13 Honeymoon Destinations that Aren’t the Maldives

thought about saying something hideously saccharine like
“your relationship is unique and your honeymoon should be too” –
but then we thought better of it. On a serious note, instead of
joining the world and his (new) wife in a swish resort somewhere
tropical, hit up one of these alternative honeymoon destinations
which don’t revolve around a golf course or spa – and you’re
unlikely to bump into your neighbour/colleague/ex/other.

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South Island

New Zealand

South Island offers nature in its purest form, giving
you the chance to shun cliché cruises in favour of ice-caving in
the Fox Glaciers or kayaking across the lakes of Abel Tasman
National Park. Nothing tests true love more than pushing your
significant other off a bungee bridge in view of a 400-metre
descent. South Island has plenty of opportunities to do so, from
jumps off the Kawarau Bridge near Queenstown to alpine adventures
on Nevis mountain. Between bed days at Hapuku Lodge and
adrenaline-filled excursions, the hairs will be standing up on the
back of your neck for the duration of your trip.

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‘s volcanic terrain resembles a post-apocalyptic film
set and provides a far more unique backdrop for a shot of you and
your other half gazing into each other’s eyes than a unnamed beach.
Multicoloured hot balloons soften the skyline at sunrise, in which
you can venture beneath Cappadocia’s lunar landscape and discover
36 underground cities once used to harbour villagers from the harsh
winters. Extending Cappadocia’s fairytale qualities, The Museum Hotel‘s cave suite
toasts to your newly taken nuptials with a free-flowing wine tap,
leaving you with the hardest decision of your honeymoon: white or

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Gancho Do Meio


A short boat ride from
lies the sleepy fishing village of Gancho Do Meio
and one of South America’s most romantic hotels, Ponta dos Ganchos. Treat
yourself to the Especial Esmeralda suite, where you can steam up
the sauna, sink caipirinhas in your balcony hot tub or hideout in
your private subterranean wine cellar. There are no set meal times
– so make the most of breakfast being served all day with a long
lie in in your sea-view bedroom. On top of that, the resort prides
itself on social and environmental awareness, using local produce
across whenever possible.

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Italian romances are a passionate affair, and there’s no better
place to selflessly indulge in locally foraged truffles and wines
than in the country’s green heart, Umbria. Walk hand in hand
through cobbled streets in picture-perfect towns such as Spoleto,
re-enact the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp and raise a
glass to married life in rolling vineyards. For even more
dolce vita
, stay at the Montali Country House, where you
can feast on the finest regional produce and spend long, lazy days
enjoying al-fresco picnics in the olive groves.

Okavango Delta


Unlike other
destinations, Botswana is largely publicly owned,
leaving you with few concessions and more options to revel in the
solitude of your own safari show. This is where to turn your
honeymoon into an experience to rival the Discovery Channel as you
witness the Big Five roam of the African bush.
Sleep under the stars
in the sky beds at Sable Alley where there’s no need to feel
prudish – bedroom antics will be drowned out by elephants grunting
at the nearby water hole.

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The artisan hub of Rajasthan
is a hopeless romantic’s dream made up of a glassy lake, a maze of
crooked streets, ornately carved bay windows and rooftops bedecked
with brightly coloured cushions. Wander through the opulent city
palace, barter in the bazaars or sip on masala chai as you watch a
kaleidoscopic sunset. Accessible only by boat, the marbled Taj Lake Palace offers a barrage
of private-dining options including Ganguar lake feasting – if
you’ve only got eyes for your loved one, you needn’t see another

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If you’re an outdoorsy couple who can think of nothing worse
than spending two weeks horizontal on a sun bed, Montana is an
excellent choice. Recreate Wild West fantasies and ride into the
sunset on horseback, fall head over heels with the views from the
Glacier National Park or crank it up a notch with white-water
rafting along the Yellowstone River. Famous for being the first
place to offer glamping,
Paw’s Up is the grown-up (read: luxurious) answer to
camping. Their cliff-side tents come equipped with his and her
cowboy boots, hot tubs perfect for two and a butler that’ll toast
finger-licking good s’mores over a roaring fire – which has been
lit for you, saving any gender-based arguments about who should do
it and how.

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The laid-back capital of Oman is a world away from its OTT
Arabic neighbours, offering the chance to explore rolling deserts
in a 4×4 before an afternoon floating around colourful coral reefs.
At the heart of the Arabian Peninsula lies “The Empty Quarter”, the
largest sand desert in the world, where the sand glows red at
sunset and you spend evenings stargazing alongside your camel
sherpas. Cool off in the Binmah Sinkhole, a limestone sunken pool
that was allegedly created by a meteor crashing into the earth.
Alternatively dive into the Persian Gulf waters that frame The
, a luxurious beachside resort that overflows with
swimming pools and is lit by hundreds of lanterns.

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Canary Islands

is experiencing a turning point of sorts. Gone is the
island’s booze-laden heyday and in its place an eco-friendly,
health-focused nirvana is emerging. All over the island, creations
by visionary artist, architect and environmentalist César Manrique
accentuate the unique geology of the island, reiterating the
natural beauty of an understated destination that is judged too
quickly. Choose from a range of accommodation including boutique
hotels, shoreside villas and luxury yurts.

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If your nuptials are planned for spring, honeymooning in Japan
is an idyllic honeymoon destination. Visit during cherry-blossom
(sakura) season when tissue-thin petals blanket the streets and
walkways. While Kyoto is the frontrunner for this festival, the
country’s contrasting cities – Osaka is brash; Hiroshima’s
decidedly plaintive; Nara is pure tranquility – are robust with
cultural offerings of their own. Visit one of the Japan’s thousands
of volcanic hot springs, take a trip to Naoshima – a southern
island dedicated solely to art – or spend your days getting stuck
in to Tokyo’s effervescent dining scene.



for your honeymoon is hardly a novel idea. Still, the city’s
coquettishness perseveres. Most compelling during the winter months
when an ethereal mist blankets winding canals, Venice is synonymous
with art and romance. Stay at the Aman which fills the striking
Palazzo Papadopoli on the Grand Canal, and is the hotel at which
the Clooneys tied the knot. Venice is at its most sumptuous at
night when the crowds have dispersed, and Aman’s rooftop bar is one
of the prettiest places in town to enjoy a sunset negroni and
blush-pink skies.

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Manuel Antonio

Costa Rica

A perfect destination for explorers, Costa Rica’s varied
landscapes and microclimates mean you’ll never be short of choice
on a trip to this Central American jewel. Go white-water rafting,
surf in year-round warm waters or hike through Manuel Antonio, one
of Costa Rica’s most beautiful national parks. It’s a country rich
in wildlife including spider monkeys, sloths and quetzal birds –
but only a lucky few will catch olive ridley sea turtles hatching
on the beach. To relax, book a rustic cabin or eco-friendly hilltop
cottage in the jungle where you can lounge in a hammock with a cup
of local coffee, watched by an inquisitive sloth.

Buenos Aires


A rambunctious city with plenty of heart and endless cultural
Buenos Aires
is an ideal combination of foreign and familiar.
Food pays homage to the city’s Italian and Spanish lineage, while
the architecture is an amalgamation of various aesthetics, with an
emphasis placed on colour – even parliament is painted pink. Those
hoping to explore the breadth of the country should visit Mendoza,
Argentina’s wine country. Located to in the west, a domestic flight
takes approximately an hour and a half. The antithesis of
cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Mendoza’s Andean scenery is the perfect
backdrop to raise a glass of malbec and toast to the years to