Escape to Bliss
Romance is the first thing that comes to mind for newly-weds
after the long-drawn Marwari wedding is over. Finally it’s time for the besotted couple to flee to a fairy-tale land for fun, frolic and some ‘you-and-me-time’. But where? With offbeat destinations gaining popularity, MARWAR suggests a few that are sure to cast their spell on new-age couples.
Text: Joseph Rozario
oneymoon destinations have seen a world of change in recent years and as opposed stereotyped destinations of yore, today’s honeymooners have numerous options to choose from—so much so that they leave couples spoilt for choice. “How about Goa?”, “Or will Maldives be better?”, “Or should we go to some faraway exotic land synonymous with bliss?” These are the kind of questions that couples typically find asking themselves nowadays with tour operators and holiday planners bringing every conceivable land in the world within the reach of Indian holidaymakers.
“For Indian travellers, there are a few all-time popular honeymoon destinations such as Singapore and Thailand in Asia, and Switzerland, France and Italy in Europe,” says Jay Kantawala, the founder of Mumbai-based WIYO Travel, whom we asked for suggestions. What Kantawala says may well be true, but there is a new breed of honeymooners, who are not just averse to overcrowded, jaded destinations, but also are gung-ho about offbeat places. This trend of heading for unexplored places finds resonance with Kantawala’s observations, who adds, “Nowadays, couples also want to go to unexplored places like Morocco, Kenya and South America to spend quality time with their loved ones.”
Viren Batra, the co-founder of Nirvana Travel, Mumbai, on the other hand suggests destinations like Bariloche (in Argentina) and Poland when it comes to catering to the growing number of couples looking for offbeat places. “Bariloche and Poland are highly unexplored, yet they are a treasure trove of unique sights, thousands of years of twists and turns and amazing stories,” he says. Closer home, Batra recommends Udaipur, which he says “is an absolutely royal destination and a great fit for anybody, especially those looking for a royal experience”.
Sifting through various options suggested by Batra and Kantawala, the places that perhaps truly stand out for their unspoilt beauty are Poland, Bariloche, Morocco, Fiji and Positano. We bring you a glimpse of some of the attractions of these places.
Fiji: A tropical paradise
“Fiji Islands is an excellent choice for a luxury beach honeymoon. From larger islands with some city life to private islands with exclusive resorts, the destination has a lot to offer to a honeymoon couple,” says Jay Kantawala.
Fiji is a hands down choice when it comes to honeymooning in the South Pacific. The crown jewel of romance, Fiji has 333 sun-kissed, picturesque islands and a balmy climate that make it a perfect beachside honeymoon destination. Fiji offers luxurious honeymoon resorts, white sandy beaches and unbelievable sunsets that create a perfect backdrop for some unforgettable romance. While some resorts are located on private islands, some are located in a larger island. Most offer an exclusive honeymoon experience with fabulous spas, outdoor candlelight dinners, beach picnics and beach activities.
Fiji offers a host of other attractions, besides. You could find your preferred stretch on a deserted beach and settle down with a gourmet basket, with not another person in sight. Your resort could also help you to set up a picnic table and leave you to enjoy the serene beauty.
The crystal clear waters between the islands of Fiji are another story. As the sun moves, watch the shade of these waters change spectacularly as you cruise on a catamaran or go kayaking. You could also indulge in fun water sports, or explore the amazing underwater world of Fiji. Go diving or snorkelling to enjoy Fiji’s lush soft corals, amazing reefs, myriad species of fish, sea turtles and the giant blue starfish.
Fiji is also known for black South Pacific pearls which are sought for their beauty and elegance the world over. As you prepare to fly out of the tropical paradise, don’t forget to take one back home as a souvenir.
Bariloche: An Andean love affair
“Bariloche is an idyllic place that’s picking up as far as tourism goes, yet is still quite unexplored, which really adds to its charm,” says Viren Batra. “And while it’s not your typical honeymoon destination, we personally recommend it, especially if you have only a couple of days to spend.”
A small Argentinean town at the foot of the Andes, in the province of Rio Negro, Bariloche is peppered with ski resorts that cater to skiers of all levels of experience and enthusiasm. If skiing isn’t your cup of tea, rent a kayak and explore the amazing fjords. For something more adventurous, try the glacier hikes.
On the quieter side, horseback tours would be a great option. Journey into the Patagonian steppe and the foothills of the Argentine Andes, as you admire the picturesque lakes, transitional forests of cypress trees and spot condors, black-necked swans, guanacos and deer.
A major attraction in Bariloche is the Route of the Seven Lakes drive. An amazing and scenic 248 Km round-trip jaunt, it follows a windy road past magnificent lakes, charming towns, green forests and tundras.
Yet another not-to-be-missed attraction is the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, which is made up of a system of 275 waterfalls or cataracts, spanning an area 2.7 kilometres wide. Whether you choose to take a walk around this amazing force of nature or just stand and gape from a distance, the Iguazu Falls is reason enough to plan a honeymoon in Bariloche.
In Bariloche, don’t forget to sample the chocolates that the place is famed for. Known as Argentina’s chocolate capital, there is something special for everyone and no sweet tooth will ever go back disappointed from Bariloche.
