If you’ve chosen a honeymoon in January you are probably keen to jet away for some warm temperatures and sunshine. Needless to say, it’s midwinter across Europe so you’ll need to rack up some air miles to find guaranteed hot weather – unless you like the idea of snuggling up in front of a roaring log fire or taking to the ski slopes.
With the weather at home likely to be miserable in January, you don’t want to fly half way across the world only to land in the middle of a monsoon. Luckily, there are many great honeymoon destinations in January. Most involve a lengthy flight, but there are a few within a few hours flying time where you can crack open the sunblock and snuggle up on a sun bed. Scroll down for my detailed recommendations.
Caribbean Honeymoons in January
January is a wonderful month to honeymoon in the Caribbean. There’s a buzz in the air and the weather across the region is reliably hot and dry. Only the Bahamas and Bermuda are to be avoided in January – both can be a bit too chilly. Elsewhere you can expect temperatures of around 28ºC and an average 9 hours of daily sunshine.
January does bring high-season prices to the Caribbean, but there are ways of cutting costs. You could go all-inclusive at a less expensive destination such as the Dominican Republic – it is rich in beaches, culture and natural beauty. I recommend Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.
Mexico is another good-value destination in January – there is so much to see and experience, the cuisine is delicious, there’s a great hotel choice from boutique haciendas to beachfront all-inclusives, plus the beaches are stunning.
Cuba is good value for money, even in high season and if you’re looking for more than a white sand beach, this is the place to head. Spend a few days at the historic Hotel Saratoga to explore the atmospheric streets of Old Havana, then combine it with a beach stay, perhaps at the adult-only Royalton Cayo Santa Maria. You can also combine Cuba with Mexico.
Other islands where there’s plenty to see and do include Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados, St Kitts and Jamaica, all with direct flights from the UK. In St Lucia you can go zip-wiring in the rainforest, cycling on former sugar plantations and visit a walk-in volcano. The best places to stay include Anse Chastanet, a gorgeous beachfront hotel.
Jamaica has character and style in spades, and there is lots to see whether you rent a car or join organised excursions. I recommend staying at Jamaica Inn, a beautiful small hotel with a low-key friendly vibe and outstanding food.
Barbados has busy restaurants, lively bars and fabulous hotels. I like Little Good Harbour, a small chic retreat, and The Atlantis on the quieter, less-developed east coast.
St Kitts is a low-key traditional island offering warm hospitality and both high-end dining and toes-in-the-sand beach bars. Best places to stay include Ottley’s Plantation Inn and Belle Mont Farm where you can cuddle up in cottage-style rooms with private plunge pools and dine on home-grown organic cuisine.
Sandals is the place to go for adults-only all-inclusive resorts. It has recently opened hotels in both Barbados and Grenada where you can even get married for free. See the latest offers from Sandals.
If want to get even further from the crowds, you could head to the stunning island of Anguilla which measures less than 35 square miles and is lined with pristine platinum-sand beaches. Best places to stay include the Moorish-styled Cap Juluca, the Four Seasons (check out the Rooftop Suites with private pool) and CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa.
If you want to blow the budget and head for a private island, Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island sets the bar very high.
You could opt to see a selection of islands on a cruise. Avoid the huge noisy floating hotels in favour of one of the new generation of high-end vessels, which are more like luxury yachts than hulking ships. My recommendations include the SeaDream Yacht Club which has just 57 cabins, all for adults only, and 96 crew, and Seabourn, where all the cabins are suites with a private balcony. Details from The Luxury Cruise Company which has a good selection of special offers.
Another way to beat the crowds in high summer is to take a romantic cruise on a tall sailing ship with the upmarket Star Clippers. Its Caribbean cruises get to the small ports that big ships cannot reach, and casting off at sunset with the giant sails flapping overhead is a truly special experience.
Africa Honeymoons in January
Safari honeymoons are becoming increasingly popular, as couples decide to opt for a trip-of-a-lifetime rather than a conventional beach break. And who can blame them? Africa promises not only breathtaking wildlife experiences, but vast pristine wilderness, vast skies and magical places to stay.
