Give the happy couple a taste of things to come with a romantic mini-moon, writes Katie McGonagle
No one likes to be the first to leave a party, especially if they’re at the centre of the celebrations. Yet barely a generation ago, that’s exactly what the bride and groom would do, departing for their honeymoon on the wedding night, before the reception had even finished.
Thankfully, that’s one wedding tradition that has pretty much disappeared, with most couples preferring to party with their guests until the wee small hours, even joining them for breakfast the next day.
This means their honeymoon habits are changing to fit, with a significant shift towards couples choosing a short break immediately after the wedding – a chance to get away and recover from the big day – followed by a classic honeymoon at a later date.
Now the challenge is working out which short breaks are romantic enough to qualify as a mini-moon, and how to follow them up with something even more exciting.
The city break – Paris
The ‘city of lights’ has been a honeymoon favourite since before your grandparents were born, and it’s every bit as captivating now as it was then. Not only is it close enough for even the shortest stay, but it oozes romance at every turn.
From strolling the banks of the Seine and climbing the Eiffel Tower, to a dinner for two in a charming bistro, couples are guaranteed plenty of memorable moments.
Book it: Kirker Holidays features five-star Le Bristol, boasting panoramic views of the Paris skyline, a three Michelin-starred restaurant and rooftop spa. Three nights’ B&B starts at £1,865, including travel by Eurostar, private transfers, champagne on arrival, an €85 spa voucher, Seine cruise and museum pass.
Or try: New York is the ultimate city break. Re-create Sleepless in Seattle at the Empire State Building, take a carriage ride through Central Park or compare wedding bands with the window display at Tiffany’s.
Follow with: Combining culture, history, scenery and sightseeing, Cape Town is a city worthy of any honeymooner. Stay at the buzzing V&A Waterfront, take the cable car up Table Mountain (at sunset for added wow factor), then move on to the Cape Winelands or a safari park.
The quiet getaway – Puglia, Italy
After the wedding day whirlwind, most couples want to unwind, so Italy – the queen of slow-paced, sumptuous breaks, where great food and wine is a given – is ideal.
Its regions don’t get more relaxed than Puglia, home of the iconic trulli houses, sugar-cube-white villages more reminiscent of Greece than Italy, and ancient castle ruins breaking up its rural landscapes.
Book it: A week at the five-star Masseria Torre Maizza in Puglia, a historic 30-room boutique hotel, starts at £1,173 in June with Sardatur Holidays for a superior room, including British Airways flights and transfers. Tell gourmet travellers about its in-house restaurant, serving fish from Savelletri, home-grown vegetables and meat from local masserias.
Or try: Burgundy in France or Andalucia in Spain are equally strong on food, wine and relaxation.
Follow with: Like steak? Love Malbec? Argentina’s incredible flavours are topped only by its epic scenery and energetic cities and, of course, the chance to learn the world’s most passionate dance – the Argentine tango.
The big adventure – Oman
Most countries would count themselves lucky to boast soaring mountains, undulating deserts or age-old forts, but with all three, Oman has really hit the jackpot.
It’s only a seven-hour flight, but clients will feel worlds away when they hit capital Muscat, home of royal palaces, ancient forts and the third-largest mosque in the world. Suggest adding a stay in the country’s wilder regions too: either the Bedouin camps in Wahiba Sands or the new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in the breathtaking Al Hajar mountains.
Book it: Cox & Kings offers four nights’ B&B at The Chedi Muscat from £1,040, including Oman Air flights and private transfers. A two-night extension to Hud Hud in Wahiba Sands costs £1,695, including transfers from Muscat.
Or try: St Petersburg should score well with newlyweds seeking culture and adventure in equal measure.
Follow with: Safari is a honeymoon staple. Combine spotting the big five in budget-friendly (by safari standards) Kenya, splashing out on Botswana or going niche with lemurs in Madagascar, all with the beaches of the Indian Ocean.
The epic journey – Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
Nothing says sophistication like this legendary rail journey from London to Venice.
Think champagne served by white-gloved stewards, plush art deco furnishings and the best of Europe’s scenery whizzing past the windows. Pair it with an equally elegant stay in Venice for the full honeymoon experience.
Book it: Belmond offers a double cabin with table d’hôte meals from £2,050 for the one-night journey. Pair it with Belmond Hotel Cipriani’s Just the Two of Us honeymoon package, including two nights in a junior suite and a host of romantic extras, from £3,008.
Or try: Now the Nile is back in action, a cruise along this famous waterway is just as Agatha Christie-esque. Plus the newlyweds can enjoy Cairo, Luxor and Aswan without the crowds.
Follow with: Epic journeys often make it in to a honeymoon wish-list, from the familiar, such as self-driving the Canadian Rockies or traversing Australia by train, to the more exotic, like trekking to Machu Picchu or following the Silk Road on a private tour.
The beach break – Croatia
A little sunshine is just what couples need to recharge, but they’re likely to want something more special than their usual beach break.
Prestige Holidays is tipping the Adriatic island of Losinj as Croatia’s next big thing, combining unspoilt and uncrowded beaches with a focus on wellness.
There’s activity for those who want it, but a stroll through the narrow lanes and pastel-coloured houses of waterfront town Mali Losinj might be all the adventure they need.
Book it: Prestige Holidays combines three nights at the Park Plaza Histria in Pula with three at the Hotel Bellevue in Mali Losinj. Prices start at £999, including flights, transfers and a 15-minute air-taxi transfer to Mali Losinj.
Or try: Santorini is a tried-and-tested honeymoon spot, with knockout views and pretty villages offering all the chocolate-box charm couples could want.
Follow with: The Maldives remains Kuoni’s most-popular honeymoon spot and deservedly so, with its white-sand beaches and high-end hotels providing the building blocks for the ultimate beach honeymoon.
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