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Updated: 23rd February 2021
Relaxing on a beach, cocktail in hand, or zip-wiring through a rainforest? When it comes to honeymoons, there is no perfect blueprint to follow. Sure, that all-inclusive beach escape to the most gorgeous places to visit in Mauritius or Fiji might be someone else’s dream way of celebrating their nuptials. But if you want to turn your honeymoon into an epic adventure, there are plenty of options, too.
Making your romantic escape something special is the main rule for a honeymoon – a trip that is both unforgettable but also unique to your particular interests. Whether that is mountain hiking, wildlife adventures, island-hopping with the locals, or indulging in the finest things our world has to offer.
If you are looking for a unique honeymoon that is more than just a luxury island holiday, then here are some awesome ideas for a romantic escape with a twist.
Head to Dominica, the lesser-explored nature island of the Caribbean
This isn’t your average Caribbean destination; it’s an adventurers’ playground – that’s how I would summarise Dominica. If you want the climate of the Caribbean for your unique honeymoon, but awesome hiking takes priority over white-sand beaches, then the ‘Nature Island’ of Dominica might be just the ticket.
Only accessible by a little plane from nearby countries like Antigua, visiting Dominica feels like an adventure. Hike countless trails, visit dramatic waterfalls, and enjoy postcard-perfect remote beaches. Due to the volcanic nature of the island, lack of flights, and cruises staying on one side of the island, you can truly after a get-away that feels exclusive and private, perfect for a honeymoon away from it all. And if you want a heart-thumping honeymoon, this is the one. The best things to do in Dominica range from canyoning and circling boiling hot lakes to scuba diving with dolphins.
Hike through ancient Inca ruins in Peru.
For a more active honeymoon, why not visit one of the most impressive ancient sites in the world, Machu Pichu in Peru?
While permits to hike the Inca Trail are limited, there are plenty of other hiking routes in the local area. I did the Lares Trek with G Adventures, camping under star-lit skies, hiking through local settlements, and learning about other Inca ruins on the way. At the end of the trip, a glass-roofed train transported us to the dreamy village of Aguas Calientes, which is just below the famed sight.
A bonus of doing this, rather than hiking right there, is you can enjoy a good sleep and shower before visiting Machu Pichu – one way to ensure your honeymoon photos are a little more stylish than sweaty!
Experience a wildlife adventure in the Galapagos Islands
If you are an animal lover like myself, perhaps you’ll want to make your honeymoon unique by visiting some remote corners and magnificent wildlife. To do so, forget the traditional cruises for your honeymoon and opt for a small sailing option to the incredible Galapagos Island.
More than just a chance to see the famed locals – such as the Galapagos Iguana and impressive Galapagos Giant Tortoise – many sailings offer the chance to gain in-depth knowledge due to lessons and insights from the onboard biologists. Sailing and being at one with the ocean is one of the most romantic ways to travel, and coupling that with visiting some of the most remote and well-protected islands in the world makes for a honeymoon unlike any other.
There is a vast array of ships to choose from to travel around the Galapagos, each offering different comfort levels, islands visited, or speciality focuses – and, most importantly, price points. Use a website like Rainforest Cruises to whittle down which types of sailing and routes would suit your honeymoon best.
Indulge in traditions and heritage in rural Japan
Japan is rightly one of the most fascinating tourist destinations in the world. Amazing culture, cuisine and heritage combine here, and the charm and calm of the rural parts of the country make for a fantastic romantic escape.
Away from the mega-cities like Tokyo, a much slower pace of life awaits – one dictated more by traditions than towering city blocks. The region of Kochi is one of my favourites, a lush land of crystal clear rivers, amazing hiking routes, tea farms and traditional artisans – from knife makers to paper crafters. Also, expect plenty of amazing food thanks to the coastal position – sushi, anyone? There are also plenty of wellness experiences in Kochi, Japan, perfect for a pampered and tranquil honeymoon.
The classic over-water villas, but not the Maldives
Is there anything more synonymous with honeymoons in the Instagram age than an over-water villa in the Maldives? Maybe not, but you aren’t limited to this South Asian archipelago for your honeymoon island escape.
