For most newlyweds, your honeymoon is the trip of a lifetime. Sure, you may end up taking bigger or wilder trips down the road, probably with your growing family, but the first post-wedding getaway is epic. It allows you time to enjoy each other with all the planning and stress behind you. It sets the tone for the adventures you’ll have in your future, and it provides memories that will last your lifetime. Whether you’re lie-on-a-beach-with-a-coconut people, daring foodies, adventure junkies, snow bunnies or city folk, there are incredible places near and far that will indulge your personal idea of romance. We’ve collected a definitive list: Here, the top 100 honeymoon destinations around the world.
Known as Portugal’s grape-growing region, Alentejo (“beyond” in Portuguese) has the cool calm of a wine valley with the added surprise of picturesque, un-touristy beaches. There are also medieval castles and ruins of Roman architecture dotted around the agriculture-rich area. Stay at the bucolic Herdade da Malhadinha Nova or charmingly rural Imani Country House and plan to drive, along one of three wine routes and up and down the coast, where fresh seafood, quaint B&Bs, waves dotted with surfers and tiny villages are par for the course.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
There are many reasons the Amalfi Coast continues to be at the top of honeymooners’ bucket list. It’s hard to picture more classically romantic a scene than Positano’s steep village streets, Moorish architecture, azure water and colorful loungers and umbrellas lining the dark sandy beaches. Glamour comes easy, especially at the five-star Le Sirenuse, where the formula for a sexy, sophisticated getaway is tried and true.
Beyond the liberal coffee shop culture and Red Light District, Amsterdam is a blissful capital city known for its rich artistic heritage — Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Vermeer — and elaborate system of canals and bridges. Cycle or walk past the charming facades, stopping at open-air restaurants or cafes for intimate meals and chats with friendly locals. The waterfront InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam, with its Michelin-starred restaurant, is a good bet for foodies, while the new The Hoxton, Amsterdam, provides some of the city’s most alluringly designed rooms—not to mention energizing public spaces and excellent cuisine—at attractive rates.
Anguilla is the definition of Caribbean paradise: electric turquoise water, bright white sand, palm trees that sway in the gentle breeze around calm bays. Book a private pool suite at the serene Cap Juluca, where plantation-style shutters can block out the beach so you can sleep in and enjoy lazy breakfasts in bed.
With global warming, the time is now to experience the otherworldly wonders of Antarctica, a once-in-a-lifetime trip if there ever was one, and an experience suited to adventurous couples who can find romance in the most unexpected places. The ice-covered landmass of snowcapped volcanos, reflective crystalline waters and wildlife like whales, seals and penguins is reachable on cruises that start in Argentina or Chile, by luxury operators like Seabourn (whose trips include zodiac landings and photography workshops) and Silversea.
Antigua & Barbuda
Pastel facades, bustling markets, tropical fruits, limestone formations and, of course, plenty fo pristine beaches: Antigua and Barbuda are essentially Eden. Between the two islands you can find yourselves alone on powdery white sand, or on a catamaran sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea at sunset. Both Delta and American have added new flights, making it easier than ever to access all-inclusive resorts such as the opulent and just-renovated Curtain Bluff (where tennis, sailing, water-skiing, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking and bocce are included), along with once-in-a-lifetime private-island (literally) getaways like Jumby Bay Island.
Whether you ski, aprés or hike, Switzerland’s mountainous terrain is a thrilling, wellness-oriented, not to mention romantic, venue. When the snow is falling over Arosa, a town in the district of Plessur, it’s particularly butterfly-inducing. Snow sports are popular, as are the miles and miles of walking and mountain bike trails. Experience them all from the elegant Tschuggen Grand Hotel, with its own private railway. Crystal-clear mountain lakes, alpine pastures and cozy mountain cabins—it’s the definition of high-altitude paradise.
Are you a little bit of a hipster? Do you love music? Is your mouth watering thinking about barbecue? Get yourselves to the coolest city in the Lone Star State, which may not be known for romance but does have its spots, like Mount Bonnell and Lake Travis at sunset. Otherwise, stay at the trendy bungalow-style Hotel San Jose (or for a bucolic stay outside the city, the luxury spa resort Travaasa Austin) and spend time trying food trucks, seeing shows and window-shopping on South Congress.
A honeymoon in Bali is pure magic. The Indonesian island—the only one in the huge country that’s Hindu—is a perfect place for passion. With a bit more of an exotic feel than the tropical islands closer to the US, Bali doesn’t only offer unspoiled beaches, surfing, snorkeling and massages, it’s full of culture, art, music, rice terraces and temples, many, many temples. Nature is celebrated here, and it’s easy to get into the spirit at lush, authentic properties such as Four Seasons Bali at Sayan and Uluwatu Surf Villas.
Belize has a lot going for it, boasting the world’s second largest barrier reef as well as beautiful beaches and private islands, plus jungles, farms, rum distilleries and chocolate making. There’s no shortage of activities for fun-loving couples, such as spear fishing lessons at Copal Tree Lodge, or a stargazing cruise around Thatch Caye, both idyllic properties for anyone who loves a barefoot life to snuggle up with their honey. To round it out, hike to ancient Maya archaeological sites, snorkel on the reef, meditate in the jungle and picnic at a waterfall.
For those who feel the best thing about an island is getting away from it all there’s Bequia, a sunny, tiny island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that is the recipient of new direct flights from Miami, marking its emerging nature. Super lush and super natural, the isle has pristine beaches, verdant hillsides and a turquoise harbor from which private yachts leave for sunset cruises or days of snorkeling. Relax over a rum punch at Bequia Beach Hotel, a laid-back resort with luxurious amenities where it’s all about truly disconnecting from the world and engaging with your lover.
