If you’re planning your honeymoon, the world is your oyster — but if you’d rather avoid spending hours on a plane (and thousands of Euros from your wedding budget) on a lavish, long-haul holiday, there are fantastic European honeymoon hotspots to enjoy.
To help you choose where to celebrate your marriage, we’re shining the spotlight on five of the best European honeymoon destinations.
Live it up in London
London is a buzzing metropolitan city that’s a short hop away from Dublin: typical flying time is around one hour 10 minutes.
London’s iconic landmarks include Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park, Westminster, St Paul’s Cathedral and the South Bank, where you can visit Tate Modern, the National Theatre and Shakepseare’s Globe, ride the London Eye and stroll along the River Thames. After sightseeing, book tickets for a West End show, visit the Hippodrome casino to enjoy cocktails and a flutter, explore the curry houses of Brick Lane — or treat yourselves to Michelin starred dining at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal or Fera at Claridge’s.
If you want to guarantee the trip of a lifetime, consider staying at Shangri-La at the Shard. Situated on the 34th to 52nd floors of the impressive skyscraper, guests can enjoy an indoor infinity pool, stylish cocktail bar and a room with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Fall in Love with Liverpool
The north of England should not be overlooked when you’re planning a UK honeymoon. From the famous Albert Dock to excellent shopping at Liverpool One, Liverpool is a city of amazing sights, fabulous fashion, rich culture and abundant night life. It's also very easy to get to: take a direct ferry from Dublin or a short flight from Dublin or West Knock.
Things to do include visiting the beautiful Walker Art Gallery and Tate Liverpool, catching a Liverpool-themed show at the Royal Court Theatre, hearing the Cavern Beatles play in the back room of the Cavern Club, taking in the panoramic views from the top of the Anglican cathedral and riding a ferry across the Mersey. And when you want to escape the tourist traps, head to the Ropewalks, a rejuvenated industrial area chock-full of hip bars, vintage shops, quirky pubs and contemporary cafes.
For a honeymoon-perfect base, consider the Hard Day’s Night Hotel in the centre of town. This boutique hotel is a shrine to the Fab Four, but it also has a cool cocktail bar, a lovely restaurant (serving a particularly good breakfast), a live music lounge and funky rooms and suites with an individual piece of Beatles-related art in each.
Escape to the Scottish Highlands
If you want a secluded honeymoon not too far from home, the Highlands of Scotland offer peace, tranquilty and breathtaking scenery. To get away from it all you could stay on a private island or a property overlooking Loch Ness: if you’d prefer a city-based break, vibrant Inverness has accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
Pack for every eventuality when it comes to the weather and prepare to enjoy contemporary food and culture alongside more traditional delights like venison, salmon and haggis, tartans, kilts and pipe bands. The history and heritage is abundant: you’ll see ancient cairns and stone settings, round towers and the mysterious carved symbol stones left by the tribal Picts who once inhabited the area.
If you’re looking for somewhere extra special to stay, Ackergill Tower, a unique venue nestled on the North East coast of the Scottish Highlands, offers a minimoon package for newlyweds. This idyllic property is totally private, with 3,000 acres of land and seven miles of private beach. The package includes a chilled bottle of champagne on arrival, a day trip to John o’Groats with a picnic hamper for two and an overnight stay in a sumptuous bedroom suite.
A Fantastic Time in France
France is a huge and eclectic country with many resorts, cities and beautiful hotels for honeymooners to choose from. While Paris offers romance, culture and landmarks aplenty, it is also a very expensive destination, so an alternative could be kinder to your budget.
Widely regarded as the gastronomic capital of France, Lyon — situated between Paris and Marseille — is an ideal honeymoon escape, particularly for foodies. You can sample traditional dishes in the famous ‘bouchons’, Lyonnaise restaurants serving delicious offal, meat and fish dishes in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, or choose from 16 Michelin starred eateries, including the three starred Paul Bocuse Restaurant. When you’re not eating, each quarter of the city offers a unique selection of culture, history, architecture and nightlife.
For your honeymoon hotel, Cour des Loges is a luxurious hideaway with a history dating back to the 1300s. This amazing property looks like a city castle with rooms linked via secret passageways and winding staircases. The hotel’s Les Loges Restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2012 and the Pure Altitude spa and roof gardens offer a sanctuary in the heart of Old Lyon.
An Idyllic Italian Honeymoon
If you want to venture a little farther afield, and romance is high on your honeymoon agenda, the Amalfi coast in Italy is a wonderful location. A 50 mile stretch of coastline with pretty fishing villages, stunning sunsets, full-blown five star luxury and a long list of celebrity fans, the Amalfi is the ideal destination for decadent, quality time.
Sorrento, overlooking the Bay of Naples, Capri and Mount Vesuvius, is one of the most popular resorts, but romantic Ravello also boasts stunning views of the coastline. Positano is another beautiful spot, tucked away in the cliffs with steep tiers of picturesque pastel-painted houses and incredible views.
If you’re honeymooning in Positano, you can book a fabulous hotel with Mr & Mrs Smith. Casa Buonocore is a family-run house, perfectly positioned close to the shops, cafes, restaurants and beach, but removed from the hustle and bustle. Privately owned, there are just six rooms including one suite. The Deluxe Room has an incredible terrace with a 360-degree view that takes in the sea and the mountains, or the secluded and romantic Classic Room has a terrace that overlooks orange and lemon trees.