fabulous spot for cocktails. We’re also keen on the elegant styling of boutique Zero George.
READ MORE: A USA roadtrip honeymoon
8. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Image | Getty
Why we love it: This Balkan country has been hotly tipped by travel insiders as one of the next must-visit destinations in 2021 and beyond. It’s not hard to see why. Set amid forested mountains, the capital, Sarajevo, is a feast for the senses, with natural beauty and interesting architecture a-plenty. The dining scene is pretty great, too. Outside the city, you’ll find waterfalls to swim in, mountains to hike and picture-postcard villages to explore. There’s also good but affordable skiing.
When to go: May-October
Where to stay: For a relaxing option in Sarajevo, it has to be Hotel Europe. Set right by the old town, it’s a lovely place to unwind after a day exploring, with a spa and comfortable rooms. Family-run boutique Hotel Michele offers apartments as well as rooms.
Hotel Europe, Sarajevo
9. Siargao, Philippines
Why we love it: Tiny, teardrop-shaped Siargao was voted best island in Asia last year, and it remains a favourite with travel industry insiders. It’s a well-loved surfing destination, but it’s also won fans as a less-obvious beach break location. The island is right on the cusp of hitting the wider tourist radar, so now is the time to go to appreciate its laidback vibe, idyllic white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. As well as blissing out, you can also go on trips to nearby islands, as well as to the enchanting Sohoton Cove, where you can swin with stingless jellyfish.
When to go: March-September
Where to stay: Nay Palad is the island’s only five-star resort, and is barefoot luxury at its best. The L’Osteria Penthouse is also worth a look, for its excellent location and pared-back, contemporary-chic aesthetic.
10. Comporta, Portugal
Comporta Beach, Portugal
Why we love it: Comporta, on the west coast of Portugal, is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets when it comes to chic beach holidays. This cool coastal region has been attracting in-the-know A-listers for the last couple of years, thanks to pristine beaches and landscapes where sand dunes and rice paddies blend effortlessly. You can go wild dolphin spotting, horse riding and admire the flamingos in the nature reserve – or just fill yourself with excellent local food and relax in the carefree atmosphere. The area is just over an hour from Lisbon, so you can combine your beach honeymoon with a city break.
When to go: May-June & September-October
Where to stay: Quinta da Comporta is designed to reflect and make the most of the natural beauty of the surroundings. As well as sublime accommodation, there’s a blissful spa. However, this is the kind of place where it’s particularly lovely to rent a villa or lodge – check out Airbnb to see what’s available.
READ MORE: A Portugal honeymoon – starry-eyed in Sintra
All-inclusive honeymoon destinations
Going all-inclusive means you don’t have to track your spending while you’re away – just sit back, relax and order another cocktail. There are some seriously luxe resorts that offer this service, so you can enjoy the best food and wine on your honeymoon.
1. The Maldives
The Maldives. Image | Colin Watts on Unsplash
Why we love it: The Maldives are the most popular honeymoon destination for a reason. Actually, make that several reasons: soft white sands; crystal-clear waters; swaying palm trees. If you love nothing more than chilling out on a beach with a good book, you’ll be in heaven, but there’s also plenty to do if you prefer to be active, from cookery schools to diving, catamaran tours to paddleboarding. What’s more, the country’s resorts tend to have excellent dining options, making The Maldives one to consider if you’re looking for a foodie honeymoon destination – the top resorts are good at luring leading chefs. As they’re set on private islands – so you can’t easily go off-resort for dinner – packages tend to be all-inclusive.
When to go: November-April
Where to stay: Kuramathi is a serene and stylish resort with beautiful accommodation – the Deluxe Water Villas are our top pick for privacy. There are nine à la carte restaurants, three buffet restaurant and six bars. Constance Moofushi is, quite simply, heaven, and we particularly love their secluded Beach Villas. LUX* South Ari Atoll is perfect for a tranquil escape, and has innovative dining options including a gourmet night market.
Kuramathi, The Maldives
2. Saint Lucia
Saint Lucia. Image | Getty
Why we love it: There’s something magical about the light on Saint Lucia. Maybe it’s just us, but it has a silvery sheen in the mornings that mellows into a honeyed glow come sunset. This really is an island paradise, with glorious scenery and a laidback atmosphere. You can explore volcanic peaks and verdant rainforest, or simply relax and take it all in – ideally with a rum punch in hand.
