After the storybook wedding, the romantic honeymoon is the most memorable way to begin a marriage. This post wedding interlude is important to today’s couples as the start of their “happily ever after”. Classic honeymoon spots have ranged from Niagara Falls to Paris but for couples who want to find that little known spot where they can relax and enjoy the first intimate days of married life there are places far off the beaten path that offer romantic settings and a true sense of getting away from it all.
The Irish coast near the city of Galway is one spot that combines all the elements for a perfect romance without the crowds or tourist hype. Salthill, a suburb of Galway City, has long been an Irish resort community. On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Salthill has luxury hotels and simple inns. In addition to the lovely beaches, Salthill features a two mile long Promenade along Galway Bay. This promenade is lined with pubs, casinos, shops, and restaurants. A romantic stroll along Galway Bay suits newlywed couples and swimming in other areas of Galway Bay can be a delight. Sailboats known locally as Galway hookers are picturesque against the ocean horizon.
One of the finest hotels in Salthill is the Galway Bay Hotel, a four star hotel located on the Promenade. Scenic views of the sea and the Clare Hills can both be viewed from most of the luxury rooms at this hotel. Modern amenities include a 15 meter indoor swimming pool, a sauna, a gym, and on site dining. The Lobster Pot offers award winning Irish and international cuisine while Café Lido offers informal dining. An Scanda Caoch, the hotel bar, is also available to guests.
If warmer waters sound more tempting, Sfakia on the Greek island of Crete is another honeymoon getaway with an ocean front view. Located in southwestern Crete, Sfakia – also known as Chora Sfakia – is the southern most spot in Europe. This traditional village faces the open sea but is backed by rugged mountains, ideal for hiking or visiting one of several natural gorges in the area. The fertile farmlands on Crete are famous for their beauty. Sfakia offers an authentic Greek experience and is far removed from the popular tourist treks. With isolated, quiet beaches featuring warm, clear waters, and a village that seems frozen in time, Chora Sfakia is an ideal destination for honeymooners.
The small village, inhabited by fishermen and shepherds, has a small harbor. Visitors to Sfakia arrive by ferry and step ashore on the main street of the village. A bakery, two small groceries, a hairdressers, two meat and cheese, restaurants and tavernas are also available. The restaurants offer everything from traditional Cretan foods to international cuisine.
Although several small family owned hotels are located in Chora Sfakia, the Hotel Stavris offers the best experience. Owned and operated since 1969 by the Perrakis family, Hotel Stavris offers thirty four rooms in two different buildings. The main villa could be featured on a picture postcard with a white exterior and rich turquoise shutters. All rooms have a private balcony and most offer a breath taking sea view. On the terrace, where breakfast is served, there are flowers, grape arbors, and a tamarisk tree. Hotel Stavris is close to Vrisi Beach and the village square is located just outside the hotel. Twenty different hikes into the mountains begin and end in front of this hotel.
A very different beachfront experience awaits honeymooners in the small fisherman’s village of Trancoso on the Brazilian coast. Located in the northeast section of Brazil’s extensive coastal region, Trancoso offers everything a tropical retreat should have. Turquoise waters, open bays, and white sand beaches are the stuff that dreams are made from. Swimming, kayaking, kite and wind surfing are all popular pastimes and best of all, Trancoso is not one of the best-known Brazilian resort areas. A handful of movie stars – including Brad Pitt – have discovered this small South American paradise but for the most part, Trancoso draws fewer tourists and offers much more to those who find their way to this isolated spot.
For the ultimate in a romantic honeymoon experience, couples may want to book a villa at the Villas de Trancoso, a luxury resort with just five villas. Located on palm tree lined beaches, Villas de Trancoso offers privacy and natural beauty. Just fifteen minutes outside of the town of Trancoso, the Villas offer swimming on their private beaches as well as in the beautiful and luxurious white marble swimming pool. Other activities for guests include horseback riding, bicycling, and of course, swimming. The onsite Cabana restaurant offers delicious cuisine with al fresco dining available. Guests look out over not just a sweeping ocean view but over 7500 square meters of lush gardens and trees.
Just married couples who prefer the forest to the sea may find a delightful retreat in Germany’s Black Forest (The Schwarzwald). Found on the edge of the famous Black Forest, at the foot of the Schwabian Alps and along the banks of the Upper Neckar River, the small city of Rottweil is a well-preserved Medieval town. Unlike so many historic German cities that were bombarded during World War II, Rottweil had no major strategic targets so was spared bombing.
Rottweil’s fairy tale architecture is intact and offers visiting newlyweds a true happily ever after venue. This very provincial city of just 25,000 residents offers a very steep main street known as the Hauptstrasse. Although modern businesses are open for trade, the Hauptstrasse is like a huge outdoor museum only nothing is recreated; all the ancient buildings are authentic.
Famous only for the annual Carnival before Lent, Rottweil has the remains of Roman baths that can be viewed today. The town hall, a charming structure, dates to 1512 with a late Gothic style. At the City Museum (Stadtmuseum), visitors can see the long history of this German city and view an outstanding, unique mosaic of Orpheus. Another very historical site is the St. Lawrence Chapel, a church built on the tall riverbank that dates to 1580. Rottweil and the surrounding Black Forest Region feature shingle roofed homes, the vast and pristine forest, Alpine meadows, and clear streams where locals are fond of fishing for trout.
