Close to home, yet a world apart in scenery, climate and culture, Greece and its islands offer newlyweds idyllic honeymoon destinations.
With its reputation for dazzling panoramas, romantic sunsets and volcanic-sand beaches, it’s hardly surprising that Santorini is popular for honeymoons and destination weddings.
Part of the Cyclades island group, Santorini sits in the Aegean Sea, roughly halfway between Athens and Crete. Once circular, a volcanic eruption caused the centre to sink leaving a crater with towering cliffs – now Santorini’s trademark landscape populated with whitewashed buildings offering jaw-dropping views. The capital is called Fira, and about 30 minutes from here is Imerovigli, which is the highest point of the cliff edge. Walks in and around Fira are spectacular, particularly heading north to Firostefani and Imerovigli along the caldera-edge pathway. The village of Oia is a must and offers prime sunset viewing!
Where to stay: Honeymooners should look to stay on the caldera edge. Fira, Firostefani, Imerovigli and Oia have hotels and villas with whitewashed interiors, terraces and infinity pools.
A whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades, Mykonos is a cosmopolitan mix of A-list glamour and simplicity. Whether it’s the island’s party atmosphere that attracts you or you wish to explore the island’s history and tradition, Mykonos offers it all. Imagine wedding or honeymoon pictures set amongst the backdrop of the narrow marble streets and whitewashed houses with colourful doors and window frames of the capital town (Hóra) of the island. Eat in one of the stylish restaurants on Matoyánni Street or head to Alefkántra also know as “Little Venice”, and relax at a waterfront café while admiring the view of the windmills. While in Mykonos take the opportunity to explore the tiny archaeological gem of Delos, just a short boat trip away.
Where to stay: Mykonos Town has the most luxury hotels but for those looking for a luxurious beach hotel then these are concentrated in Agios Ioannis, Ornos, Platis Gialos, and Elia Beach.
Greece’s largest island, Crete really does have it all! Glorious beaches to unwind after the stresses of the wedding, historical sites for those who wish to soak up ancient culture and excellent Cretan cuisine. The largest region of Crete is Heraklion which offers picturesque villages, vast valleys with olive groves and vineyards perfect backdrops for a dream honeymoon. Offering both city life and idyllic rural retreats; sandy beaches and rugged mountains; ancient history and living culture; luxury hotels and lots of adventure, Crete really does have something for every newlywed couple to plan their perfect honeymoon.
Where to stay: Chania and Heraklion are the best places to stay if you like being in a larger town with all the facilities and nightlife. Sissi, Paleochora, Maleme and Sitia offer a more intimate break.
Honeymooners will be seduced by the charms of Halkidiki’s three beautiful peninsulas, namely Kassandra, Sithonia and Athos, however, as home to the famous monastic state, Mount Athos, the third is off limits to women. Stay in one of the island’s luxury five-stay resorts and swim in the crystal clear sea water to truly unwind as newlyweds in northern Greece. For those who wish to explore the culture of the area be sure to visit the villages of Arnaia and Afitos. Two hidden gems, each with their own traditions, their charm will take you back to village life as it was here many years ago. Culture seekers must also visit the Petralona Cave, known as one of the most stunning caves in Europe. Also don’t miss the chance of taking a boat trip from the tip of the Sithonia peninsula towards Mount Athos – the views are amazing!
Where to stay: Dania Beach Resort & Villas on the Sithonia peninsula is the place to be pampered in quiet luxury. Villas and suites have their own private pools and the hotel has its own semi-private beach.
IRISH WEDDING MAG