Top 10 Alternative Honeymoon Destinations
Alternative Honeymoon Destinations
A honeymoon is a unique travel opportunity. It's the excuse to take the ultimate holiday of a lifetime to a far-away land that none of your family or friends have ever been to. So don’t expect to find the South of France, the Maldives or any other destination that features on your typical list of Top 10 honeymoon destinations.
Instead, we present you with our hand-picked selection of the world’s finest, awe-inspiring, alternative destinations for 2021 and beyond.
Cua Can beach, Phu Quoc, Vietnam
We've also included the Best Local Hotels with prices for standard doubles and luxury villas, Best Beaches, Best Time To Go plus Flight Times & Prices.
Good luck deciding where to go! If I were you I’d opt for a 3 week multi-destination trip.
(Incidentally, this article was based upon a client’s brief. In short, “We want to push the boat out, go somewhere different, off the beaten track… somewhere unusual, somewhere amazing.” They were open to suggestions, flexible with dates and best of all, they didn't have a budget! The ideal kind of clients!)
Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations
Bora Bora, French Polynesia
St Petersburg, Russia
South Pole, Antarctica
- At the time of writing, due to the Zika virus in South America and the Caribbean, we 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 22 May 2020. Exchange rate, £ to $: 1.22.
Northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is one of the most celebrated islands in the South Pacific. Okay, so it’s not especially alternative! However due to its inaccessibility it is an island that relatively few Brits have ever stepped foot on, hence its inclusion here.
Idyllic Matira Beach, Bora Bora
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.
Bora Bora, French Polynesia – image taken from space!
Best Beach: Matira Beach, Bora Bora
Best Hotel on Matira: InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort
7 nights, peak season, overwater bungalow: £5,200.00 | Beach bungalow: £4,290.00
Best Hotel on Bora Bora: Four Seasons Bora Bora
7 nights, peak season, luxury overwater bungalow: £19,700.00 | Standard overwater bungalow: £8,575.00
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!)
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.
Kovalam Beach, Kerala
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 I didn't even 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.
Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the Himalayas, as seen from Darjeeling
Best Beach: Kovalam, Kerala
Best Hotel in Kovalam: The Leela, Kovalam
7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £3,100.00 | Standard double: £1,000.00
(Probably) The Best Hotel in Northern India: Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
7 nights, peak season, deluxe suite: £53,500.00 | Standard double: £8,600.00
(Probably) The Best Hotel in The Indian Foothills: Wildflower Hall, Shimla
7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £7,650.00 | Standard double: £3,400.00
Flights from London to India, peak season: from £350.00 per person, 12 hours, 1 stop
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.
Deserted Bai Dai beach, Phu Quoc, 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.
Limestone outcrops in Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam
Two of the Best Beaches: Bai Dai & Cua Can, Phu Quoc
Best Hotel on Phu Quoc: Salinda Resort
7 nights, peak season, premium villa: £4,550.00 | Standard double, sea view: £1,950.00
(Probably) The Best Hotel in Southern Vietnam: Mia Resort Nha Trang
7 nights, peak season, premium Mia Suite: £3,400.00 | standard double: £1,100.00
Flights from London to Vietnam, peak season: from £550.00 per person, 16 hours, 1 stop
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!
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.
The sandbar that is Nakupenda beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania
Two of the Best Beaches: Nungwi & Nakupenda
Best Hotel near Nakupenda: Zanzi Resort
7 nights, peak season, luxury ocean villa: £4,200.00 | standard double: £1,800.00
Best Hotel on Zanzibar: Baraza, Bwejuu-Paje
7 nights, peak season, premium Sultan Suite, AI: £4,500.00 | standard villa, AI: £3,400.00
Flights from London to Zanzibar, peak season: from £500.00 per person, takes 16 hours, 1 stopover.
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.
Fabulous Playa Mansa, Punta del Este, 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.
Hip n hippy Punta del Diabolo, Uruguay
Two of the Best Beaches: Jose Ignacio & Playa Mansa, Punta Del Este
Best Hotel in Jose Ignacio: Playa VIK Jose Ignacio
7 nights, peak season, ocean suite: £5,550.00 | (2/3 bedroom houses only alternative)
Best Hotel in Punta Del Este: The Grand Hotel
7 nights, peak season, grand suite: £3,200.00 | standard double: £1,200.00
Flights from London to Uruguay, peak season: from £675.00 per person, takes 17 hours, 1 stopover
Rugged coastline of La Pedrera, Uruguay
The ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ is made up of more than 4000 islands and stretches almost 2000 miles, from the snow-capped peaks in Hokkaido to the tropical beaches of Okinawa in the south. It is a hugely fascinating place where ancient traditions are intertwined with an ultra-modern and super-efficient way of life.
