With Valentines Day out the way for another year, my Facebook feed is full of loved up couples planning their weddings. If they’re anything like me, it won’t be the wedding they’re looking forward to. It’ll be the honeymoon!
But… Imagine the scene. You’ve already spent a small fortune on the biggest day of your life and decided to put your honeymoon off for a bit. The weather in [insert honeymoon destination here] is a bit crap around the time of your wedding anyway. And your boss really didn’t like the idea of you taking three weeks off in one go. But equally, you don’t want to go straight back to work. So what do you do?
Go on a minimoon!
Minimoons are typically short-haul destinations, long weekend style trips that won’t break the bank. They have been growing in popularity in recent years, with many people choosing to forgo the big honeymoon until they’ve recouped at least some of the cost of their wedding. But where should you go? Here’s my pick of the best minimoon destinations for Europe-based brides and grooms.
Minimoons in the UK
- Campervanning in a Country Park
This was our minimoon of choice. We combined our wedding transport with a couple of days off work, and our rented campervan was exactly what we needed to get away from it all in rural Hampshire (although, we’ll admit, it was only a 20 minute drive from our house!) We spent the days wandering around the Country Park, playing mini golf and feeding the ducks, and the nights snuggled in our campervan with a movie, drinking champagne, eating leftover wedding cake and reminiscing about our wedding just days before. It was perfect.
If a tent is more your scene, why not stop by Botany Camping for a (kind of) luxury stay in one of their bell tents complete with marshmallows roasted on an open fire outside your tent. One thing I would recommend, though, is avoiding the toilet (they actually called it the leaning tower of poo) if you want to have a romantic evening together..! While in the area, you could take day trips to Bath – a gorgeous little city with awesome spa facilities right in the centre (v. romantic) or Longleat – a wonderful safari park just 10 minutes from the site.
- Hotel stay in Canterbury
Of course there are loads of great cities in the UK, but my pick of the bunch is Canterbury. There are some lovely little cafes and restaurants, and some great sights to see (weird animatronic people in the Canterbury tales anyone?) but our highlight was simply wandering around the town arm-in-arm, taking it all in.
- Port Lympne
A UK safari with luxury facilities, it’s just like being in the Serengeti. Except it’s cold. And probably raining. Port Lympne is a safari park in Kent where you can stay the night in safari tents overlooking the watering hole. We had one of the deluxe tents with four poster bed, and there’s nothing more romantic than snuggling up under the thick duvets with your new hubby (or wifey) listening out for the gentle roar of lions in the background (I’ll admit, I have a strange sense of romance!) The next day, take a guided tour of the park in a safari truck and saw zebras, ostriches, deer and rhinos all roaming free. Perfect for a couple who can’t afford a safari for their honeymoon!
Ah yes, London. I could never forget you! In my opinion, the coolest city in the world and definitely worth considering. You could take in a show at the west end, eat a romantic meal in one of the quirky restaurants, drink cocktails from a rooftop bar with an awesome view, and then sleep it all off in a fancy hotel.
Minimoons further afield
- Long weekend in Paris
Yes, I know this is a really obvious option, but there’s no denying Paris is a beautiful city that’s practically on our doorstep. Now, having only been to Paris with my parents, I can’t vouch for Paris being the most romantic city in the world, but I can certainly imagine it. Eating at cute cafes and restaurants, picnicking in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, heading back to your ‘boudoir’ with bellies full of fancy French cuisine… oh yes. And being just a couple of hours away by Eurostar, what’s not to love? It wasn’t our minimoon of choice, but we look forward to spending an anniversary there sometime soon.
- Long weekend in Barcelona
Spain had to feature on here somewhere! So why not take a short visit to Barcelona? With so much to see and do, it’s a great option for those that like to keep busy during the day and then tuck into delicious tapas in the evening. With pretty much guaranteed warmth and sunshine, you’d be forgiven for wanting to laze about on the beach with a book. Oh, and your loved one, of course.
- Long weekend in Rome
Where better to re-enact the famous spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp? Rome is the perfect place to enjoy romantic dinners after a long day of sightseeing or too many glasses of wine. It was my first ever holiday with my husband so will always hold a romantic spot in my heart. And with train tickets to the beach only £2? Rome has more to offer than you thought.
- Marrakech, Morocco
Granted, it’s not the best place to show public affection, but in the privacy of your riad, Marrakech is another great minimoon option. We visited the city for our first anniversary last year and were lucky enough to have a whole riad to ourselves. We drank champagne (brought from home) in the private roof terrace, ate delicious breakfasts and slept in the most beautiful room. When not in our riad, we had a great time touring the city itself and getting lost in the souk.
- Copenhagen, Denmark
Yes it’s expensive when you get there, but you don’t have to spend over the odds with accommodation via Air BnB and so many dinner options cheaper than the infamous Noma. Do remember you’ve just got married, though, so it is okay to treat yourself! Fast becoming one of the most romantic cities in the world, the chilly winds will keep you snuggled up and the romantic Tivoli Gardens will keep you entertained. Read more of my recommendations for spending 48 hours in Copenhagen here.
Any excuse for a trip away, eh? Would you have a minimoon or go straight to the big one?