It’s Valentine’s Day so it seemed fitting to share a list of the best places to honeymoon – or to just take a romantic vacation.
A few of these destinations on my list of best places to honeymoon are high up on my list of places to visit, the others are places that I have visited and loved.
Classic Honeymoon Destinations
Is there a more romantic city? Paris is certainly one of the best places to honeymoon. You can sip champagne at the top of the Eiffel Tower, stroll along the River Seine, admire Impressionist artwork at Musee d’Orsay, and have leisurely meals at sidewalk cafes. Paris is also an excellent jumping off point for European travel. You can take the Eurostar to London, or you can take a train down to the French Riviera.
Santorini is just as picturesque and enchanting and you could imagine. You can split your time between lounging poolside at your hotel and exploring shops and restaurants. Charles and I honeymooned here. So did our friends Jenn and Bob. It’s a popular destination, but when we went in 2012 it wasn’t crowded at all.
There are so many romantic cities in Italy. My top picks are Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre, and the Amalfi Coast. Italy’s train system makes it easy to combine a few of these city’s into one trip. You might want to add some smaller towns in Tuscany to your trip too – Lucca, Siena, and San Gimignano are personal favorites.
I went to Bali with my sister Kelly, not on a romantic vacation. Everyone talks so much about Bali, but we preferred Borobudor and Mount Bromo. If you are looking for the ultimate hotel for a honeymoon, the Amanjiwo is incredible. Bali has gorgeous beach side resorts that are a lovely place to relax – I just recommend seeing a bit more of Indonesia too.
Perhaps the ultimate luxurious honeymoon destination, the Maldives have become a popular vacation spot. The country is made up of over 1,000 coral islands, and it is famous for it’s resorts that have villas built right over the ocean. If you really want to splurge, stay at Coco Privé Kuda Hithi Island, when you stay there you are renting out the entire island.
When I think of a honeymoon, I think of white sand beaches. And Antigua has crystal clear waters, white sand, and warm weather. Another big plus is that for Americans, Antigua isn’t too far away! Kelly very highly recommends staying at Jumby Bay Island, where you can rent a private home or villa.
Cabo San Lucas
I haven’t made it here yet, but based on all of the photos I have seen, this seaside town on the tip of the Baja California peninsula seems like the ideal place to mix adventurous watersports with relaxation.
Another spot on my bucket list, Hawaii has a lush mountainous landscape perfect for hiking and exploring in addition to plenty of beaches.
Skip Cancun and instead head to the Fairmont Mayakoba, a luxurious resort nestled within 240 acres of tropical rainforest. The property boasts seaside suites in addition to rooms beside lagoons and lush forests.
This city on the French Riviera oozes charm with its pastel colored buildings, palm trees, and beaches. For an extra special place to stay check out Le Negresco. You can easily add Monaco to the trip too since it is a very short train ride from Nice.
London is a perfect destination for people who love history – you can tour palaces, visit the Tower of London, admire the Crown Jewels, and get lost in the city’s many museums. You can also row through Hyde Park, try local beers in the many pubs, and shop in the Notting Hill market. You might want to take a day trip out to the Cotswolds, the English countryside is lovely, it lives up to the expectations set by The Holiday.
I was in awe of the city which was just so distinctly different from everywhere else I have traveled. Toyko has parks and shines in addition to unique shopping areas like Harajuku. Perhaps the most important thing you need to know is that flights to Toyko aren’t always as expensive as you may think – ours were $234 each way! From Tokyo you could continue on to Kyoto or flight to Indonesia.
It is easy to think of Amsterdam as a rowdy city for partying, but it is beautiful. Its combination of canals makes for a beautiful city that is far easier to navigate than Venice. Oh, and the Eurostar is going to start running from London to Amsterdam soon!
You get the best of both worlds in Barcelona because it is a city with beaches. The Gothic Quarter oozes romance with it’s narrow streets and medieval architecture. During the day you can ride bikes through the city’s parks, see the Sagrada Familia, tour homes designed by Gaudi, and wander through Park Güell. At night you can sip sangria in the plazas which come to life at night.
Best Places to Honeymoon in the United States
Sprawling vineyards, endless amounts of wine, top notch restaurants, Napa and Sonoma are low key travel destinations where you can relax and indulge. Since you will likely be flying into San Francisco, you can tack on a couple days there too.
Charleston and Savannah
I am grouping these together since they are so close together that you should combine them. These are both cities where you just want to get lost wandering through the streets. In my opinion, these are the most romantic cities in America. They also have some of the best food.
The string of tropical islands is a destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also where you can find the former home of Ernest Hemingway. This is the place to go if you want beaches but don’t want to leave the U.S.
The perfect destination for couples who love to ski, Aspen is a darling little city with big name luxury hotels plus boutique hotels. When it isn’t ski season, Aspen is a destination for hiking and outdoor recreation.
We celebrated our fifth anniversary in New Orleans in July, and we loved how the city feels European. It is one of the best foodie destinations in the country, so we spent a far amount of time eating. We also spent time seeing architecture and going on a haunted pub crawl.
