Looking for fresh alternatives to traditional honeymoon hotspots? Whether your client wants a romantic city, an exotic island or a classic beach holiday, we've got a new spin on some old favourites...
Instead of: Rome, Paris
Why? Paris and Rome are oft-hailed as the cities of love, but they’re also pricey and swarming with tourists. In comparison, a honeymoon in Valencia won’t break the bank and, with its architecture and Gothic cathedrals, the city is a serious contender when it comes to romance.
Valencia may be the fastest-growing short break destination in Europe, but the city is still not overcrowded and remains much cheaper than Europe’s other major cities.
All its top sights and attractions are clustered around the city centre, making it easy to explore, and it has a vibrant bar, restaurant and club scene.
The city enjoys a warm climate year-round and has something Rome and Paris don’t – miles of white, sandy beaches, not to mention more square metres of public parks and gardens than any other city centre in Europe. And if you fancy getting hot under the collar, Valencia boasts Spain’s biggest salsa scene.
Sample package: Kirker Holidays offers a seven-night honeymoon package to Valencia for £769 per person, including bed and breakfast at the four-star Melia Plaza, flights, private transfers, entrance tickets to the City of Arts and Sciences and a travel guide. (?020 7593 2283)
Instead of: Australia
Why? With an excellent exchange rate and strong product range, South Africa is ideal for honeymooners seeking a trip of a lifetime.
Flying to South Africa is a lot more manageable than travelling Down Under, as most flights are direct and take around 12 hours. Kuoni has revealed that luxury accommodation such as Lion Sands Game Reserve and Shamwari Game Reserve have continued to do a roaring trade in spite of the economy.
Virgin Holidays product co-ordinator Nikki Mortimer said: “Weddings and honeymoons are often based around getting the best value. With the exchange rate on the rand currently so favourable, we recommend South Africa.
“If you liked Australia head to Cape Town – a beautiful city surrounded by spectacular scenery.”
Sample package: Virgin Holidays offers seven nights at Hollow on the Square in Cape Town for £789 per person, including flights and transfers, departing October 1 2009. (?0844 557 3861, vhols4agents.co.uk)
Instead of: USA
Why? For honeymooners who have toured the US and are looking for the next big adventure, suggest a self-drive through British Columbia and the Rocky Mountains of Canada.
Lakes and mountains make up the landscape, while activities include whale-watching, bear-watching or kayaking. In the winter, clients can go ice-skating on the lakes, toast marshmallows or go dog-sledding.
Premier Holidays general manager for America, Canada and the Caribbean, Heidi Blades, said: “Canada is perfect for couples who don’t want to lie on a beach all day. Much of Canada is undiscovered. “Brits currently get more for their money in Canada than they do in the US.”
Sample package: Premier Holidays offers a tailor-made, self-drive holiday for 14 nights. The tour includes four-star accommodation in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanimo, Sun Peaks, Jasper, Banff and Calgary and costs £3,199 for two people, with flights and car hire. (?0844 493 7531 trade.premierholidays.co.uk)
Instead of: Bali
Why? If cultural beach holidays are up your street, but you’ve already been to Thailand, consider Bali. Kuoni has added the romantic island to its weddings and honeymoons brochure thanks to its pristine beaches, top-class hotels and culture.
For the island’s best restaurants and artisan shops, head to cultural capital Ubud. In this pretty town surrounded by verdant rice fields, cooking classes and spa treatments abound.
For a truly Balinese massage, couples should plump for the two-hour Mandi Lulur body scrub, which involves an exfoliating rub-down and an intense massage followed by a bath in rose petals enjoyed with a ginger tea. Active honeymooners can learn to surf or head to the east of the island to scuba dive alongside manta rays.
Sample package: Kuoni offers five nights’ room-only at the Puri Santrian, Bali, including flights and private transfers in resort, for £834 per person in June 2009. (?01306 747 008, agents.kuoni.co.uk) ??
Instead of: Barbados
Why? For couples who want a beach-based holiday, but don’t want to leave the hotel, the palatial five-star resorts of the Caribbean automatically spring to mind. But if your clients are cash-strapped and are seeking a honeymoon closer to home with guaranteed sunshine, suggest Gran Canaria.
Set amid a clutch of palm trees, the island’s Palm Beach Hotel is seriously hip with its unique retro style, but it has plenty to offer beyond its edgy design.
Situated opposite the island’s famous sand dunes and set on a pristine beach, there’s no need to leave this intimate hideaway. For a heady dose of extreme pampering, enjoy treatments for two at the hotel spa.
Other facilities include a gym, steam bath, sauna as well as a deluge of bars and restaurants. The hotel even offers t’ai chi and yoga classes.
Sample package: Classic Collection offers four nights’ bed and breakfast for £516 per person, including flights, transfers, wine, fruit basket and chocolates, one complimentary room service breakfast for two and a ‘honey-dream’ session in the spa. (0800 008 7288)
- Read more about weddings and honeymoons on our weddings abroad page, in association with Sandals
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