With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 2019 there’s no better time to celebrate the previously divided city that’s now a vibrant ode to art, history, design and creative cuisine. At the heart of its modern reinvigoration is the Orania.Berlin hotel, a boutique property in a landmarked art nouveau building with a famed chef behind its restaurant, a concert stage hosting daily performances from Bach to jazz, and a penthouse literary salon, not to mention 41 rooms and suites decked out in post-modern furnishings and sumptuous fabrics.
If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this Southeast Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, it’s a magical country with its own identity and topography, although anyone who’s been to one of those spots knows natural beauty is a sure thing. There’s French colonial influence alongside Buddhist monasteries, hill tribes and the Mekong River, which trickles into thousands of others as well as thousands of islands. The height of luxury this is generally not, but it’s certainly adventurous and jaw-droopingly gorgeous.
Big Sur, California
California may not sound like the most exotic destination for a trip as big as your honeymoon, but Big Sur isn’t any old West Coast beach. The rugged central coast should be high on the list of those who appreciate the great outdoors. Splurge on one of the top hotels in the world, Post Ranch Inn, or go rustic in a treehouse at Treebones. Either way, you’ll be in a prime position to soak up all nature’s beauty.
The debate between Sydney and Melbourne is like the one between New Yorkers and Angelenos. Regardless of claims it has no culture, the capital of New South Wales has great dining, lots of activity and natural beauty to spare, which makes for about a hundred stunning romantic settings. Stay at the new Old Clare Hotel for a more urban adventure (think Opera House, Harbour Bridge, botanical gardens) or opt for the QT Bondi if you’d like your souvenir to be a golden tan and a six-pack.
The coastal city of Bordeaux, in southwestern France, has gothic cathedrals, art museums and manicured public gardens lining its picturesque river, but those attractions are not the true reason people make pilgrimages to the region. Wine, of course, is the big draw. And if you’re a couple of oenophiles it’s a must-go. There are more than 100,000—yes, you read that right—vineyards, so you won’t even make a dent, but with a plush room at the 19th-century mansion-cum-hotel Yndo in downtown or vineyard-view Le Relais de Franc Mayne to keep you well-rested, you can make a strong effort.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
If you venture to Argentina for your honeymoon, prepare to do the super sensual tango. The nightlife in the capital city is famously fabulous, and people come from all around the world to dance. Enjoy all the vibrant culture, local grill-focused cuisine and vivid, photogenic surroundings from a bicycle—bike lanes cover most of the city—or your temporary home in a sexy, well-designed place like Faena Hotel Buenos Aires.
Cape Town, South Africa
With the US dollar strong against the South African rand, your dollars stretch a bit farther in the picturesque city at the southernmost point of Africa. Beautiful hotels and intimate guesthouses (Cape Grace, Cape View Clifton) provide impeccable service and serve as home base for exploring Cape Town’s gorgeous peaks and mountains, coastline and wildlife, from penguins to baboons. If you're into history, there’s plenty to be had, along with fantastic wine and adrenaline-pumping adventure (cage diving with great whites!), to name just a few draws.
This magical colonial town is the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with charming cobblestone streets, brilliantly colored buildings, exotic fruits and foods, and infectious live music at every turn. There’s romance all around, especially by night when it’s salsa time. Stay in one of the gentrifying port city’s best boutique hotels—lush Casa Lola or the beautifully restored Hotel Casa San Agustin—and make it a point to visit the surrounding islands. Casa San Agustin’s new ACASĪ Experience takes lovers on a private boat charter to paradisiacal Isla Barú for lunch on a private white sand beach fringed by turquoise water and palms.
If Chinese food and/or pandas are your favorite things, Chengdu could be your dream destination. Situated in the Sichuan province—think hot pot dishes and hot pepper–laden meals—it is a mecca for foodies, and famous for its teahouses. Its other defining feature: the Giant Panda Breeding Research Base. Visit between March and May (you can stay at the luxe traditional-meets-modern The Temple House) to, appropriately enough, witness the adorable animals’ “falling in love period.”
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Known as the “Rose of the North,” Chiang Mai is mountainous city in northern Thailand that delivers stunning cultural attractions—vestiges of ancient infrastructure, elaborately carved temples, charming hill tribes, monasteries—alongside delicious food, adventure camps and elephant sanctuaries. One of the most incredible accommodations is the Four Seasons Chiang Mai, which is plush, lush and surrounded by terraced rice fields and a mystical valley.
The incredibly skinny, long country in South America is a bit elusive to most, but has quite a few incredible attractions that make it like nowhere else. For one, there’s Southern Patagonia, a rugged, untouched land of mountains, fjords and glaciers. Also, wine (think lots of reds), best enjoyed from Viña Vik Millahue, a retreat and wine spa. Chile’s also home to Easter Island, dormant and active volcanos, hot springs, stark deserts and sand dunes, colonies of penguins and vibrant, bohemian seaside towns like Valparaiso. In short, it’s a destination of a lifetime.
It may be a struggle to pronounce most of the words in Denmark’s capital, but that's half the fun. The gorgeous Scandinavian home of the Little Mermaid sculpture, grand castles and tons of hyper-influential design is easily navigable and intimate. Beyond the city take day trips to hike in wooded Edens, and by night cuddle up at a top hotel like the iconic Hotel d’Angleterre with your one true love in hygge style, with an excess of candles, wine, sweets and a fire roaring in the background.
Whether you want to explore magical crystalline terraced lakes and waterfalls, check out historical sites and ruins, sail around on a yacht, tour cathedrals or even go wild partying, Croatia is the place to do it. The country that stretches down the Mediterranean offers a Greek Isle-like flavor but with its own unique culture and look. Superbly designed sea-view spots like Villa Dubrovnik are what this authentic, unspoiled destination is all about.
This group of islands in the Aegean Sea includes favorites like Santorini (where Grace Santorini is fresh off a gorgeous renovation) and Mykonos, home to the new swoon-worthy, entirely farm-to-table Nesaea restaurant. There are also important archaeological ruins, stunning sunset vistas and up-and-coming islands like Paros and Folegrandos, where you can experience the beauty of your surroundings with fewer faces around.
