As familiar to most of us as weddings themselves, honeymoons are the breaks that newlyweds traditionally take, sometimes very soon after exchanging vows. Decades ago, the bride and groom would depart in a car or carriage after the wedding breakfast. Now though, most couples now opt for an evening reception too and will usually go on honeymoon a day or two after the wedding, or even weeks or months after their big day.
Honeymoons can last for as long as the couple want and can afford, although they’re typically between one and two weeks - and they are often to a far-flung destination considered special enough for this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Popular places to spend those first days as newlyweds include European destinations in romantic Italy or perhaps Cyprus, the original island of love. Further afield, resorts in hot, exotic locations such as Mexico or Dubai attract lots of loved-up couples.
Mini moons are becoming increasingly popular. They sometimes replace the longer honeymoon, especially where time or money is limited. Other people take a mini moon directly after getting hitched, promising themselves a longer holiday somewhere hot and luxurious at a later date.
Mini moons tend to be shorter breaks, so they will often be taken in destinations that are closer to home. This might be in the UK itself, or perhaps somewhere with a short flight time and warmer weather. Mini breaks in cities such as Paris or Barcelona are popular choices, or the happy couple may choose a deluxe hotel in another part of Spain or Portugal.
Let’s begin with the original ‘Love Island’. You can holiday like a celebrity on the island that was the birthplace of Aphrodite, as legend has it. The Goddess of Love is only part of Cyprus’s rich history. This beautiful island offers gorgeous golden beaches as well as a clubbing scene that attracts night owls from all over Europe.
If you fancy venturing further afield, Dubai is a perennially popular choice. East meets West in this glittering destination that’s liberally endowed with hotels that reach dizzying heights - in terms of both their opulence and stature. The city offers wide, sandy beaches on which to relax, and is also a shopaholic’s paradise. Barter for a bargain in the traditional Middle Eastern souks or browse the huge shopping malls that offer a dazzling array of designer goods.
The Eternal city of Rome has long attracted lovers from all over the world over. Italy’s capital is home to an array of attractions, including the Vatican city. Explore the Sistine Chapel and admire Michelangelo’s breathtaking art as you gaze upwards, or discover Hadrian’s own masterpiece, the Pantheon. Rome is brimming with architecture and artefacts from the era of the Roman Empire - and like the entire country, is one of the world’s favourite foodie destinations.
Offering glorious sunshine as well as fascinating insights into ancient Mayan and Aztec civilisations, Cancun has a great range of glamorous attractions. With wide, golden sands and supreme levels of luxury, the Mexican resort’s hotels make the ideal setting for a far-flung romantic getaway.
The capital of the United Kingdom has plenty to offer honeymooners. Whether you’ve never been to London, have visited regularly, or even live on its outskirts or in the Home Counties, this vast metropolis always throws up some hidden gems and unchartered territory. No wonder so many celebrities from overseas call it home.
Paris is one of those iconic destinations that seems to make it onto everyone’s bucket list - whether they live in the UK, the USA, Japan or Australia. The river Seine flows right through the heart of this most romantic of cities. From the landmark Eiffel Tower to the Champs-Elysees and Arc de Triomphe, Paris is the perfect base for an unforgettable holiday.
Spain offers a whole spectrum of options when it comes to holidays. From city hotels in Madrid or Barcelona to stays in Marbella, or in the beachside resorts of the Costa del Sol, there is lots to choose from. There are the Balearic and Canary Islands, too. Barcelona successfully combines a city break with beaches and is a very unique destination - thanks in part to Gaudi and his works of art like the Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell.
Spain’s neighbour has plenty of choice when it comes to that special short break. The Algarve has been popular with British holidaymakers for many years, thanks to its pretty coastal resorts and plush hotels. Perfect for a romantic long weekend - or a longer stay if you have the time.
Cyprus has superb accommodation to offer, including five-star properties in Paphos like the Anassa hotel by the beach, and the adults-only Adams Beach deluxe resort in Ayia Napa.
Why not spoil yourselves by booking a suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai? This iconic Arabian hotel is shaped like a sail and offers superb levels of service, along with panoramic sea views.
When in Rome, you could treat yourselves to a stay at the five-star Grand Hotel Ritz near the Villa Borghese gardens, or Trevi Palace Luxury Apartments close to the famous fountain.
At Mexico’s Banyan Tree Mayakoba, you can explore coral reefs, admire magnificent sand dunes and discover mangroves and lagoons as well as the stunning coastline.
In London, you could book into the deluxe self-catering apartments of Claverley Court, or stay at Verta Hotel on the Thames. Or why not spend a night or two at the luxurious five-star Sofitel?
If you’re a big fan of Disney, you could opt for the five-star Villages Nature Paris that is located close to the theme park. If you want a property in central Paris, there are options such as the ultra-modern Pullman Paris La Defense Hotel, or the charming Hotel Paris Bastille Boutet - M Gallery by Sofitel, which is packed with character.
Live in the lap of five-star luxury in the Spanish capital of Madrid, or book into the Senator Banus Spa on the Costa del Sol.
Stylish, luxury Portuguese hotels like the Oura View Praia on the beach near Albufeira, or the Hotel Real Marina Residence in the waterside resort of Olhao, offer sea, sun and Moorish architecture to enjoy