2017 Brides Honeymoon Awards: The World’s 20 Most Romantic Destinations

Our definitive list of the sexiest, most honeymoon-worthy places around the globe

Updated 05/02/17
Product Disclosure

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino

Picking the perfect honeymoon is no easy feat, with countless romantic destinations, endless hotel options, limited vacation time, and the struggle-is-real challenge of finding the perfect place to please both you and your new spouse. Where to begin? Well, right here. Brides teamed up with the A-list agents at Virtuoso, a global network of more than 15,000 luxury-travel specialists, to find the most romantic, luxe hot spots in the world. Whether you're looking for bucket-list hotels and resorts, far-flung beaches, the top cruise lines for couples, inexpensive honeymoon ideas, or unexpected honeymoon-worthy locales, you’ve come to the right spot. Presenting our 2017 Honeymoon Awards—dive in to see the most romantic destinations in the world!

01 of 20

1. French Polynesia

Getty Images

Flying in over dreamy reef-ringed motus (a.k.a. islets) sets the scene for an epic honeymoon. Touch down on culture-packed Tahiti, dive in the ocean from your overwater bungalow on Bora Bora, sample plates of smoked breadfruit on Moorea, or sail to the barely inhabited Marquesas Islands and you’ll learn the true meaning of paradise. It would take years to explore all 118 islands of French Polynesia—but that’s what anniversaries are for, right?

02 of 20

2. Italy

Getty Images

The Italian peninsula has lured honeymooners the world over for centuries—and with good reason. Whether you fancy world-class cuisine or simple home-cooked (carbo-loaded) meals, bustling cultural capitals or laid-back beach towns, there is an experience to suit just about everyone. By the time you board the plane home, we guarantee you’ll already be missing la dolce vita.

03 of 20

3. The Hawaiian Islands

Courtesy of Four Seasons Hualalai

From culture-packed Oahu to garden-green Kauai, laid-back Lanai to resort-filled Maui—oh, and let’s not forget Hawaii, a.k.a. the Big Island, with its epic landscapes—the 50th state is a honeymooner's paradise. Whether you base yourselves on Oahu's Waikiki Beach (try the storied Halekulani), Maui's crescent-shaped Wailea Beach (which has every big resort brand, including the Andaz Maui and the Four Seasons Maui Resort at Wailea), or the Big Island's Kona-Kohala Coast (our pick: the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai), you're guaranteed an unforgettable experience.

Enter for the chance to win our Ultimate Hawaiian Honeymoon Sweepstakes!

04 of 20

4. Maldives

Getty Images

The lush, picture-perfect islands that make up this Indian Ocean archipelago are light years beyond your average beach destination. Private-island resorts—like the new Soneva Jani, St. Regis Maldives Vommuli, and Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah—are ringed by colorful coral reefs teeming with fish (and the occasional shark). Spend your days snorkeling, scuba diving, and lounging on the deck of your overwater villa; by night, dine by candlelight on freshly caught fish and organic veggies, then follow that with a stargazing sesh with a NASA-worthy telescope.

05 of 20

5. Greece

Getty Images

Santorini, Mykonos, Hydra, Ios, Crete, Patmos—each of the Greek islands offers something unique. But what they have in common is what makes them honeymoon-worthy: dramatic volcanic landscapes, centuries-old ruins, simple flavorful cuisine, glamorous hotels, stunning beaches, and a refined yet laid-back attitude. Whether you choose to plop yourself on one island or create a multistop itinerary, each moment will seem to outdo the next.

06 of 20

6. Bali

Getty Images

Exotic, far-flung, tropical—if these are the words you'd use to describe your ideal honeymoon, then book a flight to this Indonesian hot spot. Renowned for its surf breaks, golden-sand beaches, lush rice paddies, and centuries-old arts, Bali is an island that stimulates all the senses. There are countless beach areas to call home: Nusa Dua (try the Mulia Bali, Ritz-Carlton Bali, or St. Regis Bali Resort), Jimbaran Bay (Rimba Jimbaran Bali by Ayana, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay), Uluwatu (Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bulgari Resort Bali), Seminyak, or Legian. But a trip to Bali isn't complete without an eat-pray-love moment in Ubud, the country's spiritual heart and historic center for crafts like wood carving, stone masonry, and textile weaving. Rest your head at a hotel meets architectural marvel like the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan or Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, to fill your days with river rafting, yoga, spa treatments, and shopping in town.

07 of 20

7. Mexico

Getty Images

America's neighbor to the south has so much more to offer than just tacos and tequila (though we don't mind having those at the ready). First, there are the bustling Pacific Coast resort towns—Los Cabos, Punta Mita, and Puerto Vallarta—in addition to laid-back, design-centric Todos Santos, Puerto Escondido, and Costa Careyes. Then there's the Caribbean-fronted Riviera Maya, home to resort areas both big and boutique—Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Isla Holbox. Travel inland and you'll find the shopping, architecture, and gastronomic center of Mexico City, colonial hub of Puebla (home to the brand-new Rosewood Puebla), and San Miguel de Allende, known for its baroque architecture and emerging food scene.

08 of 20

8. Thailand

Courtesy of Four Seasons / Markus Gortz

A trip to this Southeast Asian stunner is like smacking yourself in the face with culture. (And we mean that in the best possible way.) The chaotic energy of Asia will seep into your veins and ignite the senses from within, whether you're exploring the capital of Bangkok by tuk-tuk, walking and engaging with elephants at a luxe retreat like the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, learning traditional rice-planting techniques in Chiang Mai, or visiting the more than 400 serene, awe-inspiring temples that fill the cities and countryside.

