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Seeking an island holiday which infuses European flair with tropical island vibes? Look no further than Madeira, an emerald green isle off the coast of Morocco. An autonomous region of Portugal, this relaxed honeymoon haven was formed from ancient volcanic activity – and soccer fans will know it’s also the birthplace of star player Cristiano Ronaldo.

A short flight from mainland Europe, Madeira promises to add an exciting element to your honeymoon itinerary and offers a fantastic blend of foodie activities, sightseeing, off-road adventures and relaxation. City slickers will love staying in the lively capital of Funchal, while those after a quieter getaway may prefer the sunny village of Calheta, on the southern side of the island.

Here’s our pick of the best things to do in Madeira:

Best for beach-goers: Porto Moniz Pools

For a beach day with a difference, journey to the northwest corner of the island to the Piscinas Naturais de Porto Moniz; natural ocean-side swimming pools in the village of Porto Moniz. Crystal clear and fed with natural seawater, these volcanic formed rock pools provide an idyllic way to spend a few hours in the sunshine. Set up your towel poolside and spend a lazy morning dipping in the (refreshing!) pools, before picking up a Portuguese tart at the snack bar for the drive home.

Best for explorers: Jeep Safari

Rugged and wildly beautiful, Madeira boasts lush forests, black sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, steep peaks and more, making it a dynamic place to discover for intrepid honeymooners. One of the best ways to explore the island is by jeep safari, for an off-road adventure otherwise inaccessible with a regular hire car. Try the Green Devil Enchanted Terraces tour for an all-day jaunt which will see you swimming in tranquil rock pools, driving through Madeira’s famous wine country and walking a section of one of the Levada trails.

Best for nature lovers: Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Plant lovers simply must make the ascent via cable car up to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, a lush haven brimming with thousands of botanical gems from all over the world. Stroll along fern-fringed terraces, be blown away by blooming hydrangeas and admire stunning blue and white ceramic artworks, all while soaking in gorgeous ocean views.

Best for thrill seekers: Monte Toboggan Ride

Thrill seekers cannot pass up the chance to go whizzing down the hills of Funchal on the famous Monte toboggan ride. Travelling in a cart that’s part wicker basket, part toboggan, this daring descent will have you clinging to your love and laughing the whole way. All the while two ‘carreiros’ dressed in traditional white shirts and hats expertly guide the toboggan down narrow streets to the finishing area, using their rubber soled boots as brakes.

Historically used as an efficient means of transport for Monte residents down to Funchal, today it serves as an adrenalin-filled adventure for tourists. Also, don’t forget to smile for the cameras along the way – you’ll be able to purchase a snap of your thrill ride at the bottom.

Best for romantics: Afternoon Tea for Two

For sublime sea views and sweet treats, reserve a table for afternoon tea at Belmond Reid’s Palace, an elegant cliff-top hotel bursting with old-world glamour. Served on the delightful millennial pink terrace, afternoon tea is a three-tiered tray and linen napkin affair, complete with an extensive tea menu. Try the bespoke Reid’s blend for the perfect accompaniment.

All images by Anika Reynolds

Best for wine lovers: Blandy’s Wine Lodge Tour

If you’ve heard the name Madeira before, chances are you may have come across the famous wine named after the island. A little unconventional, the Madeira method sees the winemakers deliberately adding heat in order to progress the vinification process, resulting in the four distinctive (and delicious!) styles of fortified wine.

In Funchal, you can take a tour of the famous Blandy’s Wine Lodge, one of the most prominent makers of Madeira wine. Here, you’ll discover more about the winemaking process and iconic Blandy’s brand, before tasting a few of their label’s best drops.

Ms Zebra Says: What a luxurious and beautiful place to honeymoon! Having never heard of Madeira, I’m now booking a ticket! The high tea looks particularly delicious!

About Anika Reynolds: I’m a freelance writer with a love of weddings and creatively styled events. I have a penchant for pretty stationery and perfectly put together cheese plates, and a never-ending sense of wanderlust!

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Wendy & Gareth

Bright colours, movie inspiration and the city of love must make for the romantic setting for engagement photos and that is what dreams are made of. So when Camera & Kit joined with Wendy and Gareth on a hot summer August day they set about capturing an engagement shoot with a very fun twist.

Tells Wendy “We wanted something different, relaxed and memorable so we went on a slightly offbeat bohemian photographic walking adventure around the les rues de Paris from l’hotel l’Amour (the Love Hotel oh laaa laaaaah!) on la Rue de Navarin in the 9th arrondissement de Paris to Saint-Germain-des-Prés and everywhere in between. It was so different compared to the normal way an engagement shoot is done. It was a fabulous two days, free upgrade on the Eurostar, lunch, outfit changes and an adventure across Paris. It was a romantic photographic stroll (with three outfit changes!) Cami promised that the photo shoot would be the whimsical and romantic feeling of La La Land meets the wonderful sugary pastel colours of a box of macarons and she was right.”