A stay at the Ringhotel Johanniterbad offers a combination of luxury and history. The hotel today rates as a three star luxury lodging but the original building dates back to 1312 and the Knights of St. John. The Knights operated a bathhouse at the site that later became an inn and then a hotel. Perched on a high hill overlooking Rottweil, Ringhotel Johanniterbad provides a spectacular view. Many of the thirty two rooms offer private balconies.
Rottweil and Rottweiler dogs do have something in common. The breed originated in the region as butcher’s dogs in the middle ages. The Middle Ages live on not just in architecture here – the annual Feast of Fools is a very medieval festival.
One of the most remote locations in the world for honeymooners to spend their idyll is at the Chena Hot Springs Resort outside Fairbanks, Alaska. Sixty miles away from the lights of Fairbanks, the Chena Hot Springs Resort provides guests with one of the world’s best front row seats for the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.
The resort was founded back in 1905 by a weary prospector who found that a soak in the natural hot springs eased his aching limbs and soothed his tired body. Today the 440 acre resort features a natural outdoor rock lake fed by the hot springs. The resorts’ low buildings are surrounded by forest and fir covered mountains that make a very picturesque setting. Accommodations range from a rustic log cabin to a newer, comfortable hotel, the forty room Moose Lodge.
Billed as “one destination with 10,000 adventures), the Chena Hot Springs Resort offers Alaska’s best hot springs, the lake, an indoor swimming pool, a snow coach (a large, specially equipped RV) tour, and a unique Aurorarium, a specially designed log cabin with picture windows that face north for the viewing of the Northern Lights in comfort. Located on the hill above the resort, the Aurorarium offers guests one of the best looks at the Northern Lights anywhere in the world.
Couples who seek a very different destination may find the ideal honeymoon spot in Myanmar’s highland “City of Flowers”. Pyin OO Lwin, formerly known as Maymyo, is located in the country once known as Burma, north of Thailand. Today’s Myanmar is an exotic location and Pyin OO Lwin is a beautiful and unique city. Known as The City of Flowers or the Floral City of Myanmar, Pyin Oo Lwin got its’ nickname honestly. Fields of asters, chrysanthamums, and gladioli, are grown in the region for the entire nation. These beautiful fields of flowers are a site to behold but are just one of Pyin Oo Lwin’s little known wonders. The region is also known as a coffee growing area and was part of the British Colonial Empire. Myanmar, the city’s old name, comes from Colonel May, the first British administrator who served here in the past.
The long British influence can be seen in the city’s distinct British style homes and the unique horse drawn carriages known as gharry or Victorias. Located just an hour away from Mandalay, Pyin Oo Lwin is the home of the 1915 National Botanical Gardens and the center of the silkworm industry in Myanmar. Other must do activities include a railroad trip to the Gotheik Bridge, a plethora of pagodas and temples, and agriculture village tours. These tours of real working villages feature industries that include orange growing, crafts, and rice production.
The Royal Park View Hotel in Pyin Oo Lwin lives up to the name. Located in the city’s most beautiful residential district, the hotel stands at 3400 feet above sea level. With a front verandah, world quality dining, and impressive teak wood decorating the twenty rooms, this is the place to enjoy a honeymoon stay in this beautiful city that combines Burma history with a British colonial flavor.
Few places on earth today are as remote as the Australian Outback so newlyweds who want to go far, far away may want to visit the Wrotham Park Lodge in far North Queensland in Australian. West of Cairns by 300 miles, the Wrotham Park Lodge is part of a working station in the outback. This station – the Australian version of a ranch – has about 600,000 hectares of land so it is very extensive. Guests can experience all the color of a working station; enjoy nature walks, fishing, stargazing, biking, and picnics, or half-day Station tours.
Up to twenty guests can stay at any one time and best of all for honeymooning couples, no children under twelve are allowed at the Lodge! Ten quarters are available with beautiful amenities and guests gather in a communal lounge and dining area. “The Homestead’ overlooks a river and meals are outstanding. Breakfast includes fresh baked pastries, platters of tropical fruit, cereals and hot cooked to order meals. Classic stockmen’s three course lunches are available and so are picnics. The Homestead is impressive.
So is the local wildlife. This is a once in a lifetime chance to see kangaroos, wallabies, dingoes, and even freshwater crocs in the wild, in their native setting. Few places are as romantic as the vast Outback with a rugged beauty like no other place on earth.
One other place may suit the just wed couple looking for an out of the way honeymoon and this one lies in the cradle of civilization. Aswan, Egypt is the sunniest, most southern city in the land of the Pharaohs. Just 81 miles south of Luxor, Aswan provides an experience that is as much African as Egyptian. Aswan has long been considered one of the most beautiful spots on the famous Nile River. Here, the Nile flows past desert sand, granite rocks, and emerald islands green with palm trees and tropical foliage. Aswan is located at the first Cataract of the Nile.
Visitors to this remote but modern city can explore the Souk, the business distinct that feels like a page out of a magical history book. Spices, perfumes, fresh food, Nubian dancers and much more are still found here. The scenic Elephantine Island lies across from most of Aswan and features ancient ruins. Choose from either the Hotel New Cataract in Aswan, a 144 room modern facility across from Elephantine Island with every amenity including both indoor and outdoor pools or the 1902 International Sofitel Old Cataract Hotel, an amazing structure in the setting of the Cataract Gardens.
Although today the world is a global village and increasing numbers of people travel the globe, there remain many ideal spots away from it all; off the beaten path where honeymooning couples can enjoy a respite from the real world. In these magic places, fairy tales seem to come true!