Long-haul vs short-haul honeymoons: Beach, active and culture

A post-wedding getaway on the other side of the world or one closer to home? Adam Shaw examines the best long-haul and short-haul honeymoon options

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For many newlyweds, the prospect of a dream honeymoon can be as exciting as actually tying the knot. And according to Stacey Owens, one of Kuoni’s honeymoons experts, the cost-of-living crisis has had little impact on honeymoon bookings so far.

“People are still willing to spend on honeymoons,” she says. “It’s an emotive purchase and they have their mind set on this, as a milestone in their lives. I’ve spoken to couples who are willing to cut the cost of their weddings rather than sacrifice their honeymoon.”

Despite this, Owens acknowledges that the pandemic has changed some travellers’ circumstances, which means they might have less time or cash.

It’s an emotive purchase and they have their mind set on this, as a milestone in their lives

While long-haul destinations such as the Maldives and southeast Asia remain popular, she says there has been a shift towards people shortening their stays to ensure they can still experience the honeymoon they want.

Mark Garrett, head of sales at Audley Travel, agrees that shorter honeymoons have grown in popularity, with people also looking at destinations closer to home, including Greece and Italy. “It’s all about understanding the time and money investment from the client, alongside what their interests are,” he says.

Whether that’s a dream three-week trip exploring the natural wonders of North America or a chilled-out stay in the Med, there are plenty of options out there for honeymooners.

Santorini wedding


Long-haul: The Maldives

With operators reporting that multi-centre trips are a popular option for honeymooners, Audley Travel offers a package that combines a stop-off in sunny Dubai with a stay on Velassaru Island.

The latter features traditional Maldivian thatched villas and an infinity pool overlooking a lagoon. Snorkelling equipment can be hired for exploring the house reef, which is filled with angelfish and grey mullet, while romantic excursions such as night swimming and sunset cruises can be booked on arrival.

Book it: A 12-day Maldives & Dubai honeymoon package from Audley Travel costs from £3,450 in March 2024, including bed-and-breakfast accommodation, flights, transfers and excursions in Dubai.

Short-haul: Santorini, Greece 

Santorini remains one of Kuoni’s top sellers for honeymooners looking for luxury and relaxation in Europe, offering captivating sunsets over the Aegean from its red and black volcanic beaches.

Guests staying at Auberge Resorts Collection’s Grace Santorini, where every room has a sunset view, can enjoy a champagne breakfast before a dip in the infinity pool overlooking Skaros Rock and afternoons spent chilling on double loungers.

Book it: A seven-night stay at Grace Santorini with Kuoni starts at £3,448, including flights, accommodation and champagne breakfast, departing on October 12.

Canada wedding


Long-haul: Western Canada

Karen Farrar, North America Travel Service’s product and marketing manager, describes the west of Canada as a “golden ticket” for bookings over the past six months, with flights and accommodation often selling out.

Banff National Park, home of Lake Louise – one of the most photographed lakes in the world, with its turquoise waters surrounded by striking peaks – offers almost 1,000 miles of hiking trails to explore. Newlyweds can also take a stroll through the old-growth forests around Whistler or book a ziplining or horse-riding excursion.

Book it: North America Travel Service’s 13-night Western Parks Explorer package starts at £3,595 in September, including flights, accommodation and car hire.

Short-haul: Amalfi Coast, Italy

Charming towns filled with cafes and boutique shops, combined with dramatic cliffs and sweeping vistas . . . the Amalfi Coast is an ideal place for newlyweds who enjoy challenging, yet rewarding, hikes.

The Path of the Gods trail takes in views of the picturesque cliffside town of Positano and the Sorrento Peninsula, while there’s also the chance to walk to the crater at nearby Mount Vesuvius.

Book it: Exodus Travels’ eight-day self-guided Paths of the Amalfi Coast trip costs from £1,369, including flights, accommodation and most meals, departing on September 2.



Long-haul: Vietnam

A thriving foodie scene – think authentic pho and bánh mì – bustling metropolises sitting alongside traditional towns and a history that dates back to ancient dynasties, Vietnam is a hotbed of culture.

InsideAsia has built an adventurous itinerary “designed for honeymooners”, offering lakeside tai chi classes with locals in Hanoi, a basket-weaving masterclass in Hoi An, a visit to the former imperial citadel in Hue and a meal made with local produce on the banks of the Ben Tre River in the Mekong Delta. There’s also a cruise to the secluded coves and mountainous islands of Lan Ha Bay.

Book it: InsideAsia’s 13-night Vietnam Rejuvenation package costs from £4,518 for departures in September, including bed-and-breakfast accommodation, internal transport and cultural experiences.

Short-haul: Valletta, Malta

If gold can bring a marriage good luck, look no further than the gilded St John’s Co-Cathedral, while the Upper Barrakka Gardens, which offers gorgeous views of the Grand Harbour, is the best place in Valletta to capture Insta-worthy romantic snaps.

For an extra-special Maltese meal, head to Michelin-starred Noni, which has regularly changing set and tasting menus based on seasonal local ingredients.

Book it: Mercury Holidays offers seven nights’ bed and breakfast at The Phoenicia Malta from £1,022, including flights, based on an October 31 departure.

Malta weddings

Dos and Don’ts

Do . . . emphasise flexibility

If a couple’s circumstances have changed since they got engaged, suggest alternatives that will still provide a dream honeymoon. This could be different room categories if their budget is stretched, or boutique hotel offerings in Europe that offer a similar romantic experience to a long-haul destination but closer to home.

Don’t . . . book last-minute

Pent-up demand for travel after the pandemic still means hotels and on-ground experiences book up quickly. Now, more than ever, it’s important to plan ahead. If clients are keen to secure a specific experience – anything from a private cruise to a sunrise hot-air balloon ride – book it early to avoid missing out.

PICTURES: Shutterstock/picoshots,, Nguyen Quang Ngoc Tonkin, fokke baarssen, Dudarev Mikhail

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