The best honeymoon destinations on every continent
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When it comes to the perfect honeymoon, some couples zero in on the places they’ve always dreamed about — the Amalfi Coasts and French Rivieras of the world — while others would rather opt for new experiences in less-traveled destinations. Thankfully, there’s plenty of each on all seven continents.
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To help you plan the honeymoon of your dreams, we’ve narrowed down thousands of choices to two “can’t miss” destinations on each continent, with a few extras in the Caribbean and Mexico (owing to the fact that, together with the U.S., these regions are the most popular honeymoon destinations for American couples). Read on to find your perfect postnuptial getaway.
There’s a quintessential romance that permeates France’s landscapes, culture, food and — let’s face it — air. Couples will feel it the moment they step foot on the cobblestone streets of Paris. (And even more so when they check in to one of the Hotel Plaza Athenee’s suites with glistening Eiffel Tower views.) Expect to fall deeper in love as you wander the sleepy villages and ancient cities of Provence, where the Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles showcases works by the revered painter and the contemporary artists he influenced. Relaxation reaches new heights at the Riviera-chic Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, where the beach club and Mediterranean Sea are just a funicular ride down from your suite. And, of course, what’s a trip to France without wine? For that there’s the Loire Valley, where Les Sources de Cheverny is a palatial home base from which to tour Chateau de Chambord and sip vintages at Domaine Vincent Careme.
With centuries-old charm and recent recognition as a top wine producer on the continent, Hungary is a novel alternative to more classic Western European destinations. Check in to the 130-room Matild Palace and spend a few days walking the streets of Budapest. You’ll be surprised by the quality and complexity of vintages that hail from Hungary’s 22 wine regions (the most prominent of which are Tokaj, Eger and Lake Balaton). Drive just 18 miles to the unassuming village of Etyek to sample some of the country’s finest chardonnays, sauvignon blancs, pinots and sparkling wines. Book tastings at Rokusfalvy Birtok and Anonym Pince, which has a state-of-the-art tasting room with sweeping views of the countryside. Fend off the impending hangover with dinner and a stroll along Etyek’s so-called “Gastro Walkway,” a cobblestone street lined with restaurants.
Classic: South Africa
Safari first-timers flock to this African nation for its game-rich national parks, where you could check off all Big Five (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffaloes) in a single day. Whether you choose Kruger National Park’s Singita Lebombo Lodge or Sabi Sands’ Singita Ebony Lodge, you’re guaranteed the expert guides and top-notch experience for which this conservation-focused operator is renowned. After a few days in the bush, head to Cape Town, where art, cuisine and adventure collide in one picturesque setting. Take it all in from the swanky Silo Hotel, which has 360-degree views of both Table Mountain and the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.
Uganda is home to more than half of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas, and the opportunity to see them is significantly less expensive than in southern neighbor Rwanda. A lodge-to-lodge circuit with Wildplaces Africa offers every kind of safari experience rolled into one. Start with classic game drives in the plains of the Great Rift Valley at Apoka Safari Lodge, where you’ll spot giraffes, lions, zebras and hippos. Follow it up with chimpanzee tracking at Semliki, which operates its own research project. Cap your honeymoon in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, where Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, the highest lodge in Uganda (at almost 7,000 feet), is just steps from the Nkuringo trailhead for gorilla-tracking excursions.
North America: The United States
Classic: Napa Valley, California
For decades, honeymooners have been wooed by the romance of California‘s preeminent winemaking region. With miles and miles of rolling hills, Napa provides endless opportunities for discovery — tastings at a boutique winery, tacos at a roadside food truck, fresh strawberries at a local farm stand. Splurge on one of 85 villas at Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, which has its own on-site winery and cabernet sauvignon vineyard. (Though there are plenty of fantastic points hotels in the valley, too.) Play it safe (or risk not making it back to the room) with just two tastings per day at world-class wineries, such as St. Helena’s Beringer Winery, Rutherford’s Round Pond Estate Winery, Oakville’s Opus One Winery or Napa’s Baldacci Vineyards.
