Winter honeymoons may be the thing Caribbean dreams are made of, but you don’t need sandy shores to have a romantic getaway. European cities are as dreamy when they’re snow-covered in the winter as they are in full bloom of spring. And with half the crowds, you’ll have these towns all to yourself. Picture strolling the romantic cobblestone-lined lanes of eastern Europe, dining along the water staring at castles across the way, or admiring views of the Mediterranean from thousands of feet up.
Stuck on where to get started when it comes to the choosing a destination? Let Christmas markets and Northern Lights be your guide when deciding which honeymoon locale speaks most to your heart (and your hubby!). Here are five suggestions to spark your inspiration.
Prague, Czech Republic
Nicknamed the “City of a Hundred Spires,” the Czech Republic capital is the ultimate fairytale setting. The city only becomes more picturesque when the snow starts falling. Get lost along the winding streets of the Old Town where you’ll come across the famous square housing the 600-year-old medieval Astronomical Clock, as well as the winter Christmas market, with dozens of stalls selling hand-crafted decorations, mulled wine and traditional trdelnik, which are rolled dough pastries. If you needed an excuse to break that pre-wedding diet, we’re totally giving you one here.
Sure Paris has the Seine, but a candlelit cruise along the Danube in Budapest is just as scenic. Musicians will serenade you and your other half as you indulge in a fine dining feast while staring out across the river at glowing landmarks like the Royal Palace, Parliament and Chain Bridge, which connects the city’s two sides. For couples after a spa escape, this is just the place. Budapest boasts multiple thermal baths that are open year-round, including the most famous of them all, Széchenyi, home to the deepest and hottest wells in the city that are just as popular in winter when snow falls over the open-air pools as they are in the summer.
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The South of France may seem like it’s only a summer locale, but there are plenty of reasons locals decide to stay here come winter. The seaside town is the perfect honeymoon hideaway with mild winter temps and plenty of deals at luxe villa rentals perched right over the water. From here, it’s an easy day trip to scenic medieval villages that almost seem too jaw-droppingly beautiful to be real. Case in point: At Eze village, a 1,400-foot-high town with panoramic views over the Mediterranean, you and the new hubby can cozy up over a glass of Champagne by the fireplace (or on the 180 degree-view terrace) feeling like you’re the only ones in the world.
Architecture lovers will fall head over heels for the blend of styles gracing Vienna’s buildings, from the New Baroque Burgtheater to the Neo-Renaissance Natural History Museum. Start by sightseeing along the famous Ringstrasse, a 3.2-mile circular boulevard surrounding the city center, where couples can admire palaces, monuments and museums. To really get your bearings in one of the most romantic ways possible, head up to the top of the city’s tallest building to 57 Restaurant & Lounge, with 360-degree views over Vienna from the top two floors of the DC Tower. Of course one of the main highlights of a winter honeymoon here is strolling through the Christmas markets, with some of the most glamorous in Europe sprawled across spots like the Baroque Belvedere Palace gardens.
As quick as a five-hour flight from the U.S., Reykjavík makes for an easy European honeymoon locale that’s on the more adventurous side. While winter is known for dark days, it’s also the time when you can get lucky and spot the Northern Lights glowing different shades of green across the sky. Couples can also set off across the countryside on tours to take in views of the mountains and city or indulge in mineral oil massages in the geothermal waters of the Blue Lagoon.