Caroline SiegLonely Planet author
It’s your honeymoon, so it has to be special and unique. From the windswept beaches of a car-free island in the Baltic to tasting wine rarely sipped outside Argentina, these hideaways rarely appear on the usual post-wedding itinerary:
1. Snuggle in a beach basket built for two on Hiddensee Island, Germany. It’s unique and you know it: a pristine Baltic island with no motorised transport where horse-and-wagon rides or tooling around on bikes are the only ways around. Amble across dunes and long stretches of sand, or tuck yourselves into a Strandkorb (beach basket), a wicker half-shell chair for two that shelters you from the wind as you watch the waves.
2. Sleep on a lakeside farm in Shelburne, Vermont. This hamlet boasts a 1400-acre working farm with an inn on the banks of Lake Champlain. Beyond, taste award-winning wine at the town’s namesake Shelburne Vineyards, known for its crisp northern varietals, and enjoy locavore-friendly (locally-sourced) food at elegant restaurants where farm-to-table cuisine reigns and tastes supreme.
3. Enjoy a private beach on remote Pamalican Island, Philippines. At 5.5 km long, roughly 500 metres at its widest and only one five-star resort on the island, you’re guaranteed seclusion. Oh, and dive in to see vibrant colours – Pamalican is set smack in the centre of a 7 sq km coral reef.
4. Unwind on a gorilla safari in Bwindi Forest National Park, Uganda. On guided walks to observe these gentle giants you’ll encounter jagged valleys, dramatic mountain scenery and monkeys. In the evenings, stargaze around campfires and retire in tents built into the jungle canopy while peering into the mist-shrouded rainforest from bed.
5. Taste wine amid copper-coloured canyons in Cafayate, Argentina. Filled with estancias (sumptuous ranch lodging) and vineyards where you can taste rarely-shipped-abroad varietals like Torrontes, this handsome desert town begs you to wander hand-in-hand, past dusty buildings and candle-lit cafes spilling onto sidewalks.
6. Smooching in Bettmeralp, Switzerland. It starts with a cable-car ride, launching you into a car-free Alpine village. We’re not sure what we love more: views of the Aletsch glacier and mountains (including the Matterhorn), strolling between chalets or indulging in fondue. Oh, and Swiss tradition says if you lose your bread in the cheese, you must kiss your dining neighbour – so let that bread disappear.
7. Embark on a sunset ride in Khan Khentii, Mongolia. Peppered with rolling hills of birch forests and grasslands threaded with rivers, Khan Khentii is a protected wilderness area three times the size of Yellowstone National Park. Go horseback-riding at sunset across the steppe, and try yak cart rafting together before disappearing into plush yurt lodgings.
8. Cruise Alaska’s coast on an intimate small ship. Only small vessels can drop anchor at the quiet fjords, tranquil bays and inlets along Alaska’s inside passage. From your cabin, peer at bobbing icebergs, imposing glaciers and misty veils of clouds suspended above snow-capped mountain peaks. Or venture out for a walk on a remote beach or in a two-person kayak to float in enchanting coves and glimpse wildlife like otters and seals.
9. Take a vintage train journey in Namibia. From the all-aboard whistle to the smart retro furnishings on the 1950s-esque Desert Express, this train feels like you’ve stepped on a classic film set. Recline in antique leather armchairs and clink glasses in the Spitzkoppe lounge to the sultry sway of the coach. Later, dine in the Welwitschia restaurant car below sandblasted glass panels featuring local animal footprints while rambling past gold-red dunes and African wildlife.
10. Enjoy the simple pleasures on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Surrounded by tropical beaches and covered with verdant mangrove swamps in the centre, this island is home to the world’s second-largest barrier reef after Australia’s. Snorkelling, diving and sunset cruises on catamarans are the norm here, but we’re drawn to the balmy nights in basic thatched roof beach huts and napping in two-person hammocks.
A former commissioning editor in Lonely Planet’s London office, Caroline Sieg (www.siegcaroline.com) is a half-Swiss, half-American writer and editor specialising in Europe and the US. Follow her on Twitter @carolinesieg.
This article was first published in April 2012 and was refreshed in August 2012.
Plan your offbeat honeymoon with inspiration from Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2012.