Unexpected: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Historic and minimally commercial, Oregon wine country is a breath of fresh air for couples who prefer boutique travel experiences. You’ll find two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards in the Willamette Valley, located just an hour outside of Portland. At the Allison Inn & Spa, couples have luxurious surrounds (think: wood-burning fireplaces, sprawling grounds) from which to explore the terroir, known for its yield of world-class pinot noir.
Classic: Riviera Maya
Sugar-soft sand, azure Caribbean waters, centuries-old ruins — it’s easy to see why the Riviera Maya is one of the world’s most popular sun-and-sea destinations. Use points to cover a stay at Andaz Mayakoba (a Category 6 property that costs 25,000 Hyatt points per night for a standard room) before heading further south along the Riviera Maya. Blink and you’ll miss the tiny highway marker for Xpu-Ha, a secluded stretch between Playa del Carmen and Tulum. Here lies the boutique Hotel Esencia: Sip Paloma Xcactic margaritas at breezy Mistura, detox at the jungle-ensconced spa and lounge in a private rooftop plunge pool.
The Pacific Coast state — known for tequila, mariachis and sombreros — is refining its reputation, thanks in large part to the Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, slated to open in April. Set on a private peninsula between La Manzanilla and Barra de Navidad, Tamarindo is tucked away within a 3,000-acre natural reserve (think: dramatic cliffs, verdant jungles and untouched beaches). Spend your days exploring 26 miles of hiking trails, snorkeling hidden coves and sipping margaritas on one of three swimmable beaches.
Classic: St. Barts
This tony isle is the ultimate Caribbean playground, chock-full of luxe hotels, buzzy restaurants and chic shops. Couples have their choice of five-star accommodations — from Hotel Le Toiny (where a souped-up Land Rover transports you to the beach club) to the whitewashed Le Sereno (which offers a bevy of watersports in the quiet waters of Grand Cul de Sac) and the recently rebranded Rosewood Le Guanahani St. Barth (take your pick of gorgeous ocean-facing accommodations). While away afternoons at Shellona and Nikki Beach Saint Barth before dinner in the jungle at Tamarin or on the hillside above Gustavia at Bonito.
Unexpected: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Thanks to minimal tourism and raw natural beauty, this Caribbean island chain has remained blissfully undeveloped. (Even better, it’s located outside the hurricane belt, making it a safe bet for honeymooners year-round.) The archipelago is more accessible than ever, following the construction of Argyle International Airport (SVD) on St. Vincent. Choose from a host of remote paradises: Mandarin Oriental, Canouan has 26 suites and 13 villas along the white-sand Godahl Beach, Bequia Beach Hotel nails laid-back beach chic, and the 115-acre Petit St. Vincent delivers private-island romance.
Classic: Antarctica cruise
A new generation of polar-class expedition vessels is transforming the future of Antarctic travel — and getting you that much closer to the White Continent’s whales, seals, penguins and more. Quark Expeditions’ long-awaited 199-passenger Ultramarine offers heart-pumping adventures, like heli-hiking via twin eight-person helicopters. The all-suite, butler-serviced Crystal Endeavor provides a level of luxury to make you forget about subzero temperatures. Ponant has launched its first hybrid-electric ship, Le Commandant Charcot, while Viking Expeditions made its Antarctica debut in January with the 378-passenger expedition ship Octantis. If the idea of choppy waters alone incites your nausea, opt for Silversea Cruises’ all-suite Silver Explorer — passengers can fly from Chile to Antarctica and board the ship after it’s already cleared the notoriously rough Drake Passage.
Unexpected: Antarctica daytrip
For couples who haven’t accrued the PTO for a weekslong Antarctica voyage, dare we suggest a daytrip? White Desert offers a round-trip excursion from Cape Town to Antarctica, dubbed the “Greatest Day.” Board a carbon-neutral private jet for the five-hour flight above miles of ocean and icebergs. You’ll land in the interior of Antarctica on Wolf’s Fang runway, surrounded by dramatic monoliths of ice. Optional activities culminate with a gourmet Champagne picnic before the return flight to Cape Town — where you’ll wake up the next day thinking it was all a dream.
