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Captivating sugar-cube buildings line the cliffs of Oia on Santorini, Greece — one of the great views in the world.

JD Lasica / Special to Cruiseable

Captivating sugar-cube buildings line the cliffs of Oia on Santorini, Greece — one of the great views in the world.

5 idyllic island honeymoons in the Med

Active travelers can explore Santorini, Croatia, Corsica, Sicily or Naxos

Planning your honeymoon for 2017 or beyond? It has to have that certain wow factor, right? And you'll want a romantic, memory-making experience you'll look back on for years (and share right away on Instagram and Facebook, right?)

 
  TRAVEL ROMANCE
 
Weddings, honeymoons & more
 
 

Earlier this week we covered 10 heavenly honeymoon havens in the Caribbean & Mexico, which included beach-friendly getaways to places like Sandals Barbados. But we know other honeymooning couples are looking for an experience that contains more sightseeing, history and cultural pizazz. Some travelers may even want to combine your land vacation with a cruise.

Here, then, are our picks for 5 idyllic Mediterranean island honeymoons for the active traveler.

 

The view from Iconic Santorini, a 22-room boutique hotel on the rim of the caldera.
Courtesy of Iconic SantoriniThe view from Iconic Santorini, a 22-room boutique hotel on the rim of the caldera.

Santorini

 

Iconic Santorini hotel

 
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Floating among Greece’s Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea, Santorini wins top honors year after year in honeymoon polls. Here, a top pick is the Iconic Santorini, a 22-room boutique hotel whose location on the rim of a volcanic caldera puts lovers and all others front and center in one of the most dramatic Mediterranean settings. Guests are treated to high-ceiling cavern rooms notched into the cliff (fitted out with flat-screen TVs and oversized, all-natural CocoMat bedding); a pergola patio; a perfect pool and intimate cave-spa; and sun-drenched terraces that tumble down the hillside into white-washed Imerovigli, a short walk away. Of course, this Santorini neighborhood beckons with excursions to black-sand beaches, provincial villages, the Akrotiri archaeological site and tastings in the vineyards.

The caldera of Santorini with a view of the whitewashed houses of Fira perched atop sheer cliffs that plunge a thousand feet to the sea. An ocean-filled volcanic ring was left behind by a titanic eruption 3,500 years ago that devastated the region. It's one of the most stunning views in the world.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableThe caldera of Santorini with a view of the whitewashed houses of Fira perched atop sheer cliffs that plunge a thousand feet to the sea.

A trio of new Lovers’ Escape packages fills the bill for the ultimate Greek Islands honeymoon. For example, the Cliffside Suite package features rooms situated on their own exclusive level of the property, offering breathtaking views from the private terrace and a heated grotto pool. Add to this daily breakfast served on one’s terrace; a bottle of Moet et Chandon Champagne and chocolate treats; a 1-hour Holistic Couples Massage; a candlelit dinner in the restaurant’s private dining room, and private transfers from/to airport or port. The 3-night cost per couple is $4,880.

Cruise ships that call on Santorini: Silver Spirit, Silver Wind, Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager, Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, Oceania Riviera & Nautica, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, Diamond Princess, Emerald Princess, Sapphire Princess, Sun Princess, Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria, Nieuw Amsterdam, Prinsendam, Volendam, Zuiderdam, Star Pride, Wind Star, Rhapsody of the Seas, Splendour of the Seas, Vision of the Seas, Norwegian Jade, MSC Lirica, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, Costa Classica, Costa Deliziosa, Costa Mediterranea

For more info: Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773 to obtain extra amenities during your stay and for travel arrangements. See photos of the venue.

 

Evening in a public courtyard in Hvar city on Hvar island, Croatia.
Mario Fajt • sobrecroacia.com / Creative Commons BYEvening in a public courtyard in Hvar city on Hvar island, Croatia.

Croatia: Eastern Europe’s Riviera

 

10-day land & island tour

 
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The Adriatic Sea is the new Mediterranean, and Dubrovnik — with sparkling marble streets and baroque buildings and fortifications — is its unofficial capital, as well as the gateway to the Dalmatian Coast and over 1,200 islands, known for their pristine beaches, picturesque villages and sailboat-studded marinas.

Old Dubrovnik's walled compound, completed in the 13th century and later reinforced, has a circumference of more than a mile and a half.
JD Lasica / Special to CruiseableOld Dubrovnik's walled compound, completed in the 13th century and later reinforced, has a circumference of more than a mile and a half.

A perfect program for honeymooners, the 10-night Dalmatian Coast and Islands Tour starts with a 3-night stay in Dubrovnik, with time to walk the city walls, take a short boat ride to the National Park on Lokrum Island or a cable car ride to Mount Srd. Next, honeymooners take a ferry to Korcula, an island of beautiful natural diversity and fascinating history whose capital is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Croatia. Tour options here during the 2-night stay include a private island tour, and a trip to the quaint fishing village of Lumbarda, famous for its white wines and sandy beaches.

