The Best Honeymoon Destinations For Every Couple

Forget Paris. Plan the perfect post-wedding getaway with our 2018 honeymoon destination guide.

March 19, 2018
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The best thing about getting married, of course, is knowing that you get to spend the rest of your life with your person.

The second best part of getting married? Definitely the honeymoon. (Wink, wink.)

Couples tend to be a bit more adventurous these days when it comes to their honeymoon, opting for a honeymoon destination that really fits their personality and style as a couple rather than choosing a one-size-fits-all inclusive resort (not that those aren’t great).

Consider this honeymoon destination guide our wedding gift to you (because really, you aren’t going to use 12 fancy place settings). Whether you and your soon-to-be spouse are adventure seekers, foodies, or just want to relax with each other, we’ve got the best honeymoon destinations for you.

The Best Honeymoon Destinations If…You’re Looking for Adventure

Are you the adventurous couple whose first date included skydiving lessons? If you love to go off trail in exotic locations, these wild-child honeymoon destinations are meant for you.

    • Antarctica

      Believe it or not, a cruise to Antarctica is an amazing honeymoon destination. It’s remote, it’s quiet, and it offers plenty of reasons to snuggle up with your babe. But it does require more planning than your average trip to the Caribbean.

      For starters, there aren’t a lot of hotels on the remote continent. In fact, there aren’t any. So you’ll need to book your trip through an Antarctic travel company like Quark Expeditions. To go to Antarctica, you’ll need to take a cruise. Antarctic cruises take place from November to March, because those are summer months in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll still need to pack super warm clothes, coats, and boots, though; summer temperatures in Antarctica are still well below freezing. Balmy!

      antarctica

      Once you’re in Antarctic waters, you can leave the ship and visit the actual continent. You can look forward to guided hikes, kayaking, and seeing penguins, seals, and pods of whales up close in a truly natural habitat.

Let anyone who goes to a cheesy couples-only resort try to top that.

  • Essaouira, Morocco

    Casablanca and Marrakesh are the top tourist spots in Morocco, but the resort town of Essaouira is a truly a hidden gem, which makes it the perfect honeymoon destination for adventure seekers. We’ve included Essaouira on our list of best honeymoon destinations for adventure because of how special the experience is.

    Essaouira (pronounced “Essa-wira”) is a bustling port city located on Morocco’s southern coast. It literally means “little picture” in Arabic. And with its pristine beaches, charming blue-and-white medina (the inner walled city that looks like Princess Jasmine should live there), and brightly colored boats bobbing in the harbor, it’s easy to see why. In Essaouira, you can spend days strolling through the souks and perusing the shops’ offerings, kite-surfing off the beach, and drinking traditional Moroccan sweet mint tea.

    essaouira morocco

    Just across the water is the uninhabited Mogador Island, where the ruins of an ancient mosque still stand. Because an endangered breed of eagle lives on the island, there aren’t regular tours, but you can still visit the island from November to March. You’ll just have to obtain a permit from the city and then head down to to the pier, where you can hire a local fisherman to ferry you across.

    We recommend splurging on a stay at the Atlas Essaouira and Spa, located right on the waterfront. You can stroll their private beach then indulge in a spa treatment to wind down from the adventures you two will get into.

  • Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya

    The Maasai Mara Reserve in Kenya is the ultimate safari honeymoon destination for any couple who truly loves animals. The Serengeti is better known by Westerners, but the Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve is widely considered the best place to see African wildlife in a natural habitat.

    Maasai Mara Reserve, Kenya

    If you have the time, most tour guides recommend taking at least two weeks to see and do everything at Maasai Mara, including a guided week-long expedition to nearby Mount Kilimanjaro. (If you can conquer Kilimanjaro, the troubles of marriage won’t have anything on you two.) Insiders also suggest scheduling your trip to the reserve between July and August, as more than a million wildebeest, zebras, and antelope migrate through the Maasai Mara Reserve.

    You’ll want to book your stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts around the perimeter of the reserve, like Richard Branson’s Mahali Mzuri, a luxury safari camp just outside of the reserve. There you can get to know the Maasai people, indulge in pan-African meals with locally sourced ingredients, and become closer than ever with your new spouse.