As one of the world’s most awe-inspiring wonders, Machu Picchu is as bucket list as it gets. But there’s much to explore beyond Peru’s most storied site. Make time for Lima (shopping in the Barranco District and visits to Museo Mario Testino), Cusco (exploration of the Sacred Valley’s pre-Incan ruins and pisco sour-making classes at Belmond Hotel Monasterio) and the Amazon basin (traverse the namesake river aboard one of Delfin Amazon Cruises’ luxe ships, complete with floor-to-ceiling stateroom windows and Relais & Chateaux-designated cuisine).
Unexpected: Fernando de Noronha, Brazil
Located off the northern coast of Brazil, the 21 islands of Fernando de Noronha (only one of which is inhabited) are a veritable eco-wonderland. Thanks to an environmental preservation tourist tax, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is filled with untouched landscapes and abundant wildlife (sea turtles, spinner dolphins and even humpback whales). Naya Traveler offers culturally immersive, custom-tailored journeys that take you to the most remote corners of the archipelago: Snorkel the reefs off Sueste Beach, learn about the wild sea turtle population from a local conservationist, or hike to Baia do Sancho for panoramic views of what is considered Brazil’s most beautiful beach.
Classic: Bali, Indonesia
Take golden-sand beaches, add lush jungles, picturesque rice paddies and centuries-old temples and you get Bali. Indonesia’s crown jewel continues to be a popular far-flung choice not only for its diverse scenery and sites, but also for its wide array of luxury hotels, where treating honeymooners like kings is basically a sport. For a well-rounded experience, mix and match popular destinations, such as the remote clifftop region of Uluwatu (stay at Six Senses Uluwatu), the chill surfers’ haven of Canggu (Como Uma Canggu), the world-class beaches of Jimbaran Bay (Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay) and the sacred inland jungle of Ubud (Capella Ubud).
Unexpected: Andaman Islands, India
This 300-island archipelago, located in the Bay of Bengal between India and Thailand, is seriously postcard-worthy. Covered in coconut trees, tropical mangroves and uninhabited beaches, the Andamans are a less-developed alternative to neighbors like Phuket. Head straight for Havelock Island, where Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andamans sits on one of the best beaches in Asia. Seventy-five villas are spread out across 30 acres, so you never have to worry about crowds as you kayak through mangroves, picnic on Radhanagar Beach or dine beneath a blanket of stars.
Classic: Queensland, Australia
Run, don’t walk — after a two-year border closure, Australia is finally welcoming back fully vaccinated international travelers from Feb. 21. Spend a few nights in Sydney on arrival, then head to the northeastern state of Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reef and tropical Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Honeymooners can explore this ancient rainforest from Silky Oaks Lodge, an eco-luxe retreat fresh off a multimillion-dollar renovation. If beaches and scuba diving are more your thing, head straight to the Whitsunday Islands. Though certified as the area’s first fully solar-powered resort, Elysian sacrifices none of the creature comforts. Expect few fellow divers on Elysian’s remote southern stretch of the Great Barrier Reef, plus picnics on neighboring islands and excursions to heart-achingly beautiful Whitehaven Beach.
Unexpected: South Island, New Zealand
Couples can take advantage of the months leading up to New Zealand’s mid-2022 international reopening to plan the ultimate itinerary through less-traveled South Island. Snowcapped mountains offer a picturesque backdrop on the flight from Auckland to Queenstown. Check in to Eichardt’s Private Hotel, with views of majestic Lake Wakatipu, before a helicopter tour of Milford Sound. Head next to the Ahuriri Valley, where adrenaline junkies can get their fix on heart-pumping ATV rides and airborne gliding trips at The Lindis. Those who prefer a slower pace can post up in wine country’s Marlborough for ample sauvignon blanc tastings plus scenic cruises on Queen Charlotte Sound.
Featured photo by Pablo Heimplatz/Unsplash.
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