Habitual hikers can blend their favorite pastime with an otherwise beach-centric vacay in the Dominican Republic, since the nation boasts the tallest mountain in the Caribbean. At more than 10,000 feet, climbers usually summit Pico Duarte over a three-day journey, after which you can snuggle up in a vibrant suite at Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the adults-only all-inclusive Sanctuary Cap Cana, or in the modernist Zen villas of the hyperluxurious Amanera, on the quiet north coast beside Playa Grande’s surf-, whale-watching and golf-centric paradise.
Teeming with wildlife yet sparsely populated by humans, the Falkland Islands off the coast of Argentina—accessible via new flights for 2019—are like Antarctica light, a dream for adventurous couples who love the idea of seeing sea birds alongside war memorials, beaches covered with penguins, and nature reserves beside outpost towns. Intrepid Travel’s dedicated eight-day tour opens up this incredible, unknown world and unique culture.
Is there a more classic exotic island honeymoon than Fiji? It’s hard to imagine something better than hopping between five-star resorts on the South Pacific’s 300-plus islands, filled with white sand, palm trees, mountains and blue lagoons. For a dose of heaven on earth, visit Laucala, a private-island destination blending tropical rainforests and volcanos with deserted beaches, sustainable locally grown cuisine and activities ranging from diving and golf to horseback riding and game fishing.
If art and architecture get you hot, think about an Italian excursion. The same can be said for foodies who appreciate fresh, local and authentic cuisine. Florence is a city filled with iconic art and historic sites, as well as intimate little restaurants where you can recreate the romantic scene from Lady and the Tramp. Stay at the glamorous Portrait Firenze and go foraging for truffles, take a cooking class or just wander with your arms around each other and cones of gelato.
The Florida Keys
Beach lovers will find much to love if they drive as far south as possible in the continental United States. The Florida Keys, a coral cay archipelago, have the look of a Caribbean paradise but are readily accessible if you have a car. The most known is Key West, but all the keys have a decidedly more laid-back vibe than the mainland. Settle in at a tropical wonderland like Casa Morada and enjoy the area’s mangroves, hammocks, sandbars, turquoise waters, calypso tunes and rum runners.
There’s something to be said for the simplicity of a beach resort honeymoon, but if you’re a duo who seeks something more, there may be nothing more epic than a Galapagos adventure. The favorite destination of Charles Darwin’s offers outdoorsy types the ultimate opportunity to soak up an exotic dose of nature. There are several options for an island experience off the coast of Ecuador, one being a cruise, ideally on a small ship or mega yacht like Ecoventura’s brand-new luxury-meets-eco-friendly MV Theory, which sails around the northern or southern islands for a week at a time, with snorkeling, standup paddlebaord and kayaking gear, and naturalists on board. There’s also Pikaia Lodge, a bucket-list luxury destination with a sustainable culinary program, coffee they grow themselves, an infinity pool, spa and carbon-neutral hotel rooms.
Where Europe and Asia meet there you’ll find Georgia, the country seriously amping up its global profile of late. Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t know it had both the Alps-rivaling Caucasus Mountains and semitropical Black Sea beaches, plus a 12th-century cave monastery and mouth-watering wine-growing region that dates back to 8,000 B.C.. The natural beauty is undeniable, and opportunities for exploration through travel operators such as Ker & Downey include sulphur baths in Tbilisi, tours of the ancient capital, lunch at a local family home with a bread-baking lesson, visits to fortresses, castles and ancient churches.
The rich history of Goa somehow makes the western Indian state that much more beautiful. While you enjoy its golden-sand Arabian Sea beaches and relaxed fishing villages, you can fantasize about what it must have been like as a Portuguese colony hundreds of years ago. Studded by tropical spice plantations and stunning architecture, the destination also offers spiritual activities (reiki, t’ai chi, meditation, yoga), verdant countryside (book the Fire Room at Nilaya Hermitage) and, if you want to let loose, wild, all-night parties.
The hurricanes that devastated much of the Caribbean left this under-the-radar little paradise known as Spice Island totally untouched. The timing was good, as there are quite a few luxe resorts in the works, with the first major resort opening on Grand Asne Beach for decades this spring. The Silversands Hotel has the longest pool in the Caribbean, but don’t expect to spend all your days there—the isle is packed with promise in the form of picturesque beaches on which to lounge, colorful culture and cuisine to try, and rainforests to explore.
It’s next to Mexico, but Guatemala is its own distinctive place. The Central American nation is colorful and charming, with parts like Antigua with Spanish colonial buildings and cobblestone streets, and other areas that are thick with rainforests and steep volcanos. There’s culture to be had in the form of ancient Mayan ruins, as well as several museums in Guatemala City, where buzzing nightlife balances out the history. Get away from civilization in casitas on stilts at Francis Ford Coppola’s lakeside La Lancha, where friendly howler monkeys will lull you to sleep—or wake you up for a beautiful day in the rainforest.
Harbour Island, Bahamas
There’s something special about the sand on Harbour Island. On some beaches, it’s the whitest you’ve likely ever seen, and on the Atlantic side it’s famously pink, light blush in the day and vibrant rose during the sunset. (For the best access to those pink beaches, try the adjacent Dunmore Hotel.) The historic Caribbean island paradise is a getaway where you can do nothing but enjoy the simple pleasures of life or, if you’re a little more ambitious, swim, fish, play tennis and scuba dive.
Hong Kong, China
Real city slickers with a love for luxury will swoon over Hong Kong, the former British colony in southeastern China. Not only will epic hotels such as The Upper House—overlooking Victoria Harbour, it’s incredibly chic and well-appointed without being stuffy—create indelible memories, so will an in-depth tour of the celebrated cuisine scene (from fine to simple street food), which is like the holy grail for foodies.