Next, a high-speed ferry takes honeymooners to Hvar for three nights, with time to visit the medieval fortress and then cruise out to the Pakleni Islands, a world of unspoiled nature and hidden swimming coves where you can tour the lavender fields and vineyards by bike — it's the party capital of the Adriatic. Or, maybe you'll want to visit the island of Brac, with Croatia’s most famous beach, or the island of Vis, best known for its spectacular Blue Cave. The final two nights are spent in Trogir, where the top sights are the fascinating food market and the Old Town; the major excursion here is the wondrous Plitvice National Park, by private transport or rental car.

The tour is priced from $1,200 per person (terrific price for a 10-day tour!). It includes the stays at three-star hotels, all transfers by boat, ferry and car, as well as four-star accommodations, and assistance by local tour guides along the way, This trip can be customized in many ways, including hotel choices such as Hotel Korsal in Korcula; Hotel Villa Nora in Hvar; and Hotel Monika in Trogir. In Dubrovnik, the splurge stay is the Hotel Villa Dubrovnik. Our partner offers a nice planning tool, the Croatia Honeymoon site.

Cruise ships that call on Croatia: Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit, Silver Wind, Seabourn Odyssey, Tere Moana, Crystal Serenity, Crystal Symphony, Island Princess, Sea Princess, Nieuw Amsterdam, Ryndam, Zuiderdam, Azamara Journey, Splendour of the Seas, MSC Divina, MSC Magnifica, MSC Lirica, MSC Musica, MSC Opera, MSC Poesia, SeaDream I, SeaDream II, Costa Celebration, Star Clipper, Royal Clipper

For more info: Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773.

 

Honeymooners will enjoy the view and Med vibe at Hotel La Villa in Corsica.
Courtesy of Hotel La VillaHoneymooners will enjoy the view and Mediterranea vibe at Hotel La Villa in Corsica.

Corsica

 

Hotel La Villa

 
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Corsica, in the Mediterranean between France and Italy, has been a French territory since 1768, but it retains a distinct Italian flavor. The island is astonishingly gorgeous with beautiful beaches on glittering bays, breathtaking valleys and saw-tooth peaks. Honeymooners can land in Ajaccio and maybe stay a day to visit the seductive hometown of Napoleon Bonaparte before heading north up the coast to Calvi, chic in a French-Riviera way, with its 4-mile stretch of sandy white beach, impressive citadel overlooking the Old Town, lively restaurants and buzzing nightlife.

Calvi and the scenic Bay of Calvi on the French island of Corsica.
Kenyeres László / Creative Commons BY NCCalvi and the scenic Bay of Calvi on the French island of Corsica.

Just outside Calvi — a town also accessible by ferry from Nice — there’s a most romantic Relais & Chateaux retreat, the Hotel La Villa. It occupies a big, traditional Corsican house with a prime position overlooking the Bay of Calvi. You'll have the pick of 53 sunny guest rooms, including 24 suites; all have balconies or terraces and are minimal in decor and fitted with comfy beds and luxe linens. Facilities include five pools, an Anne Semonin Spa, tennis courts, a private beach, two restaurants (one Michelin starred), two bars, gym, DVD library and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.

Day trips from here take guests driving along La Route de Bonheuror by boat along the coast to the Scandola Reserve for snorkeling in the coves and grottoes. Turn the hotel’s Discovery package into a 3-day honeymoon package, priced from $585 a night sharing and including standard room accommodations (upgrading when possible) with breakfast in room or terrace, and dinners in the fine dining La Table restaurant; bottle of Champagne and sweets in the room; the opportunity to discover the Balagne area with a mountain guide; 10% discount on spa treatments, and transfers to/from Calvi airport.

Cruise ships that call on Corscia: Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, Silver Muse, Silver Wind, Silver Spirit, Seabourn Sojourn, Seabourn Odyssey, SeaDream I, SeaDream II, Le Ponant, Le Lyrial, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Voyager, Viking Sea, Viking Sky, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Constellation, Queen Victoria, Wind Star, Star Breeze, Prinsendam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Royal Princess, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess, Oceania Sirena, Oceania Riviera, Oceania Marina, Jewel of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, MSC Opera, MSC Magnifica, MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Preziosa, Costa neoClassica, Costa Pacifica

For more info: Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773 to obtain extra amenities during your stay and for travel arrangements. See photos of the venue.

 

Taormina, on the east coast of the island of Sicily, Italy, has been a popular tourist destination for 200 years.
Radu Ursu / Courtesy of Carnival Cruise LinesTaormina, on the east coast of Sicily, Italy, has been a popular tourist destination for 200 years.