January is a great time to visit Tanzania as this is peak migration season. Expect 32ºC temperatures and 8 hours of sunshine. At Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp you’ll be enjoying game drives in open safari vehicles and bush walks, encountering rhino, elephant and big cats. You can easily combine this with a beach stay in Zanzibar, at the superb Baraza Resort. See more about this safari and beachcombo.
A safari in Kenya is another hot favourite for January, offering excellent game viewing and some of the world’s most romantic lodges. You can easily twin your safari with some luxury beach time on the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. One of the most popular trips for honeymooners is this 10-night Safari and Beach combination featuring the beautiful Kicheche Valley Camp and small and exclusive Kasha Boutique Hotel. Expect 32ºC and 9 hours of sun on the coast.
January means mid summer for South Africa which is at its driest, warmest and most popular so remember to book early especially if you want to spend part of your honeymoon in cosmopolitan Cape Town(25ºC, 11 hours of sun). Regional flights make it easy to combine South Africa with Mauritius or the Seychelles.
There are some fantastic safari lodges in South Africa including Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, where a fantastic wedding can also be arranged. Combine it with a stay at Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle in the Winelands, and perhaps add on some beach time in Mauritius or the Seychelles.
It’s “green” season in Botswana which means occasional rain showers, but also lower prices, fewer tourists, lush greenery and the chance to see newborn animals. The Okavango Delta will be particularly.
Asia Honeymoons in January
January is one of the best months for a honeymoon in Asia. Thailand, for example, has reliable temperatures of around 30ºC. With great beaches, delicious food and value for money, it’s a guaranteed winner, though you should avoid the east Gulf coast in January, when heavy rainfall is possible.
Vietnam is a good winter honeymoon getaway, particularly now that there are direct flights from the UK. You can enjoy this two-week Culture & Coast private tour, taking in all the main sites. You could also combine Cambodia and Vietnam or stay at the luxury barefoot Six Senses Hideaway.
Cambodia is emerging as a popular honeymoon destination and is at its best in January (32ºC and 9 hours of sun). Top of most people’s lists are the jungle-clad temples of Angkor Wat but you can also walk with elephants and sleep on a floating river lodge. See a full selection of honeymoon ideas in Cambodia.
If you’ve got your heart set on Bali, January is a lovely month to visit (30ºC, 8 hours of sun) but be prepared for a few rain showers. This gentle island won’t disappoint with its welcoming people, rich culture, fabulous food and ultra romantic hotels. Best places to stay include the Puri Ganesha, a laid-back luxury hideaway in the north of the island, and the great-value Gajah Mina Beach Resort on a surf beach in the south-west. See this selection of honeymoon hotels in Bali and the latest special offers.
The Maldives has its dry season in January (30ºC, 9 hours of sun) and resorts are falling over themselves to be the most romantic in the world with overwater villas, underwater spas and even 24-hour spas. If you’re on a budget, there are some fabulous all-inclusive options which mean you don’t have to worry about the final bill on checkout.
NIYAMA Maldives is a sexy blow-the-budget resort. It offers a selection of water studios and pavilions – most with a private pool – plus an underwater nightclub and the chance to spend a night at sea in a luxuriously-fitted traditional sail boat, complete with your own personal chef and butler. I also love the ultra-luxe Huvafen Fushi.
You can very easily combine the Maldives with a week in Sri Lanka on this fabulous twin-centre honeymoon. You can get married in Sri Lanka (though not in the Maldives). The two destinations are just an hour’s flight apart.
Colourful India is also all about culture, adventure and great food and in January honeymooners can head to northern India or Rajasthan for mild temperatures making it ideal for sightseeing – with Delhi at around 20°C. Try this 14-day Heritage Cities and Regal Palaces private tour. For more ideas, see this selection of honeymoons in India.
You can now combine India and the Maldives on a fabulous two-week honeymoon from just £1,800 per person including a private tour of Rajasthan followed by a stay at the fabulous all-inclusive Cinnamon Dhonveli.
Another increasingly popular two-centre option is combining the Maldives with the Arabian Gulf. Choose between the glamour and glitz of Abu Dhabi and a whirlwind tour of Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Dubai which costs less than £3,000 pp. Both are excellent choices in January.