Picnic in Central Park, go to the top of the Empire State Building, bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, stroll the Highline, and sip cocktails at one of the city’s many rooftop bars. You might not think of romance when you think of New York City, but maybe you should. This would be an especially fun honeymoon if neither of you have been to NYC before.
I love Costa Rica because you can explore rainforests, zip line, hike up mountains, or learn to surf. For a beach resort check out El Mangroove (just a short drive from the Liberia airport), or for a more off the beaten path destination go to the tiny surfer village called St. Teresa and stay at Latitude 10.
Dubrovnik is almost too pretty to be real. We liked that the city has so much history and culture, plus nature. We kayaked and explored a park on an island. Plus, there are some beaches! We only made it to Dubrovnik, but there is so much more to explore in Croatia and it is less expensive than many other European countries.
Portugal is less expensive and less crowded than other European destinations. It is also closer to the US, which means less jet lag. Eat your way through Lisbon, explore castles in Sintra, learn to love port in Porto, and then head to the beach in Cascais.
One of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Prague tends to be more affordable than cities like London and Paris. Prague is so beautiful that it feels like you have stepped into a fairytale.
Flights to Thailand might cost a bit more, but once you get there everything is very affordable. Thailand is known for having tropical beaches, Buddhist temples, and opulent palaces. Visiting an elephant sanctuary is another popular activity.
Like Thailand, the flight will likely be your biggest expense. Vietnam has a lush green exotic landscape, beaches, and bustling cities. I am hoping to make it there in the next couple of years.
San Juan is easy and affordable to get to thanks to the many direct flight options. After a couple days in San Juan take a ferry to Vieques, an easy to get to island with plenty of deserted beaches to discover.
Best Places to Honeymoon for the Adventurous Couple
Marrakesh is a vibrant city with markets to explore and wonderful local cuisine, Essaouria has beaches, but our favorite part of the trip was venturing into the Sahara Dessert for a few nights of glamping.
You may not think of going to the Arctic Circle for a honeymoon, but trust me, seeing the Northern Lights is romantic. Lapland has activities that you have probably never experienced before – like dog sledding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and snowmobiling. And there is something romantic about trying something new with someone you love.
New Zealand is the place to go if you love adventure sports like sailing, hiking, kayaking, diving, bungy jumping, and rafting. Looking for romance? New Zealand has clear dark skies perfect for stargazing. Plus there are mountains for skiing and beaches for swimming.
Vineyards, safaris, cage-diving with sharks, mountains, and beaches, South Africa has it all. The only drawback is that it isn’t always easy to get there from the states.
Kenya is another excellent location for big game safaris. You might want to time your trip to see the great wildebeest migration, it takes place in April and May and over 1.4 wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles stampeded across southern Africa. You way want to stay at the famous Giraffe Manor.
This region in Argentina and Chili includes environments ranging from glacial fjords to deserts and temperate rainforests. There are mountains, waterfalls, and coastline. The region is also home to vineyards.
Plan ahead if you plan to visit Machu Picchu and be aware that the logistics can be tricky. There is so much to see and do in Peru beyond Machu Picchu, you can see where the Amazon starts, visit Lake Titicaca’s floating islands, and hike Colca Caynon.
Honeymoon Destinations You Haven’t Heard Of
Ok, you have probably heard of these places, but you probably haven’t heard to too many people honeymooning here. And there is something romantic about off the beaten bath destinations, which is why I added these four spots to the list of best places to honeymoon.
Estonia’s capital is a charming city with history dating back to medieval times. We spent three days in Tallinn before going to Lapland, and I am certain that we will be back. The food was fantastic, there are plenty of really cool neighborhoods, cafes, and bars to explore, plus lots of history to learn about.
This small country on the Mediterranean below Croatia is an up and coming tourist destination. It has history and beaches like Croatia, but fewer tourists. We especially loved Kotor which is fortified city and old Mediterranean port and Budva which is a lively beach town.
This small island in the Mediterranean looks positively dreamy. It is known for being a great place for sun, sea, and culture. There are natural wonders, like the azure window, plus architectural achievements like Saint John’s Co-Cathedral, plus ancient ruins like the Megalithic Temples. A Google Image search might be all that it takes to convince you to buy a ticket and go.
Costa del Sol Spain
I don’t hear of many people going to the southern coast of Spain, which is a shame because it is one of the most gorgeous places I have been. I loved Frigiliana, a tiny hillside village where all of the homes are painted white. Kelly recommends going to Casares and staying at the Finca Cortesin.
When you go to the airport, your ID needs to match the name on your plane ticket. If you are taking a honeymoon directly after your wedding, you want to book your flights in your maiden name. When Charles and I got married in July, we had already purchased flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas under my maiden name. This meant that I needed to keep an ID in my maiden name. I changed my name on everything but my passport, and used my passport when I went through security for those Thanksgiving and Christmas flights. This is something to consider if you are delaying your honeymoon or if you have any flights booked.
Obviously, there are so many destinations for a honeymoon or romantic vacation. Let me know what you think the best places to honeymoon are in the comments.