Iceland is for adventurers. It’s lengthy list of attractions includes the spectacular Northern Lights in the wintertime (stay at Ion for an impeccable viewpoint), seemingly endless opportunities for trekking, riding the country’s famously tiny but strong horses, exploration of caves, volcanos, ice fields and glaciers; and steamy hot springs and lagoons—the new Retreat at Blue Lagoon is the place to sleep and play at the most iconic of them all, with a spa built into the volcanic earth and a five-star restaurant. The land of fire and ice may be cold, but there’s enough adrenaline and romance to keep you hot.
An island doesn’t have to be tropical to be stunning, as Ireland proves with its lush green rolling hills and dramatic sea cliffs. It may not allow many opportunities to don a bikini, but the country more than makes up for that slight setback in sheer quantity of fairytale-worthy castles, natural wonders and ancient sites. Plan to spend a bit of time in the city, like at Dublin’s boudoir-style Dylan hotel, as well as a bit of bucolic R&R in a luxurious country house or castle.
Natural beauty, sake, sushi, history, culture—Japan balances rich ancient heritage with the modern in its awe-inspiring cities and maintains a vast network of hikes and walks for those more inclined to nature. There’s skiing and shrines, cat cafes and stunning coastline. Tokyo is a city that lights up all the senses (consider the cool boutique hotel Claska), while Kyoto boasts more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the country boasts chains of coral islands, too.
One of the best places to explore the Middle East in all its glory is this highly historical honeymoon destination, where archaeology buffs will find joy alongside anyone who takes pleasure in natural beauty. Petra’s iconic cut-rock facades are of course worth a trip, and there are also Roman ruins and rock carvings that show the development of the alphabet. The Dead Sea, with its famous mineral-packed black mud, is a must go, and the Hilton’s Dead Sea Resort & Spa is the place to stay, with a beach and the best food imaginable.
Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Uruguay isn’t on everyone’s radar, yet, which is one of the reasons it’s such a fabulous honeymoon spot. Situated above Argentina, Jose Ignacio—and the nearby Punta del Este—is a sometimes sleepy, sometimes incredibly popular resort town marked by immaculate Atlantic beaches, verdant hills and quaint villages, and a casual, communal vibe. At the remote and contemporary-styled Estancia Vik Jose Ignacio in the plains you can bike, canoe and ride horses, while the The Grand Hotel offers a prime beach setting.
You might think Hawaii is all beaches, but you’d be wrong about Kauai, an island that is almost all covered in tropical rainforest. This lush setting is as beautiful as it is romantic. Spend your time venturing from giant cliffs to canyons on canopied roads with mountain hikes and lazy beach days between. Romance is alive and well at the bespoke clifftop St. Regis Princeville Resort and opulent Grand Hyatt Kauai, where you can dine in a hut suspended over a koi pond.
Vietnam has it all: beaches, colorful culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, French colonial landmarks and sophisticated cities. And the food. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises, while Hoi An, Mui Ne and Hue offer more rural charm along with art and sandy coastline that’s as pristine as any island. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideaway. The Southeast Asian country is fairly large, so you might want to consider a road trips to experience the most varied markets, treks, cuisine and temples.
Lake Como, Italy
You shouldn’t pick Lake Como just because George Clooney might be there—you’re both married now after all!—but you should choose it if you appreciate rugged natural beauty. Set in Northern Italy, the deep blue lake is ensconced in the forested Alps foothills and surrounded by Mediterranean-style villas and exceedingly luxurious hotels, some with their pools actually floating in the lake (Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Villa d’Este). What more could you want?
It’s part of Hawaii, of course, but the landscape on Lanai is so otherworldly in parts it’ll make you feel like you traveled to another planet. Options abound: Ride horses up to the pines, or spend the day tooling around the rugged roads in a 4x4 Jeep, snorkeling around spinner dolphins, picnicking with super fresh poke, swimming in the cerulean sea and posing amid the lunar-like rocks of Garden of the Gods. Beyond the famous poke, there’s plenty of goodness to eat and imbibe at the Four Seasons Resort Lanai (and R&R thanks to opulent Kypris spa treatments).
If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this Southeast Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam, it’s a magical country with its own identity and natural beauty to spare. There is a strong French colonial influence alongside Buddhist monasteries, hill tribes and the Mekong River, which trickles around thousands of islands. It’s possible to travel backpacker style, or in the super serene Luang Prabang the luxe options include Amantaka and Rosewood Luang Prabang, both of which offer beautiful immersion in cultural activities.
London can be just as alluring as Bora Bora if you’re a couple who’s enchanted by strolls in Hyde Park, world-class museums, celebrated restaurants and plenty of culture, not to mention the idea of royalty. The posh destination has some of the finest accommodations in the world—consider The Connaught or The Savoy—which, of course, sets the tone for romance. When it’s time to leave your lavish crash pad, the city is your oyster: cheesy tourist activities like a double-decker bus can be just as fun as a fancy high tea or tour of the Tower of London.
For West Coasters especially, there’s no simpler honeymoon destination than Los Cabos, the pair of towns at the very tip of the Baja California Peninsula. There you’ll find all the hallmarks of an authentic Mexican village in San Jose del Cabo, paired with dozens of pristine beaches for above- and underwater activities, and divine resorts with some of the most personalized service in the world. For your own plunge pool and rooftop telescope for stargazing, stay at the elegantly minimalist favorite Las Ventanas al Paraíso, feel like a celebrity in One&Only Palmilla’s gorgeous suites, or try The Cape, a beautiful young hotel with a rooftop bar and Enrique Olvera restaurant. New-on-the-scene instant stars in the luxury realm include Solaz, a Luxury Collection Resort, Los Cabos, and Viceroy Los Cabos. Also worth a look is the less-traveled East Cape, where a Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton Reserve debut soon.
This underrated African island makes for a spectacular honeymoon destination, and it’s practically a given that you’ll be the first of your friends to journey there. The call of the wild is strong here, and there is everything from whale watching to white sand beaches, lemurs to luxury lodges. The terrain is hugely varied and includes rainforest, open savannah, highlands and desert. The penultimate stay is at Miavana, an ultra-luxe retreat on an island off the island, where you can explore the depths of the Indian Ocean while diving, and get high above it in helicopters.