Sicily: Authentic Italian experiences

 

10-night 'Ultimate Honeymoon' package

 
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It’s easy to fall head over heels in love with Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean and a wondrous one-stop destination — one stop unless you add those offshore islands called the “Seven Pearls of the Mediterranean Sea” to turn it into The Ultimate Honeymoon in Italy: Sicily, Taormina & the Aeolian Islands. Newlyweds will experience a unique and thoughtful mix of history, art, nature, dining, relaxation — and private time for romance — on this 11-day, 10-night sojourn into the heart of authentic Italy.

Stromboli, off the coast of Sicily, has an active volcano.
Cycling man / Creative Commons BY NC NDStromboli, off the coast of Sicily, has an active volcano.

On the Ultimate Honeymoon, couples spend five nights in Taormina, where arrangements include a private walking tour of this beautiful and historic town; a private jeep excursion on the Etna Volcano, stopping for wine tastings and a delicious lunch; and a full-day excursion to ancient Siracusa-Ortigia. From Sicily, they head out to sea on a hydrofoil, docking at Lipari, the liveliest of the scenic Aeolian Islands, for a 4-night stay, plenty of time to explore all the islands: swimming and sailing, exploring volcanoes, bathing in thermal waters and mud of Stromboli, then spend the final night in history-rich Catania celebrating with a farewell dinner.

Priced at $3,070 per person, the program includes four-star boutique accommodations: Villa Angela in Taormina and Hotel Mea in Lipari, both with terraced rooms, pools, stunning sunsets and free Internet, and the Hotel Liberty, beautifully restored in Catania; honeymooners can upgrade to super-luxury five-star properties like the Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea in Taormina. Also included are full buffet breakfasts, a farewell dinner, private-guided touring, roundtrip hydrofoil transport to Lipari, private transfers and professional assistance available 24/7. And a unique feature included in all Discover Your Italy arrangements: a welcome pack containing a smart phone with a pre-paid Italian sim card to be used during the trip to stay in touch with local hosts at all times, Internet access, use of maps, etc.

Cruise ships that call on Sicily: Silver Muse, Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Explorer, Viking Sky, Oceania Sirena, Oceania Nautica, Oceania Marina, Oceania Riviera, Oceania Insignia, Disney Magic, Le Lyrial, Koningsdam, Rotterdam, Veendam, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Reflection, Royal Princess, Pacific Princess, Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest, Carnival Vista, MSC Splendida, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Preziosa, Costa Fascinosa,

For more info: Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773 for travel arrangements and for maximum savings.

 

A bedroom suite at the Naxian Collection in Naxos, Greece (click to enlarge).
Courtesy of the Naxian CollectionA bedroom suite at the Naxian Collection in Naxos, Greece (click to enlarge).

Naxos: A charming slice of Greece

 

Combine 3 days at a Naxos resort with 3 days on Santorini

 
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We already covered Santorini above. But we're not done with Greece, the land of love, home to the Greek gods Eros (a.k.a. Cupid), uniter of lovers, and Aphrodite (a.k.a. Venus), goddess of love. There are other jewels found among the 2,000 Greek islands sprinkled across the turquoise Aegean and Ionian seas. In the past year, the hottest new island for honeymooners is romantic Naxos, distinguished by its rolling green hills and valleys with clusters of Byzantine churches, long sand beaches and a capital that has its own Venetian castle.”

The view of the pool and the stunning Aegean Sea from Astra Suites on Santorini (click to enlarge).
Courtesy of Astra SuitesThe view of the pool and the stunning Aegean Sea from Astra Suites on Santorini (click to enlarge).

So why not combine the two? A new 7-day package features three nights in Naxos and three nights in Santorini. A top resort choice on Naxos is the Naxian Collection, located two miles from Naxos town and less than a half-mile from St. Prokopios Beach. Accenting premier amenities and sweeping Aegean Sea views, the resort’s villas and suites boast private pools and expansive terraces, espresso machines and free Wi-Fi. See photos of the venue.

On Santorini, the hotel pick might be the Astra Suites, built into the cliffs above Imerovigli village. Astra’s suites come with romantic outdoor whirlpools for two with panoramas embracing the caldera and facing evening sunsets. The Naxos-Santorini Honeymoon includes a wine and cheese tasting in Naxos, a bottle of wine, fresh fruit, flowers on arrival in the suite in Santorini, a bottle of champagne with chocolates the second day, domestic air and business class hydrofoil transport (much faster than a ferry ride!) and private transfers. Priced from $1,455 per person for the 7-day honeymoon package; 10-day packages also available.

Contact a travel expert

Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773 for travel arrangements, or email our travel agency team. Often a Cruiseable travel agent will be able to get you extra amenities and savings during your stay.

This information originally appeared at Recommend magazine.

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Recommend is a monthly magazine that provides travel professionals with resources to help consumers learn more about travel destinations. Visit www.recommend.com.

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