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You’ve decided on a trip across the Atlantic for your honeymoon, and it’s a wise choice; the options are numerous and exciting. From urban giants packed with diversity and culture, to coastal retreats and forest hideaways where tourists are scarce, Europe has it all for the newly married couple. Here are five of the best options for your first holiday as newlyweds:
It has a reputation, but the Dutch capital has much more than just a red light district. In fact, you can expect to see plenty of couples strolling through, curious and embarrassed but thoroughly entertained. The Rossebuurt is just as naughty as you imagine, and walking with a partner won’t block out the invites; in fact your other half will probably be invited to join in by the ladies behind the windows. Just respect the rules.
If that kind of thing doesn’t strike your fancy, just admire the 14th century architecture and network of canals that makes Amsterdam such a splendid looking city. Good Hotels in Amsterdam are plentiful and The Daily Telegraph in the UK recently declared the city to be more romantic than Venice. For one thing, a romantic cycle ride on a rented bicycle along the intertwined lanes and alleyways is as enriching and energising a pastime as you can imagine, while the numerous squares, fountains, museums and plazas allow for gentle strolling interspersed with coffees.
Is Amsterdam better than Venice? Well, there’s a different ‘vibe’ in each, and different methods of getting around – try getting around San Marco and its thousands of pedestrians, small bridges and alleyways on a bicycle. Of course, the iconic gondola journey is a must – there’s no need to book, and you’ll have the option of staying in the small waterways for a romantic slow ride, or moving out into the Grand Canal and the open air.
It can be difficult to avoid the crowds, especially near Rialto Bridge and facing the Bridge of Sighs. It will definitely be busy within the basilica too, where visitors will be admiring the dazzling Byzantine mosaics. The best advice is to get up early and enjoy strolls among the pastel buildings while the sun rises, and think of the countless couples who have done the same. If that isn’t enough, an island hop to lovely Murano, and further afield, will give you all the solitude you need.
There are so many activities to do in the English capital that a week or two on vacation won’t give you enough time to tick them all off. However, the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, and the peaceful tranquility of Hyde Park, make this a honeymoon where you can be as busy or as laid back as you like.
In the evening, the shows are perhaps the only worldwide rival for Broadway, and you’ll find fabulous, champagne-laden views of the capital’s landmarks such as Tower Bridge, The Shard and The Tower of London. Try the Skylounge on the 12th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel for the best views. At night, as the lights dim, a blanket will be placed around your shoulders. For more inspiration, try Visit London and its 101 suggestions for romance.
A European guide to romantic locations surely wouldn’t be complete without the French capital, non? Alongside the iconic Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower (well worth a climb, but watch out for the queues) are many other, slightly less-well known attractions.
The Musée d’Orsay on the banks of the Seine is an ideal location for a stroll with your other half, while looking at the works of master such as Monet, Manet and Renoir. A river cruise along the Seine and a stroll along the many bridges that line its route is a must. And the restaurants…there are few wrong answers, but for real opulence try Verjus – it accepts bookings three months in advance, and this might be needed for its extravagant taster menu.
Finally, the Amalfi coast looks spectacular – it’s a picture-perfect piece of Italy that’s protected by UNESCO and loved by Europe. A coastal jewel in the crown on the country’s west coast, it is not only beautiful but utterly dramatic too, and perfect for scenic walks and photography skirmishes.
Why is it perfect? Well, it’s because it has everything you need for solitude after you’ve tied the knot. Your week can change from hillside crag exploration to fine dining, and paddling in the warm sea to hiring a car and hitting Naples or Sorrento. A snapshot of the walk options can be found here.
Visit the incredible Monastero Santa Rosa, an incredible 17th century monastery perched on the edge of sheer cliffs, with its own heated infinity pool and spa. The food is wonderful too – dishes include lobster with chickpea puree, fusilli with baby squids and chicken and Colonnata’s bacon and king prawn ravioli, courtesy of executive chef Christophe Bob. Another luxurious option can be found in Positano at Le Sirenuse, of which author John Steinbeck wrote: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone”.
Will you consider taking a honeymoon to one of these European locations? You’re in for a real treat if you do…
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