Though it’s landlocked, the up-and-coming destination of Malawi is a place where you can get wet and wild. Its Lake Malawi National Park has everything from baboons and elephants to waterfalls and Technicolor fish (it’s a hot spot for diving and boating). Honeymoon beach fantasies are fulfilled at the eco-friendly and luxe Kaya Mawa Lodge, where crystal clear water and mango trees set the scene for pampering and intrigue.
Hear Maldives and you instantly think honeymoon. The tropical South Asian nation is made up of 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, which means unlimited beaches, turquoise waters for miles, extensive reefs and plenty of fresh fish and seafood. You’re pretty secluded at whichever of the luxurious resorts you choose—such as the Four Seasons and several Anantara locations—so expect a vacation filled with intimate meals, spa treatments, underwater adventures and just plain relaxation.
Do you and your partner share an intense curiosity about the world? If so, a simple beach holiday won’t do. Think about exploring somewhere exotic like Morocco. In Marrakech, a Berber-era medieval walled city, you’ll dine on mouthwatering dishes, navigate the mazelike souks holding hands, watch storytellers and musicians perform and feast your eyes on spectacular architecture and design. You can stay like kings at the palatial La Mamounia or the chic TM Nights Riad 38. It’s a whole new side of romance.
As Mark Twain wrote, “Mauritius was made first and then heaven, heaven being copied after Mauritius.” The French-speaking African island in the Indian Ocean blends adventure and relaxation, thanks to rainforests, waterfalls, exotic animals and colonial plantations encircled by white-sand beaches and elaborate coral reefs. The Oberoi is one of the premiere properties, where you can have romantic beach dinners, local spa therapies, cooking classes and go stargazing.
If you let your tastebuds be your honeymoon guide, they might just lead you to Melbourne. As the second-largest city in Australia and capital of Victoria, it’s famous for its international food scene, especially its Asian cuisine. Beyond top-notch restaurants, it’s known for beautiful suburbs, a significant art and culture scene—don’t miss a stroll through the laneways—and magical beaches just outside the city. Also worth a drive from your hotel (consider Crown Metropol) Yarra Valley, a top destination for wine and bucolic landscapes.
The sandy shores of Mexico are unquestionably gorgeous, but some of the most visually exciting spots are inland. Merida, the capital of Yucatan, is one example. With strong colonial heritage it features stunning architectural displays—limestone churches, cathedrals, pyramids—by previous cultures including the Mayans. Nightly happenings downtown, vibrant markets, fascinating museums—if that’s your idea of a good time, book it to the sexy, Belle Epoque-era Coqui Coqui Merida Residence & Spa for a memorable and unique trip.
The World Design Capital of 2018 speaks to aesthetes, art lovers and couples for whom food is a big deal. Mexico’s capital city has only increased exponentially in appeal over the last few years as its foodie, nightlife and gallery and museum scenes have all exploded. Strategizing (and scoring ressies) in advance is key to enjoying world-renowned restaurants like Pujol, Sud 777, Merkavá and Mia Domenicca. Top luxury hotel brands like St. Regis and Four Seasons have outposts that are glamorous and grand, and the beautifully boutiquey Las Alcobas also provides the perfect place to snuggle up after long days of indulgence.
Thanks to truly five-star destinations like The Ranch at Rock Creek and The Resort at Paws Up, Montana, an unlikely place perhaps, comes out as a leader for domestic honeymoons. Appealing to newlyweds who want to be as active as they are pampered, these all-inclusive working ranches don’t come cheap, but deliver big when it comes to authentic Western adventure and outdoor activities alongside fine cuisine and unmatched service in a breathtaking environment.
As the cultural capital of Canada, traveling to French-speaking Montreal is a little bit like jetting off to Europe. With a distinctive combination of old and new, the city is undeniably romantic year-round. It’s a place to indulge a bit, since it has a reputation for fine food. Get a taste of its old-world charm at Auberge du Vieux-Port, or opt for an artistic modern experience at St Paul Hotel.
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
If you haven't experienced the Indian Ocean, your honeymoon is a perfect opportunity. Mozambique’s protected Bazaruto Archipelago is a stunning introduction, with bright fish, dolphins and turtles swimming in its clear waters, and pink flamingos flying overhead. You’ll be in the lap of luxury at the new andBeyond Benguerra Island resort, which is the perfect unspoiled place for intimate adventures outdoors.
Crazy-tall sand dunes, a ridiculously expansive desert, and the world’s largest free-roaming black rhino population: Namibia represents a world of both drama and serenity. The southern African nation isn’t your typical safari stop, it’s so much more. New next-level lodges and camps like the hyper-luxe and relaxing Omaanda, remote beachfront Shipwreck Lodge and authentic in-the-bush Hoanib Valley Camp provide experiences you literally won’t be able to forget—rhino tracking on foot, anyone? Not that you’d want to.
Napa Valley, California
Sonoma’s buzz overtook its Northern Cali neighbor for a while, but Napa is at the start of a new moment, with a slew of beautiful new boltholes—the intimate, experiential Ink House and stunning Las Alcobas—and even a beer-tasting trail now. The most known American wine country is full of charm, not to mention game-changing vino and iconic restaurants (anywhere by Thomas Keller). Four Seasons Napa Valley opens this summer, following up Vista Collina, a new resort with its own Food & Wine Center, bringing couples who love the culinary arts options beyond imagination. Beyond the wine you can relax at plentiful spas, or if you’re feeling frisky there are hikes through redwoods and by lakes.
If you have a soft spot for sea turtles, exotic birds or simply want to escape on a palm-fringed beach, jet away to Nevis, a tiny Caribbean island in the West Indies beside St. Kitts that celebrates the good life. Dive at Booby High Shoals, hike Mt. Nevis, bike along bougainvillea and spy on hummingbirds—it’s all doable from the romantic grounds of Montpelier Plantation & Beach, an ultra-relaxing five-star hotel on a former sugar plantation.