When to go: December-May
Where to stay: Jade Mountain is one of the most special resorts we’ve ever seen. The views are incredible, and each suite has a ‘missing wall’, to bring the outside in. Rendezvous is a lovely adults-only resort set on Malabar Beach. East Winds makes the most of its setting and has a real charm.
A suite at Jade Mountain
READ MORE: Honeymoon review – wonderful West Indies
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Image | Jillian Kim on Unsplash
Why we love it: Rich culture, diverse landscapes and wonderful food: it’s a honeymoon hat trick for Mexico. You can visit Mayan ruins in the morning and be on a pristine beach by the afternoon – there’s so much to see and do. If you’re interested in touring some cities, we recommend vibrant Mexico City, tranquil Tulum and UNESCO World Heritage Site San Miguel de Allende. For relaxation, there are some blissful all-inclusive resorts that’ll help get rid of any post-wedding blues in record time.
When to go: December-April
Where to stay: Le Rêve in Playa del Carmen is a beautiful beach hotel – the fact that it has just 28 rooms keeps the atmosphere serene. Grand Velas Riviera Maya is a luxurious adults-only option.
Antigua. Image | Getty
Why we love it: We challenge you not to fall in love with this gorgeous island. There’s something here to suit all holiday styles, whether you’re taking a trek through rainforest, diving with turtles, chilling out on the beach or exploring iconic sites such as Nelson’s Dockyard. What’s more, it’s an eight-hour direct flight from the UK – still long-haul, but you shouldn’t arrive feeling too exhausted.
When to go: December-May
Where to stay: Sandals Grande Antigua is located on Dickenson Bay, the island’s most renowned beach, and has excellent facilities. The all-inclusive package is one of the most generous around. Curtain Bluff is an elegant option with fabulous beach front rooms.
Sandals Grande Antigua
READ MORE: The best Caribbean island for a honeymoon
Anse Lazio beach, Seychelles. Image | Alin Meceanu on Unsplash
Why we love it: This island country is famed for its beauty: think immaculate beaches with those distinctive boulders, framed by lush green hills. The resorts here are particularly romantic, making the most of the heavenly setting.
When to go: April-May & October-November
Where to stay: Six Senses Zil Pasyon is pure luxury with the most wonderful villas – only the prospect of swimming with turtles or fine dining in one of the amazing restaurants will lure you from your private terrace. North Island is another indulgent property, with an emphasis on privacy. The incredible Fregate Island has just 16 villas, and you’re allowed to eat anywhere you choose – on the beach, in a banyan tree…
Adventurous honeymoon destinations
These are the places to go to get your pulse racing, whether that’s trekking through improbably beautiful landscapes or getting up close and personal with tropical fish on a dive.
Paro Taktsang temple, Bhutan. Image | Sam Power on Unsplash
Why we love it: The Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is a real bucket-list destination. From magnificent temples to stunning snow-capped mountains and verdant forests, there’s so much to see and do. There are some amazing treks – the route up to the Paro Taktsang temple (pictured) is tough but worth it. The national parks are home to snow leopards, pandas, musk deer and tigers, so are a must-see for nature-lovers.
When to go: March-May & September-November
Where to stay: Any visit to Bhutan must be booked through an authorised travel agent, such as Kuoni or Regent Holidays, so they’ll be able to talk you through which itinerary best suits your interests.
READ MORE: 15 suitcase packing hacks for your honeymoon
2. The Azores, Portugal
San Miguel island, The Azores, Portugal. Image | Getty
Why we love it: This Atlantic archipelago – an autonomous region of Portugal – has dramatic scenery, awash with lush greenery, natural hot springs and hypnotic lakes. It’s all about getting back to nature here, whether you’re swimming with dolphins, whale-watching or hiking inside a volcano; you can unwind after a day’s adventures in one of the hot springs. What makes the islands even more special is that they’re not particularly on the tourist radar, so prices are cheap (including flights) and you’re not jostling with others as you experience the incredible natural beauty.
When to go: May-June & September-October
Where to stay: Located in the Terra Nostra Botanical Park, Terra Nostra Garden Hotel has delightful scenery, with thermal springs in the gardens, and elegant, light-filled interiors that have an Art Deco vibe. Quina do Mar is a delightful former winery in the fishing hamlet of Caloura.
Terra Nostra Garden Hotel
Hidden Lake, Tasmania
Why we love it: There are outdoor adventures aplenty to be had amid the spectacular scenery of this Australian island state. The hiking is excellent, whether through national parks or amid mountains. For a wildlife fix, Head to Bonorong Sanctuary to feed a Tasmanian Devil, go on a seal-spotting cruise from the fishing town of Stanley and wander the idyllic Wineglass Bay to see kangaroos and dolphins. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg – be prepared to be amazed.
