It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience so when it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination, it’s only right a lot of thought and consideration goes into picking the ideal place to enjoy that gorgeous bubble of newly-wedded bliss. Whether you’re an adventure-loving, thrill-seeking couple or the laidback beach lifestyle is more your vibe, there are endless jaw-droppingly beautiful options to choose from. We understand it can get a little overwhelming when it comes to the whittling it down process – so many amazing places, so little time (and budgets!), so we’ve teamed up with AIB to bring you a list of the seven most unique honeymoon destinations to awaken that feeling of wanderlust and get you excited about the holiday of a lifetime! While you can find options closer to home and to suit every budget, we’re travelling a little further afield to bring you a taste of something completely different. Pack your bags, we’re going on our honeymoon!
1 – The Azores Islands, the Hawaii of Europe
The Hawaii of Europe, the lush green paradise that is the Azores Islands, perched in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, 900miles off the coast of Portugal, are calling out to be explored by nature-loving holidaymakers. This place boasts unusual black sand beaches and the most breathtaking volcanic landscapes, not to mention the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sample volcanic wine at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Pico also known as the ‘island of wine.’ Hiking, natural hot springs, thermal pools, whale watching, lush vineyards and picture-perfect views for days, the Azores Islands, which consist of nine islands, all a Portuguese autonomy, is a top-notch destination with the most divine food and wine to boot. Stay in a luxury eco resort and go island hopping, canyoning, explore lava tubes and enjoy the sweet pineapples in Sao Miguel. If you’re looking for a truly unique, unspoilt and unexplored destination, this is the place!
2 – Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean
For untouched beauty and the warmest people to welcome you with open arms, Grenada, also known as the Spice of the Caribbean, should be top of your honeymoon destinations list. If you’re looking for a place where you can truly recharge the batteries, away from crowds and overpopulated cities, this under-the-radar spot is ideal. These beautiful islands, that include Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, boast stretches of white, sandy beaches, colourful buildings, rich spice plantations, tropical fruit trees and unspoilt landscapes that will stop you in your tracks. Snorkelling, scuba diving, exploring waterfalls and hiking the island’s rainforests are all on the agenda here. Foodies, especially, will appreciate the farm-to-table experience and the opportunity to see where spices, rum and chocolate are grown. The newly-opened all-inclusive Sandals Resort in the heart of Pink Gin Beach will leave a lasting impression. Book a South Seas Honeymoon Villa, with your own private pool and outdoor sundeck, soaking tub for two, and butler service!
3 – Cape Verde, exotic volcanic islands off the coast of Northwest Africa
The volcanic island nation of Cape Verde, off the coast of Northwest Africa may not the top of your list for a honeymoon destination, but it should be! Whether you’re a beach bunny or you’re more of a thrill seeker, Cape Verde ticks all the boxes offering the most beautiful sandy beaches and brilliant scuba diving spots where you may come head-to-head with one of the 60 species of shark that call the surrounding waters home. These exotic islands are an affordable destination for honeymooners, with lots of activities to keep you occupied, from vineyards and volcanoes to natural wonders to soak up. Little known fact, the Pedra de Lume salt lake, on the island of Sal, is said to be saltier than the Dead Sea, so you can truly float your worries away in paradise surroundings! Fogo, meanwhile, boasts the largest Volcano in West Africa and is a true hiker’s dream. We love that this place not only has year-round sunshine, but it’s also in the same time zone as the UK and Ireland which means zero jet lag!
4 – The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with sensational wildlife
There are few places more unique and once-in-a-lifetime than The Galapagos Islands renowned for their breathtaking natural landscapes and unique species. Where else can you go to chill among sunbathing iguanas and lazy seal lions and charming flamingoes that won’t bat an eyelid at your presence as you stroll along the sandy beaches and hike the roaming hills? In the waters too, you’re likely to meet the mesmerising wildlife, floating sea turtles, cute penguins and schools of exotic rainbow-coloured fish. Planning a trip here is easier than ever, but you’ll need to think way ahead as restrictions limiting the number of visitors in order to protect the very special environment, means places book up quick and fast. The islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site with 97 per cent of the area part of the Galapagos National Park. There’s no shortage of beautiful accommodation, mind. Although The Galapagos islands are all about nature, wildlife and the great outdoors, you’ll be far from slumming it with a great choice of luxury hotels and cruises to choose from. For a spot of luxury camping, The Galapagos Safari Camp comes highly recommended. To get here, you’ll need to stopover in Ecuador so you’ll tick two amazing places off your list at once!