  • Budget Option: Tulum, Mexico

    Skip the spring breakers in Cabo and head to Tulum, a Caribbean city on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

    There’s no shortage of places to stay in Tulum. Nueva Vida de Ramiro is one of the first eco-friendly hotels in Tulum. The hotel doesn’t skimp on luxury but still employs sustainable practices for the least amount of environmental impact.

    One of the best parts of Tulum is its central location to other incredible sites. If you rent a car, you can visit Punta Laguna Spider Monkey Preserve, about 40 miles outside of Tulum, to see more than 800 spider monkeys in their natural habitat. There are also the ruins at Cobá, which contain one of the last Mayan pyramids that tourists can still climb.

    tulum mexico

    Adventure seekers will also love rappelling down into one of the Yucatán’s many cenotes (underground pools of water formed by the collapse of limestone bedrock). It is thought that Mayans communicated with their gods in cenotes, as several skulls (believed to be sacrifices) have been found in some of the underground pools.

    Our favorite part of Tulum is the beach road. The businesses on this road are about 15 minutes south of the famous Tulum ruins, and you can spend days wandering in and out of the restaurants, shops, and bars that are located on each side of the road: right on the waterfront or ensconced in the jungle. Grab a drink and stroll the (free!) public beach as you lovebirds decide what to do that day—if anything at all.

    The Best Honeymoon Destinations If…You Want to Get Your Sweat On

    What’s the saying? The couple who sweats together stays together? Maybe not, but either way, for the newlyweds who are all about working out, you won’t want to miss these fitness-inspired honeymoon destinations.

  • Costa Rica

    Costa Rica may be known for its lush jungles and brilliant blue waters, but it’s also a fitness enthusiast’s dream honeymoon destination.

    For the couple who likes a challenge, climbing Costa Rica’s highest peak, Cerro Chirripó, is a must. The hike covers over 10,000 feet in elevation, but you’ll be rewarded at the top, where you can see both the Pacific and the Caribbean at the same time. To say it’s a good spot for a newlywed photo op is an understatement.

    costa rica

    When planning your trip, take into account that most hikers split the trek over two days, spending the night in one of several mountain huts along the trail, as tents are not allowed. (You’ll also need to make a reservation with the park before you hike. The reservation process can be a little tricky, but this website does a good job of explaining how to get your pass.)

    After an overnight camping trip, book the rest of your honeymoon accommodations at the glamorous Hacienda AltaGracia, a luxury resort that boasts private mountain biking and hiking trails, daily fitness classes, and a full-service spa.

  • Iceland

    Iceland is a popular honeymoon travel destination right now, thanks to lower airfares from a handful of major U.S. cities. For active honeymooners, Iceland is a hiker’s paradise.

    Travel junkie Maria Pimienta says, “If you do one thing in Iceland, Skógafoss Falls is a must-see.” Skógafoss Falls is a dramatic waterfall nearly 200 feet high, where you can see vivid rainbows on sunny days. The falls, which are about as tall as Disney World’s Cinderella castle, are easily accessible and are also located at the trailhead of the popular Fimmvörðuháls day hike.

    iceland

    The Fimm hike, as it’s colloquially known, features countless scenic overlooks as you trek through two glaciers and an inactive volcano. Be prepared: The hike can be done in one day, but to really take in the scenery, most travel guides recommend making it a two-day trip, with an overnight stay at the mountain hut located halfway through the hike. Cuddle up with your sweetie and enjoy the remote landscape at night—fingers crossed that you’ll get to see see the Northern Lights.

    For adventurous accommodations, Pimienta suggests staying near Mount Hekla, an active volcano that erupted four times in the 20th century. Despite being located in an active volcano chain (or maybe because of it!), the Hotel Leirubakki is highly rated on TripAdvisor for its clean rooms, Hekla information center, and beautiful scenery.

