What could be more romantic than getting married on a beach? Doing it without the crowds of course! Here’s our top five unique beaches to tie the knot on
The hills are alive with the sound of music in Zell am See, Salzburg. One of Austria's most beautiful, mountainous areas, Lake Zell beach overlooks the green forests and Alpine pastures surrounding the clear waters of the lake, as well as the frosted Hoher Tenn mountain. Couples can organise their vows right on the beach, or the sculpture trail that leads around the idyllic meadows makes a beautifully quiet place for an intimate ceremony, and newly weds can hire the town's boat, the MS Schmittenhöhe.
After the ceremony, circle the lake from ground level, or ascend a mountain of your choosing and share romantic, panoramic views over the lake and town. The sleepy little town of Zell am See with its colourful, typically Austrian style is the ideal location if you want to escape for your honeymoon after your nuptials. Surrounded only by the Austrian Alps, your days can be spent hiking the peaks, swimming the bracingly cold, clear waters or simply enjoying the solitude.
Denmark may not be the country you'd first think of for beaches - but think again. Sønderborg beach, in the Sønderborg Municipality of South Jutland in Denmark, has a charming meadow-side beach for seclusion and calm. From the beach, you can see the grand old castle, and bask in the warm glow of Denmark's summer. It's a popular spot for weddings - Denmark has very simple wedding legalities, and is favoured by couples wanting to get married abroad without lots of paperwork.
For an active honeymoon, make use of Denmark's fantastic cycling routes - the country has more cycling paths per capita then anywhere else in the world, and three out of four inhabitants of the country own a bike. In total, there are 11 national cycle routes that stretch 4,000km across Denmark, including a back-breaking route that covers almost the entire east coast of Jutland from Skagen to Sønderborg - ideal for the bike-loving couple.
The Canadian Rockies rise up from Lake Louise like soaring wings. White-tipped and emerald with deep, evergreen forests, the towering treetops and Victoria Glacier peer up through the valley. Off the beaten path in Banff National Park and away from the crowds, the lake is always in season. In summer you have a sunny beach with clear, turquoise waters from the glacier water that flows down into the lake, making a hike through the steep forests all that more romantic.
Hiking trails are popular for both the beautiful views and the abundance of wildlife in the park. Paths lead you up to the impressive Saddleback Pass, Fairview mountain, Lake Agnes and Mount Whyte, just to name a few. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities.
In winter, the lake is frozen over so thickly with ice that it's possible to hire horse-drawn sleigh rides over the lake, a romantic way to spend your first hour together as a married couple. The landscape becomes a stunning, iced landscape to enjoy over a hot drink and warm layers in the opulent Grand Fairmont Chateau hotel, if you're after a little luxury. If you want to get out and active in the winter wonderland; ice skating, snowshoeing, ice climbing and skiing are all possible in the local area.
You don't necessarily have to go abroad to have a beach wedding - since last year, Bournemouth beach is the only beach in England and Wales that can legally get married on. The licensed beach hut is the setting for your perfect British beach wedding - and you can even arrive on a land train, or on a decorated cliff lift. Bournemouth's 7-mile long, sandy stretch, which has been voted one of the best beaches in Europe, is surrounded by green hills and colourful flowers, as well as the city's colourful belt of Grade-II listed Pleasure Gardens.
Bournemouth beach has some of the best surfing in the area for the sporty couple. Due to the artificial surf reef, waves can reach up to 3m, and boat trips depart regularly to check out Dorset's Jurassic Coast. If you want to feel the sand between your toes and the smell of the sea in your nose, but you don't want to fly abroad to do it, then Bournemouth beach is the place for you.
In the heart of the Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand's North Island lies the beautiful and naturally formed Cathedral Cove. The cathedral-like archway with its golden sands and white cliff faces is surrounded by New Zealand's wild bush, which makes a stunning and dramatic backdrop for a wedding. Either hold the ceremony on the beach itself, or within the white cove and enjoy the silence and peace of having a wedding completely away from civilisation.
The North Island is fantastic for adventure-seekers - after all, New Zealand itself is practically devoted to adventure activities. There are bike trails for every level, including through Whanganui National Park and Hawke's Bay, through wine towns and the New Zealand bush. Take a walk to active volcanic craters and thermal baths, or go scuba diving and kayaking from Cathedral Cove itself.
Image: Lake Louise, The Canadian Tourism Commission
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