Impressive backdrop of Mount Fuji in Spring-time
Japan is a truly exemplary country. Whilst its history, culture and shopping are renowned, there are also a diverse range of world-class tourist destinations and an abundance of impressive hotels and restaurants serving some of the finest cuisine on the planet.
In short, it’s a land that offers all you could ever wish for in a honeymoon. The tricky part is deciding what that might be!
Best Time to Visit: Although a year round destination, mid-March-May is considered the best time to go, in part due to the cherry blossom. It is peak season though so expect big crowds.
October-November also popular months. August too is great, albeit hot and humid. June-July is rainy season. Typhoons possible May-October, and especially in September. December-March is ski season.
Hateruma Island, Taketomi, Okinawa
Best Beaches: The Islands of Okinawa, especially Miyako & Ishigaki, 350km south of mainland Okinawa. Alternatively, head to Yakushima, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands.
Best Hotel on Yakushima: Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima
7 nights, peak season, junior suite: £9,000.00 | standard double: £3,600.00
Best Hotel in Kyoto: The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
7 nights, peak season, premium suite: £10,500.00 | standard double: £4,250.00
Best Hotel in Osaka: The St. Regis, Osaka
7 nights, peak season, theme suite: £5,400 .00| standard double: £1,985.00
Flights from London to Japan, peak season: from £800.00, 1 stop, 16.5 hours.
Looking for an unusual honeymoon destination? Well, aside from the space like capsules in Antarctica (more on that shortly!) you’re unlikely to find a more unique place to spend your honeymoon than on the incredibly beautiful Galapagos – the islands made famous by Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution and natural selection.
Isla Bartolome, Galapagos
600 miles from the nearest landmass this small and isolated archipelago of 60 or so volcanic islands is renowned for its low-biodiversity, unique wildlife and fragile ecosystem. It’s also the world’s second most protected marine area, after the Barrier Reef of course. There is no other place on earth quite like it. And as a result tourism is strictly managed.
But did you also know they have some of the best beaches in the world? And should you want a whole uninhabited island practically to yourself there plenty of islets to choose from. You simply need to charter a boat and pack a bag!
Having said that, I should add a caveat! When I said uninhabited I mean by humans, since you may well have to share your desert island with a few penguins or some sea-lions!
Tourism is micro-managed on the island so tourist numbers are restricted and there are no huge hotel resorts or strips of restaurants and bars. But if the idea of honeymooning on the Galapagos Islands appeals to you then that won’t matter. There are a few excellent 4 star hotels and some great restaurants. And the tours and day trips are out of this world! What more do you need?
Best Time to Visit: It’s an all-year-round destination. Temperatures from 21-30 degrees C.
December-May are warmest, with occasional downpours. July-December are the driest, seas tend to be rougher due to the Humboldt current. Although located on the Equator, the weather is not tropical.
Diving best June-November. Wildlife most active June- December.
Seals & turtles on Puerto Chino beach, Galapagos
2 of the Best Beaches: Puerto Chino Beach, San Cristobal & Galapagos Beach, Tortuga Bay
Best Hotel in the Galapagos: Pikaia Lodge
7 nights, peak season, pool suite: £17,880 .00| King double: £16,000.00
Flights from London to Galapagos, peak season: from £930.00 per person, 2 stops, 20 hours.
St Petersburg is the perfect choice for those looking to add a city break to their multi-destination honeymoon. Indeed one could easily spend a week here sampling the many delights on offer.
Church on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg
Popularly known as the ‘Venice of the North’ (partly due to its architecture and partly due to the extensive canal lanes and hundreds of bridges), St Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia. It’s also its most cosmopolitan and westward looking city and a World Heritage site in its own right.
Filled with baroque palaces, cathedrals and theatres; sumptuously ornate hotels and beautiful, neoclassical streets, St Petersburg showcases many of the world’s finest art and cultural activities. Indeed as newlyweds, no trip to St Petersburg is complete without taking in at least one ballet performance and a couple of operas!
The city also has one of the world’s oldest and greatest museums. The State Hermitage Museum in The Winter Palace houses a collection of 3,000,000 pieces of art, including an impressive display of work from every conceivable artist imaginable.
And when you need a break from all the museums, exhibitions, shows and performances, we suggest you head out for a spot of lunch in one of the many magnificent towns outside the city. Tsarkoye Selo, Pavlovsk, Veliky Novgorod, Peterhof or Vyborg are all within easy reach.