09 of 20

9. Fiji

Courtesy of Laucala

There may be 332 islands in the Fijian archipelago, but you need only visit one to experience the magic of this South Pacific nation. It starts with the people—happy-as-can-be locals, whose generosity will capture your heart as soon as you meet them. Then, once you've landed at a laid-back (yet still totally over-the-top) resort—like the private-island Laucala, with stunning thatched-roof villas, healthy locally inspired cuisine, and all-inclusive amenities—you’ll understand just how once-in-a-lifetime a honeymoon here can be.

10 of 20

10. South Africa

Getty Images

From Kruger National Park's luxe safari lodges to the stunning coastal city of Cape Town and the Insta-worthy bucolic Cape Winelands, it's safe to say South Africa is a shoo-in for world's most romantic destination.

11 of 20

11. France

Getty Images

Sure, Paris is the romance capital of the world—a cultural metropolis filled with OTT honeymoon hotels like the Peninsula Paris, Ritz Paris, and Four Seasons George V—but look beyond the City of Lights and you'll discover all of the nuanced experiences this Western European nation has to offer. The French Riviera, for example, oozes romance and glamour with its glitzy, picturesque beach resorts; the alpine towns of Megève and Evian-les-Bain offer heart-pumping skiing and full-immersion wellness experiences; historic sites like the beaches of Normandy, Château de Versailles, and Carcassone provide ultimate bucket-list moments; while the still-booming wine-country regions of Bordeaux, Champagne, Burgundy, and the Loire offer some of the most refined vine-side relaxation in the world.

12 of 20

12. St. Lucia

Getty Images

There's an inherent nonchalance to this less-traveled Caribbean isle, but there's nothing laid-back about the epic Piton Mountains—twin peaks that tower over the lush, garden-green island. Honeymooners receive a decidedly active experience, as days are filled with hikes, sailing excursions, and visits to nearby coffee plantations.

13 of 20

13. Turks and Caicos

Courtesy of COMO Parrot Cay / Martin Morrell

No need to fly halfway around the world to find impossibly blue shallow waters and miles of silky smooth sand. This Caribbean island duo is home to some some of the Northern Hemisphere's most epic beaches—we're lookin' at you, Grace Bay Beach—with honeymoon-worthy resorts to match. Whether you choose the private-island COMO Parrot Cay (Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello's post-nuptial choice), secluded Amanyara, just-opened Shore Club Turks and Caicos](http://theshoreclubtc.com/), or the classic, newly revamped Grace Bay Club, you and your hubs are guaranteed luxe digs, personalized service, and, most important, incredible tans to take back home.

14 of 20

14. Costa Rica

Getty Images

Located in the heart of Central America, Costa Rica offers some of the most diverse honeymoon experiences. Whether you're into zip-lining through jungle canopies, surfing Pacific Coast breaks, lounging by luxe resort pools, soaking in thermal spring waters, or hiking volcanic landscapes, there's something for couples of both the prima donna and granola varieties.

15 of 20

15. Seychelles

Courtesy of North Island via Instagram

This 115-island archipelago off the eastern coast of Africa is no average island honeymoon destination. That's partly due to its status as the post-nuptial choice of Will and Kate—they posted up at the insanely luxe private-island resort of North Island—and also a result of buzz-worthy new openings, including the Six Senses Zil Pasyon, where Ashley Graham recently vacationed with her hubs.

16 of 20

16. Australia

Getty Images

Why choose to honeymoon down under? First, there's the Great Barrier Reef. Then, there's the beachy metropolis of Sydney. The cultural capital of Melbourne. The Tasmanian food and wine country. The rugged Kimberley Coast. The remote interior outback. We could go on, but you probably get the point.

17 of 20

17. New Zealand

Courtesy of PurePods / Andrew Fussell

Oft considered second fiddle to Aussie-land, New Zealand is giving its neighbor a run for its money, fast becoming one of the most popular new honeymoon destinations. South Island’s rugged coastlines, unspoiled landscapes, glacial valleys, and snow-capped alpine peaks provide the perfect contrast to the North Island’s cosmopolitan cities, emerging wine regions, and stunning beaches. And we guarantee the country's next-gen gastronomy—which extends to everything from craft beers to coffee—will perhaps help it take the lead in years to come.

18 of 20

18. St. Barth

Getty Images

Want a taste of the French Riviera without flying all the way to France? Enter St. Barth, the tiny volcanic Caribbean French island-territory. In the main town of Gustavia you'll find high-end designer boutiques, party pads like Bagatelle, and romantic restaurants like Bonito and L'Isola. Then there are the beaches, one seemingly more beautiful than the next—Gouverneur, Colombier, St. Jean, Flamands, Shell, Gran Cul-de-Sac. And let's not forget the resorts, all of which set the standard for luxury in the Caribbean: storied Eden Rock St. Barths, tony Le Toiny, refined Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, resort-esque Le Guanahani, minimalist-chic Le Sereno, and newcomer Hôtel Barrière Le Carl Gustaf St. Barts.

19 of 20

19. Jamaica

Courtesy of Rock House Hotel

Few Caribbean islands have as much cultural cachet and straight-up cool factor as Jamaica, the home of music legends like Bob Marley and Chris Blackwell. Whether you choose bustling Kingston, laid-back Negril, nature-filled Port Antonio, or resort-centric Montego Bay (MoBay, as the locals call it), it's impossible not to get swept off your feet by Jamaica's culture of chill.

20 of 20

20. Dominican Republic

Jane Sweeney

The eastern half of Hispaniola (Haiti is to the west) showcases the best that the Caribbean has to offer: stunning white-sand beaches, warm swimmable waters, and a high-low mix of resorts that suit all tastes and budgets.

Subscribe to Brides now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.

Related Stories