Dreaming about ticking off every item on your “bucket list”, but don’t have time? Sharing that one-off encounter with your new spouse can make the perfect honeymoon
We're getting busier and busier, meaning there's less time to go out and chase the things we want to see and do in our personal lives. But organising a two-week honeymoon could be the perfect excuse to explore some of those more romantic bucket list items. Sharing it with someone special can also help make the experience, and the honeymoon, all the more memorable…
Here are our favourites, and how best to share them with your beau.
With its own species of tortoise, iguana and the flightless cormorant - among many others - the Galápagos archipelago, 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, is a world of its own. But with more than 150,000 tourists flocking to the UNESCO site each year, it can get busy on guided tours and excursions. The solution to missing the crowds? Hire your own catamaran.
The Queen of the Galápagos is a purpose-built vessel, specifically designed to explore the islands. Not only will you be able to follow your own, bespoke itinerary - to be agreed with the authorities in advance - but a naturalist guide, supplied by the Galápagos National Park, will also join you. Because of tourism controls, the guide will accompany guests ashore at all times.
Where to stay? Staying on the Queen of the Galápagos is $2,949pp (£1,803) for five nights, including meals and your guide. Longer stays are available. Excludes the National Park entrance fee, which is $100pp (£61).
There are few accessible glaciers in the world - particularly ones which you can navigate alone - but the Athabasca Glacier, in the Canadian Rockies, is one of them. It is part of the Columbia Icefield, a 325km sq patch of frozen water that straddles the mountainous continental divide, pushing water into the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Athabasca is just a small part of the ice field, and with depths of 300 metres in places, it is nearly as thick as the Eiffel Tower is tall. Definitely a place to share a loving embrace to keep warm.
Tour buses haul visitors up the mountains to a specially-designed ice explorer bus, which is equipped to take you safely into the toe of the glacier. What follows is a three to four hike - stopping only to talk about the ins and outs of the ice cap, drink from its pure waters, and take some breath-taking photos. The ice walk is CDN$80 per adult and runs from 1 June to 30 September 2014.
Want to go it alone? You can hire a car and drive up the Icelands Parkway and park just 550 metres from the tip of Athabasca. Seek route guidance before embarking on your journey.
Where to stay? Doubles at the Glacier View Inn range from $139 to $269pn dependent on room view. Alternatively, a package including one night's stay, breakfast and the tour up to the Glacier is $143pp - regardless of whether it's high or low season.
With the grandeur of China right at your feet, there's no better way to see the best bits of the Great Wall. There are several routes, from short 3km sections to two-day hikes. Recently opened to the public is the Jiankou Great Wall route, a segment that is about 20km long. The structure here is white (made of dolomite), and there is a hikeable and picturesque stretch that zig-zags along thickly forested mountain ridges. Intrepid lovebirds can stay overnight in Xizhazi village, just 55km from Beijing, before undertaking the challenge. Some parts of the hike are a bit dilapidated - yet still historically romantic - so it's best to do the walk with a local guide.
Where to stay? Stay overnight in a farmhouse before the hike in Xizhazi village. A standard room at Zhao's Hostel (Tel: 010-61611478), to the west of Xizhazi, is CNY150pppn (£15).
It's the world's longest train route, so it's no surprise that taking a ride on the Trans-Siberian Railway is near the top of many a bucket list. While there's plenty of diverse sights on the classic route (Moscow to Beijing), the heart of this experience is in the method of travel - rather than the destination. In particular, the dining car buzzes with excitement, clearly the social hub of this locomotive.
The trip is awe-inspiring and full of romance, but it is also saturated with culture. You will hurtle across the iconic bridge over the River Ob, in Novosibirsk, at top speeds of 72km/h, stop off at hotels in Irkutsk, Russia, and Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, and pass by mountains, desert scenery and paddy fields.
Where to stay? All hotels at the designated stops are booked as part of the whole package by The Russia Experience (0845 521 2910). No frills (accommodation, travel and breakfast) is £1,130pp (based on two people) for the 15-day trip. The enhanced 'full-on' package - which includes guided tours at stops and additional meals - is £1,765pp.
Deserts are more than the bone-strewn wastelands depicted in cowboy films. In fact, there's plenty to see when spending the night in the desert, from dramatic vistas to remarkable plants and animals. The Sahara - a desert that engulfs most of North Africa - is home to jackals, antelopes, rodents, snakes and scorpions, all of which have adapted to this hot and seemingly unforgiving environment.
But the picturesque landscapes and unlikely nature offering aren't the only reasons to camp in the desert. Lying under a cloudless, star-filled sky, tucked away in your own corner of 9.4 million sq km of sand is as romantic as it gets. Not to mention the Berber people, who lead most of the tours, will ply you with Saharan food, drink and historic tales. And the longer the tour, the more time you will spend gawping at dunes and camping on the sand - rather than being in transit.
Where to stay? Sahara Safari Camp's Morocco Desert Retreat offers tents from £64pn. The cost includes a Saharan breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner and water, but excludes transfers to the camp.
Main image (Trans-Siberian train passing through Lake Baikal) courtesy of The Russian Experience
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