Other Long Haul Destinations
Possibly the best long-haul honeymoon destination that you’ve not yet considered is the Cape Verde islands. This Atlantic archipelago offers year-round sunshine (24ºC in January), superb beaches, dramatic landscapes and fascinating culture – a mix of Africa, Brazil and Portugal. And it’s a six-hour direct flight from the UK. See the latest special offers.
If you’ve always hankered after a honeymoon on the other side of the world, Australia and New Zealand are at their finest in January. The end of the Christmas and New Year holidays sees the crowds thin, with glorious weather for sightseeing, sunbathing and romancing. Best spots in Australia include Qualia in The Whitsundays, Paperbark Camp on Jervis Bay and Harbour Rocks in Sydney. Another option is to plan a round-the-world itinerary and include some cracking stopovers Down Under.
In New Zealand I recommend a self-drive honeymoon where you could be heli-hiking on glaciers, kayaking with dolphins, horse riding through the bush and bathing in natural hot springs. It’s much more affordable than you might think. This 23-day Grand New Zealand itinerary costs from £2,389 pp (excluding flights).
For beach lovers, you can’t get much more remote than the South Pacific where the paradise islands of Tahiti and The Cook Islands await. Best places to stay for honeymooners include Te Manava Luxury Villas and Le Taha’a.
Guatemala and Belize are both amazing destinations. This two-week twin-centre honeymoon cherry-picks the best of both countries including magical lakes, volcanoes and the colonial Spanish city of Antigua Guatemala, and the Caribbean beach and jungle of Belize. Stay at Francis Ford Coppola’s La Lancha Lodge and Matachica Beach Resort. Expect 27ºC and 6 hours of sun on the coast.
Also in Central America, Costa Rica is a dazzling destination offering a combination of luxury eco-hotels, wildlife and adventure. There are active volcanoes, rainforest adventures and pristine beaches set in national parks. This two-week coast-to-coast self-drive tour lets you see all the main sights, or if you’re on a budget this 11-night Value Costa Rica tour starts at just £1,250 per person including flights.
Ecuador & the Galapagos will blow your mind. Many people know about the unique nature of the Galapagos – friendly sea lions, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, but mainland Ecuador is also packed with thrills including the Amazon rainforest, the Mindo cloud forest, Andean market towns and historic colonial cities. This dreaming on the Equator honeymoon is perfect for first-timers.
For more glamour, less adventure, head to Florida which is just the right size for a fly-drive honeymoon: I recommend a few days of glamorous shopping, dining and cocktails on Miami’s South Beach followed by some chilling on the Gulf Coast, perhaps at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island.
Short Haul Honeymoons in January
Tenerife is the best mid-price option if you want more-or-less guaranteed sunshine (though don’t expect tropical heat). Flying is easy and cheap and there are great hotels including the Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque and the fabulous The Ritz-Carlton Abama.
Head to Dubai and you only need to fly 6 hours for nailed-down beach weather: 24ºC and 8 hours of daily sunshine in January. There’s a huge selection of hotels although I recommend the One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court which is intimate, stylish and has great facilities.
Morocco is less than four hours’ flying time from the UK, and you can expect sunny days and cool evenings: 18ºC in Marrakech with 7 hours of sun. Check out Sir Richard Branson’s stylish Kasbah Tamadot.
It’s a five-hour flight to Egypt where Cairo promises 19ºC and 7 hours of sunshine. You could start with a few days exploring the sights of Cairoincluding a visit to the pyramids at sunset. Follow that with a luxury cruise on the Nile.
Can you think of anything more romantic than sharing a view of the Northern Lights? Go to Iceland in January and you’ll have a very good chance. Stay a couple of days in the capital Reykjavik before heading to the Hotel Ranga on the banks of a salmon river, surrounded by glaciers and mountains. After dark, soak up a breathtaking view of the night sky while reclining in the hotel’s own outdoor geothermal hot tubs.
I also love Artisan Travel which has a great selection of winter honeymoons in the Arctic Circle. You can stay in a hotel carved from ice and snow or a glass igloo where you can gaze up at the Northern Lights from the warmth of your bed, or stay in a unique Treehotel in Sweden.