For active honeymooning clients, consider this trio of self-guided adventures.
Few places are as romantic as Venice. In full agreement with that premise is Shannan Brennan, head of distribution and marketing, US, Canada and Latin America for Le Boat, a 40-year pioneer in self-drive cruising. Not surprisingly, she believes that “a boating vacation just for two is the most romantic of couples’ getaways, and certainly the enchanting city of Venice mixed with our self-drive cruising among the surrounding islands and waterways of the Venetian Lagoon adds up to a fun-filled, culturally rich, leisurely romantic honeymoon.” Brennan points out that “just last year we introduced our new state-of-the-art Horizon cruisers, designed exclusively for Le Boat with couples in mind.” The smallest of the Horizon series—air conditioned and heated—has two cabins—one master and one smaller that can be used for storage—fitted with USB ports; bathroom with separate shower cubicles; roomy comfortable saloon and kitchen with generous headroom and oversized windows; sunbathing area; bow and stern thruster for easier handling; and wide walkways.
Self-drive cruising means freedom to explore the Veneto almost like a native: park at any number of islands where fishing still thrives and sip some vino at a waterside osteria; head north to the Friuli region with golden beaches and lively nightlife; cruise
to Murano for glassware, Burano for lace, and the lovely Brenta Riviera to tour Villa Pisani; enjoy a special Le Boat culinary experience focused on learning to cook Veneto specialties; or hail a vaporetto or gondola to go touring around must-see and -savor Venice.
Butterfield & Robinson (B&R) provides tender loving care of your honeymoon guests who come to experience the romance of France in style on its Burgundy Self-Guided Walking itinerary. Between Gevrey-Chambertin and Dijon, the 6-day amble about this historic, bucolic and quintessential wine region combines luxury boutique hotels, can’t-miss meals and events, and beautiful hiking routes with detours to local markets and time out for picnicking.
Couples explore Burgundy’s finest wine tract, the northern half of the Cote d’Or, including the famous Clos de Vougeot. They spend a night in Gevrey-Chambertin at Les Deux Chevres, a boutique hotel tucked into a converted winery; walk through villages that lend their names to renowned bottles and stay in the iconic Burgundian town of Beaune at the charming L’Hotel de Beaune. They’ll hike the vineyards of Pommard and Volnay and enjoy a private wine tasting; spend two nights in southern white wine country at La Cueillette Meursault, an 18th century castle where by day couples can meander through the vineyards and villages of Chassagne and Puligny before toasting each other by candlelight during a Michelin-starred dinner. On day six, they’ll take a private shuttle to the Dijon train station for high-speed connections to Lyon or Paris. Priced from $2,995 pp sharing; B&R takes care of transporting luggage.
A self-guided cycling honeymoon is a memories-making adventure in discovery. One destination to consider would be enchanting Ireland, whose real treasures are not found at the end of a rainbow but in the rich culture, stunning landscapes, bucolic country inns, incredibly hospitable people, pubs—and more pubs. Pure Adventures has designed Ireland – A Bike Tour on the Wild Atlantic Way, a superbly scenic, 7-day, self-guided cycling tour that explores Ireland’s west coast, from Galway City to County Clare, embracing the Aran Islands and Connemara and following the Wild Atlantic Way, which at approximately 1,550 miles, is the world’s longest defined coastal touring route. Highlights include the Galway farmers market; Dunguaire Castle near Kinvara; the Cliffs of Moher; unique lunar landscapes and flora of The Burren; colorful villages from Ballyvaughan to Clifden; ferrying to and staying on the Aran Islands, rich in historic and pre-historic sites; and artisan foods and deliciously fresh seafood all along the way.
Hybrid bikes are available, and rentals include extras from GPSs to helmets; further, this self-guided adventure (for moderate-level bikers) is supported with the services of a trip manager and luggage support vehicle. Touring also includes hearty Irish breakfasts in the price (from $1,348 pp dbl) when staying in charming guest houses; however, upgrading hotels (with tour then priced from $1,850 pp dbl) to include such lodgings as Gregans Castle Hotel in Co Clare and Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Galway, is definitely a very romantic enhancement.