As is often the case with our blog posts, this one was based upon a client’s brief. The couple couldn’t decide where to go for their honeymoon and needed some assistance. The brief was simple enough: “we want to push the boat out, somewhere different, off the beaten track… somewhere unusual, somewhere amazing.”

I can safely assume that you too are not the kind of person who is willing to honeymoon in a place that parents take their kids for half term, or where couples visit for a romantic weekend away. A honeymoon is a unique travel opportunity. It is the ticket to take what should be the ultimate holiday of a lifetime, to a land that draws breathe when ‘inadvertently’ dropped into conversation in years to come.

Don’t expect to find the likes of the South of France, the Maldives or any other destination that features on your typical Top 10 Honeymoon list. Instead, we proudly present you with our hand-picked selection of the world’s finest, awe-inspiring, alternative honeymoon destinations for 2018 and beyond.

Good luck deciding where to go! If I were you I’d opt for a 3 week multi-destination trip.  The first 5 are below. The remaining 5 will follow next week.


Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations, Part One

  1. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

  2. India

  3. Vietnam

  4. Zanzibar, Tanzania

  5. Uruguay


1) Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is one of the most celebrated islands in the South Pacific. Okay, so it’s not particularly alternative! However due to its inaccessibility it is an island that relatively few Brits have ever stepped foot on, hence its inclusion here.

bora-bora-french-polynesia
Bora Bora, French Polynesia – image taken from space!

At the island’s centre and towering 2,500 feet into the air are the rugged, blackened Mounts Pahia and Otemanu – remnants of a long-extinct volcano that now support a thriving, lush-green tropical eco-system.

Beautiful coral reefs form a protective barrier around the island creating numerous lagoons of the most intense turquoise imaginable and filled with brightly colours schools of fish. And dotted around are dozens of idyllic palm-covered islets boasting some of the finest beaches you will ever see.

The island is host to predominantly super-luxe resorts that feature beautifully designed over-water bungalows and world-class spas. Possibly the most beautiful place on earth, it’s a truly magical place to visit and rightly sits at number one of our list of top ten alternative honeymoon destinations.

Best Time to Visit Bora Bora: Between May-October, with July-October the optimum months. Brief downpours can occur at any time – you are in the tropics after all. It is wet and humid November-April. Average temperature close to 30 degrees all year round.

matira-beach-bora-bora-french-polynesia
Idyllic Matira Beach, Bora Bora

Best Beach: Matira Beach, Bora Bora

Best Hotel on Matira: InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort –  https://www.ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/bora-bora

7 nights, peak season, overwater bungalow: £5,200.00

Best Hotel on Bora Bora: Four Seasons Bora Bora – http://www.fourseasons.com/borabora

7 nights, peak season, overwater bungalow: £9,000.00

Flights from London to Bora Bora, peak season: from £1,500.00 per person, takes 1 day with 2 stop overs (ok, so it’s the other side of the world – best you bite the bullet now seeing that you won’t make the trip when you’re middle aged with kids, or pensioned off!) 


2) India

Stretching from the lofty, frozen summits of the Himalayas to the deep, dark and tropical greenery of Kerala, India encompasses an unparalleled variety of impressive landscapes, ancient cultures and peoples.

darjeeling-india
Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the Himalayas, as seen from Darjeeling

For many it is the infamous land of contrasts where abject poverty is countered by unimaginable beauty and compelling kindness. The thought of visiting this vast country evokes intense fear and dread in some and in others, pure excitement and delight. So we accept that many of you will instantly reject India as a potential honeymoon destination. However those that do decide to travel to this ancient and incredible country find that for every preconceived reason not to visit, there are a dozen infinitely better reasons why you should.

Despite its many juxtapositions, paradoxes and frustrations, India is an utterly enthralling honeymoon destination that will positively change the way you view the world and even possibly yourself!

And did I mention the food?

Best Time to Visit India: India is at its best from November-March. Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and Goa and are ideal at this time. Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the South are best between January-March. And the Himalayas from April-October, with July-September ideal. Away from the mountains April-June is scorching. Monsoon rains from June-September.

kovalam-beach-kerela-india
Kovalam Beach, Kerala

Best Beach: Kovalam, Kerala

Best Hotel in Kovalam: The Leela – https://www.theleela.com/en_us/hotels-in-kovalam/the-leela-kovalam-hotel

7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £3,500.00 

(Probably) The Best Hotel in Northern India: Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra – http://www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-agra-amarvilas-resort

7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £5,500.00 

(Probably) The Best Hotel in The Indian Foothills: Wildflower Hall, Shimla – http://www.oberoihotels.com/hotels-in-shimla-wfh/

7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £3,750.00 

Flights from London to India, peak season: from £350.00 per person, 12 hours, 1 stop


3) Vietnam

Sitting pretty on the South China Sea, Vietnam is equally renowned for its subtle cuisine and shopping as it is for its beaches, tropical climate and exotic, natural beauty.

bai-tu-long-bay-vietnam
Limestone outcrops in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam

Few countries, if any, have changed as fast as Vietnam has over the past 4 decades. And today it’s seen as the sensible alternative to Thailand. Indeed comparisons are frequently drawn between Vietnam today and ‘The Land of Smiles’ from a few decades past.

