1 of 3
Photo courtesy Hotel Excelsior
2 of 3
Photo courtesy Kiawah Island Golf Resort
3 of 3
Photo courtesy Royal Carribean
When it comes to booking the perfect honeymoon, even the most fiercely loyal Richmonders itch to explore what lies beyond the city limits. Whether you choose to get there by land, sea or sky, the possibilities are endless — here are just three of many sure to cure a case of wanderlust.
Adventurous newlyweds need not spend top dollar on international airfare — just choose an up-and-coming destination to find affordable flights out of Richmond International Airport. Try Kayak.com when pricing tickets; the website aggregates more than 140 top travel sites.
Croatia may not be a top bucket list contender for most travelers quite yet, but it is one of Europe's best-kept secrets — and among its most romantic honeymoon destinations. A chic international journey can be had for a fraction of the price of Europe's more traveled locations.
The Southern coastal city of Dubrovnik ( tzdubrovnik.hr/eng) , known to many as "the Pearl of the Adriatic," has something to offer every honeymooner, from some of the Mediterranean's most exquisite beaches and nature reserves, to breathtaking views from its storied city walls and historic buildings dating back to the 14th century.
Escape reality for a week or two at one of Dubrovnik's many high-end resorts. Join the ranks of famous couples, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who have vacationed at the century-old Hotel Excelsior ( adriaticluxuryhotels.com/en/hotel-excelsior-dubrovnik ). Zrinka Marinovic of Adriatic Luxury Hotels says couples can expect "the most romantic honeymoon ever" at this posh property. With romantic packages starting at less than $150 a night that include sparkling wine, chocolate-dipped fruit and a couples' spa treatment, it's hard to believe that this opulent cliff-side accommodation isn't booked for months.
Large crowds of tourists from across Europe often interrupt Dubrovnik's Eden-like summers, so opt to visit in mid-September, when the walkable city still offers beach-friendly weather but crowds are lighter. Couples who book far enough in advance — more than six months out — will find that American Airlines offers round-trip flights to Dubrovnik out of Richmond International Airport for as low as $1,135 per person.
There is something inherently alluring about train travel — think of Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot as she sidles from car to car in a fur-trimmed pencil skirt and high heels. If you'd like to stay grounded by touring domestically, rail travel is a comfortable and recommended alternative.
Also, trains avoid the interstate traffic you might encounter by car, leaving you hands-free to read a good book, enjoy a glass of wine or simply savor some of your first marital moments.
Choose an East Coast destination to avoid spending a whole day in transit. Amtrak transports Richmonders from Main Street Station to Charleston, S.C., (800-868-8118 or explorecharleston.com ), one of the East Coast's top honeymoon destinations, in just over seven hours. A round-trip ticket purchased from Amtrak.com starts at $144 per person — nearly a third of what air travelers will pay. Travel midweek to snag the lowest fares available.
Use the savings toward a few nights at the Forbes five-star and AAA five-diamond Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (800-654-2924 or kiawahresort.com ) — a sister property of Richmond's Jefferson Hotel. Among the Charleston area's most coveted accommodations, the resort offers romance packages that include perks like rose-petal turndown, a champagne and chocolate reception, a couples' massage, and a dinner for two at The Ocean Room, the resort's own four-star and four-diamond steakhouse. The package costs $1,543 for a spring or summer two-night stay.
"June is my favorite time to be in Charleston if you want the best weather," says Charleston local Justin Corey. To skip the crowds and expense of the high season, though, steer clear between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
You've heard the idiom "it's about the journey, not the destination." Why not make the journey its own destination with a weeklong tropical cruise? Richmonders don't have to travel far to find a port of call — Royal Caribbean (866-562-7625 or royalcaribbean.com ) sets sail from Baltimore.
Henrico native Brittany Brooks has cruised with Royal Caribbean six times and recommends the cruise line to those seeking romance. "Royal Caribbean has great service and adults-only areas, so you can enjoy time with your significant other without having to stress about the little things," she says, adding that she recommends the on-site couples' massage.
Select a luxurious suite on Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, offering cruises from Baltimore that tour the Bahamas, Bermuda and Florida. Prices and suite availability can vary considerably, but expect to spend anywhere from $1,850 to $3,000 per person for an all-inclusive, weeklong adventure to Bermuda during the summer. Various suite types are available, such as the Grand Suite, featuring concierge service, priority boarding, preferred seating for dining and entertainment, and a little extra living space for claustrophobic newlyweds.
Need slick, dependable transportation to and from port? Try BioRide, below.
You've already planned a tasteful reception — now, arrive in style.
- BioRide Eco-conscious couples, meet BioRide. The luxury car service hosts a fleet of vehicles that run on kitchen grease from local restaurants. 946-0393 or bioriderva.com
- Hundley Carriages Channel Cinderella with a vintage-inspired horse-drawn carriage ride. It's ideal if the happy couple has six or fewer miles to travel. Rentals start at $500. 743-9923 or hundleycarriages.com
- Richmond Trolley Company This iconic Richmond tradition dates back before the 20th century and transports up to 36 guests through the downtown area. $150 per hour, three-hour minimum rental. 343-6105 or richmondtrolley.com