Planning your perfect adventure and choosing that dream honeymoon destination in which to kick off married life can be a tough decision at the best of times, but add in a global pandemic and things get a little more complicated. So Original Travel have come up with a few of their top picks for off-the-beaten-path honeymoon destinations, where you can escape the crowds and even – in some cases – avoid getting on a plane at all.
Explore Eastern Turkey
If the idea of spending your honeymoon lying on a beach and never leaving the hotel is entirely unappealing, then Eastern Turkey is probably the polar opposite, and so might be just for you. This is a honeymoon destination for culture vultures and history buffs, those who love sinking their teeth into a destination and really discovering all it has to offer. Turkey’s lesser-explored eastern region is filled with fascinating Christian history, including the final resting place of Noah’s Ark, Mount Ararat. Another highlight is visiting the earliest religious structure ever discovered – Gobekli Tepe, which is an archaeological site thought to date back to around 10,000 BC. You could also add on some time in Cappadocia, a region known for its iconic ‘fairy chimneys’ and other unusual rock formations – a sunset over this spectacular landscape is a sure-fire way to inject some extra romance into your honeymoon.
A Secluded Safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe
Have you always dreamed of spending your honeymoon on safari, but would rather go somewhere a little more off-the-beaten-path than the classics such as Kenya or South Africa? Then may we present Zimbabwe and Zambia. Think small luxury camps, secluded game drives (without the hoards of 4x4s you might find in some other top safari spots), the best guides in the business and romantic dinners under the stars in the middle of the bush. This honeymoon destination will serve you sunsets right on the Zambezi river – keep an eye out for hippos and other wildlife! Then top the honeymoon off with an unforgettable visit to Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World for a very good reason.
Slow travel Italian style
Italy may not exactly fit the ‘off-the-beaten-path’ honeymoon criteria, but if you’re looking for a flight-free, slow travel honeymoon destination then heading to Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot, by train might be the perfect option. At Original Travel, we are big fans of taking the slower route, and really enjoying the scenery along the way, and travelling by train allows just that, as well as being a much more eco-friendly alternative to flying.
Puglia is one of our all-time favourite spots in Italy, and one that hasn’t yet been totally overrun by tourists. Expect countryside dotted with ancient olive trees, beautiful baroque architecture in every town and village throughout the region, wonderful unspoilt stretches of coastline, and fantastic food that even other Italians acknowledge is the best in the country (praise indeed). In short, all of Italy’s best bits, but without the crowds – to us that sounds like the perfect honeymoon option in this strange corona-era (or any era for that matter).
Romance in Romania
Romania couldn’t be much further from the classic beach honeymoon destination if it tried, but if it’s authentic, memorable experiences in a beautiful setting that is virtually untouched by tourists, this could be just the answer. A trip to Transylvania is almost like travelling back in time, offering the chance to reconnect with nature and everything around you, which sounds like a very appropriate way to spend your honeymoon in our opinion. Spend your days getting to know local families, visiting craftsmen and artisans to learn about their trades and hiking through the stunning Piatra Craiului National Park (part of the Carpathian mountain range), all while staying in charming guesthouses and taking the time to truly slow down and live in the moment. This is also another destination that can be reached from the UK entirely by train, so fits the bill if you are looking to travel flight-free.
A Himalayan Honeymoon in Bhutan
If it’s eco-friendly travel you’re after, Bhutan ticks the box brilliantly. 70% of the country is covered by forest, which means that it soaks up more carbon than it emits, in turn making Bhutan the world’s only carbon negative country. Spend your honeymoon here visiting Bhutan’s ancient monasteries, soaking up the traditional Buddhism steeped culture and trekking through this pristine Himalayan environment.
While the country may have so far escaped the twin forces of globalisation and overtourism, there is luckily no shortage of luxury hotels dotted throughout the mountain valleys of Bhutan, so you will have a suitably luxurious place to rest your heads. The only downside on the eco-front is that unless you’ve got a very generous annual leave allowance, reaching Bhutan by train might be a stretch too far, so flying is really the only option (but luckily for you, Original Travel offsets all the carbon from our clients’ flights, so you can do this guilt-free).
If that’s inspired you to start planning your honeymoon, use Patchwork to ask guests to help treat you to experiences that will make it extra special. Whether it’s £10 for a bowl of orecchiette in Puglia, £50 towards a day’s hiking in Romania, or £150 towards a private game drive in Zambia, your guests will love to contribute to the activities that mean the most to you. Customise one of our templates (we have over 100 different honeymoon destinations) or start your own bespoke page from scratch.
Original Travel are working to instil confidence in people booking any sort of holidays at the moment, by ensuring flexibility in booking dates and destinations (in case travel advice changes) and offering travel insurance that covers coronavirus curtailment.
And of course if you use Patchwork honeymoon fund to collect gift money from friends and family, you have complete control of your money and total flexibility on where, when and how you spend it.
The top image in this post is courtesy of Giulia Zanca