What better place to fete your newlywed status than a city that’s essentially one big nonstop party? New Orleans, or the Big Easy, has enough influences from other cultures—French, African, European—that it almost feels like being in another country. With an excess of electrifying live music, distinctive cuisine and charming architecture and style, the city is ideal for social butterflies who don’t require too much alone time. Book a vintage-infused room at the Garden District’s boutique hot spot, the Henry Howard Hotel.
New Yorkers know the Big Apple is ripe for romance. Boating in Central Park, Sleepless in Seattle–style rendezvous on the Empire State Building, strolls through the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. There are literally endless ways to wile away your days in the metropolis if you just use your imagination. And set the tone with a plush place to sleep like The Chatwal, a prohibition era–style spot hidden away in the middle of all the action, or the age-old five-star favorite, The St. Regis New York.
If you believe the buzz, Palawan might just be the most beautiful island on the entire globe, which means it’s an obvious choice for your most romantic getaway ever. The water around the province of the Philippines is as clear and turquoise as can be, and it boasts two aquatic UNESCO World Heritage sites, a subterranean river and marine park. Swim, eat, hike, repeat, and sleep, as close to the stunning sea as possible, like at El Rio y Mar resort.
Talk about a no-brainer. Paris is the City of Lights, but it might as well be called the City of Love. If you appreciate a great romantic walk hand-in-hand, you’ll love the French capital, which offers culture, architecture and art alongside, of course, incredible food and wine. From iconic luxury stalwarts like the Four Seasons George V to impeccably designed new boutique hotels such as Hotel Providence Paris, you can tailor a honeymoon to your style, whether it’s classic and fancy or more boho and artsy.
Domestic getaways can run the risk of feeling less exciting than international, but in and around Portland there’s so much going on that’s not a problem. There’s the natural beauty of the snowy Mount Hood, countless parks and bike paths, gardens, a hip music and art scene and trendy microbreweries and restaurants. Outside the city, take your time on the gorgeous drives to other mountains, up the coast or to Willamette Valley (stay at The Allison Inn & Spa) for pours of Pinot Noir.
Prague, Czech Republic
Throughout every season, romance is in the air in Prague. The Czech Republic capital with hundreds of spires, fairytale cobblestone streets, statue-lined bridges, gothic architecture and countless jaw-dropping views seems made for strolling hand-in-hand with one’s lover. Bask in the beauty of the magical city from the chic BoHo hotel, a renovated Art Deco post office that’s adjacent to Old Town.
Post-hurricane it looks as though Puerto Rico is coming back even better than ever. The spirit of Puerto Ricans and their refusal to be taken down by tragedy shines bright in the island paradise, known as the island of enchantment, which is making an epic comeback. Resorts are reopening at a rapid pace, with the birthplace of the piña colada, Caribe Hilton, coming back online on an exclusive, lush peninsula with views of San Juan’s shore. After a $60 million renovation, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort bows again, the first ultra-luxury resort on the island, and one surrounded by sea, sand and foliage with private bird sanctuaries, an on-site marine biologist, ocean-front Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, plenty of activities (think kayaking, wind-surfing, fishing, hiking and SUP) and several dining outlets.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Year-round, Queenstown is a perfect honeymoon choice for outdoors enthusiasts. In the wintertime it offers incredible skiing, snowboarding and all sorts of activities in the fresh powder of the Southern Alps; in the summer it’s all about lake-centric adventures, bungee jumping, mountain biking and paragliding. But despite the countless opportunities to get a little crazy, luxury hotels like Matakauri Lodge provide ample opportunity for romance, which will likely be fueled by renowned wines from the Central Otago region nearby.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands, making Bali just the tip of the iceberg. The barely populated Raja Ampat Islands includes more than 1,500, and while little known to most of the world, it’s a mecca for divers. The jungle covered islands are stunning for land-lovers (where there are also ancient rock paintings, caves and rare birds to spot), but the true magic happens on the beaches and underwater, exploring vividly colored, wild coral reefs that are teeming with spectacles the likes of which are unseen elsewhere. Try Misool Eco Resort for a secluded tropical adventure with few other people.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Pack a lot of bikinis for leisurely days on the iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches made more dramatic by jagged mountains in the background. If you love dressing up, time your honeymoon to the always raucous Carnaval festival around February. Or take a more intimate approach. At the glamorous Belmond Copacabana Palace, concierge can arrange a private sunrise picnic at the famous Christ the Redeemer statue.
If the adventure of a lifetime is your honeymoon goal, gorilla trekking in Rwanda—with overnights at a completely heavenly lodge—should be at the top of the list. Wilderness safaris are almost always life-changing, but seeing gorillas up close in their habitat is a whole different proposition—and it may not be possible much longer. New in 2017, Bisate Lodge is right next to Volcanoes National Park’s ancient rainforest and actually in an eroded volcanic cone, with the highest-end accommodations and more active experiences available than a newlywed duo could possibly take in.
Sacred Valley, Peru
Nestled in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley comprises gorgeous valley towns like Urubamba and Aguas Calientes, where one travels to ascend Machu Picchu. Understandably, a honeymoon in this unique destination is for those who live to enjoy nature in all its glory. Both Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba and Tambo del Inka are flawless resorts that marry an eco-aware spirit with thrilling activities, cultural traditions and pure luxury. Make sure not to have too many pisco sours—alcohol doesn’t exactly help altitude sickness.
San Sebastian, Spain
The ideal combination of city and beach can be found in San Sebastian, Spain. The Basque Country resort destination also happens to have one of the best food scenes in the world—think Michelin stars and tapas (called pinxto) bars around every turn. You don’t have to surf to enjoy the beautiful beaches, and it’s impossible not to be lured out by the happening nightlife. Even better, urban-chic accommodations like Astoria7 Hotel are affordable and in the center of everything.
