Hawaii. Mexico. Jamaica. St. Lucia. They’re all beautiful places, but as far as honeymoons go? So 10 years ago.1
If you and your new spouse are adventurers who love to explore unfamiliar places together, look beyond the traditional spots. We’ve picked out a few trending honeymoon destinations that offer romance and a little something more.
Portugal is coming into its own as a destination for honeymooners, foodies, and anyone who’s both. Culinary delights include “superlative seafood, sun-ripened fruit, lamb raised on flower-speckled meadows, free-range pigs gorging on acorns beneath oak forests,” as CNN says.2 Taste fortified wine on a port tour of Porto (and sample some madeira while you’re at it).
The five Greek islands of Santorini are justly famous for their beauty: whitewashed houses clinging to sea cliffs and sunsets over the sparkling Aegean. But Santorini is delicious, too, serving specialties like fava me koukiaava (fava beans), hloró tyrí (a regional fresh goat cheese), roasted lamb and moussaka.3 No Santorini honeymoon is complete without a tour of island vineyards, which produce top-notch wines from the volcanic soil.
The Knot picks Barossa Valley, a lush wine region in southern Australia, as one of 2017’s top honeymoon destinations.4 Couples can explore more than 150 wineries, tasting as they go. Here’s one three-day itinerary, with a stay at a luxury lodge, farm tours, and a picnic breakfast at sunrise with kangaroos (the kangaroos don’t share your Vegemite; they just hang out).
Want to hit the sand somewhere away from crowds? Uruguay, a small nation on the southeastern coast of South America, is known for its charming colonial cities and bohemian beach towns. “Uruguay's José Ignacio has been compared to what Montauk and St. Barth's were 20 years ago: a chic retreat from city life that exudes barefoot elegance,” says Harper’s Bazaar, which places Uruguay third on its list of top honeymoon destinations.5 Other beachy getaways in Uruguay: Cabo Polonio and Punta del Diablo.
Nha Trang, a beach town in southern Vietnam, is another of The Knot’s 2017 honeymoon destination picks.6 It’s a fun spot for couples who like a little of everything: nightlife, shopping, history, spas and palm-lined beaches. If the city scene is bumpin’ a little too much for your tastes, escape via boat to a nearby island.
Closer to home, Marco Island is “a slice of the South Pacific in South Florida,” according to Islands magazine.7 The island’s original resort developers, in the 1960s, tried to recreate the atmosphere and architecture of Polynesia. On Marco, you can enjoy the luxe life with spa treatments and beachy drinks, or you can head out to explore the tangled mangroves of the Ten Thousand Islands.
Is there anything more romantic than sipping sundowners as zebra graze on the plains below? Going on safari in Botswana is the newest honeymoon obsession. Wildlife abounds in the Kalahari Desert and water-rich Okavango Delta. Not sure a safari will fit in your budget? You can cut costs dramatically by traveling during the green season, from December to March, and by announcing that it’s your honeymoon; some lodges offer newlyweds a 25 percent discount.8
The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of the best honeymoon places for nature-loving couples. Instead of splurging on a luxury resort, consider camping at the idyllic Cinnamon Bay Resort & Campground on St. John. Pitch your own tent, or go glamping in one of the resort’s eco-tents. Then, take the money you’ve saved and enjoy romantic adventures together, like scuba diving, horseback riding or night-time kayaking with sea turtles. Of course, you have to go to Honeymoon Beach!
The Central American nation of Costa Rica is only about the size of West Virginia but offers incredibly varied adventures. On a Costa Rica honeymoon, you can surf, hike, raft, ride horses, zip through the rainforest canopy or just chill on the beach. Be sure to include a visit to the area around the Arenal Volcano, where a soak in some hot springs can steam things up. The volcano itself has been dormant since 2010, but who knows? Maybe your love will bring it back to life.
Your honeymoon is one of the most important trips you’ll ever take — so be sure to protect it with travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance. Whether you’re planning a luxury vacation or a budget adventure, we’ll help you find a plan that’s a perfect fit.
Richmond-based travel writer Muriel Barrett has a terrible sense of direction, and has spent many happy hours getting lost in Barcelona, Venice and Jerusalem. Her favorite travel memories all involve wildlife: watching sea turtles nest in Costa Rica, kayaking with seals in Vancouver and meeting a pink tarantula in Martinique.