6 of the very best luxury mini-moon ideas
If you’re getting married this year, then the chances are that you’re as busy planning the luxury honeymoon of dreams as you are the big day itself – but what if the time of year you’ve chosen to tie the knot doesn’t quite tie in with the best time to visit your destination of choice?
Enter, the mini-moon – a shorter, post-wedding break that is fast becoming a popular precursor to the main event. With many couples now opting to take an opulent break whilst they wait for the optimum time of year to come around for the longer getaway they have set their eyes on, a quick long weekend somewhere closer to home can be just the ticket. And, with the endless choice of beautiful cities and seaside destinations all within easy reach of the UK, there are plenty of great places to choose from that promise a memorable trip.
We sat down with The Honeymoon Fixer – one of the specialist travel companies shortlisted in this year’s Luxury Lifestyle Magazine Readers’ Travel Awards – to find out their top picks for a luxury mini-moon break.
Perhaps the most famous lake of northern Italy’s beautiful “lake district”, Como is also one of the largest, and is surrounded by wonderful and dramatic mountainous scenery. The shores are dotted with pretty villages and historic villas that have been used as locations for many well-known films including Casino Royale – a picturesque destination that promises a dreamy break.
On the western shores of Lake Como, many of the large, impressive lakeside villas have been transformed into luxurious hotels. These include the world-famous Villa d’Este, which dates back to the sixteenth century, and slightly further up, Grand Hotel Tremezzo. These properties are set in large private parks, with Tremezzo bordering the botanical gardens of the famous Villa Carlotta.
There is no end of romantic things to do – why not take a private boat tour or rent your own, walk along “lovers’ path” in the pretty village of Varenna, dine at one of the many lakeside restaurants or take a romantic picnic to a secluded spot and simply relax for the afternoon? More adrenalin fuelled activities include paragliding or hiking up the Lari Mountains, so if you’re the active type then you’ll be well catered for, too.
Reachable in just three hours from the UK, the nearest airport to Lake Como is Milan. With just one hour’s transfer time, it’s a short hop that will make for the perfect way to celebrate your recent nuptials in style.
Bodrum peninsula, on the Aegean sea, has had travel writers enthusing about it since ancient times. Its town started life as Halicarnassus, an ancient Greek city famed for its boat building (the distinctive gulet boats) and is also home to King Mausolus’ tomb, which is listed as one of the world’s seven great wonders.
The northern coast offers a quieter, more peaceful escape, where visiting yachts drop anchor at Torba, Göltürkbükü and Gundogan. The southern side has the best beaches: Bardakci, Gumbet and Içmeler are three popular sun spots. Despite being labelled as ‘Turkey’s Cote d’Azur’, the Bodrum Peninsula has managed to remain peaceful and unassuming, and here you can enjoy simple pleasures – from seafood and sea views to a chilled glass of wine or two and a book – as well as A-list adventures and plenty of amazing ancient sites.
The flight to Bodrum takes around four hours from London, with plenty of fabulous five star hotels only a short drive from the airport.
A picture perfect volcanic island with breath taking views, gorgeous scenery and world renowned sunsets, Santorini is the obvious choice for a short and romantic getaway. Covered with pretty white-washed buildings, blue domed churches, narrow winding streets, vineyards and lots of traditional tavernas, it doesn’t get more picturesque than this. The great news is that it’s not just about looks here either, with plenty of fun activities to keep you entertained.
If you’re searching for a spot of sporting action to enjoy then choose from hiking, mountain biking, snorkelling, sailing or sea kayaking – and those are just for starters. Wine buffs, meanwhile, can take an idyllic vineyard tour and do a little tasting along the way. Looking for something differerent? Then why not pay a visit to the ancient city of Akrotiri, languish in the island’s hot springs or enjoy a day out aboard a yacht?
On Santorini, there is certainly no shortage of luxury hotels, many of them small, boutique style and built into the cliffs with infinity pools for that extra dose of wow factor. The perfect place for unwinding and recharging the batteries, Santorini has a charm all of its own, and with flights taking just three hours to arrive from the UK, it has to be one of our top picks.
Slovenia has love written in its name, and thanks to the country’s fairytale feel and its vibrant capital city, it deserves to be rated as one of the top mini-moon city destinations in Europe.
Ljubljana’s picturesque medieval centre has a magnificent castle in the middle. No traffic is allowed into the centre of the city, which makes it a wonderful and very safe place to walk or cycle around.
There is plenty to keep luxury mini-mooners entertained. Take a boat trip down the River Ljubljanica or head off paddle boarding if you want to do something a little more active, or mark your recent union by adding a padlock to the Butcher’s Bridge. Visit the food market and indulge in the delicious local culinary delights, or head to the beautiful Tivoli Park to relax and have a picnic. In the evening there are always concerts and other events to enjoy, too – so you’ll never find yourself at a loose end unless it’s entirely out of choice.
The city offers plenty of high quality hotels – some boutique and others larger and grander – that reflect the blend of the old and the new.. It takes just over 3 hours to fly from London to Ljubljana Airport – just a stone’s throw away, and the perfect choice for a unique short break.
They don’t call it the City of Love for no reason! Paris has long been known to be one of the most romantic destinations in Europe, and with its stunning blend of art, history and culture, fused with stunning architecture and incredible cuisine, there’s a lot to adore about this beautiful city.
It won’t take long for you to become totally immersed in the Parisian way of life; stroll along the banks of the Seine, take a break at one of the many cafes that line the streets, visit the designer boutiques along the Champs-Elysees or pop into the many art galleries and museums and admire the beautiful architecture along the way. Evenings can be spent on top of the city’s iconic Eiffel tower, going on a river cruise or taking in a show at the world-famous Lido.
Paris never fails to impress, and promises a dreamy short getaway that is just perfect for an opulent mini-moon. Better yet, it is easily accessible whether you choose to get there by rail, road or air, taking just over an hour from London to Charles de Gaulle.
Seville might not be the most obvious choice in Spain, with many people first opting for Barcelona or Madrid – but when it comes to the romance factor, it beats them both hands down. Good food, amazing architecture and lovely sunshine are just a few of the things you can look forward to, and better yet, you can avoid the overwhelming crowds here and enjoy a more relaxed pace.
Visit the lovely Jewish Quarter of the city hidden in the streets of El Barra Santa Cruz, take a walk through the Parque Maria Luisa, wander down the river banks, take in a Flamenco Show or visit the Air de Sevilla for a day of luxury spa pampering – and don’t miss seeing the spectacular Triana Bridge lit up at night.
Seville is packed with lovely, luxurious hotels and the flight time is under three hours from Gatwick.
Deciding on the perfect destination is always difficult! If you are struggling, then why not get it in touch with a travel specialist? The Honeymoon Fixer excels when it comes to putting together once in a lifetime trips and bespoke Mini-Moons. To find out more, visit their website at thehoneymoonfixer.com or telephone 0203 441 6848.