  • Kitzbühel, Austria

    If the only thing you know about Austria is that the hills are alive, you need to visit Kitzbühel, an under-the-radar honeymoon destination in Europe’s Swiss Alps. The resort town of Kitzbühel is located about four hours west of Vienna, and with its numerous ski slopes and chalets, it’s the perfect honeymoon destination for the couple who loves to play in the snow.

    Joshua Willis, who honeymooned in Austria in 2017, recommends first flying into Vienna and splurging on a meal at Silvio Nickol at Palais Coburg. “We had dinner [at Silvio Nickol] and it was insane,” Willis tells us. “It is a two-star Michelin restaurant and probably the best dining experience I’ve ever had.”

    Kitzbühel, Austria

    Once you’ve treated yourself to a honeymoon-worthy gourmet meal, book a train to Kitzbühel. Once there, consider staying at the Hotel Schloss Lebenberg, a renovated 400-year-old chalet perched just above the city, where the rooms are as dreamy as the views.

    The hotel also has a full-service spa that will be perfect after days spent tackling the Streif, one of the most famous ski runs in the world.

  • Budget Option: Rocky Mountain National Park

    If you want honeymoon adventure but can’t quite afford the airfare to Europe, look no further than Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

    rocky mountain national park

    Summer is the best time to visit the park, but it’s also the busiest season, which will require a bit of planning. You could stay in a hotel outside the park, but to get the most out of this honeymoon destination, consider packing a sleeping bag and camping at one of the five campgrounds in the park.

    From your campsite, you can access over 300 miles of hiking trails. You won’t want to miss the panoramic view from Flattop Mountain or the stunning vistas from Baker Pass.

    The eastern base camp for the park is the town of Estes Park. Twin Owls Steakhouse has vegetarian and gluten-free options, while Seasoned offers both of those options plus some vegan menu items. In Estes Park, you can also tour the Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King’s novel The Shining. If you see a ghost, take the opportunity to cuddle up!

The Best Honeymoon Destinations If…You’re Looking for Foodie Paradise

If your first date was at an exclusive pop-up from a James Beard Award–winning chef or your idea of a casual Friday night at home is taking a crack at a seven-course dinner for the two of you, you just might be foodies. These are our top honeymoon destinations for the couple who wants to experience gastronomic excellence.

  • Bordeaux, France

    The Bordeaux region of France is best known for its wine, and to add to that, the city has recently emerged as one of the top foodie hotspots in the world.

    “I highly suggest one of the guided wine tours,” says Morgan Anthony, who recently visited Bordeaux on a romantic getaway with her husband. “In order to get to the wineries in Bordeaux, you either have to rent a car, which can be hard if you don’t speak French, or book one of these tours and let them do the work for you!”

    Bordeaux, France

    Anthony recommends booking a private tour with Bordovino, which offers a variety of wine-tasting tours throughout the Bordeaux region. That said, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, renting a car and exploring the French countryside is an experience that can’t be replicated.

    “One restaurant in Bordeaux you don’t want to miss is Ô p’tit Bahut,” says Anthony. The bulk of Ô p’tit Bahut’s website is only en francais, but it’s fairly easy to navigate. The restaurant, which loosely translates to “the little buffet,” serves excellent charcuterie and fromage. It’s a perfect lunch stop after a day of touring wine country, but Anthony says reservations are a must, so be sure to call ahead.

    For dinner, you’ll want to try the Restaurant du Loup, which Anthony describes as classy but also cozy and casual. They’re known for their foie gras, but if goose liver isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other delicious menu selections.

  • Tokyo, Japan

    There’s nothing like a culture shock to bring two people together. Although Tokyo is easily one of the most advanced (and astonishingly clean) cities in the world, and Japanese people are incredibly welcoming, it’ll still take teamwork from the both of you to figure out where you’re going—and what to order.

    For a unique gastronomic experience, food writer and photographer Spencer Pernikoff recommends Tora-fugu Tei, which serves only fugu (pufferfish): “You can’t get it like this anywhere else in the world. They show you the live fish, then come down with it broken down, then they do like a five- to 10-course menu using the fish … All of it. Ovaries. Fins. Everything.”

