10 Affordable Honeymoon Destinations

You've blown your life savings on wildflowers and a humanist celebrant, leaving you with little left over for your first getaway as a married couple. We actually think that's no bad thing - two weeks spent in a luxe-y overwater villa in the Maldives is so last decade. These alternative honeymoon destinations are for modern newlyweds on modest budgets. We've tried to cap hotels at a maximum of £150 a night - if you do splurge on accommodation, rest assured your expenditure beyond the hotel will be minimal.

Your wallet-friendly ticket to happily ever after

Andaman Islands


With buttercream-coloured sands, fuchsia-pink sunrises and kaleidoscopic coral reefs that stretch from the Bay of Bengal to Burma, the Andaman Islands are India's answer to the Maldives - without the price tag, commercialisation or crowds. These 572 islands are a mystery to most (cue choruses of "you're going where?") and only a handful of them are open to visitors, with the others home to indigenous tribes and biodiverse rainforests. Settle on Havelock Island - one of the most developed but no less heavenly - at Jalakara hotel. This eco-conscious abode overlooks dense rainforest, hosts morning yoga sessions (ideal for limbering up for extracurricular activities), a glossy infinity pool and no WiFi, meaning few distractions and more intimate moments when it comes to that dreamy, beachside dinner.

TO STAY: Munjah Ocean Resort



Not far from the Gothic spires of Girona and easily accessible from budget-flight-friendly Barcelona, Cadaqués is a tiny coastal town glittering in the east of Catalonia. Spain's surrealist set was among the first to be drawn to the village for its ethereal soft light in the 30s - today it's popular with creatives and the chichi French crowd. Nevertheless, the surrealists' influence can be seen in the art galleries hidden in the whitewashed lanes, the electrical panels painted with images of the bay's bobbing boats and the bronze sculpture of Salvador Dalí occupying pride-of-place in the town centre. Dalí is hailed as Cadaqués adopted son - you can visit his eccentric holiday home-cum-museum filled with his trademark eggs and lip-shaped sofas. Stroll hand-in-hand through the steep streets buried in bougainvillea, stopping by S'espardenya de Cadaqués for a pair of candy-coloured espadrilles and Es Fornet bakery for burilles, a sweet local delicacy flavoured with aniseed and nuts.

TO STAY: Horta d'en Rahola



Leave other newlyweds in Napa Valley and head to the hills of Ojai, a popular weekend break for in-the-know Angelenos lured by its laid-back vibes and spiritual history. Ojai (pronounced oh-hi) has recently become a magnet for young entrepreneurs eager to experience rural living. A string of independent art boutiques, farm-to-fork restaurants wine bars dotted with fairy lights have quickly opened as a result. Pick up bicycles from The Mob Shop to explore the main drag, pausing at Farmer and The Cook for picnic supplies - it's part grocery store, part performance space, so watch local bands play on hay sacks while sampling pixies - a locally grown variety of tangerine. Cycle through the olive groves to reach Topa Mountain Winery to pick up some organic plonk before peddling to Meditation Mount to share s'mores under the stars.

TO STAY: Caravan Outpost

Nusa Penida


The whole world and his (newlywed) wife have been to Bali, so much so that Seminyak's streets are perfumed by the scent of rose petals strewn across sheets and overrun with towel-shaped swans. Venture off the well-trodden path to the Nusa Islands, a trio of islands drifting off of the east coast. Catch a 30-minute speedboat from Sanur to the largest of the group, Nusa Penida, where rock-hewn stairs lead to mirror-clear tide pools and deserted castaway bays are home to squadrons of manta rays - Crystal Bay is best positioned for enjoying the sunset with a side of just-fallen coconuts. Thatched, bamboo-clad bungalows, al fresco showers and views across the wedding-cake-white cliffs at Penida Bambu Green Villas err on the right side of rustic (and the honeymoon financial forecast).

TO STAY: The Mesare Resort



Humming with infectious energy, Cartagena is as romantic as Paris and as body-rocking as its Caribbean neighbours. Its cobbled streets filled with painted houses the colour of a fruit bowl, lively food sellers peddling empanadas and domed churches sporting elaborate arcades and balconies are achingly beautiful - the walled town certainly woos. Whisk your significant other to the iconic Café Havana, where wood-panelled walls, Cuban musicians and eye-wincingly strong mojitos will have you salsa dancing into the early hours. The next morning, nurse hangovers on the shores of La Boquilla, a fishing village on the outskirts of the city. Aesthetically it's not the most pleasing but the vibes are good as locals flock there with bottles of pilsner to watch sunset and gorge on arroz con coco (rice with coconut).

