If you love the buzz of city life but want something more unique than Paris or New York, try one of these alternative romantic honeymoon cities
Vancouver is a city with an outdoor soul. The cosmopolitan centre has cafes, bars and restaurants enough to satisfy dedicated urbanites as well as museums, opera, theatres, festivals and a great music scene. But that's not all. The city is surrounded by mountains and water - you can go from hiking (or skiing!) in the morning to a performance by the symphony orchestra in the evening, or from kayaking with killer whales around Vancouver's islands to exploring the Chinatown nightmarket.
Luang Prabang, winner of theWanderlust Travel Award's Best City accolade for three years running, stimulates all the right pleasure receptors. Perfect for honeymoon couples, the Mekong city is full of easy-on-the-eye Franco-Lao architecture, tropical warmth, tasty (and spicy!) food, friendly people and shopping opportunities galore. Its feel-good factor is immense, and there are both luxurious options and more modest places to stay.
There's nowhere quite like Barcelona. If you're looking for a city that combines style and energy with art and history, you're in the right place. The city is famous for the work of Antoni Gaudí; his Parc Guell, world famous for its extravagant ceramics, is perfect for lazy strolls in the shade of leafy trees and arty photographs of fairy-tale houses. Barcelona's artistic legacy also showcases the work of Catalan artists Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies, as well as Pablo Picasso. The home of Salvador Dali is in nearby Figueres if you want to explore the area.
Japan's former capital is an intriguing place. Although arriving can be a bit of an anticlimax, once you start exploring you'll discover the romantic idea of Japan - teahouses, geisha, gardens and temples are all waiting to be found. The eastern Higashiyama district is a good place to start; the walk north from famous Kiyomizu-dera to Ginkaku-ji takes in a whole raft of fascinating temples, gardens and museums. To immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture, arrange to stay in a ryokan (traditional inn with futon beds, kimonos and kaiseki cuisine) for at least one night.
Berlin was on the frontlines of history throughout the 20th century and, since reunification in 1989, it has moved into the 21st as one of the coolest cities in Europe. From currywurst and Checkpoint Charlie to champagne, galleries and shopping, Berlin has something for everyone. Stroll through the Mitte, remember the past at one of the city's many museums, take a day trip out to Potsdam palace or gaze over the skyline of the city from the roof of the Reichstag... or head to an underground rave.
Istanbul stradles the Bosphorous as it flows between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, and if any city can claim to be 'where east meets west' Istanbul is a serious contender. The city is full of the heritage left by centuries of consecutive Christian and Islamic empires, meaning there are iconic blockbuster sites like the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque aplenty. But there are plenty of hidey-holes to discover. Arzu Tutuk, one of the guides shortlisted in the 2012 Wanderlust World Guide Awards, can help you discover the best spots.
Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur (affectionately known as KL) is as eccentric and diverse as its founders. The city was carved out of virgin jungle in the 1890s by ethnic Malays, Chinese prospectors, Indian migrants and British colonials, and you'll find their legacy all over the city. Moghul, Malay, Moorish and Victorian architecture rub shoulders with towering skyscrapers, and historic temples, mosques and markets are juxtaposed with designer shopping malls. Eating, shopping and nightlife are undeniable highlights of any visit to KL - the cuisine is as diverse as the architecture. If you need an escape, KL has plenty of parks for easy day trips.
Essaouira on Morocco's west coast is the perfect place to absorb the country's fascinating mystique. It's less intense than Marrakech, and is a great place to chill out (wandering round the UNESCO listed Medina, for example) as well as get your hearts pounding. If you're looking for a more action packed honeymoon, take a kite surfing lesson or go riding on the beach. Inland, you can hike in the High Atlas Mountains and explore the fringes of the Sahara desert.
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