    Tokyo, Japan

    When in Japan, do as the Japanese do: Eat sushi. As Pernikoff notes, “the quality of sushi basically all over the damn country is amazing,” so you really can’t go wrong anywhere.

    Specifically, he recommends Tonkatsu Yachiyo. He says, “It may seem weird to recommend a [sushi] place [that specializes in] fried pork cutlet, but it’s just amazing.” The restaurant is in Tsukiji Fish Market, and Pernikoff tells HealthyWay, “I figure foodie tourists are already going to [the market] anyway, ’cause it’s f***ing bonkers.” That’s a recommendation we’ll gladly take.

    Because of its lively nightlife and entertainment, Roppongi is a great base of operations while you’re in Tokyo. Stay at the ANA InterContinental hotel, and dine at Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s eponymous restaurant, which has had two Michelin stars since 2010.

    But there’s more to this honeymoon destination than food. No Tokyo honeymoon would be complete without participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, like this private ceremony in a traditional Japanese garden. You may not think of a tea ceremony as necessarily being romantic, but the quiet beauty of it will have you and your new spouse in reverent mood, perfect for reflecting on your future together.

  • Mendoza, Argentina

    Like Bordeaux in France, Mendoza is mostly wine country, known for producing Malbec wines. You’ll definitely want to take advantage of the many vineyards in the region, like Casa El Enemigo, the top-rated Mendoza vineyard on TripAdvisor. Pick out a bottle of wine together to take home and save as a special treat for your first anniversary.

    Mendoza, Argentina

    After a day of wine tasting, make like the locals and siesta for the afternoon (the perfect opportunity for some afternoon delight). Since most restaurants in Argentina don’t open for dinner until after 8 p.m., head to Silla 14 for coffee, pastries, and light sandwiches to tide you over until a late evening meal.

    For dinner, 1884, the restaurant of world-renowned Chef Francis Mallmann, is a must-do for any foodie couple traveling in Mendoza. The winery, which houses the restaurant, was built in 1884 and turned into a restaurant in 1996. The restaurant’s menu pays tribute to Argentinian culture, featuring South American items like spider crab and pacu.

    Instead of having dessert at the restaurant, head straight back to your hotel room (which is where we recommend most newlyweds spend at least 75 percent of the honeymoon anyway). On the way, pick up a few postre vigilante, a light Argentinian dessert made of cheese and quince paste that pairs perfectly with a sparkling wine like Siete Fincas Dulce Torrontes. Trust us, you’ll be glad you brought a snack back!

  • Budget Option: Thailand

    Did you know that many Thai spices are said to be sensual aphrodisiacs? It’s true, which is just one reason we’re naming Thailand one of the best honeymoon destinations—in Asia or anywhere else.

    thailand

    Make sure to get in the honeymoon mood (as if you need any help!) by having a delicious green curry meal, which is packed with ingredients such as lemongrass, cardamom, basil, ginger, and asparagus, which are traditionally said to be aphrodisiacs.

    If you only have a short amount of time in Thailand, skip Bangkok and head for the northern city of Chiang Mai to check out the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, where street vendors sell everything from televisions to sizzling barbeque along a kilometer-long stretch of Chang Khlan Road. At the night bazaar, you’ll get an authentic Thai street food experience with a variety of local dishes like sai ua (spicy lemongrass sausages).

    In Thailand, the farther north you go, the spicier the food becomes. Make sure to visit the hidden local gem Khao Soi Mae Sai for the best khao soi (a spicy curried noodle dish) in Thailand. The restaurant doesn’t have a website, but it’s located at Ratchaphruek Alley. Make sure to get there early, as the restaurant usually sells out of khao soi fast.

The Best Honeymoon Destinations If…You Want One-on-One Romance

Are you a traditionalist who prefers Romance (with a capital R) when it comes to your honeymoon destination? Well, scratch Paris from your short list, because we’ve chosen four of the most romantic honeymoon destinations sure to put you and your forever-boo in the mood for some serious lovin’.

  • Tofino, Vancouver

    If you thought the most romantic thing to do in Vancouver was a Twilight location tour, then you need to visit Tofino, a perfect honeymoon destination on Vancouver Island.

