The world is changing for LGBT couples, and that means that travel is changing too. Social attitudes across the globe are becoming more and more accepting, and governments are starting to catch up with the legalization of same-sex marriage. LGBT travelers from the U.S. alone bring about $100 billion to the table—so when it comes to honeymoon planning, that means that same-sex couples have serious spending power. Maybe it’s a coincidence that June is both International Pride Month as well as an extremely popular month to get married, but maybe it’s not. Either way, here are some fantastic destinations for same-sex couples to consider when it comes to planning an amazing and romantic honeymoon, from wine countries to tropical paradises.
The “South American Riviera” is a surprisingly chic, surprisingly European-feeling destination, so it should come as no surprise that it is often called the most LGBT-friendly country in the region. Don’t worry about skipping the capital city of Montevideo, because the best thing to do is rent a car from the airport and head directly up the coastline. Cruise right past the touristy, overdeveloped Punta del Este and drive along the coast through La Barra to the luxe-bohemian enclave at José Ignacio. Stay at Playa Vik and soak up some sunshine before grabbing dinner at the world-famous La Huella. Continue your journey just a few miles inland with a stay at Estancia Vik, where you can get your inner gaucho on and spend all day riding horses on the hotel’s sweeping property. Don’t leave the region without stopping for lunch at Garzón, a former ghost town which Argentinian celebrity chef Francis Mallmann brought back to life with his restaurant by the same name. It might sound like a lot of bouncing around for one honeymoon, but trust us—after just a few days you will have seen much of this tiny country, and will have more than enough shared memories to show for it.
Côte d’Azur, France
This honeymoon spot is as welcoming to same-sex couples as it is iconic, but should not be taken lightly—the best time to go is during the off season (pretty much anytime except June through August), when the weather is still warm and the holiday crowds have thinned out. It’s a great place to road-trip: Start with a couple of nights exploring the wineries and rolling hills in Saint-Tropez (the Muse Saint-Tropez or Hotel Byblos are ideal), then drive up the coast to Antibes where you can follow in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s footsteps at the Hotel Belles Rives or Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Stop in for a snack at Paloma Beach in the painfully cute town of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, then you can eventually work your way up to all the glitz and glam of Monaco, where you can splurge with a stay at the Hotel Metropole or the Monte-Carlo Beach. Just make sure to stop for plenty of rosés and Aperol spritzes along the way.
Winelands, South Africa
Very accessible from Cape Town, the wine regions surrounding Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have long been favorite destinations for same-sex travelers. If a decadent stay at La Résidence is too over-the-top for your tastes (it’s a favorite of Sir Elton John and David Furnish), consider checking out La Clé Country Lodge, a cozy manse located just behind downtown. There are dozens of wineries to visit in the region, but among the best are Holden Manz, Babylonstoren, and Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons.
Margaret River, Western Australia
While Australia might have been a bit late to the party, only legalizing same-sex marriage in December 2017, LGBT couples have long felt welcomed and accepted Down Under. Qantas just launched a direct flight from London to Perth, making the more wild parts of the continent more attainable than ever. It might sound a bit excessive to hop in a car and drive three hours after you’ve flown across the globe, but trust us—Margaret River is the beachy, foodie, oenophile wine country of your dreams. You can’t go wrong doing tastings or grabbing lunch at any of the wineries here, but Voyager Estate, Vasse Felix, and Leeuwin Estates are especially not to be missed. Best of all, one of the prime surf breaks in the world is located just ten minutes west of town at Surfer’s Point. Even if you aren’t a surfer yourself, it’s worth stopping by the White Elephant café for a flat white while you take in the scenery and watch the professionals hang ten.
Wanaka, New Zealand
This island country “at the bottom of the world,” as Kiwis put it, has a serious track record with acceptance—it became the first country in the world to allow all women to vote in 1893—and is also the global capital of adventure tourism for thrill-seeking couples. Whereas most adventurers find their way to Queenstown, South Island, in-the-know travelers have figured out that Wanaka is the country’s more authentic, less touristy adventure hot spot. Helicopter tours, via ferrata mountain climbing, river rafting, and bungee jumping abound, and the scenery is so otherworldly you’ll immediately understand why epic movies like The Lord of the Rings have been filmed there. You can rent a turn-key luxury home property overlooking the lake through Release Wanaka, or splurge with a couple of nights at the jaw-dropping Whare Kea Chalet, reachable only by helicopter. Those dreading the long flight to New Zealand need not worry. Several airlines now offer direct flights from the west coast in premium economy class; Air New Zealand, for example, has lie-flat beds and exceptional food and wine pairings that make the trip pass quickly and provide serious value.
Picture this: all the convenience of visiting Cancun (a quick flight from pretty much every major U.S. city), but none of the rowdy crowds. Leave the spring-breakers behind and take a shuttle northwest of Cancun to this tiny fishing village. After a painless twenty-minute ferry, you’ll arrive in Holbox, a no-cars-allowed village at the tip of a peninsula-shaped nature reserve. It’s one of the few places on the Yucatan Peninsula where you can watch the sun rise over the Caribbean in the morning as well set over the Gulf in the evening. Attitudes towards same-sex couples feel markedly more low-key and accepting on Holbox, and there are just enough boutique properties in town to give you an authentic, luxe experience with plenty of privacy and easy access to the beach—like Casa Sandra or Hotel Punta Caliza.
The first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2000, the Netherlands have a history of championing equal rights. An abundance of bike lanes throughout the city make getting around very easy, and the city’s world-class museums (like the Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum, and Anne Frank House) are a must for culture buffs. The city is also a treasure trove of cozy, romantic boutique hotels, such as Breitner House, the Dylan, and the Pulitzer. Just make sure to leave plenty of time for some romantic strolls along the city’s striking canals.
Turks and Caicos, British Overseas Territory
For the couple looking to grab a mojito, lie out in the sun, and chill out after their nuptials, there is no place better than Turks & Caicos. The flight to Providenciales is quick and effortless from the southeastern U.S., and there are a range of top-notch beach resorts to choose from that are elegant, romantic, and private. Amanyara is Turks and Caicos’s standard-bearer for high-end zen, and the naturalist they keep on staff can help arrange ecotourism activities like turtle tagging and birdwatching. The Shore Club, one of the newer offerings on island, sits on a quiet stretch of Long Bay Beach far away from the rest of the island’s hubbub. While the property’s three bars and three restaurants ensure you’ll have a full belly and drink in hand at every turn, the real clincher as far as honeymoons are concerned is the Dune Spa, a series of private villas nestled on the beach overlooking the ocean. Sign up for a Balinese couple’s massage—and you may not want this honeymoon to end.