Now that Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been added to the guest list and restrictions have been relaxed, happy couples are starting to reorganize weddings. And after all the agony of endless shifts, comes the glorious prospect of vacation satisfaction. There’s really only so much you can spend on buttonholes and canapés. No wonder most brides and grooms want to upgrade their first vacation after tying the knot.
If you’re planning your honeymoon, you know the UK government approved quarantine-free holidays in 12 countries and overseas territories starting May 17th – and top of the couple’s wish list from the dozen options are Portugal and Iceland. Grant Shapps, the transportation secretary, has indicated that this is a gradual relaxation and that more destinations are likely to be added in the coming weeks, with the smart money being removed from amber on Caribbean islands like Barbados, the Seychelles and European honey pots.
More distant but long-awaited honeymoon destinations in Asia and Africa may take a little longer to go green, but since they offer such extraordinary and exotic experiences, it’s well worth the wait. Here is our pick of the best. . .
Main Photo: Amalfi (Getty Images)
Enjoyment on the Amalfi Coast
Nowhere is romance more fully embodied than on the Italian Amalfi Coast. It’s an intoxicating amalgamation of glamor and rustic simplicity. Open sports cars race through pastel-colored villages clinging to steep cliffs, black-clad Nonnas garland laundries down alleys with a view of elegant superyachts in a glittering Tyrrhenian Sea. The air smells of jasmine, it is wrapped in roses everywhere and even the simplest tomato sauce tastes amazing. It’s la dolce vita in glorious technicolor.
Where to sleep Easily chic, proudly authentic, and with unforgettable views over the city’s magical cathedral, Le Sirenuse in Positano, Amalfi’s classiest beach resort. Designer Travel offers packages with a guide price of £ 2,499-2,999 per person including luggage and transfers for a seven-night all-inclusive stay in a junior suite with direct flights from Heathrow. The prices are based on two parts. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.
Take a tour of Japan
Tokyo and Kyoto: two cities that were formed from the same letters, but each offer wildly different worlds. In the Japanese capital, you’ll be dazzled by the Blade Runner skyscrapers of Shibuya district and disoriented by the contrails of neon lights that you can see from the 634-meter-high Skytree observation deck. Kyoto is now as quiet as the birthplace of the green tea ceremony should be and is home to more than 2,000 temples, including the golden Kinkaku-ji Temple. Even the transfer between the two cities is an adventure: a high-speed train covers the 365 km long route in just 150 minutes.
Where to sleep Wendy Wu has a 17 day tour that includes stops in Toyko, Kyoto, and Nagano – where you will see snow monkeys. Prices range from approximately £ 6,740 per person to £ 7,500 with a £ 150 discount for Times subscribers. Private tours are available upon request.
Beach life in Portugal
Comporta is home to one of Europe’s lazy beach scenes. An hour south of Lisbon, this section of the west coast is an exciting band of white sand and thundering surf that unfolds for a wild and windswept 60 km, surrounded by kelly green rice fields and fairytale cork forests. It’s still temptingly undiscovered, so you’ll share the waves with more storks and flamingos than any other tourist. This is the definition of barefoot life: picnics in the dunes, sunsets from bleached boardwalks, and dinners with fire pit fish under the stars.
Where to sleep The Sublime Comporta is a natural boutique retreat with reduced cabanas that fully correspond to the relaxed luxury of the region. Designer Travel offers packages with a guide price of £ 729 per person to £ 1,249 per person including luggage and transfers for a three night stay in a cabana room. Direct flights from Luton or Manchester are included and prices are based on two people sharing. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.
Luxury safari in Kenya
Nowhere near Kenya is there a spectacle. It embodies the enigmatic rawness of Africa and the continent’s ability to instantly switch from decadence to drama. The lush beauty of the vast freshwater Naivasha Lake, dotted with pink flamingos, is just a short drive from the heat and dust of the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The glorious grassland is the stage for the world’s greatest show, the annual migration of majestic wildebeest and graceful gazelles, with threatening predators such as cheetahs, lions and hyenas never far behind.
Where to sleep Try a 7 day fully escorted safari with Exodus. Accommodation is a mix of lodge, tented camp and hotel. Prices range from £ 2,849 per person to £ 3,649 per person with a £ 100 discount for Times subscribers. Private tours are available upon request. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.
Island hopping in the Seychelles
If your fantasy island is lined with rocky, bone-white beaches and inhabited by clumsy turtles that could have come straight from Jurassic Park, the Seychelles are your 3D jungle dream. The fun-loving Creole culture gives this archipelago so much more personality than its rivals in the Indian Ocean. Island hopping by helicopter gives a VIP frisson to transfers from the Trumpton-like main island of Mahé to remote resorts drifting in the waters of the Indian Ocean.
Where to Stay Felicite Island has 652 acres of pristine staff, 160 employees, and just one resort, Six Senses Zil Pasyon, with 30 playfully minimalist pool villas. Designer Travel offers packages ranging from £ 5,530 per person to £ 6,385 per person for a seven night stay in a Hideaway Pool Villa. Flights, breakfast and luggage are included and prices are based on two people. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.
Join the Smart Set in Barbados
Barbados’ platinum coast is probably the most photographed 17 km long earth, but not entirely because of its cappuccino-colored soft sand and turquoise waters. It’s the most popular Caribbean A-list playground, which means nothing but gold shines here. If you want high heeled designer glamor with everything, a social scene that could grace a global capital, and people poolside watching who deserve the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, you’ve come to the right place.
Where to sleep The house adds a contemporary twist to the island’s colonial heritage. Treats include free massages and a bottomless champagne breakfast. Designer Travel offers packages with a guide price of £ 2,499-2,999 per person for seven nights in an all-inclusive junior suite with direct flights from Heathrow. The prices are based on two people. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.
Great isolation in Iceland
Everyone is talking about Iceland right now, but luckily the focus is on Reykjavik, so the Troll Peninsula in the far north is wonderfully deserted, wonderfully pristine and ideal for adventurous couples. There are hikes through pea-green valleys or fat biking on snow-capped mountains. Choose between a leisurely swim in natural hot springs or white knuckle surfing in an ice-cold lake. In summer there is the fascinating glow of the midnight sun, in winter there is the pull of the northern lights – the end of the world is tempting all year round.
Where to sleep The Deplar Farm is a stylish eco-lodge with a cool house-party atmosphere, can-do guides and restaurants that are looked after by the best chef in the country. Designer Travel offers packages with a guide price of £ 2,489 to £ 3,079 per person for a two night stay in an Odin Room with breakfast, dinner, luggage and transfers. Direct flights from Luton are included and the price is based on a two-person split. Call 0808 256 2352 for more information or use this form to request a call back.