San Blas Islands, Panama
You’ll need a boat to reach the San Blas Islands, an insanely stunning archipelago that’s part of Panama but has political autonomy and is also accessible from Cartagena, Colombia. They’re hard to get to but that’s part of the appeal, and the reward is a Robinson Crusoe–style private paradise. There’s not a whole lot to do, which is again kind of the point. Swim or laze at the snow-white beaches, sip coconuts, snorkel at a shipwreck, shop for molas and cuddle up in your bed early after a starlit beach walk.
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
With its narrow cobblestone streets and sparkling spirit San Miguel de Allende proves that a body of water isn’t a prerequisite for a starry-eyed adventure. The high-altitude colonial-era city seems to have magical golden-hour light at all times. With culture oozing out of every crack, it has winning art, music, food and design—all of these come together in a stunning way at Hotel Matilda. And don’t forget tequila: There is plenty of the Mexican spirit to enjoy as you explore.
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
On the Pacific side of Costa Rica, Santa Teresa is a tiny beach town that’s a quaint alternative to the bigger chain resorts to the north. Surfing is one of the main pastimes here, which makes for a mellow, zen kind of vibe. There’s wildlife everywhere, the ocean is warm, the waves are perfect and the rainforest above the beach is home to creative kitchens and boutique-y hotels such as Florblanca Resort and Milarepa.
Santa Barbara, California
The American Riviera, so it’s called, is not the far-off destination some seek for their honeymoon, but it’s undoubtedly paradise. Santa Barbara, Montecito and the Santa Ynez Valley make up a central coast idyll that is marked by not only excellent food, world-class wine, fun surf, breathtaking hiking and innovative design, it’s home to some of the best hotels to open in recent memory. In the Funk Zone, Hotel Californian, designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard, is a destination in and of itself, walkable, vibrant and slightly cosmopolitan, while the Rosewood Miramar Beach is the newest sand-side resort to open (this spring) honoring Montecito’s history and glamour. For more wine immersion and charming small town vibes there’s Skyview Los Alamos, a quirky-chic motel-turned–boutique hotel with fire pits and bikes to ride to the local bakery to pick up treats.
Santa Catarina, Brazil
In the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, you’re guaranteed the most beach for your buck—almost 350 miles of coastline, to be exact. There are also sandy islands, dazzling surf villages (south of Florianópolis) and, somewhat randomly, a strong German influence (evident mostly in the architecture, beer and blond, blue-eyed population). The super private, kid-free Ponta dos Ganchos—with rainforest, oyster farms, reiki and whale-watching—is a prime perch for enjoying the sunny state.
You don’t have to be obsessed with Outlander or The Crown to think that a Highlands honeymoon is a good idea. Between cities Edinburgh and Glasgow, and farther-flung wooded wonderlands like Cairngorms, with lakes (lochs) and verdant alleys (glens) between, there’s something for every taste. Activities even range from golf—world-class, of course—to surfing, with a thick wetsuit, of course. As home bases go, the luxurious hotel The Balmoral, with its Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, is pretty epic.
If you pride yourselves on being in touch with nature, Sedona could be a natural way to fill the first few days after you wed. There are a plethora of ways you can enjoy and experience the desert’s radiant red rocks and dramatic formations, steep canyons and forests, and they can be as simple as a picnic or watching a dreamy sunset. With a slight New Age-y vibe, wellness is top of mind here and that translates to lots of renowned spas (like at the exceptional L’Auberge de Sedona—that means you can say adios to any lingering wedding stress pronto.
If the Caribbean or Hawaiian islands are old hat for you beach bums, think about a trip to the island nation of the Seychelles, which comprises 115 islands off the coast of East Africa. There, alongside the requisite coral reefs, extraordinary beaches and nature reserves, lives rare wildlife like giant tortoises. The electric landscape is dotted with such first-class resorts as the Four Seasons and Banyan Tree, which should be on everyone’s honeymoon wish list.
In Sicily, you can experience island vibes and Italian vibes—the best of two worlds. Hanging right off the toe of Italy’s boot, it straddles the divide between Europe and Africa and is the largest isle in the Mediterranean. Appropriately, the out-of-this-world food isn’t the only thing that’s diverse—there’s architecture, art and ruins from many different influences. Likewise, accommodations from which to soak it all in run the gamut, from colorful farmhouses (Hotel Signum) to sea-facing suites (Monaci delle Terre Nere) to Baroque residences (Seven Rooms Villadorata)
Siem Reap, Cambodia
You don’t need to be a believer to be humbled and wowed by Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. The incredible architectural feat that was built some thousand years ago by the Khmers is without a doubt the most famous attraction in Siem Reap, but it’s not the only one. Floating villages, rare-bird sanctuaries, luxurious spas—like the one at Phum Baitang, an intimate, impressive, lush property—and fine dining are a few other reasons for you and your partner in crime to explore the enchanting region.
Give credit to Crazy Rich Asians, or don’t, but Singapore’s steady rise does seem tied to everybody’s favorite romantic comedy of 2018. Still, what’s crazy about the land of insanely good eats is the hospitality boom, the number of amazing new hotels that have opened recently. A pair of Six Senses—Maxwell and Duxton—offer an opulent take on cultural immersion since they’re in a very local neighborhood near Chinatown. Then there’s the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, designed by Philippe Starck, a Hotel Indigo, a Sofitel on the beachy island of Sentosa, an Andaz near Chinatown, and M Social, also conceived by Starck. Four Seasons just renovated their rooms, and increased flights mean ever easier access from America.
Rainforests, beaches, Buddhist ruins, wildlife, cities and citadels—for such a tiny country, Sri Lanka offers an incredible amount of diversity to visitors. The exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is rugged but also polished, with cuisine that represents a melting pot of cultures. Honeymooners can visit temples, go backpacking or on safari in national parks and surf. Settle into the lush, LEED-certified solar farm-slash-boutique hotel Ulagalla or stay at the newest chic spot on the coast, the wellness-minded Tri Lanka, in Galle.
