Monday 22 July 2019

Five of the most envy-inducing honeymoon destinations in 2017

Looking for a honeymoon with an edge? Jillian Bolger picks her top five recommendations for envy-inducing destinations.

Aerial view of Macchu Picchu ruins in remote landscape, Cusco, Peru
Aerial view of Macchu Picchu ruins in remote landscape, Cusco, Peru

Irish Brides

1. Peru

With Machu Picchu as the top attraction, the Inca citadel is the jewel in Peru’s extensive crown of mesmerising attractions. The mysterious mountaintop city, lost until 1911, is one of many ancient sites, like the desert geoglyphs of the Nazca Lines, that reveal the history, beliefs and skills of Peru’s ancient people. Once you’ve gorged on the rich cultural heritage you’ll want to gorge on Peru’s incredible food. Lima’s not only the culinary capital of South America; it has more top 30 World’s Best Restaurants than Paris, New York or London. (Food obsessed honeymooners will want to make reservations in Central, Maido and Astrid y Gaston, for starters.) From soaring Andean peaks to the tranquility of the Amazon, the country offers up every activity for outdoorsy honeymooners, with plenty of swanky hotels for some serious honeymoon luxury.

Designer digs: Inkaterra’s unique properties include Hacienda Urubamba in the Andes; Reserva Amazonica, a luxury eco-lodge in the Amazon rainforest; and Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, with a spa that’s perfect for tired trekkers.

2. Guatemala

Mysterious, challenging and colourful, Guatemala’s rich topography and culture make it a thrilling destination for intrepid honeymooners. Ancient Mayan cities hide deep within lush rainforests, dramatic volcanoes dot the skyline while Pacific and Caribbean waters lap the wild beaches. Traditional highland villages offer a captivating backdrop to this Central American gem where trekking through jungles and up volcanoes, exploring lush canyons, kayaking along rivers and marvelling at the colonial architecture should all be on your itinerary.

Tschuggan Grand Hotel in Switzerland
Tschuggan Grand Hotel in Switzerland

Designer digs: Casa Palopó, is a luxurious Relais & Chateau hideaway on the hills above the Mayan village of Santa Catarina Palopó. It overlooks three volcanoes and Lake Atitlan, Central America's deepest lake.

3. Switzerland

Long celebrated as a destination for the rich, Switzerland’s charms can sometimes be forgotten beyond ski season. In reality, this small, mountainous country is one of the most beautiful in the world. Sure, you’ll find traditional cuckoo clocks, cheese, chocolate and cowbells everywhere, but there’s also an energetic, contemporary side that offers up a cool restaurant scene, amazing modern art, bold architecture and lively cosmopolitan cities. Escape the urban buzz and head to the mountains and lakes where the scenery will astound you. In summer pack your hiking boots (or mountain bikes) and go experience wild flower-filled meadows, geranium-strewn chalets, forest trails, glittering lakes, deep valleys – and the prettiest cows you’ll ever see! If snow is your thing then Graubunden, Bernese Oberland and Central Switzerland offer world class skiing and snowboarding thrills galore.

Designer digs: The luxurious Tschuggen Grand Hotel in Arosa boasts a swanky spa, private ski slope and Michelin-starred restaurant. Dine together in an igloo or rise early and take the first cable car to the summit, for a sunrise breakfast over the Grison Alps.

4. California

Offering more thrills than some countries can manage, sun-kissed California packs edgy cities, breath-taking nature, a red hot dining scene and knock-out coastline into its vast terrain. The Golden State is perfect for a road trip, looping along coastal highways, past vineyards, through pretty towns and along palm-fringed beaches. Stop off to hike through dense forest, swim in glistening lakes, eat at seafood shacks, tour wineries, visit theme parks, check out local galleries and enjoy magical sunsets. San Francisco and LA, two culinary capitals, will thrill your tastebuds, from high-end gastronomy to amazing street food. Pack your bikini, your hiking boots and your best heels – this is the ultimate playground for grown-ups in love.

Designer digs: Surrounded by Sonoma’s famous wineries, Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn combines classic Californian style with a massive spa that benefits from local hot springs. Championship golf, Michelin-starred dining and amazing surroundings make this glamorous resort a Wine Country favourite.

5. New Zealand

With the 150th anniversary of the Maori Representation Act, New Zealand’s heritage and culture are in the spotlight for 2017. The North Island’s a heady combination of vast lakes, pristine beaches and cosmopolitan cities while the larger South Island dazzles with its incredible scenery – snow-capped mountains, vineyards, waterfalls, glaciers, fjords and rolling sheep stations. From adventure sports to romantic lodges, superb food to a thrilling history, New Zealand offers everything you could wish for from a trip of a lifetime. (You could even squeeze in some rugby – The British and Irish Lions return in 2017, their first visit to New Zealand in 12 years.)

Designer digs: Hapuku Lodge’s luxury tree houses on the South Island are hidden in a canopy of manuka trees offering magical views of Kaikoura's dramatic mountains and the Pacific coastline.

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