Say 'I do' to the trip of a lifetime

Whether you made the leap today, or popped the question already, you'll want a honeymoon to remember. Sarah Baxter offers inspiration for romantics, thrill-seekers and more

What's the attraction?

Bye-bye beach-flop: today's newlyweds want more from their honeymoon. When I was putting together the first edition of Unique Honeymoons magazine, we did a survey. It revealed that 81 per cent of couples crave the trip of a lifetime, with only 12 per cent content to take a sun-sea-sand break. Many couples have holidayed together for years before marrying, which means the trip needs to be special. Luckily, as times have changed, choices have widened. While there are over-water villas a-plenty, there are monk blessings and tango lessons, too. No matter the budget, the key is deciding what will make a honeymoon your own.

The "average" honeymoon

A survey by Brides magazine found British couples typically spend £4,000 on their honeymoon. Happily, for around £2,000 per person you can consider options well beyond the average. For example, you could island-hop around Mozambique's Quirimbas archipelago on a dhow sailing boat, sleeping out on the sand before ending your trip with three nights of barefoot luxury at the secluded Ibo Island Lodge. The Zambezi Safari and Travel Company (01548 830059; offers an eight-night trip from £2,090 per person, including flights.


Affordable amour

Honeymoons don't have to cost the earth. Take cuddling up under canvas in Scotland, where wild camping is permitted if the landscape is respected. Glen Etive is a good spot, and perfectly placed for lung-clearing hikes in the surrounding Glencoe mountains. A few little luxuries – a bottle of prosecco and tea lights in jam jars – add low-cost romance. For more glamorous camping, Black Mountain Tipi Retreat in Powys, Wales (01638 576682; has secluded tepees, tucked away in a private valley meadow – complete with private hot tubs. Tepees start at £85 per night.


High adventure

"We thought if we started married life by taking on a huge challenge, then everything else would seem easy," says Sonia Jackson, who headed with her new husband to Tanzania to climb Africa's highest mountain. "It was both the best and worst experience of our lives." There's nothing romantic about Kilimanjaro's freezing nights and long-drop loos, but hiking up this 5,895m peak will cement any relationship. Exodus (0845 869 9179; offers a 13-day "Kilimanjaro & Zanzibar" trip that includes recuperation on the Spice Isle, for £2,179 per person, including flights.


Make it a mini-moon

If there's no time for a grand escapade, a mini-moon is ideal. Arctic Sweden's IceHotel is spot on for a sparkling winter short break, with the added romance of the chance of catching the Northern Lights. Discover the World (01737 214250; runs three-night trips from £1,200 per person (December to March), including one night in a suite sculpted from ice; reindeer skins and hot lingonberry juice keep things toasty.


Top five special sleeps

Swap hotels for something a bit different. Free Spirit Spheres (001 250 757 9445; on Canada's Vancouver Island, allow lovers to stay in treehouses; from C$213 (£134) per night room only. Outside Wellington, The Lighthouse (00 64 4 472 4177; is a nautical retreat that feels far from New Zealand's capital; rental starts at NZ$180 (£95). The yurts of Chile's Patagonia Camp (00 562 334 9255; overlook the crags of Torres del Paine; three-night all-inclusive packages start at US$1,700 (£1,133) per person. Perched on a Santorini hillside, the Windmills (00 30 22860 25207; have lovely sea views. Prices from €280 per night. Finally, Sri Lanka's Beach Hut ( has its own cook; rental starts at US$300 (£200) per night.


Budget? What budget?

For those lucky in love and money, options are abundant. For example, in April a flying safari launches across Western Australia's Kimberley region. The new Ibis Aerial Highway is a collection of over 20 airstrips at cattle stations, luxury lodges and national parks, making it easier to explore this vast wilderness. You'll also get to see the extraordinary sandstone formations of the Bungle Bungles and the natural phenomenon of the Horizontal Falls. Bridge and Wickers (020-7483 6555; offers the five-day aerial safari from £5,420 per person, including flights from London.


Share the honeymoon love

You could spend your honeymoon volunteering for a charity. Just research carefully. "Weddings are expensive, and so are many organised volunteer programmes," says Charlotte Hindle, author of Lonely Planet's guide to Volunteering. "You could sign up for a week of conservation, asking wedding guests to contribute to the cost instead of buying presents." Earthwatch (01865 318 831; offers an eight- or 15-day "Amazon Riverboat Exploration" in Peru, helping biologists collect data on pink dolphins, monkeys and macaws; from £1,595 pp, flights extra.


Who said that?

"The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure" – Samuel Johnson, 1755

"I do want an expensive honeymoon. Not because I'm extravagant, but because a honeymoon is a solemn, important thing ... a symbol. And it ought to be done – well, adequately" – Arnold Bennett, The Honeymoon

"When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall... bring joy to the wife he has married" – Deuteronomy 24:5


Insider information

"The only guarantee of a flight upgrade is to pay for one. But telling check-in staff (or your booking agent) that you're on honeymoon will slightly improve your chances. Most airlines will want to do something special for you. Look for a plane offering a 2-5-2 formation so you can sit by yourselves." Aaron Ritoper, UK general manager of

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering