A honeymoon doesn’t have to be like a Sandals advert: all lingering romantic stares over sunset cocktails and pool-side PDAs. Hell, no. You might be head-over-heels in newlywed love but you still want fun, adrenalin and the best Instagram snaps money can buy. Right?
These are the adrenalin-spiking honeymoon destinations our digital editor - and travel obsessive - recommends.
It’s becoming one of the most pinned honeymoon destinations on Pinterest and for good reason. One of the most beautiful places on the planet with so much to do. Wine-tasting? Marlborough is famous for delicious, crisp Sauvignon Blanc - grab a bike and tour the vineyards. Adrenalin sports? In Queenstown take your pick from sky diving, bungee jumping, canyon swinging, white water rafting and jet boating in Queenstown. Hiking? Scrabble and climb over steaming volcanos as part of the famous Tongariro Alpine crossing hike.
When to go: March, April, May
Flights: Start at £700
Honeymoon, or not, get Peru on your bucket list. Start in the cliffside capital Lima for world-class restaurants, surf school and to get your culture fix at one of the city’s many museums - my fave was Mario Testino’s MATE museum, which is filled with the Peruvian photographer’s famous and not-so-famous work. Then head down to Cusco, a city which is in equal parts historic and hip. It’s the gateway to the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu which can be reached on foot, by train or bus. If time allows, do the Inca Trail, but book way in advance. Not quite done yet? Fly or drive to Puerto Maldonado for access to the Amazon jungle.
When to go: May - September
Flighs: Start at £525
Step away from the tourist traps of Thailand and Vietnam and consider Laos for your honeymoon. Land-locked, what it lacks in beaches, it makes up for in fun. Unwind in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-protected city brimming with amazing restaurants and hotels, then head south to Vang Vieng for tubing, kayaking, caving, rock climbing and partying. Finish it all off on the 4,000 islands where sightings of elephants and pink river dolphins are guaranteed.
When to go: October - April
Flights: Start at £500
If you really want to go where no honeymooner has gone before (well, not many), then Myanmar is the one. Luxe it up in Yangon for a taste of colonial city life, head to the ancient city of Bagan for a hot air balloon trip over the 2000 temples which are dotted around the lush countryside (side note: Bagan is Myanmar’s answer to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, but I found it a thousand times more special) and finish with a breath-taking trek around Inle Lake, where you’ll chat with locals in hilltop villages and have lunch up in the clouds.
When to go: October to May, though it can get busy November to February
Flights: Start at £450 but none are direct so have a night or two in either Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi or Kuala Lumpur on your way there and back.
The Atacama desert is the driest place on Earth and the scene of one of the most incredible sunsets I’ve ever seen. Stay in the gentrified town of San Pedro de Atacama (it takes time getting used to seeing wine bars and fancy restaurants in the middle of the desert) and use it as a base for cycling, sandboarding, horse-riding and star-gazing (there's a good chance of seeing Saturn and Jupiter) in the Martian-esque desert. San Pedro is also super near the Tatio Geysers, which are the third largest in the world. Then go and recover from all that excitement in the upmarket beach town of Iquique.
When to go: October and November or March to April
Flights: Fly via Santiago (Chile's lovely city, worth stopping in for good for and wine), start at £930
Learn to Tango with the locals, unleash your inner hooligan at a Boca Juniors football game and sink your teeth into the juiciest steak you’ll ever eat at La Cabrera. And that’s just Buenos Aires. When you’re done there (it’s one of the greatest cities on the planet, FYI), either head over to Mendoza for Malbec wine-tasting by the barrel-load or fly to El Calafate to explore Patagonia. The place is vast, around four times the size of the UK, so narrow it down by basing yourself in the Torres del Paine national park. Get ready for an Instagram feed full of flamingos, whales, penguins, glaciers, azure blue lakes and snow-capped mountains.
When to go: November to March
Flights: Start at £750
The main draw of a honeymoon in Kenya is obviously the safari. Each year the wildebeest migration takes place from July to October in the Masai Mara and it’s one of the most wonderful things I’ve seen. I get goosebump-y just thinking about it, share it with the new husband or wife and your marriage is off to a blinding start. Other awesome things to do around the Rift Valley include cycling past giraffes, zebra and buffalo through Hells Gate National Park (it’s what inspired Pride Rock in the Lion King, so actual Simba and Nala vibes) and climbing the extinct, forest-filled volcano, Mount Longonot. Pop a bottle of wine in your backpack and the view at the top will provide the most beautiful happy hour you’ve ever had. You’ll probably begin and end your trip in Nairobi so make sure you stay at the funky Tribe hotel and brunch at lush River Cafe. If you’ve got time, trips to the giraffe centre and elephant orphanage are musts. Gotta get a beach fix in? The stunning islands of Lamu and Zanzibar are a short flight away.
When to go: July to November
Flights: Start at £440