TO STAY: Boutique Hotel Casa del Coliseo



Guadalajara, Mexico Forget tacos, tequilas and sombreros; Guadalajara is more than just a Mexican cliché and shouldn't be overlooked. Despite being the birthplace of tequila and having strong ties to the history of sombreros - thanks to the notorious charros (horsemen) of Guadalajara - this second city is a far cry from Cancun's garish shores. Instead you'll find a strong artistic core, exemplified by the intoxicating mix of old and new that likens the city to a village. Stone archways conceal folk-art boutiques and the Chapultepec neighbourhood is home to more roasted-in-house coffee shops than hipster meccas such as Berlin or Lisbon can claim. Bed down at Casa Pedro Loza, where vine-smothered columns, candle-lit hanging lanterns and a pretty courtyard are so perfect that they're an exact replica of your wedding-inspo Pinterest board.

TO STAY: Casa Habita



Seeking a harmonious Cycladic escape without needing to sell your soul to Hades for a stay in Santorini? Scoot across to its sleepy sister island Sifnos, whose whitewashed streets topped with blue-domed churches and rocky coves are equally as handsome but, refreshingly, half the price. Popular with in-the-know epicureans, Sifnos carries the Cyclades culinary crown thanks to the high number of celebrity chefs that have come from the hills. Sample sizzling plates of just-caught calamari and chickpea soup cooked overnight in clay pots, one of islands famous exports. Buy your own set as a belated wedding present from the oldest pottery shop on the island, Atsonis. Cosy up at Verina Astra for its swoon-worthy views from the concrete-clad infinity pool that spills over into the Aegean or strip off at Poulati, a rocky cove ideal for a spot of moonlight skinny-dipping.

TO STAY: Verina Suites



Once a haven for hippies, Goa has slowly succumbed to the pressures of mass tourism and the lucrativity of hosting trippy trance parties on its palm-fringed beaches. Leave the wave-seeking stoners and package holiday posse behind, and scurry further along India's southwest coast to reach a hidden, sun-soaked haven. Made up of a string of five blemish-free beaches sporting nothing but beach shacks, Gokarna is a hippie hangout akin to Goa in the 70s. It's a popular place for pilgrims, so can expect to find sacred temples on almost every corner - visit Mahabaleshwar for its striking Dravidian architecture - cows grazing in shop fronts and community yoga sessions on Om Beach. Push past the tangle of palm forests to reach Nirvana Beach, where you'll find lively phytoplankton putting on an electric nightly display.

TO STAY: Kahani Paradise

The Highlands,

Scotland, United Kingdom

Save your pennies and the planet by opting for an UK staycation. No longer seen as a so-so-honeymoon choice, the Highland's wild landscapes offer a lungful of outdoor adventure and hikes designed for scoffing tins of shortbread. Base yourself at Scotland's design-darling of the decade, The Fife Arms, whose interiors can be likened to the velvet pomp of Soho House, if it had been designed on several cans of Irn-Bru. The art experts and power couple behind Hauser & Wirth have taken twee tartan, tore it at the seams and patched it back together with zeitgeisty fabrics, Picasso prints and one-of-kind watercolours by Queen Victoria. There's nowhere punchier than the cocktail bar inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli (once a regular visitor to the town) to debate the existence of the Loch Ness monsters, dram in hand.

TO STAY: Pool House


Sri Lanka

After the devastating events in April 2019, Sri Lanka is slowly getting back on its feet. Help the Teardrop Island fully bounce back as tourism provides a much-needed boost to not only the economy, but also morale - locals with infectious grins are eager to welcome visitors again. Hotels such as the sleek, all-suite Aarunya Nature Resort & Spa, hidden in Kandy's steamy rainforest, have slashed prices in the hope of enticing guests and are no longer reserved for the jet-set elite. Aside from lazing in your plunge pool and visits to the spa, alternate between tea plantation tours and trips to temples - the Temples of the Sacred Tooth Relic is considered one of the holiest in Sri Lanka.

TO STAY: The Kandy House