From luxurious cruises to exciting sailing adventures and water tours, the options are plenty and the natural beauty absolutely breathtaking in Argentina.
Snow-drizzled volcanoes, crystal clear lakes, the magnificent Andes Mountains—these and more go to the making of the irresistible honeymoon destination that Bariloche is.
Morocco: Mediterranean medley
Though a lesser-known destination for honeymooners, few places measure up to Morocco. From adventure, culture, history and wilderness to majestic palaces, interesting museums, luxury hotels, mouth watering cuisines, fine dining options and stunning natural landscapes, Morocco offers it all! Blessed with diverse, captivating panoramas and a rich kaleidoscope of culture, Morocco presents itself as an unbeatable destination to honeymoon couples looking for a perfect balance of luxury and adventure.
“Morocco’s various offerings will mesmerize your stay and give you a memorable honeymoon. It offers a complete honeymoon experience from adventure, culture, history and wilderness,” says Jay Kantawala.
Located at the intersection of Europe and Africa, Morocco is hemmed by the waters of the Mediterranean on one side and with vast stretches of the Atlantic Ocean on the other. A diverse country, Morocco’s attractions range from the ancient markets of Marrakech and Fes to the splendid landscapes of the Atlas Mountains and the deserts of Ouarzazate, Sahara and Agafay, not to forget the beaches of Essaouria. In the north lie the ruins of the great Mediterranean civilizations, while Rabat’s architectural works are reminiscent of the old French presence. Treasures of Muslim civilizations lie scattered throughout the rest of the country and also remnants of myriad dynasties that succeeded one another. Explore cities like Casablanca, Marrakesh, Essaouira, Fez, Rabat and the Sahara, or head for a luxury beach destination such as Agadir, Moulay Bousslam.
Morocco offers magnificent sea and mountain landscapes and is home to the full range of Mediterranean climates. Step back in time in the ancient medians of the historical cities, stay warm in the mountains with mint tea, sleep beneath the stars in the desert, or stroll along the beach front; or combine all of these for a memorable trip.
Poland: East European idyll
A goldmine of history and heritage, Poland mesmerises you with its treasure trove of regal medieval castles, fascinating Renaissance architecture, towering mountains carpeted with lush forests, colourful old market towns and a deep-rooted history.
“Exploring a thousand years of twists and turns, histories and stories and culinary adventures mean that a trip to Poland will definitely be a unique and fulfilling experience,” says Viren Batra. “It may not be a typical honeymoon destination, but it definitely warrants a place on your bucket list, only if for the myriad lives, experiences and sights you’ll get to live there.”
One of the best ways to enjoy Poland is to explore it city-wise. You could start with Warsaw which with its chequered history has its incomparable draws as a honeymoon destination. Stroll around the Old Town, explore the city’s iconic landmarks such as the Royal Castle, the Cathedral and the Mermaid Statue and then walk down the Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat streets, packed with colourful shops and charming cafes. While about it, tuck in some of the best cuisines from around the world from an array of restaurants.
Head for Wroclaw next, a charming city on the banks of the Odra River that boasts numerous bridges, breathtaking market squares, numerous Renaissance mansions flanked by gas streetlamps that are still lit by hand and a secret population of tiny dwarf statues that attract tourists from the world over. Visit the Old Town Hall, the Military Museum, the Museum of Architecture and the Museum of Bourgeois Art and the Church of St Mary Magdalene, besides.
Kraków’s main draws include the Wawel Royal Castle, which is a symbol of national identity, soaring churches, impressive museums and the vast market square of the Old Town. For a glimpse of Poland’s turbulent history, explore the former Jewish quarter and then proceed to the lively squares and backstreets, with numerous restaurants, bars and clubs. Among the city’s other tourist hotspots are the Wieliczka deep salt mine, Schindler’s Factory and an interactive museum showcasing the German occupation of Kraków.
After a hectic honeymoon, some much-needed relaxation is definitely in order, and Torun City is the perfect location for it. This magnificent Gothic town is not very high on most travellers’ lists, ensuring that you get all the privacy you need.
Positano: Romancing in Italy
According to Jay Kantawala, Positano is a top choice for destination weddings as well as for honeymooning and works great for short romantic getaways.
A picturesque cliff side town located on the Amalfi Coast in southern Italy, no picture can do justice to Positano’s charms as a honeymoon destination. It has a lovely beachfront, narrow streets lined with boutiques and cafes that are ideal for enjoying sun soaked, pasta-filled holidays.
Positano exudes romance. There is something special and romantic about the place. Walk along the beach or watch the beautiful sunset—both will make you fall in love with it. You can otherwise wander away from the usually crowded main beach and go to the Fornillo Beach which is set in a pretty cove with watch towers and plenty of sun beds and umbrellas for a relaxing day at the beach.
One can splurge on the stay by staying at one of the incredible luxury hotels. Positano also has several restaurants with romantic settings to enjoy cocktails and exclusive Italian cuisine. It’s also known for its pizzas, local wine and the famous handmade gelatos, all of which fill your holiday with the kind of Italian charm that tourists from all over the world crave from their Italian holiday.