Best Time to Visit St Petersburg: During the ‘White Nights’ in June when the sun barely sets. July-September is also a fine time to visit, followed by May & October. November-April has potential for heavy snow and freezing temperatures but it’s still beautiful, although in April the streets fill with sludge from the melting snow.
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Best Hotel in St Petersburg: Four Seasons Lion Palace St. Petersburg
7 nights, peak season, mid-premium suite: £10,500.00 | standard double: £7,500.00
Flights from London to St Petersburg, peak season: from £500.00 per person, 3 hours, direct.
Hong Kong is a dynamic, bustling harbour city set amongst a lush green jungle that fuses the best of the East with the best of the West. It is only natural therefore that standards are set exceptionally high.
Hong Kong’s iconic skyline, as seen from Victoria Peak
Set against a backdrop of the unmistakable, iconic skyscraper skyline, you can expect nothing short of a sensory overload each time you step foot outside your hotel. Vibrant streets throbbing with activity abound in colourful and dazzling neighbourhoods, whilst 200 year old temples and towering contemporary architectural masterpieces sit contentedly cheek by jowl.
The city is home to some of Asia’s finest hotels and spas, stylish boutiques, oriental bazaars and fabulous shopping malls. It is also a gastronomic powerhouse that features fragrant and sizzling woks on many a street corner as well as countless Michelin starred restaurants catering for every cuisine imaginable.
Outside the city there are dozens of small islands to explore with plenty of fine local beaches with some great snorkelling and diving opportunities. Repulse Bay and Clear Water Bay are the most popular local beaches. Alternatively, secluded Tai Long Wan on the eastern coast of Sai Kung Peninsula is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in the whole territory.
Aside from the beaches there are also numerous walks and jungle hikes with some impressive viewpoints and fantastic vistas. In essence Hong Kong has it all. And as a honeymoon destination, Hong Kong really does take some beating!
Best Time to Visit Hong Kong: October-December is the best time to visit, followed by January-March. April to June are the wettest and most humid months. Pollution is also an issue during this period. Chance of typhoons during hot and humid July-September.
Tai Long Wan beach, Hong Kong
Best Hotel in Hong Kong: The Upper House, Hong Kong
7 nights, peak season, upper suite: £12,900.00 | standard double: £3,500.00
Flights from London to Hong Kong, peak season: from £525.00 per person, 12 hours, direct
Yep, that’s right… as in Amundsen, Scott, Emperor Penguins and the bottom of the world!
Orvin Fjella, Antarctica
Antarctica is the most unusual and exclusive holiday destination on the planet and the perfect location for a once in a lifetime honeymoon. Open for a few weeks in November, December and January and catering for a maximum of 12 guests at a time, White Desert offers an incredible honeymoon experience.
Flying out from South Africa by private jet you’ll land in one of the most remote and extreme regions known to man. However just because you’re slap-bang in the middle of absolutely nowhere surrounded by mile upon mile of frozen wastes, doesn’t mean you’re going to be ‘roughing it’! Against a dramatic backdrop of a towering wall of ice on one side and a frozen lake on the other, you’ll find that a 5 star camp is set up for your arrival. It consists of 10 individual state-of-the-art pods that you’ll call home for the next few days.
Each spacious pod is tastefully designed with a Victorian explorer, old-world luxury feel in mind and comfortably sleeps two with twin or double bed, en-suite bathroom and study/lounge area.
Meals are prepared using the finest ingredients by in-house chef – who happens to cook for Lewis Hamilton the rest of the year – and are enjoyed as a group in the lavishly kitted out dining pod.
There are a variety of exceptional excursions including a trip to the South Pole, or to see a colony of 6,000 Emperor Penguins, or to the blue ice caves. Other activities include mountain climbing, ice-climbing, abseiling, kite-skiing and skiing.
Utterly unique, unbelievable and practically out of this world – it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Be prepared, it comes with a pretty hefty price tag.
Best Time to Visit (the only time!): November-January. Obviously it’s going to be cold, on average around -5 degrees C, which is in fact quite mild for the region. It’s also 24-hour sunlight, so a sleeping mask is in order.
Sleeping pods at White Desert, Antarctica
Best Hotel in Antarctica (the only hotel!): White Desert, Antarctica
6 nights, peak season, all inclusive, per pod sleeping 2: £109,000.00 including flights from SA (no it’s not a typo, but what did you expect!)
Flights from London to South Africa: from £1,000.00 per person, 11 hours, direct.