Whether you want a fly and flop romantic beach break, or more of an active adventure, India is the honeymoon destination that truly has it all. There’s no better place to fall in love all over again than on the laidback beaches of Kerala, among the chaos of Rajasthan’s colourful towns and cities, or at sunset overlooking the ancient city of Hampi. Here’s why a honeymoon in India is the perfect place for post-wedding bliss.
If there’s a common theme throughout most Bollywood movies, it’s romance. There’s almost always a young Indian man longing for a bride, or a woman hung up on an unlikely suitor, and cinema audiences lap it up. This means India really knows how to do romance, and with such a variety of landscapes you’ll have no problem finding the spot for you.
For classic sand and sea romance, head to the likes of Goa and Kerala for beachside sundowners, or for city slickers, hit Chowpatty Beach and marine Drive in Mumbai to see the sun disappear behind the horizon and create a fiery orange sky.
If rolling green hills are more your thing, head to the Western Ghats in Kerala, where deciduous and evergreen forests are interspersed with tea plantations to create a stunning, undulating patchwork of greenery. Sunrise here is a daily highlight.
In the north, you’ll find vertiginous snow-capped mountains, a vast orange desert where the sky sparkles at night, and the ultimate declaration of love: the Taj Mahal.
India’s long and varied human history, from the sixteenth century Mughal empire to British rule to independence in 1947, has left behind some fascinating traditions and architecture. Today, while many of the most important historical buildings are tourist attractions, many also double up as accommodation.
In Rajasthan, stay in a haveli, a traditional Indian mansion or townhouse, usually set around a courtyard and lavishly decorated with Indian fabrics and mosaics. We love this one in the tiny village of Mandawa, or the sumptuous Alsisar Haveli in Jaipur, which has an outdoor pool and an illustrious history.
In Kerala, spend the night onboard a houseboat (or kettuvallam) on the serene, bucolic backwaters, and in the Bandhavgarh National Park, where tigers roam in the forests, you can stay in a unique treehouse – ideal for those looking for a honeymoon in India that's a bit different.
Then there’s the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai – possibly India’s most famous hotel. While its history doesn’t date back centuries like some of the heritage properties across the country, it’s the place to see and be seen in this sprawling, cosmopolitan city. Ghandi and Obama have stayed here, Bollywood’s elite eat, sleep and drink here, and the suites are simply sublime. It’s a real treat for a blowout honeymoon stay.
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If your ideal honeymoon involves sun, sea and sand, India is the place to go. There’s plenty of it along the 4500 mile coastline, and the Indian Ocean that laps its shores is a balmy temperature, perfect for swimming.
Goa is famous for its party beaches, but for a more relaxed vibe head to Kerala. The most developed beaches are around Kovalam, and luxury resorts such as The Leela would make for a spectacular honeymoon in India.
The absolute best beaches, however, and one of the best places in India for a honeymoon, can be found on the far-flung Andaman Islands, strung out in the Andaman Sea between India and Thailand. Havelock is the best honeymoon destination, with plenty of ocean-front resorts offering all-out luxury. Try Taj Exotica Resort & Spa for a classic honeymoon hotel, or Barefoot at Havelock, with its cute thatched huts among a lush forest, just behind Radhanagar Beach.
Not everyone wants beach break honeymoon. Your post-wedding trip can be just as much about adventure as it is romance and relaxation, and India offers an exceptional variety of activities for an adventure-moon.
If exploring is more your bag, try traversing this country by train. When you’ve got over the mammoth task of reserving tickets (Read our guide here), sit back on your sleeper bunk, watch countryside and cities whizz past, sip a five rupee chai from the on-board chai wala, and make new friends with the locals as you await your next destination. You can get almost anywhere by train in India, and it’s always a fascinating way to travel.
Alternatively, take your adventure one step further and make it an achievement-moon. This honeymoon trend is increasingly popular, with couples opting to scale mountains or hike great distances. India has plenty of places to challenge yourself – be it the peaks of Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim, or treks along the trails of Kerala’s countryside or the hill stations of Andhra Pradesh.
The stress of planning and executing a wedding is well documented, so go beyond the beach break and book into a yoga or meditation retreat if you really want to wind down on your honeymoon. It’s the perfect way to relax, rejuvenate and reconnect after months of anticipation for your big day.
Rishikesh is ashram central, made famous by The Beatles when they visited in 1968. But one of the newest, most luxurious retreats is The Roseate Ganges, with an 18m, heated infinity pool and a sublime spa.
The last thing you want on your honeymoon is to be worrying about money. You’ve just shelled out for a wedding, so make India your honeymoon destination and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how affordable it all is.
Luxury, five-star accommodation often costs around a third less than you’d pay at home, and a high quality, three-course meal for two with wine can be enjoyed for as little as £15 a head in many places. Of course, you can go ultra-budget if you want to – it’s incredibly easy to get by here on just £20 a day if you have our guidebook.
Top image: Kerala backwaters © DR Travel Photo and Video / Shutterstock