5 – Ras Al Khaimah, the ‘new Dubai’ with culture to boot
Dubai is a tried and tested honeymoon hot spot but if you’re looking for a flavour of the Middle East, with less crowds and a never-ending list of activities like dune bashing and horse riding in the desert, Ras Al Khaimah could be the place for you. With over 7,000 years of fascinating history, traditions and culture, Ras Al Khaimah guarantees an authentic Arabian experience for visitors who will be treated like royalty during their stay. This place is an oasis of nature and tranquility, boasting 64 kilometres of an awe-inspiring coastline that includes sandy beaches, lush mangrove trees, terracotta dunes and the majestic Hajar mountains, home to Jebel Jais, the UAE’s highest mountain peak. The finest cuisine, luxury boutique hotels, stunning beaches, wild flamingos, the world’s longest zipline, and breath-taking mosques – Ras Al Khaimah is an unforgettable place that can be combined with a trip to Dubai or Abu Dhabi. BTW, the sunsets are epic here!
6 – Fukuoka, Japan, one of Lonely Planet’s Top Destinations for 2023
Lonely Planet has named Fukuoka one of the top destinations to visit in 2023 and for couples looking for something different, this bright, sunny and friendly city – Japan’s eight-largest – is calling! Made up of two former towns – the castle town of Fukuoka on the west bank of the Naka-gawa and the merchant town of Hakata (famed for its SoftBank Hawks baseball team and hearty Hakata ramen) on the east bank, the two merged to become known as Fukuoka in 1989. This buzzing place has everything to offer newly married couples from art and architecture to brilliant shopping and delicious cuisine. There’s also ancient temples to explore, beautiful beaches to bronze yourself on and a fun night life to embrace. Of course, if you’re travelling all the way to Japan, it’s worth seeing as much of this amazing country as possible. Each season here offers something special but if you’d like to witness the famous cherry blossoms in bloom, plan your trip in the spring time. Autumn is also a special time when the famous maple trees are a kaleidoscope of vibrant reds, oranges and golden foliage.
7 – Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort Saariselkä, a magical snowy paradise in Lapland
Honeymoons don’t have to be all about the sunshine! A hugely underrated spot for the holiday of a lifetime is Lapland – we promise it’s not just for visiting Santa (although you’ll find him here too). This beautiful place in the Saariselkä Fell area of Finland, deep in the Arctic Circle, is surprisingly easy to reach despite the number of flights to get there (two or three depending on your departure city). You’ll feel like you’re in a real-life fairytale in this magical place where the mode of transport is by complimentary sleigh (although walking is acceptable too). The coolest feature about this special place are the cosy igloos visitors base themselves in for the duration of their stay – the best place to catch the Northern Lights put on an unforgettable show! Choose to stay in traditional cabins with igloos attached, or base yourself in an igloo for a completely different experience as you go to sleep under the stars. Activities in the resort include skiing, snowmobiling, husky rides, fishing and reindeer safaris – it’s not cheap, but we promise it’s worth it! Oh. This place also boasts the world’s largest smoke sauna where you can warm up your bones after a day in the snow. Perfect.
Planning your wedding and honeymoon? Consider your finances
Paying for a wedding and a honeymoon at the same time is a serious financial commitment – trust us, we get it! A common trend is for newlyweds to postpone their honeymoon for a few months after the wedding, allowing them to save up money for their trip of a lifetime without any compromise. For couples who need a hand along the way though, AIB is here to help offering personal loans from €1,000 – €30,000, online and in their app, with approval within three hours. You can use AIB’s online loan calculator to see how much you can borrow and even set your own repayment schedule – weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. If you’re getting married and need some support, this could be the way to make your dreams become a reality. For more information, check out AIB online here to calculate how much you can borrow.
You can apply for an AIB personal loan today. Head to the AIB App or check out the online loan calculator on the AIB website for more details.
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