When to go: Dec-Apr
Where to stay: For an unforgettable experience, stay on your own private island at Satellite Island. Luxury lodge Saffire Freycinet is utterly indulgent, with amazing views, food and service. Pumphouse Point is a wonderfully designed wilderness retreat.
4. Andalucía, Spain
Granada, Andalucía. Image | Jorge Fernandez Salas on Unsplash
Why we love it: Andalucía is famed for its Moorish architecture and as the birthplace of flamenco. The region is also renowned for its horse riding. With a prized local breed of horse and centuries-old trails leading through unspoilt landscapes, this is one of the best places to get in the saddle.
When to go: March-June & September-November
Where to stay: Cortijo Valverde Rural Country Hotel is made up of six individual casitas, all with a rustic-luxe feel, and offers horse riding tours through idyllic countryside. Hotel Hurricane has a beautiful setting, with nightlife within easy reach, and their horse riding tours include beach riding. Hotel Fuente del Sol has rustic charm in spades, and glorious countryside for horse rides.
Hotel Fuente del Sol
5. British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia. Image | Getty
Why we love it: This is a classic destination for an outdoorsy honeymoon. There’s the iconic ski resort of Whistler, for starters, but you can also go fishing, hiking, biking – basically, all the good stuff. We’d highly recommend a kayaking tour, as you might spot orcas, humpback whales and sea lions along the way. Once you’ve had your fill of outdoor excitement, head to Vancouver for adventures of the foodie kind – the city is becoming a real destination for diverse dining, from local seafood to Asian food trucks.
When to go: June-September & December-February
Where to stay: The Wickaninnish Inn sits between rainforest and sea, giving you a real back-to-nature experience – but with luxury facilities and accommodation, of course. The hotel offers a wide range of adventure activities, including surfing lessons. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is a luxurious Vancouver base with a fabulous Art Deco-inspired pool.
The Wickaninnish Inn
A snow monkey in Jigokudani Monkey Park, Japan. Image | Howling Red on Unsplash
Why we love it: From futuristic Tokyo to historic Kyoto, it’s mainly Japan’s cities that get the attention in travel terms. However, this is a country that’s made for outdoor adventure, too. Whether skiing in the Northern Alps, spotting snow monkeys in Jigokudani National Park, diving in Okinawa, zip-lining at Lake Biwa or hiking ancient pilgrimage trails, there are so many ways to get an adrenalin rush.
When to go: Region-dependent
Where to stay: If you’re starting your trip in Tokyo, we recommend the Mandarin Oriental for contemporary luxury. AYA Niseko is a fantastic ski-in-ski-out hotel with a natural hot spring tub and contemporary-cool accommodation. The Terrace Club at Busena in Okinawa is ideal for relaxing after a long dive, with extensive spa facilities.
READ MORE: Top 10 luxury ski honeymoons
Cyprus. Image | Olga Kononenko on Unsplash
Why we love it: You may associate Cyprus with beach holidays – and it’s certainly a great place to relax in the sun. However, there are also some pulse-racing adventures to be had on this Mediterranean island. The Troodos Mountains have picturesque hiking trails, taking in historical villages along the way. Cyprus’s year-round temperate climate and clear waters also make it a great place for scuba diving, with famous diving sites including The Zenobia wreck, filled with fish. For outdoor fun of the slightly more chilled variety, head to the Akamas National Park to swim in the Blue Lagoon.
When to go: Year-round
Where to stay: Set near the historic harbour, Annabelle has long been a Paphos institution, but a recent refurbishment means it’s totally up-to-date. Expect elegant accommodation, a dreamy spa and a fabulous indoor rooftop pool. Coral Thalassa is a sophisticated adults-only resort with wonderful sea views. In the Troodos Mountains, Casale Panayiotis is a getaway with plenty of charm, and luxe touches including a spa.
8. Colorado, USA
Colorado. Image | Peter Pryharski on Unsplash
Why we love it: This is the place to head for a luxury ranch honeymoon. The rugged landscape lends itself to unforgettable outdoor experiences year-round. In spring and summer, go rock climbing, fly fishing, horse riding, hiking, rafting or mountain biking – or all of the above! In winter, get ready for some snow-based fun, with snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling, ice climbing and more.