The pair met online, tells the bride to be. “We met on an internet dating site after friends encouraged us to give internet dating a try and it worked wonderfully well as we have now been in a relationship for about 3.5 years and been planning our wedding for about 18 months now.”

On what he loves about Wendy, Gareth tells “Meeting Wendy was a turning point in my life. I don’t know how it happened, but she came into my life at a point where together we’ve helped each other grow and I could never dream of not having her by my side… She’s my best friend and my biggest supporter.”

Gareth proposed after a delicious lunch, Wendy remembers. “Gareth surprised me with a lunch at a quaint little pub before taking me to a spot on the reservoir that is opposite the church we are getting married at. It means on my wedding day as I look across the water I’ll have those happy memories, moments before creating many more. He proposed on the 17th January 2017 at the lake at Rutland Water across from Normanton Church where we are having our wedding ceremony.”

On what she loves about her future husband, Wendy notes ” One of the things I love about Gareth is how he is always there for me, how he makes me feel safe & loved. Gareth is caring, supportive and always puts others before himself. He has a big heart which I’m honoured to be in.”

Photographer: Camera & Kit / Accommodation: Hotel Amour / Transport: Eurostar / Hair & Makeup Artist: Make Up By Jodie / Bride's Dress: Asos / Bride's Dress: Dorothy Perkins / Groom's Attire: Asos

Image via Christian Joudrey

Waterfalls are among the most romantic places across the world. Within rainforests across the world are treasure troves just waiting to be explored. Most are made even more incredible by the rainbows that light up the area and all are complemented by a gorgeous array of colours. If you’re looking to spend even a little part of your honeymoon exploring these natural wonders, here is a list of some of the world’s best. Have a look and then book away!

Plitvice Falls

Within the incredible Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia are 16 exotically beautiful lakes that fall into each other via a series of waterfalls. It takes more than six hours to explore the entire area. If you’re a little impatient or short on time, a way to cut a bit of time (but still experience the beauty of the falls), take advantage of the free buses and boats. If you want to explore the entirety of the park, stay close by in the lovely Villa Mukinja.

Image via Plitvicka Jezera National Park

Ban Gioic-Detian Falls

The largest transnational waterfall in Asia is not to be missed! The picturesque waterfall provides breathtaking views and spectacular boating opportunities at its base to get the full effect. Depending on what side you’re on, you can either walk along the top on the Chinese side, or swim in the natural pools on the Vietnam side. Check into the Manxin Guangxi Detian Hotel for somewhere close.

Image via VisitOurChina

Niagara Falls

We couldn’t leave Niagara Falls off the list—as one of the most spectacular and most popular waterfalls across the world, this one is also one of the most visited from people all over. With sparkling scenery easily seen at the most incredible vantage spots, you’re sure to find someplace perfect to spend your time admiring the incredible falls. Book a stay close by at the Sheraton on the Falls Hotel.

niagara-falls

Image via Niagara Falls State Park

Kawasan Falls

The spectacular Kawasan Falls in the Philippines is a peaceful natural phenomenon that only improves the further you hike up—past hidden lagoons and incredible streams. In each pool, you’re given the opportunity to swim around in the clear blue waters underneath the cascading falls. For a place to stay nearby the incredible waterfalls, have a look at the Hotel Costa De Leticia Beach Resort & Spa.

kawasan-falls

Image via Kawasanfalls.net

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

The Seljalandsfoss waterfall in Ireland is one of the most renowned and most breathtakingly beautiful in the world. It’s possible to walk behind the waterfall, but it’s just as spectacular to set up in front of the pool. Pack your supplies—including the camera!—and go exploring. For somewhere to stay closeby in between adventures, consider the Country Hotel Anna or the Hotel Ranga.

falls-of-iceland

Image via Visit Iceland

McWay Falls

The gorgeous McWay Falls is tucked into the Californian coast and is easily one of the most amazing sights in the area. The falls are renowned for its 80-foot falls, which is why the area is so breathtaking. Remaining terraces and foundations from a time long since passed now serve as viewing platforms for the falls. For someplace close by to stay—and to come back for second viewings—look at the Ventana Inn and Spa.

mcway-falls

Image via Visit California

For a honeymoon with a waterfall, consider staying close to one of these incredible natural wonders. If you’re looking for more, consider the Iguaza Falls, the Blue Nile Falls, Burney Falls and the Torc Waterfalls, among many, many others.

Ms Zebra says: There is nothing more special than the wonders of a natural waterfall. Isn’t nature amazing?! Thank you Naomi for collating a wonderful list of very special (and romantic) waterfalls to visit for the perfect Honeymoon destination!