Interestingly, a paltry 10 million people visited the whole of Vietnam in 2016. However that was up a whopping 25% on the previous year and it’s estimated the increase will be nearer 35% in 2017. So now is the time to experience the pure and unadulterated beauty of this country, before it sets off on the well-worn heals of its infamous neighbour – whose capital city alone received 20+million visitors last year! Better get your skates on.

Best Time to Visit Vietnam: In the south, December-April, with March-April ideal. April-May gets very hot. Monsoon May-November, but mostly brief downpours. Central Vietnam is best February-August. Rains September-February, again brief downpours. Typhoons August-November. Northern Vietnam ideal October-December. March-April good too. Fine mists January-February. Monsoons May-August.

bai-dai-phu-quoc-vietnam
Deserted Bai Dai beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam

Two of the Best Beaches: Bai Dai & Cua Can, Phu Quoc

Best Hotel on Phu Quoc: Salinda Resort – https://salindaresort.com/

7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £4,550.00

(Probably) The Best Hotel in Southern Vietnam: Mia Resort Nha Trang – http://www.mianhatrang.com

7 nights, peak season, premium Mia Suite: £3,400.00

Flights from London to Vietnam, peak season: from £550.00 per person, 16 hours, 1 stop


4) Zanzibar, Tanzania

The beautiful Spice Island of Zanzibar, situated off the east coast of Africa, is home to some of the best palm-fringed beaches in Africa. The most impressive stretches are found along the northern coastline, with those in the east a close second. It’s an ideal destination for newly-weds in search of a super-relaxing week sitting on coral-white sand, listening to the waves gently lapping the shore with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other!

nungwi-beach2-zanzibar
World-class Nungwi beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania

And should you need a break from the beaches, popular activities include some excellent dive sites, spice tours and shopping in the markets of Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar: June-September & January-February, with temperatures 30 degrees C.  October-December is hot and very humid with occasional downpours. Avoid the monsoon March-May.

nakupenda-beach-zanzibar-tanzania
The sandbar that is Nakupenda beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Two of the Best Beaches: Nungwi & Nakupenda

Best Hotel near Nakupenda: Zanzi Resort – http://www.zanziresort.com/

7 nights, peak season, luxury ocean villa: £4,200.00

Best Hotel on Zanzibar: Baraza, Bwejuu-Paje – http://baraza-zanzibar.com/

7 nights, peak season, premium Sultan Suite: £4,500.00

Flights from London to Zanzibar, peak season: from £500.00 per person, takes 16 hours, 1 stopover.


5) Uruguay

Yep, it’s that overlooked little country in South America, squished between the brash Brazil and arrogant Argentina, that no-one ever goes to. But that’s only because most people don’t know any better. Be warned, that’s all about to change.

punta-del-diabolo-uruguay
Hip n hippy Punta del Diabolo, Uruguay

The fact is, Uruguay happens to be an exceptional place to visit. Unpretentious and eccentric, it oozes style and cultural sophistication and offers everything you could possibly ask for in a honeymoon.

The cosmopolitan capital of Montevideo with its art deco colonial buildings and promenades hosts some of the best galleries, theatres, boutiques and restaurants in South America.

Outside the city there are hundreds of miles of idyllic secluded beaches peppered with a selection of chic, picturesque towns and villages to choose from, such as Colonia del Sacramento, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

There are even one or two glamorous party hotspots such as Punta Del Este that are beginning to attract “those in the know” from across the globe.

Top it all off with a smattering of super-stylish hotels and Michelin starred restaurants and it’s a wonder that Uruguay has managed to stay off the radar for so long.

Best Time to Visit Uruguay: October-April, average 22-30 degrees C. June-August are coldest months, with highs of 15 degrees C. January is peak season when the masses descend on the sleepy coastal villages and rooms are scarce.

playa-mansa-punta-del-este-uruguay
Fabulous Playa Mansa, Punta del Este, Uruguay

Two of the Best Beaches: Jose Ignacio & Playa Mansa, Punta Del Este

Best Hotel in Jose Ignacio: Playa VIK Jose Ignacio – http://www.vikretreats.com/

7 nights, peak season, ocean suite: £5,750.00 (book early to avoid disappointment, few dates left Jan/Feb 2018)

Best Hotel in Punta Del Este: The Grand Hotel – https://www.puntagrand.com/

7 nights, peak season, grand suite: £3,200.00

Flights from London to Uruguay, peak season: from £675.00 per person, takes 17 hours, 1 stopover

la-pedrera-uruguay
Rugged coastline of La Pedrera, Uruguay

NOTES

  • Due to the outbreak of the Zika virus in South America and the Caribbean, we have dropped a couple of exceptional destinations that would otherwise have made it onto our list.
  • Hotel prices apply when booking direct with hotel. Many now offer their best rates booking direct rather than through comparison sites. You may find cheaper package deals but we think it’s unlikely.
  • Flights quoted via Skyscanner.
  • Prices correct as of 13 March 2018. Exchange rate, £ to $: 1.22.