When to go: Year-round
Where to stay: Dunton Hot Springs is a sublime place to repair to after a day of adventures. This former 19th-century mining town has been converted into a series of alluring log cabins that are packed with contemporary comforts. You can unwind in the on-site hot springs, and there’s a yoga studio, library and boxing gym, as well as a restaurant serving farm-to-table feasts. Taylor River Lodge has a similar rustic-luxe vibe and spectacular views over the Golden River canyon – read our review of Taylor River Lodge for more detail.
Dunton Hot Springs
The Swiss Alps. Image | Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash
Why we love it: Yes, there are more affordable places to ski. But if you’re planning a honeymoon on the slopes and you’re happy to splash out, Switzerland is the classic destination for excellent powder and restorative resorts.
When to go: November-April
Where to stay: Waldhaus Flims Alpine Grand Hotel & Spa is a wonderful wellness resort. There are indoor and outdoor pools (including a pool in a glass cube), saunas and an extensive treatment menu – just the thing for easing tired muscles after a day on the slopes. Grand Hotel Zermatterhof is classically beautiful, and is particularly renowned for excellent food; they even have a cheese restaurant. The Carlton Hotel is pure luxury: they even have outdoor butlers, so you’re pampered at every point. Read our full review of The Carlton Hotel.
The Carlton Hotel
Ecuador. Image | Robinson Recalde on Unsplash
Why we love it: The diverse landscapes of this South American gem make it the perfect place for a multi-sensory escape that’s full of adventure. Whether you’re hiking through mountains, exploring rainforest or surfing off the coast, there really is something for everyone. Wildlife lovers will be in heaven – head to the national parks for the chance to see exotic birds, monkeys, jaguars, to name a few. Of course, the most famous wildlife experience is to be found on the Galápagos Islands, 1,000km off Ecuador’s coast, and home to an incredible array of animals, reptiles and birds, from penguins to the giant tortoise.
When to go: June-September
Where to stay: Surrounded by rainforest, Mashpi Lodge is a lovely, back-to-nature retreat. The lodge itself makes the most of its beautiful setting, with panoramic windows throughout, earth-toned décor and a programme of activities for getting to know the rainforest. Pikaia Lodge was the first luxury hotel on the Galápagos Islands, and is a relaxing base for exploring the abundant wildlife.
READ MORE: What to give up to boost your honeymoon fund
The best honeymoon destinations on a budget
Who says you can’t have a fantastic honeymoon on a budget? As these affordable destinations show, there are places where you can really make your money go further on your first holiday as newlyweds.
Lake Bled, Slovenia. Image | Artem Sapegin on Unsplash
Why we love it: Whether you’re looking for a country retreat, a beach getaway or a city break for your honeymoon, Slovenia is the answer. The capital, Ljubljana, has a charming old town and a thriving dining scene. If you’re heading to the country, we strongly suggest Lake Bled or Lake Bohinj, which give the super-spendy Italian Lakes a run for their money. Portoroz Beach, on the Adriatic Coast, is a delightful place for sun-and-sand on a budget.
When to visit: May-September
Where to stay: If a hotel has made it into the Design Hotels collection, we know it’s going to be a chic affair – and that’s certainly the case at high-style Vander Urbani in Ljubljana, which marries a historic exterior with a contemporary-cool interior. For a couple of nights of luxury, splash out on the Grand Hotel Toplice at Lake Bled – prices are certainly not as steep as at comparable five-star hotels in other countries. Still too pricey? Try 11-room Pension Kaps, which has plenty of charm and a great location near the lake.
2. Calabria, Italy
Calabria. Image | Serena Repice Lentini on Unsplash
Why we love it: Think an Italian honeymoon is outside your budget? Think again. The region of Calabria has everything to cherish about a romantic break in Italy – fine wine and food, glorious countryside, pretty villages and beaches – but at the fraction of the prices in the more popular regions of Tuscany, Sicily et al. Tour companies are beginning to catch on to the potential of this Italian region, so go now before an increase of visitors pushes up prices.
When to go: June-October
Where to stay: Infinity Resort Tropea is good value, with sea views and swimming pool and a private beach. Villa Adua is a budget-friendly choice, located in a 19th-century building, with easy access to the beach.
Infinity Resort Tropea
Çanakkale, Turkey. Image | Getty
Why we love it: The food, the scenery, the weather, the culture – a honeymoon in Turkey is full of life’s great pleasures. As with so many destinations, how much budget you need depends on where you stay. It’s perfectly possible to have a luxe stay here, if you stay in the stunning Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum or the D-Resort in Göcek, for example. Choose a more off-the-beaten track location and you can enjoy the aforementioned food, scenery and weather, but at a more bargain price. Çanakkale, in northwestern Turkey, doesn’t attract as many visitors as the better-known destinations, but has pine-scented beaches and a lively dining scene.
