From Tokyo to New York City to Sydney to Rome, there are some seriously great foodie destinations around the world. But what if the bustle of a major metropolis isn't quite what you had in mind for your honeymoon? These seven locations have some serious culinary chops PLUS all of the trappings of a great honeymoon destination: a romantic setting, honeymoon-worthy hotels and plenty of ways to relax and connect with your new spouse.
There are a dozen wine regions in France, each with its own specialities, but the Burgundy region may be one of the best for honeymooning foodies. Burgundian cuisine is world famous, and some of France's most well-known and revered culinary creations come from the area (beef bourguignon is named for the region). Here you can snack on traditional dishes like escargots (snails cooked in garlic, butter, and parsley), œufs meurette (eggs poached in red wine) and Époisses de Bourgogne (a soft, pungent cheese) while sipping on Burgundy's famous wines.
Bucolic small towns, such as Beaune and Volnay, dot the region and it's easy to cruise between them along bike trails through the vines.
Napa and Sonoma, California
No matter how many new U.S. wine regions earn praise, none compare to Napa and Sonoma in California. These side-by-side wine regions sit about an hour north of San Francisco and are world-renowned for their wine production, luxurious hotels and plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants like The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood. A honeymoon in Napa or Sonoma is all about the good life: relaxing spa treatments, idyllic hikes and bike rides down quiet country lanes, fine wine and incredible food.
The center of Argentina's wine industry, the city of Mendoza is set in the foothills of the Andes, a two-hour flight from sultry Buenos Aires. The city itself is quaint, with cozy b&bs and cobblestone streets and the food scene ranges from casual parillas serving tender, freshly-grilled steaks to fine dining restaurants like Azafran, which puts a modern twist on traditional dishes. Within a few miles of the city, more than 1,500 wineries welcome guests, and for the outdoorsy couple, there's hiking, horseback riding, skiing and day trips to snowcapped Mt.
Aconcagua. A bonus: Argentina is still a relative bargain so you can enjoy luxury without breaking the bank.
Seoul, South Korea
While Seoul may not be the first place that comes to mind as a honeymoon destination, it actually ticks all the boxes for foodies who prefer an urban adventure. It's safe, easy to navigate, offers plenty to do, has an abundance of high-class hotels (try The Shilla for the ultimate luxury experience) and, perhaps most importantly for foodies, has incredible food around every corner. Try cheap and delicious street foods like hotteok (a donut-like snack filled with sugar, ground peanuts and sesame seeds) and tteokbokki (chewy rice cakes with meat and veggies in a spicy sauce), or sit down for a feast of Korean barbecue accompanied by dozens of sides, called banchan, and wash it all down with soju, a Korean spirit, and makegeolli, a fermented rice wine.
When you're not filling your belly, fill your time exploring Korean culture at the 14th century Gyeongbokgung Palace, belting out hits at a noraebang (karaoke) bar, visiting the DMZ that marks the border between North and South Korea, or heading to the N Seoul Tower, where you can take in a great view of the city and add your own "love lock" to declare your unbreakable bond.
Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa's second-largest city is also its culinary star and home to some of the country's best restaurants, which showcase a staggering variety of international cuisines. The city even boasts one restaurant, The Test Kitchen, on the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Just outside the city, the Cape Winelands produce some of the world's best wines — and play host to dozens of exceptional restaurants that offer locally-sourced, seasonally-influenced cuisine that highlights the bounty of the region.
Aside from drinking and dining, honeymooners can hike Cape Town's famed Table Mountain, visit historic Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned, cage-dive with great white sharks, spot penguins at Boulders Beach and drive the stunning Cape of Good Hope.
San Sebastian, Spain
San Sebastian is tucked away in northern Spain's Basque country, about two hours from the Rioja region or Bilbao. While it's less visited than Barcelona, Madrid or the seaside towns on Spain's Costa de Sol, it's widely known in foodie circles as one of the best culinary destinations in the world. For honeymooners, it's also a charming seaside town with white-sand beaches perfect for swimming and surfing. Though the city is on the small side, it's home to two of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, Arzak and Mugaritz, as well as the now-shuttered El Bulli, considered one of the pioneers of gastronomy.
Beyond the marquee names, even the smallest tapas bars in San Sebastian are worth the trip. Tapas are called pinxtos in this part of Spain and here they're often served on small pieces of bread. Delicacies like foie gras, lobster, octopus, and quail eggs make frequent appearances along with sidra, a tart, effervescent cider that hails from the Basque region.
With its unique rock formations, called fairy chimneys, Cappadocia is a place unlike any other, and most activities here — such as hiking, horseback riding and hot-air ballooning — center on exploring its otherworldly landscape. But beyond its stunning scenery, Cappadocia has a history, culture and cuisine that make it well worth the 90-minute flight from Istanbul. Foodie delights here include manti (a meat-filled pasta served in a creamy yogurt sauce seasoned with sumac), testi kebab (a meat stew cooked in a ceramic pot that is broken open at the table), kabak çiçeği dolması (stuffed zucchini flowers) and pide (flatbread often topped with meat, cheese, and egg).
It's hearty, rich food that pairs perfectly with the intense red wines that are produced in the region — yes, Turkey has been making wine for more than 7,000 years. For the ultimate romantic accommodation, stay in one of high-end hotels built right into the rocks; the cave rooms at Argos in Cappadocia are particularly luxurious.