Known as St. Barts, this Caribbean island is an obvious choice for a vacation when romance is the goal. With 22 breathtaking beaches—many often deserted since you have to hike in—all the rosé you could drink and the charms of a French village, it’s an ideal place to unwind from the wedding. For an intimate, breezy beachfront stay, opt for the popular Le Sereno.
The capital of Sweden is quite a special and distinctive place, worthy of a couple who have an eye for design and a love of natural beauty. Romantic backdrops are scattered all over the city’s walkable islands—it’s part of an archipelago in the Baltic Sea—along with colorful architecture, innovative cuisine and storybook neighborhoods. For a city stay, book the minimalist Miss Clara or leafy hideaway Ett Hem, and make sure to venture outside Stockholm too, into the picture-perfect forests that surround it.
Bora Bora, just in the distance, tends to get all the attention, but there’s something special about Taha’a, too. The French Polynesian isle is known for not only vanilla—that seductive spice that also scents the air in the most amazing way—but also produces rum and black pearls, all of which are attractive propositions. Le Taha’a Island Resort & Spa, a Relais & Chateaux property, is the top choice for either a dreamy and expansive overwater bungalow or beach perch, and has the best access to the ultimate drift snorkeling destination of Coral Garden.
A honeymoon in Tanzania could very well comprise two incredibly different parts: the Serengeti and Zanzibar. The former is the massive and iconic national park that is known for the migration of wildebeast, zebra and other creatures, the latter is the semiautonomous island nation off the country’s coast. From a top resort there, like the opulent Baraza Resort & Spa or intimate Kilindi Zanzibar, you’ll experience completely opposite terrain: turquoise National Geographic–worthy dive sites, fishing villages, extensive beaches and reefs.
Tel Aviv, Israel
With its sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline and cosmopolitan status, Tel Aviv is perhaps more unexpected than it should be as a honeymoon locale. It boasts beaches, incredible nightlife, mouthwatering food—often served at open-air cafes—and a lively waterfront promenade and the striking White City, the neighborhood filled with eye-catching 1930s Bauhaus-style architecture. From the Carlton Tel Aviv's rooftop cabana, you can watch the sun drop below the horizon.
The former hippie haven of Tulum, in the southern Yucatan Peninsula below the Riviera Maya, is the destination for couples with an appreciation for slightly rustic luxury. Jungle meets pristine beaches in the slightly wild town, which boasts natural attractions in the form of crystal-clear cenotes (underwater limestone caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites) as well as ancient Mayan ruins. Try Be Tulum for a luxurious, exotic stay, or the boho chic Zamas Hotel, known for its margaritas.
Turks and Caicos
Southeast of the Bahamas, in the Atlantic Ocean, lie the Turks and Caicos, not two islands as might be assumed, but 40. The coral islands are a bit exotic and totally luxurious, with few people to fill up the countless stark-white beaches. Book into the uber-private Ambergris Cay, a 10-suite resort with private plunge pools, impeccable views and all-inclusive rates. There’s also The Palms Turks and Caicos, on iconic Grace Bay Beach, where a massive spa and slew of dining options makes for a rich retreat, or across the island there’s The Shore Club, which boasts luxury villas and opportunities for yacht excursions.
The appeal of Colorado is simple: It’s stunning in the winter, blanketed in super-romantic snow, and it’s stunning in the summer, when the white stuff has melted and left behind verdant, bucolic scenes. Active types have no shortage of fun to get into, especially if basing themselves at Vail’s Hotel Talisa, a ski-in/ski-out property where the service is so great they’ll actually bring the chapstick you left in the room to the top of the mountain for you. Meanwhile, Beaver Creek boasts the five-star mountaintop getaway Trappers Cabin, where honeymooners can hike, bike and hot tub in style.
Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico
Just a short drive over the border into Baja is a wondrous world of Mexican wine and gourmet food, yet at a non-gourmet price tag. This gorgeous bougainvillea-laden valley close to the wide beaches of Ensenada is becoming ever-more renowned, yet it still feels faraway and exotic. Some of the best meals of your lifetime are here—Finca Altozano, Deckman’s, Corazon de Tierra and Laja are favorites—and accommodations at wineries and small boutique properties, like La Villa del Valle, are blossoming, too. Twenty minutes away is Cabañas CuatroCuatros, which appeals to glamping fans with its romantic yurt-like luxury cabanas in the mountains overlooking the Pacific.
For an active honeymoon, Canada’s cool seaport of Vancouver has a lot to offer. Its unique setting, surrounded by mountains and also water, makes it popular for a number of outdoor adventures, but it’s also known for its lively art and music scenes. Whatever you choose to spend your days doing—from the confines of the chic city-centric Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver or romantic, forested Wickaninnish Inn—the natural beauty can’t be topped.
Vietnam has it all: beaches, colorful culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, French colonial landmarks and sophisticated cities. And the food—oh, the food. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises, while Hoi An, Mui Ne and Hue offer rural charm along with art and sandy coastlines. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideway, Banyan Tree Lang Co for sumptuous pool-bedecked villas far from civilization, and Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai for pure luxury mixed with impeccable food and cultural experiences. The country is as long as the distance from New York to Miami, so you might want to consider a few stops to experience all the different cuisines, temples and activities.
The largest state in Australia—it makes up one third of the entire country—is perhaps its most beautiful, and undiscovered. Of course there are sizable cities like up-and-coming Perth (where COMO The Treasury is a new gem of a hotel, spa and dining destination), but much of Western Australia is simply wild outback terrain, iconic beaches, vineyards and fertile plains. There’s also a phenomenon called Horizontal Falls in the Kimberley region, which is exactly what it sounds like, and some of the best surfing and diving (especially Rottnest Island) anywhere.