The Great Ocean Road, Australia
In a country full of big sights, it can be hard to know where to start. For a laid-back honeymoon experience, hire a car out of Melbourne and hit the road – or rather, hit the Great Ocean Road. This famous coastal route extends for 285km along Victoria’s southwestern coast and more than lives up to its name. The highlight is undoubtedly the Shipwreck Coast between Moonlight Head and Point Fairy, home to the striking rock formations of the Twelve Apostles.
Kerala makes an ideal choice for honeymooners, with plenty to offer both those looking for lazy seaside sojourns and those wanting a little more adventure and exploration. Start off with a few days historic Fort Cochin (and staying in one of its luxurious hotels housed in old colonial mansions) before spending a relaxed few days sailing along the backwaters on a converted rice barge, then finishing off on one of its palm-fringed beaches.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Asia is full of honeymoon-worthy islands, but Phu Quoc remains one of the most appealing. Though it’s undeniably been ‘discovered’ now, the level of development here is still relatively low key, enabling you to really kick back and enjoy the palm-backed soft-sand beaches and warm waters. Phu Quoc is also a starting point for tours to the unspoilt An Thoi islands, the waters around which are ideal for snorkelling.
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
The Big Easy’s heady mix of music and food will have you seduced from the moment you arrive. Jazz seems to be around literally every corner, but head to Preservation Hall for one of the city’s defining musical experiences, which is life-affirming in its joyfulness. Afterwards, toast your recent nuptials at the delightfully kitsch Carousel Bar, where you can sample another of the city’s specialities, a Sazerac cocktail.
Over two thousand Buddhist structures dot the plains of Bagan, and there’s no denying that the view over the temples and monasteries is breathtakingly romantic, especially at dawn. The best way to experience Bagan is at a leisurely pace – spend a few days here to soak up the atmosphere and explore beyond the crowds, and be sure to factor in room in your budget for an unforgettable balloon ride.
Masoala National Park, Madagascar
Madagascar’s largest protected park, Masoala National Park covers both coast and forest, which has helped make it home to an incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna, even by Madagascan standards. Unsurprisingly, it’s tricky to get to (you’ll need to take both a flight and a boat), but it’s well worth the effort, offering the opportunity to spot everything from humpback whales and dolphins to aye-ayes and enormous Parson’s chameleons.
Ilha Grande, Brazil
Limited development and a ban on motor vehicles has left Ilha Grande blissfully unspoilt. The island, which is within easy reach of Rio de Janeiro, boasts some beautiful beaches that will fulfil any of your honeymoon desert-island fantasies; in addition, a mountainous, jungle-clad interior and a number of historic ruins means that there’s plenty to occupy you when you fancy exploring beyond the beach.
There’s a wild romance about Dartmoor that makes it perfect if you’re looking for a more active honeymoon. The rolling, heather-clad moorland, mystical tors and forested river valleys are ideal for exploring on foot or two wheels, and you don’t have to go too far before you’ll feel like you have this dramatic corner of Devon to yourselves. Best of all, you can finish your days with a pint or two in a cosy country pub.
With views over both water and mountains, Vancouver is undoubtedly one of the most scenic cities in the world. The dining scene alone is reason enough to visit the city, but add to this the semi-wilderness of Stanley Park and its many fine museums and galleries, and you have the ingredients for a fabulous city honeymoon. Vancouver also makes a great starting point for any number of itineraries further into Canada or down the west coast of the US.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Bleakly beautiful, the Skeleton Coast stretches for 500km up to the Angolan border and boasts some of the most pristine coastline in the world, littered with shipwrecks and whale carcasses. Only eight hundred people a year are allowed to visit the northern extremes, and of course such a privilege comes at a cost, but makes for a truly unforgettable honeymoon experience.
Boasting some of the best beaches in Belize lapped by crystal-clear waters, the narrow Placencia peninsula is the stuff that honeymoon dreams are made of. You’ll find upmarket places to stay in Maya Beach and Seine Bright, while palm tree-shaded Placencia village is home to more budget options, and the cool breezes help make it the ideal place to kick back and relax.
Irresistibly seductive, Provence makes an ideal honeymoon destination, offering a heady mix of food, sunshine and wine, set against a beautiful backdrop that ranges from snow-capped mountains in the north to fortified hilltop villages and the glitzy beaches of the Cote d’Azur. Come in late spring or early autumn and you can enjoy the region at its best, but with none of the crowds of summer.
Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
You don’t have to want an active honeymoon to visit Abel Tasman National Park, but it helps. Hire a canoe to explore the spectacular coastline, picnicking on secluded golden beaches and swimming with seals in the crystal-clear waters, or hike the famous track, with gentle climbs up to lookouts to really soak up the magnificence of the park, which stretches from lush bushland and granite outcrops to idyllic beaches.
Monument Valley, USA
The iconic, otherworldly sandstone buttes of Monument Valley are at once so familiar and so strange that you can’t help but be astounded by their presence. There’s no better – and no more romantic – way to experience the amazing landscape here that by staying at The View Hotel, where even the cheapest rooms look out onto the Mittens. Watching the sun rise over the majestic desert landscape will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable moments of your honeymoon.
Luang Prabang, Laos
Scenically set on a peninsula between two rivers – the Khan and the Mekong – Luang Prabang retains a dream-like feel that’s quite uncommon in modern Asian cities. Don’t come here for a buzzing city experience, but instead for pleasurably slow days, complemented by atmospheric hotels in old colonial buildings and the sound of temple bells ringing out along dusty side streets at dusk.