When it comes to your honeymoon, there are plenty of reasons to consider heading somewhere off the beaten path—and the list often starts with your wallet. “The core advantage is getting more bang for your buck,” says travel advisor Kemi Wells. “By going to a less-visited destination, you may be able to enjoy a suite for the same price as a regular room somewhere else.”
For travel pro Erica Jackowitz, the motivation to move beyond bucket-list destinations has more to do with eschewing “must-do” lists in favor of bonding over a unique adventure. “You really get to be explorers together and do something organic,” she says. “Making those memories is what’s going to last your lifetime.”
Meet the Expert
- Kemi Wells is the founder and president of Wells Luxury Travel. She is based in Vancouver, Canada.
- Erica Jackowitz is the president and co-founder of Roman & Erica, Inc., a full-service lifestyle management firm specializing in high-end travel experiences. Her team is based in New York City with offices in Aspen, Colorado.
Whatever your “why” may be, here are 11 unique honeymoon destinations to consider for your big trip.
Harry and Meghan holed up in this westernmost province of Canada when they first touched down in North America, and we bet the rugged-meets-romantic seclusion of the Pacific coastline played a major factor in why they chose it. When it comes to accommodations, Wells recommends the Clayoquot Wilderness Lodge on Vancouver Island. “It’s a world-class tented safari resort and spa with incredible food and wine, immersed in the heart of nature,” she says. “If budget allows, I book honeymooners on a helicopter tour—the scenery is even more spectacular from the air.”
Many American honeymooners heading to Africa opt for safari adventure-moons, gorilla trekking in Rwanda, or wine country resorts in South Africa. But true history buffs should consider Egypt, where the centuries-old attractions include the Pyramids of Giza, the city of Alexandria, and the ancient pharaoh tombs of the Valley of the Kings. “Cruise the Nile and visit Luxor and other cities,” suggests Jackowitz.
This coastal Central American country is easy to get to—just a two-and-a-half hour flight from Miami or Houston—and offers many of the same perks of a tropical island honeymoon, but often at more budget-friendly rates. “It has some really gorgeous boutique properties and a great mix of nature, history, and some of the bluest waters I have ever seen,” says Wells. “The snorkeling and diving are fantastic.”
Italy’s northern mountain region can feel worlds away from the rest of the country. That is largely due to the influences of nearby Germany and the dramatic topography, which allows for all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime adventures. “You could be hiking, paragliding, or climbing up the side of a mountain off a via ferrata,” Jackowitz explains. “Every couple of steps, the experience changes.” Pro tip: Combine your visit with a trip to Lake Garda, which Jackowitz notes is less popular with American tourists than Lake Como but still offers similar trappings of luxury.
This city-state in Southeast Asia has it all: unique architecture, a tropical climate, amazing food, world-class hotels, and what is quite possibly the best airport on Earth. “I went for the first time last year and it was incredible,” says Wells. “You could spend a whole week and experience so much.” Foodies can eat their way through a variety of cuisines in the many Hawker centers, while eco-conscious couples will want to explore the Botanic Gardens and Supertree Grove.
Unlike nearby Nepal, where certain areas are filled-to-the-brim with backpackers, the strict entry requirements and recently heightened visitor fees of this unlike-anywhere-else-in-the-world Buddhist kingdom keep it from being overrun with tourists. “While there are some great hotels and luxury outfitters, Bhutan still remains very much untouched,” says Jackowitz, who opted to spend her own honeymoon in the country. “There’s very little development—it’s really about the land and its people.”
This small private island in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a unique honeymoon destination for couples looking for something more secluded but still in the close-by Caribbean. “It’s truly a special place where bicycles exist as a main mode of transportation,” says Jackowitz. “Kings and princesses throughout the decades have come to enjoy the lifestyle.” While most of the island’s well-heeled clientele opt for private villas, the Cotton House Hotel offers 17 rooms and a holistic spa.
Though Italy and Paris will likely remain top European honeymoon destinations for years to come, the Portugal honeymoon is hot on their heels—and the perfect destination for couples who have already crossed most of Western Europe off their list. “Portugal is gaining popularity, but still has great value,” says Wells. “It’s a perfect mix of history, culture, food and wine, and gorgeous beaches.” Start with a few days of post-wedding R&R in the Douro Valley wine region, then cap off your trip with late nights of live music in the capital city of Lisbon.
Action and adventure is the name of the name in this warm-weathered Central American country, where itineraries can include zip-lining over steep canyons, hiking to hot springs, and horseback riding on the beach. “What I love about Costa Rica for honeymooners is that not only are there direct flights from many cities throughout the U.S., it also has adventure, it has beaches, and it’s not an artificial experience,” says Jackowitz. “For one hotel, the roads were so bumpy that the other option was to whitewater raft in,” she adds of a recent visit.
Multiple weeks are needed to even scratch the surface of the world’s second-most populous country, which makes your honeymoon an ideal time to indulge in the adventure. From the bustle of Mumbai to the splendor of the Taj Mahal, there are many major attractions to take in, but also a fair share of romantic wellness and resort experiences. “If you’re looking for a cultural awakening, add Varanasi to the itinerary,” suggests Jackowitz. “It’s a complete assault on the senses.”
Choose a Cruise
The cruise industry has changed dramatically in recent years, and gigantic vessels plagued by buffets and big lines are no longer the only options. “The incredible small-ship luxury cruise lines are more like floating boutique hotels. They’re great for a honeymoon because they allow you to unpack once and see multiple destinations,” says Wells. “I am most excited about the brand-new luxury line Explora, which will be so chic and stylish with world-famous chefs, stunning design, and amazing wellness experiences on board as well.”