July 31, 2015
Iceland is a surprisingly hip destination in summer with beautiful places to stay like the Art-Deco Hotel Borg. Take a dip in the romantic Blue Lagoon, visit geysers, volcanoes, glaciers and mountains. In the first half of August, you can even enjoy a whale watching excursion under the midnight sun.
A cruise is a great way to see the Mediterranean – or the Baltic – in summer, though I suggest you avoid the huge floating hotels and opt instead for one of the new generation of small luxury cruise ships where the emphasis is on spacious accommodation, great food and service. Try the SeaDream Yacht Club which has just 57 cabins and 96 crew, or Seabourn.
Another way to beat the crowds in high summer is to take a romantic cruise on a tall ship with the upmarket Star Clippers. Its Mediterranean cruises gets to the small ports that big ships cannot reach, and casting off at sunset with the giant sails flapping overhead is a magical experience.
Italy’s Amalfi coast is wonderfully romantic and – typical of the region – has temperatures of 28ºC and an average 11 hours of daily sunshine. Rent yourselves a villa or apartment with CV Travel, or you could hop on a ferry to the iconic island of Capri, one of the most stylish honeymoon locations in Europe.
For fabulous Italian beaches it’s hard to beat Sardinia, home to some great hotels including Forte Village – famed for its spa and sporting facilities – and lesser known gems such as the charming and friendly Hotel Relais Villa del Golfo with just 65 rooms and suites set on a beautiful bay, and the stylish boutique Coluccia Hotel & Beach Club.
Less well known is the fascinating southern Italian region of Puglia where you’ll find historic towns and unspoilt beaches. Stay at the five-star Borgo Egnazia Hotel which has villas with private pools and a world class spa, or the intimate Il Melograno which dates back to the 16th century.
The rolling countryside and hilltop towns of Tuscany make a perfect setting for an August honeymoon, and if you pick the right hotel you will be safely insulated from the peak-season crowds. Include Borgo San Felice which has rooms dotted throughout a charming hamlet, and Villa Campestri, an elegant manor house set in acres of lawns and wooded parkland.
Even if you love Italy, you might want to avoid cities such as Venice and Rome at this time of year. They are simply too hot and crowded.
The Cote d’Azur in the South of France can get busy but not if you escape to a stylish hotel such as Le Mas de Pierre. If you want something more quirky – at a budget price .
If you fancy Greece or Turkey, choose a remote rural hideaway rather than a hotel in a busy resort. In Turkey, the adults-only Mandarin Boutique Hotel which has just eight rooms and a peaceful swimming pool surrounded by quite countryside. All the rooms have four-poster beds and Jacuzzi.
Another great choice in Turkey is Badem Tatil Ev in Selimye, a perfect retreat for honeymooners. The hotel has 12 bedrooms set in flower-filled gardens with lovely views of the bay. There’s a large infinity pool and private beach club. In the Greek islands, Santorini is impossibly romantic, though it does get busy in August.
For island hopping head to Croatia. Arrive by private water taxi at the glamorous Villa Vilina on the traffic-free island of Lopud, or check into Hotel Podstine which overlooks the waterfront near funky Hvar Town. Hotel More has just 35 rooms, each with a panoramic view across the Elaphiti Islands.
Mallorca (29ºC temperatures, 10 hours of sunshine) makes a perfect short-haul honeymoon destination, with its elegant hotels, quiet resorts and rugged countryside: you can stay at a villa for two with private pool.Share