Five hours – that doesn’t seem like much for a flight, does it? It’s just short enough to give you half a day free, and just long enough to make you feel like you’re going somewhere exciting. Long haul flights aren’t for everyone, and they can be tough on the budget too. And short haul – well, you may have already done a few of those short hop-overs, so doing that for a honeymoon may not seem special enough. Luckily, there are some fabulous honeymoon destinations 5 hours from Ireland. If you love discovering new cities, taking great pictures and having lots of stories to tell when you return, then you should definitely consider the destinations on this list!
Switzerland – Zurich, Basel, Geneva
Give it up to 2.5 hours and you’ll be landing in either Zurich (above), Basel or Geneva. Depending on when you want to go, you’ll find the flight prices very attractive too. This destination is perfect for couples who want to DIY their stay and travel like tourists with full freedom to explore. However, for those seeking that honeymoon feeling, luxury holidays to a variety of destinations in Switzerland can be arranged through travel agents, while TripAdvisor has great recommendations for the best honeymoon resorts.
The best time to visit Switzerland depends on your plans. January and February are peak winter sports seasons, so it will be very busy. July and August are the summer peak season, when the weather is hottest and most tourists arrive. June and September are highly recommended for travel as months when you can do pretty much anything (outdoor sports, sightseeing) without huge crowds. In April and May, some hotels and attractions may still be closed, so your activities would require a little more planning.
Sweden – Stockholm
Photo from oldtownlodge.se
SAS gets you from Dublin direct into Stockholm in less than 3 hours. This is an ideal destination for city break lovers who want a great mix of fun, art, entertainment, and especially food. During the summer, there’s the famous Stockholm Music and Art Festival (best to check tickets in advance), and the weather will be perfect for taking boat trips to the many surrounding islands. The city truly deserves its name of Venice of the North! Of course, you can’t possibly miss the ABBA museum. There’s a choice of arranging the trip yourself, buying a package holiday, or best of all – consider a Scandinavian cruise where you’ll see much more than Stockholm while travelling in luxury.
The best time to visit Stockholm is between May and September, although expect the prices to be the highest at the peak of summer. The nights could get a little frosty towards the end of August, and don’t be surprised to see a light dusting of snow in September. Despite the cold, autumn is still glorious with trees changing colours.
Canada – St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Yes, you read that right. The easternmost part of Canada is just five hours away on a non-stop flight. You’ll be landing in St John’s, the capital city of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This harbour town is mesmerising in its beauty, and some websites even call it a ‘mini San Francisco’, due to its hilly streets and very colourful houses, but with a small town vibe. While your days away outdoors, sailing, hiking, climbing Signal Hill, and much more. When hungry, indulge in some of the best seafood Canada has to offer. We recommend checking with Canadian Sky about booking a full honeymoon or tour of Newfoundland.
Early July to mid-August are the best times to visit St John’s. It’s peak whale and puffin season, and many festivals and events take place too. The weather is warm but not unbearable. If you go in June, you may still see some icebergs – a true sight to behold. If you don’t mind cooler weather then the fall is also beautiful, with an abundance of colours and natural beauty. St John’s is a heaven for nature photographers.
Iceland – Reykjavik
Photo by Erin Ainsley Photography
Get onboard in Dublin, and less than 3 hours later you’ll be getting off the plane in Reykjavik – the capital of Iceland. If you’re one of those couples who don’t like doing same-old-same-old, you’ll love telling people ‘instead of going to the beach, we went to Iceland!’ In fact, several of our real wedding couples went there, and they couldn’t say enough great things about it – check out Laura & Paul’s story, as well as Sarah & Ross’s. Of course, the key feature is the Northern Lights – nature’s most spectacular light show, available for your viewing pleasure between October and April. Plenty of travel agencies in Ireland organise trips, cruises, luxury holidays and honeymoons, you just have to decide what you want, and go!
As we already mentioned, from autumn to early spring is your best chance to see Aurora Borealis. December to February is coldest (as low as -30C!) so packing the right clothing is essential. February and March is the orca season – a must-see for wildlife lovers. The summer doesn’t get stiflingly hot – with high temperatures in the 20s, it’s the perfect season for staying outdoors, hiking, sightseeing and photography. June and July have the longest days due to the ‘midnight sun’ phenomenon, when the Arctic light makes the night look like day. Best pack that eye mask!
Norway – Oslo
Photo from norwaytravelguide.no
Norwegian Air and SAS take you direct to Oslo in 2.5 hours – that’s just a tiny chunk of the day. Even if you take a connecting flight, you’ll still make it in under five hours. When you arrive, put down your bags and go exploring immediately. You’ll find many Irish travel agencies offering packages to Oslo with all the levels of luxury imaginable. Again, similar to Iceland, Norway is perfect for couples seeking something different. Due to its location, the nights are long in winter and days very long in the summer, but no matter when you go, you’ll enjoy filling your time with many activities, and evenings on romantic cuddles over local drinks. Romance and adventure have never paired better. The Norwegians are renowned for their hospitality, and Oslo is packed with museums, green spaces, and historic sites. There won’t be a boring day, guaranteed.
May to August is the best time to go (with the midnight sun phenomenon also happening here, you’ll enjoy extremely long days). If skiing is your thing then January and February are probably best. The locals say to avoid November and December as they’re cold and wet, with very short days. Autumn is also a supremely attractive time, when the tourists have departed but all the greenery starts to turn those signature wild colours.
And finally… a tour of Europe
Why pick just one country, when you can see many more on just one fabulous trip? We’re talking a European tour including all the destinations your heart desires. It’s easier to arrange than you think! Most travel agents will be able to accommodate your wishes regarding dates, cities and budget. There are endless possibilities: coach, car, train, plane… you just have to choose what type of adventure interests you. Maybe you’d like to see all the capital cities (like Prague, above), or you prefer natural wonders like mountains and lakes? Do you want to do it on a budget with backpacks and small hotels, or really treat yourself to five star luxury for your honeymoon? And of course, it’s all short flights, so you’d have maximum enjoyment time.
Best time to go is anytime! Keep in mind, peak summer means peak tourism practically everywhere. The crowds really start to drop off around end of August and September, when the weather is still good. Trekking around Europe in your favourite shorts and t-shirt surely is attractive, but perhaps you want to experience winter wonderland, or Christmas markets? There is a tour for every season, and Europe is beautiful any time of year. Go ahead and make a list of all those places you want to see!
Main photo of Basel from premiumswitzerland.com
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.