You’ve considered Paris, you’ve been to Rome—but where else in Europe should you go? While there are plenty of cities on this continent that ooze romance and attract honeymooners far and wide, there are also many hidden gems that most traveling duos forget. By setting your sights—and spending your budget—on a destination that isn’t super popular, you cut cost and you have the added benefit of a relaxing vacation, sans crowds. Especially for travel buddies who have already ventured to countless places around the world, choosing uncharted territory is a wonderful way to test your nomadic skills and experience a new culture immersion. Here, some underrated European honeymoon recommendations to research:
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Greece was the original honeymoon hub, and Croatia is quickly following in its footsteps as tourism soars. But just a short ferry ride away from Dubrovnik is this gorgeous seaside town along the Adriatic coast. Imagine: limestone cliffs, buoyant crystal-blue water, and plenty of cocktails to keep the buzz alive and free. When you’re not lounging by the shore, going swimming, or putting up the "do not disturb" sign, book a speed boat to Lady of the Rocks. It’s a 15-minute journey that will take you to a tiny island that’s home to two churches. It’s a legend here, since in the mid-1400s, two sailors caught a glimpse of Madonna and child here and decided to build a home. Many people believe it’s good luck to drop a stone here before starting a new voyage—ya know, like marriage.
San Sebastian, Spain
When most people decide to tour through Spain, they keep to Barcelona, Madrid, and other metro hot spots. However, this picturesque resort town on the Bay of Biscay is an easy-breezy place to detox your wedding. And by that, we mean it’ll take your breath away: gorgeous waters, affordable, fresh seafood, and a slower pace of life that encourages naps, or as the Spaniards call ‘em, siestas. If you’re up for an adventure, walk to the top of Monte Urgull, which offers a 360-degree view of the beach and city below. You can still see the walls of the Castilla de la Morta fortress from the 12 century, illustrating a bit of Spanish history that you probably never learned in school. We recommend stopping along the way for a pastry, a glass of wine, or both, since cafés and eateries dot the path.
With a turbulent history from World War II, Budapest remains an inexpensive city to visit in Eastern Europe. While the streets are now lined with restaurants and shops, there are many areas of this Hungarian capital that tell the stories of decades past. If you and your number one are major history buffs or would rather skip a beach for a metro for your honeymoon, this may be the spot to do it. While you’re here, walk along the River Danube, take a ride on the "eye" that offers views of the city below, and venture through local markets to try Hungarian spices and specialities. You should also look into many of the Hungarian Baths, which offer relaxation during the day and a crazy party when the sun goes down. It’s also not a far trek via train to other nearby cities, like Vienna.
You’ve likely heard about the many nonstop flights to Lisbon from many East Coast cities—but don’t forget about a town close by! Porto is home to—you guessed it—Porto wine, and it’s a quaint escape for vino lovers. Here, you can tour around town, sipping on tastes here and there, and snapping pictures at the many historical sites. If you and your partner are Harry Potter fans, you can’t miss an early morning stop at Livraria Lello. Legend has it it’s the library that inspired J.K. Rowling to write the infamous series, and when you step inside, you’ll feel as if you’re part of Hogwarts. Talk about a magical honeymoon, indeed!
Yep, that’s right: Serbia is on our list! After spending a year backpacking around Europe, you’ve likely been to many of the cities that most honeymooners would choose for their post-wedding trip. But since Serbia has only started to gain traction as a tourism city, you may have skipped it on your journey. Visiting the capital of Serbia will take you back in time, and through many empires, including Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austrian ,and of course, Serbian. You can walk through the fortress Beogradska Tvrdava, tour through countless museums, and even have a picnic in the city’s largest park, Kalemegdan. Have a wish that you and your new spouse want to come true? Head to Skadarlija Street and look for the status of Djura Jaksic, a poet. Just like Santa, if you sit on his lap and spill your desire, locals say it’ll come true.
Some newlyweds like to go where the sun always shines—but others fall in love with the gentle mystique of the winter. If that’s you, a honeymoon to Lapland certainly won’t disappoint. Technically in Finland, it borders Russia, Norway, and Sweden, and is largely renowned for its sub-arctic wilderness. In fact, if you close your eyes and imagine what the North Pole looks like, Lapland is likely it. It’s a great place to see the Northern Lights, go dog sledding, or make love in an igloo. For those who want to invest deeply in local cultures, you can also book tours to see the indigenous Sami people, who have survived for centuries in all temperatures and conditions.
You want to feel like you’re on a private island, but don’t exactly have the budget to match it. No problem, just head to Valletta, the pint-sized capital of the island nation of Malta. Nestled beautifully in the Mediterranean, you’ll have to take a few flights to arrive here, but once you do, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy. Unbelievable views, warm waters, and inexpensive yet delicious eats make this a go-to spot for European families. Even so, few Americans venture here, making it a great escape. When you’re not finding your zen, venture to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, where officials fire a cannon at noon to mark the time of the day. It’s been happening for 500 years—and it's definitely a site to see.