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Image: Kir & Ira Photography

From the soft muted tones to the vibrant blue Mediterranean Sea, if you’re looking for a stunning destination wedding or picture-perfect honeymoon location, then look no further. Portofino is a beautiful Italian fishing village, known for its picturesque harbour and historical pastel coloured buildings that line the shore. Like the name, the port is lined with an array of vessels from fancy yachts to small fishing boats and old painted canoes. This gorgeous village is surrounded by mountains of trees with small coloured houses scattered throughout the hills. It looks like a tropical forest, lined with Italy’s classic stone walls, pebbly paths and rows of Vespas. If you’re after a fun-filled adventure, exceptionally beautiful views, or a relaxing vacation, you will not be disappointed with Portofino.

Images: Kir & Ira Photography

If you really want to delve into the Portofino lifestyle and live like a local, then you need to climb into the depths of the mountain and find yourself a cute little cottage away from the hustle and bustle of the village centre. Whilst climbing hundreds of steps may not be appealing at first, I guarantee you, it’ll be worth it in the end. From the high point of the mountains you’ll be able to overlook the towns views and watch the boats head in and out of the port. It’s particularly peaceful, romantic and very refreshing which would have to be some of my favourite things about this tiny little village.

Image: Kir & Ira Photography

Aside from multiple historic churches, I would highly recommend checking out the Castello Brown; a big beautiful house museum located high above the harbour. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful garden full of stunning hedges, purple coloured flowers and a whole heap of fresh greenery. Walking through the garden and along the stone steps reminded me of the ‘Secret Garden’. It’s truly so magical and surreal and this is why I adore this place so much. But the best part is yet to come, once you reach the top balcony of the castle, you have a wonderful view of the Mediterranean Sea and the Harbour below. Don’t forget to wear comfy shoes because you’ll be trekking up a whole heap of steps.

Julia Berolzheimer

Image: Julia Berolzheimer

When it comes to eating, it’s pretty easy to find a delicious place to enjoy a meal. Restaurants line the edge of the port, from pizza to seafood to tasty patisseries, to so much more. For dinner, it’s important that you make a reservation in advance as they will book out. Unfortunately, I learnt this the hard way. Instead I went to a quiet restaurant in the town centre called Ristorante da Nicola. Like the shopping and everything else in Portofino, food is also really expensive. If you’re travelling to Portofino or any small fishing village in Italy, you should always budget in a little extra cash. I guarantee you, it’s worth every cent.

Julia Berolzheimer

Images: Julia Berolzheimer

Portofino is truly a hidden gem and a place I would visit a million times over. I hope everyone gets to experience the beauty of this little fishing town from its well-admired pastel buildings, delicious food and vibrant ocean views – you’ll love it too!

Ms Floral Says: Thanks so much for introducing us to this beautiful part of the world! Looks like the picture perfect place to enjoy an Italian honeymoon.

About d’Italia: Bridal couture and custom made wedding dresses are a specialty of d’Italia. Whether you are looking for a vintage wedding dress stores in Melbourne, a lace wedding dress or any style at all – you are assured the exact bridal style you want, with custom-built corsetry to fit you perfectly, at a fraction of the cost of bridal-boutique gowns.

Polka Dot Dream Team...

The below wedding vendors made this magic happen and are an approved part of the Polka Dot Directory. Visit their portfolios to learn more and enquire about their services!

Polka Dot Bride Shop

Beach babes, it’s time for a honeymoon! Have you got your heart set on saying I do then setting off on a tropical getaway? Lucky for you, Australia has plenty of islands to choose from, but if you’re after a classic, Hamilton Island has a honeymoon for every type of traveller.

Why Hamilton Island

If you’ve got the Great Barrier Reef on your bucket list, get ready to tick it off. Hamilton Island is a great jumping off point for exploring the Whitsundays, with its own airport and regular direct flights from several Australian capital cities (please check the latest flight schedules/travel requirements as changes have been made due to COVID-19). There are plenty of snorkelling tours or diving expeditions out on the reef, although many guests don’t even leave the white sandy island shores, instead making the most of the world class beaches on your doorstep. One beach that’s worth venturing off the island for is Whitehaven Beach. The stunning 7km stretch of sand is on nearby Whitsunday Island, get there by boat, seaplane or helicopter.

Where to stay

Whether you’re keen to settle in for a week with a sensible budget or splash out on a seriously epic weekend, unlike other islands in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island has plenty of different options for where you rest your head. Here’s a few ideas on how you can honeymoon:

Entry level

Whether you spent your pennies on the big day, or are saving them for the next grand adventure (hello house deposit!), there’s no shame in an economically astute honeymoon. And yes, you can do that at Hamilton Island. This certainly isn’t camping or motel living, it’s still an island getaway, and that does add to the price tag, but a popular choice for travellers trying to keep costs down is the Reef View Hotel. Looking down onto Catseye Beach, the hotel is all about laid back beach getaways. Make the most of the catamarans, kayaks, SUP and snorkelling equipment in the ocean or retreat to the 34m pool.

Mid range

The name says it all when you book in to stay at the Beach Club. This boutique hotel sits right on Catseye Beach and nails beach chic. It’s all about rattan and ocean views at these one bedroom rooms with private terraces looking out to the Coral Sea. The Beach Club is adults only, so if that’s high on the priority list, remember much of Hamilton Island is family friendly! Beach Club guests have a la carte breakfast included each day and get access to the same non-motorised water sports equipment as those staying at the Reef View Hotel.

Rockstar

One word. Qualia. Okay a few more words. Private villa. Infinity plunge pools. Fine dining. Long considered the place to celebrate special occasions, Qualia’s pavilions are the stuff of serious honeymoon daydreams. Spend your days pool hopping between your pool if you’re staying in one of the Windward Pavilions and the property’s two infinity pools drinking cocktails, and of course there’s the rest of the island to explore, if you care to leave. It wouldn’t be remiss of you not to. Especially with the private beach, the beach club and the day spa to keep you occupied. Did I mention included in your stay is your own golf buggy to zip around in?

Tempted to jet off to tropical paradise yet? I know I am.

All images via Hamilton Island

Ms Floral Says: I think most of us could do with a honeymoon or holiday like this right about now! Thanks Lisa for sharing the beauty of Hamilton Island, and its range of accommodation. Something for everyone!

About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.

Whether in Bora Bora, The Maldives, Sri Lanka or Greece, taking that quintessential “cocktail” money shot on your honeymoon is a rite of passage. Nothing says relaxation and romance like a wedge of pineapple wedged onto the side of a glass and a frilly stir stick.

Here are four of Polka Dot Honeymoon‘s favourite cocktail dream honeymoons.

1. Mel & Matt’s Blissful Bora Bora Honeymoon

2. Curtly & Bronson’s Epic City, Sun & Ski Honeymoon in Europe & The Maldives

3. Emily & Paul’s Never-ending Dream European Honeymoon

4. Whitney & Stefan’s Glorious Sri Lankan Honeymoon