According to the globe-trotting experts at a top luxury travel planning company, there are typical honeymoons and then there are experiential honeymoons. The former, says John Spence, president of Scott Dunn USA (which devises fully bespoke trips for clients around the world), “normally incorporates a luxury hotel on an idyllic beach, a single stop, maybe two—think Hawaii, the Maldives or the Caribbean.” Meanwhile, “an experiential honeymoon is a journey that really gets you under the skin of a country or countries. It is a little more of an adventure.”
Spence clarifies that you still may start or end on a dream beach—“in fact we often recommend it to unwind”—but, he says, “sandwich this with something experiential and you’ve got a honeymoon you’ll be talking about for years to come.” These types of trips might be especially appealing to a couple who wants to learn about a new culture, improve their knowledge of an art or sport, or discover new-to-them wildlife. At Scott Dunn, travel experts get to know a couple’s interests, dislikes, passions, time frame, and, importantly, budget, so they can craft a personalized down-to-the-detail journey. Here, Spence presents his top destinations for the most epic his-and-hers experience of 2017.
For wildlife and culture: Central India and Rajasthan
These destinations make for a “really interesting” honeymoon, says Spence. And that’s a good thing. Go for a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal along with trips to temples and on a mission to find elusive wild tigers in the country’s best game reserves. His favorite accommodation: the tented safari-ready Jamtara Wilderness Camp, and a charming, rural boutique hotel.
For a winter wonderland: Swedish Lapland
You won’t be getting any beach time in Sweden, but if you like cuddling up to your honey when it’s cold, this destination is for you. In a wonderland of snow and ice, spot the truly awesome northern lights, embark on a thrilling snowmobile safari, experience ice sculpting, and snuggle up as adorable huskies pull you on a sled. Romantic overnight options include Loggers Lodge, where trees and streams surround your cabin made for two, and a private chef is on hand to cook top-notch Lappish meals.
For history and culture: Cambodia and Vietnam
Here you’re advised to start in an unspoiled, rural part of Vietnam, where you can cycle off-the-beaten-path to visit vibrant hill tribes, try local cooking lessons, and maybe kayak and hike before making your way to the jaw-dropping Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia. After at least one private temple dinner for two, continue onto the beach, where you can soak up the sun from within the epic, eco-friendly confines of Song Saa Private Island.
For wildlife and adventure: Rwanda
As much as it might surprise you, Rwanda is having quite the moment when it comes to tourism, so it’s best to go sooner than later. Only animal lovers need apply for a trip of this sort, where tracking gorillas is a priority. The once-in-a-lifetime experience of viewing a gorilla in its natural habitat is only matched by the pristine natural beauty of your surroundings at somewhere like Volcanoes Virunga Lodge, which looks over a shimmering lake and valley. For some down time, finish on the white sands of the Seychelles islands.
For foodies: Argentina and Chile
If you love nothing more than incredible food and drink—except your hubby, of course—then a South American adventure may be right for you. Not only are Argentina and Chile absolutely gorgeous and a bit offbeat, but they’re home to world-class vineyards producing award-winning wines and even luxurious vino-inspired spa treatments. Oenophiles know that where there’s great wine, there’s usually amazing food. And this is no doubt the case whether in the country or in the city of Buenos Aires, where cooking lessons are yet another way to turn up the heat. If you'd prefer to be out in the vines, there's the Cavas Wine Lodge, an 18-room luxury resort set in the foothills of the Andes surrounded by 55 acres of vineyards.