When to go: April-May & September-October
Where to stay: We think self-catering is the way to go here – check out Airbnb for properties.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Bali. Image | Aron Visuals on Unsplash
Why we love it: Long-haul isn’t out of reach for a budget honeymoon. Yes, you’ll have to be clever with the flight – travelling outside peak months, comparing prices, using air miles if you have them – but once you’re there, you’ll find Bali is exceptionally good value. This Indonesian island really is paradise for less, with breathtaking scenery, excellent resorts and mouth-watering cuisine. There’s also plenty to see and do, from ancient temples to wildlife encounters.
When to go: May-June & September
Where to stay: Bali has so many luxe-for-less properties. Alila Ubud is a glorious hotel, with soothing Balinese interiors and luxe facilities including a heavenly spa – and prices are considerably below what you’d expect for a five-star property. Gajah Mina is a delightful coastal getaway that has 12 private villas. Gaia Oasis Pantai Beach resort is a hidden gem right on the seafront, which has a focus on sustainability.
READ MORE: Honeymoon review – beautiful Bali
5. The Greek islands
Sifnos, Greece. Image | Gaetano Cessati on Unsplash
Why we love it: Forget Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes and the rest. For a fantastic honeymoon on a budget, look to the islands that aren’t on the radar of international tourists. Take Serifos. This stunning island is easily beautiful as its popular counterparts, with magnificent beaches. Leros is another delightful option, or for something totally laidback, try tiny Schinoussa.
When to go: April-June & September-October
Where to stay: On Serifos, Coco-Mat Eco Residence Hotel has been beautifully designed to work in harmony with the surroundings, using natural materials throughout. It’s a slightly spendy option (for the island), so also consider the gorgeous Hotel Rizes, which has 14 private apartments and two suites, all with terraces. On Leros, try Archontiko Angelou – not only is it a lovely historic mansion, there’s also a focus on vegan and vegetarian food.
Coco-Mat Eco Residences Serifos
Rabat, Morocco. Image | Getty
Why we love it: Morocco can be excellent value when you’re there, so long as you don’t get seduced by any of the super-high-end riads and resorts. We’d recommend a trip around the country – Marrakech, of course, because touristy as it may be, this is still a magical city. The enchanting architecture and unique atmosphere make Fez worth a visit, and Essaouira is laidback loveliness in city form. Rabat has somehow slipped under the travel radar, but not for long – the Moroccan capital is increasingly popping up on travel editors’ must-visit lists for 2021, thanks to its architecture and seaside location. Away the cities, we recommend a trip to the Atlas Mountains for some spectacular trekking.
When to go: March-June & September-November
Where to stay: There are some fabulous riads in Marrakech for under £100 per night – check out Riad Le J, Riad 42 and Riad Miski. If you’re looking for a company to put together a personalised itinerary in Morocco, we highly recommend Fleewinter.
Riad Le J
7. Goa, India
Goa, India. Image | Abdullah Ahmad on Unsplash
Why we love it: Goa may be long-haul from the UK, but flights aren’t punishingly expensive, and once you’re there, you should find it relatively easy to keep costs down for a budget honeymoon. This is a unique location, blending Indian and Portuguese influences. If you can tear yourself away from the golden-sand beaches, it’s worth exploring the capital, Panjim, with its cobbled streets and lovely architecture.
When to go: November-March
Where to stay: Vaayu Waterman’s Village is a characterful guesthouse with excellent room rates (we’re talking sub-£20 for some room categories). Budget allowing, plump for a deluxe villa room, as these come with private terraces. Anahata is a serene beach retreat that specialises in yoga classes.
Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Image | Deniz Fuchidzhiev on Unsplash
Why we love it: Bulgaria has long been associated with a budget break – but few travellers seem to look beyond the price tag to see how truly glorious this country is. There are scenic cities rich in cultural and history, from the capital Sofia to bewitching Plovdiv. Bulgarian wine can be outstanding, and there are plenty of wineries to tour (with tastings, naturally). Whether you prefer soaring mountains or sunny beaches, there’s a landscape here to suit. And the food, with Turkish and Persian influences, can be truly delicious.
When to go: May-September
Where to stay: Sense Hotel in Sofia is undeniably chic, and has a spa and rooftop pool. Hill House in Plovdiv is right at the start of the Old Town, and can organise private excursions.
