The journey of your relationship is one of a kind, so why shouldn’t your honeymoon road trip follow the same path? For the adventurous, dynamic duo who wants more out of their honeymoon than a poolside oasis, renting a car and exploring a country from top to bottom will create newlywed nomadic memories you’ll treasure for decades. And if you’re open to fly-by-the-seats of your rental car, you can simply pick up your ride from the airport you touch down in and let your wanderlust (and your love, of course) guide your way.
Here, countries to consider for a romantic excursion that burns miles and flutters your heart:
With easy flights from both West and East Coast to Portugal, Iberia is a part of Europe worth a honeymoon visit. Start with a few days in Lisbon, coastal capital city, nicknamed the ‘San Francisco of Europe’ thanks to its many hills, where you can try a wide variety of foods and wines. In the heart of town is The Valverde Hotel, where a suite with a view will be the first place you celebrate becoming officially spouses. From Lisbon, rent a car and head North to Sintra first, where candyland-like castles make for a ‘just married’ selfie shot, and a quick jaunt west to Cabo de Roca will let you step foot on the westernmost point of continental Europe. From Sintra, journey to the wine country of Porto to visit some wineries, before heading to the coast line, just a few hours away. Here, you can take in the stunning, unbelievable sunsets in Lagos and Algarve. With seaside balconies and terraces overlooking the ocean, Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort will make you feel as special as you should as honeymooners.
On the Western edge of South America, this long, narrow country is ripe with vineyards and beaches, botanical gardens and plenty of Instagram-worthy overlooks. One popular route you can take is called Carretera Austral that begins in Puerto Montt. You will enjoy the views from Ruta [Route] 7 for more than 770 miles until you end up in a part of the Chilean Patagonia called Villa O’Higgins. Though the stops are up to you, a few suggestions that are worth the overnight stay include Queulat National Park, General Carrera Lake, Baker River and Pumalin Park. After your trek, fly back to the capital of Santiago for a much-needed R&R, where a buzzing food scene and plenty of luxury hotels - like the Park Plaza.
Is one your all-time favorite rituals with your partner watching The Lord of the Rings together on the couch? Or, do you have an affinity for green, lush, beautiful, rolling hills? Or want to see whales? The answer to the where-should-we-go-for-our-honeymoon dilemma has been solved and the answer is New Zealand. While it’s quite the commitment for a plane ride, once you land in this pristine land, those long hauls will quickly become a distant thought. Start your trek Auckland, the City of Sails, where spotting whales and dolphins in the harbor is commonplace. From here, head south to Waitomo Caves to see the glittery glow worms that nest above you as you wade through the water via boat. Continuing on, release that wedding planning stress at the man boiling mud pools in Rotorua. You can keep exploring this region or hop a super-short flight to Queenstown to see Lake Wakatipu and sip on it’s drink of choice, Pinot Noir. After touring wineries where many scenes from The Lord of the Rings was filmed, speed to what’s considered the unofficial ‘eighth wonder of the world’, Milford Sound, where cliffs covered by glaciers are contrasted by the inky black waters from waterfalls.
Want to have the beach vibe on your honeymoon, but you’ve already sunbathed in most of the caribbean and central America? Make the journey to Thailand, where you’ll catch a glimpse (and maybe a wave) of sands and waters unlike any others. Starting in the international hub of Bangkok, where you can stay at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok in one of their many suites. The next morning, take a bumpy, uncharted path toward Rayong and Chantaburi. At the end of your journey is Trat, where you can easily take a ferry to beautiful islands like Koh Chang or Koh Kood. Want to turn the other direction from Thailand? You can stop by Krabi and Ko Samui, both offering immersion into the food culture and luxury hotels to ring in your marriage, like The Ritz Carlton Phulay Bay or Six Senses Samui on Ko Samui.
You might not even be able to pinpoint exactly where this South American country is on a map at first glance, but not to worry - there’s plenty of surprises and unexpected beauty and splendor in this honeymoon destination. Especially if you and your new spouse are the ultimate foodies who pair everything with a smart glass of vino, you’ll fill your hearts and your tummies driving through the wine country and beaches. Though a party town, visit Punta del Este and head a few minutes past it, where you’ll find the wine country of Gazon. Here, you can sample Tannat, Uruguay’s national grape, at Bodega Garzon, a recently opened winery that leans far more modern in their winemaking. After you sample the menu and fall in love with this variety, continue along the coastline, where you can find countless luxury hotels scattered about the shore. And though you may want to read the fine print of rental car agreement, once you get to the Argentine border, Buenos Aires is just a hop-and-skip away.
If your pockets are running deep for your honeymoon, you will marvel at the beauty of Switzerland, with lakes, mountain peaks and the top of luxury hotels. Depending on what time of year you get hitched and head out for your honeymoon, be careful of slippery slopes, but make sure to hit a few breathtaking spots along the way. Start in Zurich with a luxury stay at the infamous Baur au Lac for a night before touring through Northern Switzerland, zig-zagging through Route A1. Along the way, you’ll see plenty of wineries and medieval architecture ripe for a tour. For a place to lay your head and rest your driving muscles, stop in Bern where the only over-water hotel - Hotel Palafitte - is located. You can continue forward with a few nights in the UNESCO world heritage site of the Lavaux wine region, staying at Beau-Rivage Palace. If you want to take a shorter journey, fly into Geneva and take the D10005 to Gstaad. You’ll follow the waters of Lake Laman, even driving through France for a few miles, on your way to the picturesque, snow-covered Swiss Alps. Splurge on a few nights at the Gstaad Palace, a luxury hotel that will remind you of a castle.