So after months of planning that all-important wedding, all the stress over what colour centrepieces you should have, and a heavy night of partying, it is finally time to relax. There is often too much pressure around where you should go for your honeymoon, but we think that after all that, you need to pick a rewarding destination – here are four of our top picks.
Perfect for: the all-rounder
Yes, thousands of loved-up couples flock to Paris every year (and for good reason!), but we reckon Venice might just pip it to the post when it comes to ultimate honeymoon destinations. This ‘city on water’ really will take your breath away. Most of its charm is simply walking around the narrow alleyways, traversing the canal bridges, stopping off at a cute little bistro along the way or taking a gondola ride (or the vaporettos if your budget isn’t stretching too far) along the world-famous Grand Canal.
While the city is a tourist hotspot, due to its labyrinth-like nature you will often find secluded spots where you could hear a pin drop – perfect for couples seeking some intimacy. Adding to this are some attractions that are slightly off the beaten track, such as the stunning spiral staircase of Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo. All of this is not to say however that the city is short of major sights – soak in the atmosphere of Piazza San Marco, marvel at the Bridge of Sighs, nab a bargain on Rialto Bridge and climb to the top of the golden Saint Mark’s Basilica.
If you are seeking a coastal getaway, Venice caters to this too, as you can escape to the island of Lido – accessible via the daily vaporettos – where sandy beaches and five-star resorts await.
Perfect for: sightseeing fanatics
With Rome standing as one of the most romantic cities on the planet, if you’re not loved up with each other enough, you’ll find yourself falling in love with the city itself. Around each corner, you’ll stumble upon a majestic classical monument, and trust us when we say Rome has its fair share of world-famous ones – the Colosseum, the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica, the Trevi fountain, the list goes on and on.
Walk hand in hand around the winding streets of Rome as you soak in the ambiance, while the Castel Sant’Angelo area offers intimate surroundings at both sunrise and sunset. For those looking for something a bit alternative, consider the Capuchin Catacombs or tasty meats in the offal district.
If three days of sightseeing has tired you both out, then travel 20 minutes on the train west and you’ll hit the beach. Santa Marinella beach offers sweeping golden sands, warm waters, sun loungers and fantastic public facilities, and all of that is without mentioning the great seafood restaurants that line the marina. A trip catching some of the world’s most famous monuments, with some beach-bumming in between – what more could you ask for from a honeymoon?
Perfect for: the beach
While it can sometimes feel impossible to be alone in this bustling and breathtaking market town, it’s actually very easy to get away from the crowds if you know exactly where to look. Naturally, you should try to have an intimate moment as the sun sets behind Bodrum Castle or soak up some culture at the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, but it is the region’s central labyrinth of narrow alleyways that will truly capture your heart. Charm is the policy here, with its cute little cafes, as you walk hand in hand with your other half.
When all is said and done, Bodrum is an ideal destination to simply relax. In fact, the beach that runs between Bodrum castle and the archaeological site of Halicarnassus offers sunbeds and beanbags for free, so you can relax in comfort. You can also travel a little further out of Bodrum to the bays of Gumbet or Bitez, where sunbeds are available and there are plenty of bars and restaurants close by. It is on these glorious sweeps of sand that you will be able to top up that all-important tan or enjoy a romantic dinner for two along the coast.
Perfect for: the alternative honeymoon
You may have never thought of this place as a honeymoon retreat, but in actual fact, it used to be Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s favourite romantic getaway. This walled town is ideal if you are looking for some intimacy, and with its independent boutiques, stunning jewellery stores and flower-filled cafes, the Mediterranean has never looked so tender. And if you are looking to have that seminal ‘honeymoon moment’, where else better to do it than the hilltop as the sun sets behind the city walls.
If you are honeymooning over the winter period, which is not the usual high tourist season for Dubrovnik, you’ll feel like you’ve got the entire place to yourselves without having to compromise for bad weather. Whether it is traversing the cobbled alleyways or taking a boat excursion to the nearby islands, finish off with some seafood-inspired dishes in the Old Town across a candlelit table. Bliss.