On what is a special day for most newly married couples, the desire to follow up a fairy-tale wedding with a magical honeymoon is equally as strong. The honeymoon should be full of romance, surprises, and relaxing moments, and many destinations around the world provide these three essential ingredients including Turkey. The vast range of romantic destinations within the country includes exotic and eastern ambience, countryside hideaways, or luxurious pampering. The choice is yours!
Be Amorous in Istanbul
Naturally as an esteemed leader in the hospitality industry, hotels, bars, and restaurants know exactly how to cater for honeymoon couples. Annually hosting many wealthy celebrities and international royalty, honeymoon travel brochures often feature the city because of its oriental and eastern vibes but also the extensive choice of hotels.
A celebration of tying the knot is easily done in one of the many boutique hotels lining the shores of the Bosphorus, one of the most significant water straits of the world. Alternatively, top class establishments like the Hilton boast of top floor private suites with all-encompassing city views. The Ciragan Palace, once a summer home of the Ottoman sultans belongs to the Kempinski chain of hotels, who excel in making sure those individual moments are everything they should be.
So how would a married couple spend their time in Istanbul? Think of a private cruise of the Bosphorus on a luxury yacht, ending with a sumptuous dinner in the famous landmark of maiden's tower. Follow it up with a ride in a horse driven carriage on the nostalgic Princess Islands, once a summer getaway destination for influential people during Ottoman times.
For first-time visitors, the historical buildings of the UNESCO World Heritage area are a must-see, but alternatives include Pierre Loti Hill with its stunning view over the Bosphorus and for the culturally inclined, the art galleries are full of exotic eastern and western pieces by unknown and famous artists.
Crack open the Champagne in Cappadocia
Couples who prefer to steer away from city breaks for a honeymoon would do well to look instead at the central Anatolian region, in particular, the captivating area of Cappadocia. Famous for its ancient cave churches, its original cave hotels provide a perfect candle-lit environment by staying a traditional home dwelling but with all modern amenities such as Jacuzzi bath, TV, room service and some upmarket hotels even have their own swimming pools within the rooms.
Without a doubt, the first activity that couples should embark on together is an early morning sunrise hot air balloon trip over the fairy chimneys, named that by the locals because of their weird shaped rocks formations crafted by thousands of years of wind erosion.
Prominent areas to visit include the strange but true geographical wonders of Love Valley, Pigeon Valley, and Pasabag. After seeing the 14th-century frescoes in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Goreme open-air museum, take a trip to the rock castles of Uchisar or Ortahisar. While both appear ugly and insignificant from the outside, each holds a marvellous panoramic view of the Cappadocian countryside including the majestic Mount Erciyes in the distance.
Other highlights include a duo horse trek through the steep valleys or on summer days, a romantic gondola ride on the Avanos Red River followed by a quirky and humorous introduction to pottery making.
Sail the Turkish Riviera
For couples who want total privacy, a 3 to 8-night cruise of the Turkish Riviera, will give you just that. Hiring your own private yacht or gulet boat comes complete with crew and captain who will sail you to quaint seaside villages or cosmopolitan sailing hubs like Antalya or Gocek where the sailing enthusiasts hang out.
In between exploration, afternoon swims, and sunbathing naps or as the prelude to a vibrant sunset of which the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey are famous for, fresh food cooked and served on board, includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Professional sailing companies operate in the yachting hubs of Fethiye, Bodrum, Marmaris, and Antalya while highly recommended coastal towns to include on your cruise are rustic Kas, upmarket Kalkan, and the picturesque peninsula of Datca. The Antalya to Fethiye Blue Voyage route also covers historical sites such as Gemiler Island, the burning flames of Chimaera and the ancient ruins of Olympos and Phaselis.
Road tripping in Turkey
Hard-core fans of Turkey will testify that is hard to pick one favoured destination, so a choice for beach lovers or couples who like to explore is a road trip of the coastal D400. Picking up a car from Antalya airport, and booking boutique hotels in various destinations along the route, this is an excellent way to travel at your own pace and enjoy each other’s company.
Visit some of Turkey's best beaches such as the longest that is Patara, the famous Blue Lagoon of Olu Deniz or the Lara district of Antalya, home to Turkey's annual sand sculpting festival. For couples that are super active, take a tandem scuba dive in Alanya, or catch the cable car up to the summit of Mount Tahtali for a romantic sunset dinner. This road trip can be as romantic or daring as you want it to be.
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