We love a tropical island here at H4C, but if you’re looking to escape to somewhere different (but still blessed with glittering waters and laid-back island vibes), Europe has plenty to offer. Sun-kissed beaches, unique landscapes and beautiful people – you’ll find them all in these three romantic destinations.
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A lesser-known island gem, Sardinia is about a five-hour scenic ferry trip from Civitavecchia in Rome and has all the hallmarks of a picture-perfect European island: white sands, clear waters, quaint villages and plenty of sunshine.
Surrounded by dazzling coastline, Sardinia is the sort of place where you could spend your entire holiday just at the beach. For calm, turquoise waters visit Spiaggia Rena Bianca beach which looks out across the Strait of Bonifacio to Corsica. To really feel like a celeb, make your way to Spiaggia del Principe on the island’s north where A-listers moor their glamorous yachts, or find total seclusion when you hire a car and venture out to the beaches on Sardinia’s Sinis Peninsula. With quartz sands, they’re particularly beautiful.
Of course, there’s more to do here than laze around on the beach. In the oceanside town of Alghero you’ll find medieval architecture, cobbled streets and incredibly fresh seafood cooked with spices from nearby Africa. The capital of Cagliari in the island’s south is great for historical sites and shopping, while Oristano in the west is a photographer’s dream, with pastel-hued buildings, towering churches and more sparkling water views.
The main island of Malta in the Maltese archipelago has often been described as one big open-air museum. And with so much history and fascinating sites to see, it’s no wonder. Historic cathedrals, museums, temples and palaces abound, plus there’s even a hypogeum (underground necropolis), not to mention the fact that the capital of Valletta is a Unesco World Heritage-listed site. Built by the Knights of St John in the 16th century, it’s a city that will make you feel as if you’ve stumbled onto the set of an Indiana Jones film.
If you’re more into postcard-ready swimming holes, Malta has that covered too. An enchanting little spot framed by imposing rock cliffs, St Peter’s Pool in the traditional fishing village of Marsaxlokk (about 20 minutes south of Valletta) is a must-visit, while the aptly named Blue Lagoon in the uninhabited islet of Cominotto features, yes, perfect blue waters. You’ll have to hop on a ferry to Malta’s smallest island of Comino to get here (the trip lasts roughly 25 minutes), making it a day-trip destination worthy of any daydream.
Ah, the Greek Islands – they’re a go-to honeymoon destination for a reason. After visiting Santorini and Corfu (which we thoroughly recommend), include a stop at the ethereal Zakynthos island. While it isn’t exactly deserted (the island is often included in Greek island package cruises), Zakynthos features some pretty spectacular scenery that you won’t see anywhere else.
A bit of a local icon, Navagio Beach (or Shipwreck Beach) is known for its soaring walls of rocky cliff, pale blue waters and the remains of a shipwreck, the doomed Panagiotis. Located on the north-west shore of the island, this beauty is heaven on earth for scuba-divers, swimmers, sun-bathers and hikers (hiking to the cliff’s peaks are a challenge but one that rewards you with a spellbinding view). Another must-see are the Blue Caves on the north-west coast, where fascinating geological formations rise from azure waters and afford divers and swimmers with an unforgettable experience.
If you want to escape from the rest of the world while on Zakynthos, head for the rustic northern and southern capes. Home to picturesque olive groves, dense pine forests and boutique accommodation, the regions are idyllic for honeymooners. Bonus tip: look out for loggerhead turtles swimming on the south-west coast!
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