    Instead of booking your stay at one of the several resorts near Tofino, consider renting a private vacation home, like this one, through Airbnb. Home rental rates are often less expensive than hotels, meaning you can splurge on honeymoon fun, like hiring a private chef for a romantic meal. Plus, you won’t have to worry about the nosy couple in the next room when you’re trying to set the honeymoon mood.  

    Tofino, Vancouver

    For a relaxing, romantic day trip, head to Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Provincial Park, which is accessible only by plane or boat. Once there, you’ll take a scenic walk (a little over a mile) to the springs, where you can take your pick from seven hot spring pools.

    Because it’s a bit of a trek, you should plan to spend most of the day at the springs, so pack a romantic picnic lunch and dry clothes for the return trip.  

  • Florence, Italy

    Like Dean Martin sang, “When the moon hits your eye/Like a big pizza pie/That’s amore!”

    Find your own amore in Florence, one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.

    Florence, Italy

    Start your trip by staying at the four-star Torre di Bellosguardo, a luxury hotel with incredible views from high above the city. The hotel even has its own small garden and offers guests the chance to take authentic Italian cooking lessons with the lady of the house, Ana Franchetti, using vegetables sourced from the hotel garden.

    If you can bring yourself to leave your bed (and the hotel grounds), take advantage of Florence’s rich Renaissance art history by visiting the famed Uffizi Gallery. (Be aware though: Art at the gallery is so beautiful, it’s been known to overwhelm those who view it in a bizarre condition called Stendhal syndrome.)

    Don’t forget to visit Boboli Gardens, a centuries-old open-air museum with sculptures, fountains, and plenty of hidden spots where your honey can steal a kiss.

    Mostly, just enjoy your time in Florence. Wander the ancient streets hand-in-hand. Stop (often) for a caffè e gelato. The romance of slowly exploring Firenze cannot be overstated.

  • Big Sur, California

    With its sweeping views and and majestic mountains, Big Sur, California, is easily one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations in America.

    “Start your trip with a drive up the rugged coast on historic Highway 1,” says Jennifer Sparks, who recently visited Big Sur. Because of the mist that’s typical along the coastal highway, Sparks says to be patient at overlooks. “There were moments when you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face [for the mist and fog], but if you waited 15 minutes, the view was completely clear.”

    Big Sur, California

    After a romantic drive up the coast, head into Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park where, Sparks gushes, “When you arrive into the park, you immediately begin to see the huge sequoias. The views are amazing!”

    For a little late-night fun, visit the hot springs at Esalen. They will open the springs between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. nightly to just 20 guests. Enjoy the view of every little star in the night sky in the clothing-optional pools; it’s an experience you and your love will never forget.

    For the ultimate in honeymoon romance, stay at the rustic-glam Post Ranch Inn, with stunning clifftop views and romantic honeymoon packages. Not feeling the $1,000-per-night price tag? (Shocking!) You might opt to stay at a more affordable bed and breakfast, like Big Sur River Inn, instead.

  • Budget Option: Croatia

    Eastern Europe may not seem like a honeymoon hotspot, but Croatia is quickly becoming one of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe for newlyweds on a budget.

    Elizabeth White, who recently honeymooned with her husband, Matt, in the walled city of Dubrovnik on Croatia’s coast, tells HealthyWay, “Try to find an Airbnb or hotel inside the city walls of Dubrovnik. We were there in the summer, and during the day the city was very crowded with tourists from cruise ships that dock for day trips.”

    But, says White, “When the sun goes down, and all of those crowds leave, the city is a completely different place. All of the restaurants set up tables in the streets, there are musicians everywhere, children playing, and awesome cliffside bars lit by candlelight.”

    croatia

    White says one of her new hubby’s favorite things was walking the city walls. “Just make sure to do it [walk the walls] early in the morning or late in the afternoon, because they get really crowded,” White notes. “My husband loved this activity because we got to visit some of the filming locations of Game of Thrones.”

    May a honeymoon in Croatia be the start of a marriage that’s better than, well, every single one on Game of Thrones.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Martin
Katie Martin
Contributing Writer