Happy new year! If you’ve just gotten engaged (congratulations!) or are getting married this year, chances are you’re kicking off 2013 with a bit of thinking about where to go on honeymoon. Here’s our pick of five of the hottest honeymoon destinations for this year – though as far as we’re concerned, you can’t go wrong with any destination as your honeymoon choice…
With the lifting of the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) call for a boycott on travel to Burma in late 2010, southeast Asia’s hidden gem has been slowly opening up to foreign tourists. Though there are still ethical issues with travelling to the country (I’m the first to admit that the idea doesn’t sit too comfortably with me), not least due to the continued oppression of the Burmese people by the government, with thoughtful and careful planning, a trip to Burma can be an amazing experience – and there’s no denying the thrill of discovering somewhere that is so relatively “untouched” by Western tourism in this part of the world. If you want to travel around a fair bit don’t expect luxury everywhere, and be sure to research the country thoroughly beforehand (this article and the FCO website are good places to start). In addition, it’s important to endeavour to put your money into the hands of local people rather than the government – so stay clear of government-run accommodation and look at how your money can have a positive impact on your travels. Aside from all this, there’s no denying that Burma is a most fascinating and intriguing destination that will make a most memorable honeymoon destination.
I can’t seem to put together my yearly list of hot honeymoon destinations without repeating at least one choice from the previous year – and this year, it’s Sri Lanka. Why am I choosing it as a hot destination again this year? Well, from 14th April 2013, British Airways are launching thrice-weekly flights to the island’s capital, Colombo, from London’s Gatwick Airport, making it easier than ever to head over here. With fabulous places to stay, beautiful beaches, peaceful tea plantations, amazing scenery and lively towns – not to mention amazing food – Sri Lanka is only going to continue to grow in popularity as a choice for honeymooners; and though you can visit on a package, we recommend putting together a tailor-made itinerary (either by yourselves or with a recommended tour operator) to get the most out of the island.
It’s on our doorstep here in the UK, and easy to overlook for a honeymoon in favour of more exotic destinations, but every time I visit France I’m reminded of its immense appeal. Firstly, you’ve got a tremendous cuisine with fantastic regional variations, all washed down with arguably unbeatable wines. Then there’s the outstanding variety of landscapes – from romantic, windswept Atlantic beaches to the built-up resorts of the Côte d’Azur, via architecturally stunning and cosmopolitan cities to sleepy riverside villages and tranquil countryside – and the ease of exploring, whether by car or by train. Then there’s the wealth of great places to stay – from cosy gîtes where you can live like locals to world-class luxury hotels and charming B&Bs – which make honeymooners absolutely spoiled for choice. My top places to visit? It’s hard to narrow it down but: Paris, the Dordogne, Provence and Lyon (the latter for the food alone) will always be places particularly close to my heart.
If The Hobbit has you hankering for the green fields and dramatic scenery of Middle Earth, head to the land of the long white cloud for your honeymoon. Even with the Tolkien effect you’re unlikely to find the country crowded, and though it’s small, there’s so much to see here that after making the journey halfway around the world to get here you may want to make sure you’ve got a good few weeks available to explore. If you don’t fancy driving, then it’s easy enough to get around using public transport, but for complete freedom I’d really recommend hiring a car, which will help you get a bit more off the beaten track. Even better, the distances aren’t huge, so even a couple of weeks could see you taking in everything from vineyards and geysers to fjords and glaciers.
Looking for a Caribbean honeymoon with all the usual trappings – sun, sea, sand, cocktails – but also want to get off-the-beaten-track? Panama could be the place for you. This small Central American country has been seeing some major changes lately – not least to its capital, Panama City, which is being smartened up and revitalised – but for the moment remains fairly quiet on the tourist front and a real gem to explore. For a start, there’s none of the over-development that plagues some of its neighbour, Costa Rica’s beaches – head for the beautiful Bocas del Toro and the San Blas archipelago for picture-perfect honeymoon sands, backed by lush jungle. Then there’s the stunning, wildlife-packed rainforests and parks, including Parque Nactional Coiba, and colonial towns that are a joy to explore at a leisurely pace.
If you’re looking for a travel agent to book your honeymoon through, head over to our Travel Links section for recommended honeymoon tour operators, where you’ll find companies that cover all of the above destinations.