10 romantic holidays
Splurge on a special occasion
Take the pulse of the city on a trip between Kowloon and Hong Kong island. Photograph: Getty
The perfect beaches of La Digue in the Seychelles
Havana, Cuba for romance with a slice of history. Photograph: Getty
Bali and Hong Kong
Two-stop honeymoons are all the rage and this one combines the bucolic charms of tropical Bali with the sensory overload of Hong Kong. When you’re done enjoying the sybaritic pleasures of Seminyak, you can lose yourself in the back streets of one of Asia’s most fascinating cities.
13-nights (seven in Bali, six in Hong Kong), five-star accommodation from €3,059pp; americanholidays.com
The classic west-coast trip takes in a couple of days in San Francisco and then a drive down the magnificent Pacific Coast Highway, through Santa Cruz, Big Sur and San Simeon, to Los Angeles and – if you like – onto Las Vegas. Accommodation ranges from simple to sensational, the scenery is spectacular and the driving is very straightforward.
Nine-nights in a four-star hotel, including car hire and flights, from €1,900pp; americanholidays.com
A honeymoon destination for those who like their romance served with a slice of history, Cuba works because it’s fascinating, exotic and in danger of becoming extinct. The crumbling charm of Havana, the lush greenery of Viñales, the beautifully preserved towns of Trinidad and a surprisingly friendly welcome . . . just some of the reasons Cuba is so memorable. And if you want Caribbean-style resorts, there’s always Varadero.
10 nights from €1,360pp; gohop.ie
Dubai and Maldives
For many couples, more than a week in a watery paradise like a secluded atoll on the Maldives, reachable only by private plane, can generate a touch of cabin fever. That’s why a popular option is to add on a few days in Dubai, to shop, eat and indulge in decadent luxury.
Three nights in Dubai and seven nights in the Maldives in five-star accommodation, from €3,649pp (4-star option from €1,869pp); travelmood.ie
The term “tropical paradise” is thrown around with irresponsible abandon but if there’s anywhere it’s genuinely applicable to, it’s the Seychelles. Yes, the water is perfect; yes, the beaches are brilliant white. There’s not much to do besides snorkel, snooze and eat Creole cuisine, but that’s kind of the whole point.
Nine nights in five-star accommodation from €2,199pp; travelmood.ie
If you like your beaches flanked by 1,500-year-old Buddhist temples, then Sri Lanka could be the destination for you. A recent arrival onto the luxury holiday scene, it is still one of the cheapest long-haul destinations, offering five-star treatment for three-star prices. The best time to go is May to October, but December to April is peak whale-watching season in the south.
14 nights in five-star accommodation from €2,500pp, inc flights
Tanzania and Zanzibar
Safari, the Serengeti and the sands of Zanzibar are the big draws of this combo honeymoon. You can track the Big Five in the shadow of Kilimanjaro and lie on the brilliant white sands of the northwest coast of Zanzibar. You have a choice of luxury lodges and all-inclusive resorts; the only downside is you’ll need shots.
14 nights, three-star lodge in Tanzania and five-star resort in Zanzibar from €3,500 pp
The days of Vietnam as an exclusively tough-backpacker country are over. You can still explore its tumultuous history, colonial charm and inspiring scenery from the back of a motorbike, but the last few years have seen the opening of some stunning resorts and hotels to rival any in Southeast Asia. And then there’s the food, arguably the best in this part of the world . . .
A 10-day honeymoon in four-star accommodation from €2,500-€2,700pp
Idyllic Italy is the perfect destination for a summer honeymoon – no need to fly halfway around the world to find culture, art, scenery and food, not to mention an abundance of choice for beach lovers. From the lakes of Lombardy to the Moorish cities of Sicily, Italy’s breathtaking choice has something for every taste and budget.
Six nights in Sorrento, four nights in Rome in four-star accommodation, from €1,815pp incl flights; leetravel.ie
The most visited country in Southeast Asia is also the best equipped for luxury romance tourism. The resorts range from simple to stunning, and the range of activities is unbeatable: you can go elephant trekking in the jungle; scuba diving in a coral reef; explore ancient temples; and de-stress in some of the best spas in the world.
Ten nights in Koh Samui and Bangkok from €1,299pp; heffernansweddingsabroad.ie