In French Polynesia, it’s usually Tahiti and Bora Bora stealing the headlines, but there are, in fact, over one hundred amazing islands in this South Pacific nation. If you want a more lush, rugged and mountainous escape for your honeymoon than the small sandy islands of the Maldives, then Moorea is a great alternative.
Not only can you find the classic overwater Moorea villas here to tick that Maldives-esque accommodation craving, but it’s one of the more affordable destinations to do so in French Polynesia. Thus rugged volcanic island has all the sandy beaches you could dream of, rainforest hiking trails, and some fantastic scuba-diving – so you can spend your honeymoon as relaxed or active as you desire.
Plan a safari adventure to see the Big Five
Luxury lodges and bespoke tailored safari make for an epic and unforgettable honeymoon. Witness wildlife in their natural habitat, unwind under the stars at night and repeat again the next day.
Zambia, Tanzania and South Africa are all popular destinations for a Safari, but these aren’t your only options – Namibia or Botswana, for example, are ever-growing in popularity and can provide some slightly more affordable package options if you want to enjoy a Safari for your honeymoon.
Enjoy a culinary tour across Spain
Gastronomy isn’t just about eating in Spain; it’s a way of life, so combining food and beautiful landscapes into your honeymoon is a fantastic way to explore the country. It’s no wonder that the Mediterranean diet is even inscribed on the UNESCO heritage list.
My Intrepid Travel food tour across Spain was fantastic and covered some of Spain’s hidden gems and best cities. Starting in Barcelona, visiting remote mountain villages, and then ending in Santiago de Compostela, this two-week tour took in some of the must-visit parts of the country.
On the way through cooking classes, market visits, gastronomic cooking clubs, and vineyard and cider house tours, I learned all about the different regional flavours that make Spain such a fantastic destination. San Sebastian stole the show for me, but it also provided the chance to visit other parts of the country, like the lush green mountains.
Food + Spain + Honeymoon = an ideal romantic getaway!
Road trip through Slovenia’s romantic foodie utopia – The Vipava Valley
Sustainability isn’t a buzzword in the Vipava Valley; it’s a way of life. Here, the Slovenians are tending to their beehives, sipping on fresh wines from local cellars and devouring delicious cheeses at family farms, usually accompanied by a heart-warming grin.
Welcome to the Vipava Valley, a foodie utopia served up with a degustation of luscious landscapes, adventure activities and vintage villages, all washed down from the barrels of an underground world – with wine cellars and home-made brews common in many households.
Recently awarded Slovenia’s first Michelin star, the Vipava Valley is truly a wonderful destination for foodies. Imagine rolling green hills of vineyards, almost Tuscan-like in their appearance, with adorable villages, local food experiences, and plenty of adventure activities – from paragliding to more time cycle tours between wineries. Romance is very much alive in the Vipava Valley.
Witness the northern lights in a hotel made entirely of ice
Winter wedding? No problem, there are some super romantic honeymoon options towards the poles. There is no need to try and scramble for a hot island escape in the cooler months.
Imagine falling asleep under a canopy of the northern lights, with reindeer and winter wonderland adventures to keep you entertained during the day. At Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland, you can choose from some specially designed honeymoon accommodations, from igloos to suites and the famous glass-domed rooms to stare right up at the sky. You can even have your wedding here if you would prefer.
Or how about a hotel made entirely of ice? For example, Sweeden’s Ice Hotel, the world’s largest is constructed annually until it melts away in the warmer months – a truly unique and unforgettable honeymoon destination.
Take a campervan adventure through the beauty of New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever visited and offers a whole host of amazing natural activities for newlyweds to enjoy. From epic hikes to unique geothermal attractions and breathtaking beaches to fjords and wildlife. Couple this with some fantastic museums, filming locations, and cultural activities, and you’ve got a fantastic trip through the world down under.
Exploring New Zealand from Auckland to Wellington and then onto the south Island by campervan is unsurprisingly a popular option. Over two weeks (or ideally longer), you could hop between the highlights and take in the most popular attractions. Is there any better commitment to formalise ‘I do’ than living the van life for a few weeks?