9. Sri Lanka
Sigiriya Rock, Sri Lanka. Image | Sander Don on Unsplash
Why we love it: Get a good flight deal, and your on-the-ground costs in Sri Lanka should be manageable on a budget. This is a country of contrasts – one day could see you sunning yourself on golden sands, another journeying through a tea plantation, and yet another exploring an ancient rock fortress. The food is phenomenal: curry with egg hoppers will easily become your new favourite thing to have at every meal including breakfast.
When to go: Region-dependent
Where to stay: Sri Lanka’s has some excellent luxury options but is also very strong when it comes to affordable boutiques. Aathma Colombo House is a lovely lakeside hotel in the capital surrounded by tropical gardens. There’s a pool to help you escape the city heat. Staying on a tea estate is a quintessential Sri Lanka experience, and you can do so the affordable way at Ceylon Tea Bungalows. For a luxe-for-less beach getaway in stylish surroundings, it has to be Avani Bentota.
READ MORE: Honeymoon review – city fun & beach bliss in Sri Lanka
Angkor Wat, Cambodia. Image | Gyorgy Bakos on Unsplash
Why we love it: Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries in Southeast Asia, so while you can luxe up your stay by choosing five-star accommodation, you can also keep costs down if you prefer. The temple complex of Angkor Wat is the bucket-list sight, but there’s plenty more to do, from exploring the bustling streets of the capital, Phnom Penh, to snorkelling in Koh Rong and visiting an elephant sanctuary in Mondulkiri.
When to go: November-April
Where to stay: The Plantation Urban Resort in Phon Penh is excellent value for money. Located in a restored 1930s mansion, this is an elegant oasis with a pool and spa. Baitong Hotel is another low-cost, high-style city option that has great facilities. Heritage Suites Hotel is a delightful, inexpensive base in Siem Reap, which is where most people stay when visiting Angkor Wat.
Beach honeymoon destinations
If your idea of heaven is blissing out on soft sands, with the sound of waves lapping the shore, you’re in luck: we’ve found the best beach honeymoon destinations in Europe and worldwide.
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam. Image | Florian Hahn on Unsplash
Why we love it: In between exploring the cultural and gourmet treasures of Vietnam, we suggest you build in some beach time – the coast here really is beautiful. For many years, Nha Trang was the focal point for sun-and-sand breaks in the country, but some now find it a bit too popular. That’s fine – there are plenty of other picture-perfect options, from Phu Quoc Island to the Con Dao islands.
When to go: Region-dependent
Where to stay: If you’ve ever dreamed of a stay on a paradise island, Six Senses Con Dao could make that dream a reality. This is a luxurious resort in a magnificent setting, with accommodation in private pool villas. Salinda Resort on Phu Quoc has every indulgent facility you could want for a relaxing stay, from a spa to a yoga club.
Six Senses Con Dao
Mauritius. Image | Xavier Coffic on Unsplash
Why we love it: This Indian Ocean gem has some of the most heavenly beaches we’ve seen – we’re talking white coral sand, swaying palm trees and turquoise waters that are home to wild dolphins. Naturally, there’s plenty to delight anyone who loves watersports: snorkelling with tropical fish; parasailing and sea kayaking for an adrenaline rush; stand up paddle boarding.
When to go: March-April & October-November
Where to stay: Maradiva is an all-villa resort – and those villas certainly are luxurious, with private pools, Hermès toiletries and outdoor living areas. One&Only Le Saint Geran is the place to be pampered, with an incredible spa, and Pilates and yoga classes. The St Regis Mauritius has an amazing pool, and some top-notch dining options.
One & Only Le Saint Geran
READ MORE: Honeymoon review – fall in love with Mauritius
3. Côte d’Azur, France
Byblos Beach, Côte d’Azur. Image | Valentin B. Kremer on Unsplash
Why we love it: The French Riviera is synonymous with fine living – and that includes lazy days on beautiful beaches. From the glamour of Cannes and Saint Tropez to the laidback elegance of Antibes, wherever you choose to bliss out, it’s going to be a chic affair – we’re talking waiter service at beach clubs with the comfiest of loungers. However, there are also some lesser-known coves and beaches where you can spread your towel and escape the crowds, for a more back-to-nature experience.
When to go: June-September
Where to stay: Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is the ultimate luxe Côte d’Azur hotel. The setting is divine and the hotel itself exquisite, with immaculate service. Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa is another indulgent option, with a serene private beach and a lovely beachside restaurant.