courtesy of Courtesy of Capella Lodge
The idea is that you'll only do it once, thus your honeymoon is one of those high-stakes trips to plan. "Nowadays, with more couples marrying later in life, often after years of already living together, the honeymoon is a great time to make a shared check off of the bucket list destination trip, and do something bigger, bolder, or over a longer period of time than usual. The honeymoon is about making memories and stories to last a lifetime," says Joan Roca, founder of the bespoke travel site the Essentialist. Roca, who has planned honeymoons to everywhere from the Seychelles (his recommended place to stay is the Raffles hotel in Praslin) to Kyoto, says his advice, while common sense, often gets overlooked in the planning: give yourselves a few days to readjust to the new time zone and remember that shared discovery is important, so try and go some place neither of you have been.
Now we break down our 50 T&C approved honeymoon destinations, plus where you should stay in each place. We've got all types of travelers covered—from a trek across the Serengeti to private islands, one of which only allows 400 people at a time, to food and wine destinations to urban escapes.
1 Santa Barbara, California
Recently recognized in both The New York Times’ “52 Places to Go in 2019” and AFAR’s “Where to Go in 2019,” Santa Barbara is bringing serious destination buzz to romantics who want a city-meets-beach escape. When you need a bit of activity, Santa Barbara has wine & craft beer tasting rooms, cool eateries, art galleries, street murals and more. Our pick of where to stay: The Hotel Californian for its rooftop pool with a panoramic view of the Pacific and their luxurious Moroccan-style Spa Majorelle with a one-of-a-kind couples treatments.
2 Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
Hawaii and honeymoon are rather synonymous, but venture of the beaten path a little bit and head to the Kohala Coast of the Big Island, where one of the most swimmable beaches (Hapuna Beach) is located. Adventures can go flight-seeing on a helicopter experience or take a nighttime snorkel to view manta rays. We recommend the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, a mid-century, open floor plan masterpiece from Laurance S. Rockefeller that features cantilevered stairways and hallways donning a museum-worthy collection of Asian Pacific Art.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel BOOK NOW
3 Big Sur, California
A land of sweeping views known for its mind-body-soul getaways and retreats, Big Sur has towering redwoods, whimsical meadows, and the Pacific coastline. To indulge in the quintessential (and romantic) Big Sur experience, head to the Ventana Big Sur, for its infinity-edge hot tub, clothing-optional Mountain pool and adjacent Japanese hot baths.
4 Maui, Hawaii
They know how to do honeymoons on Maui. The island has a romantic, but relaxed feel, with enough culinary options to eat a different restaurant every night, whale watching during certain times of the year, and gorgeous beaches and even rain forests if you are up for a day trip. Soak it all in at Hotel Wailea, an adult only, all suite property overlooking three Hawaii islands.
Hotel Wailea, BOOK NOW READ REVIEWS
5 Punta Mita, Mexico
A 1,500 acre coastal peninsula in the Riveria Nayarit region is an oasis of wellness and indulgence. Located on the west coast of Mexico, there are surf villages, whale watching, and a host of biodiversity, not to mention a wild, untamed feel if you venture beyond the luxury hotels and golf courses. The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has unique spiritual activities like a chakra balancing ritual, an intention burning ceremony, and yoga atop a rock. All of these are offered as part of the property's Soulcation package that is a mix of spa, wellness, culinary (a chef will meet you to discuss your dietary restrictions), art activities, with an oceanfront suite to retreat to in between.
Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
6 Lake Como, Italy
Boating, pasta, lounging by a fresh saltwater pool. Isn't that what a honeymoon is supposed to be? Lake Como is an upscale resort area (George Clooney has a home here) set against the dramatic scenery of the Alps. Il Sereno Lake Como is the first contemporary luxury hotel on Lake Como. The property has 30 spacious waterfront rooms with floor to ceiling windows. It's new world meets old world in one of the most romantic settings in the world.
7 Pacific Harbor, Fiji
Remote, tranquil, with crystal clear water, Fiji is the ultimate place to decompress post wedding. Fiji is a haven of luxury properties, many with their own private island. Is there anything more romantic than being alone in the middle of nowhere? Nanuku, a part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, offers guests the option of renting out the resort's exclusive two-acre private island, located a 25-minute boat ride away from the main property.
Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection BOOK NOW
8 Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Known for its scuba diving and protected coral reefs, Bora Bora in French Polynesia is another remote, castaway type destination for honeymooners who want to get away from it all—and who are up for a big splurge. The Conrad, located on a private cove on the island of Motu To'opua, is the longest stretch of white sand beach in Bora Bora. They have some of the destination's first two story overwater bungalows and one of the most legendary sunsets.
9 Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The 1,400-acre Peninsula Papagayo is an eco-luxury resort and residential community in northwest Costa Rica. Home to exotic wildlife and white-sand beaches it's the ideal jumping off point for exploring Costa Rica’s awe-inspiring nature with your other half. Peninsula Papagayo is home to Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo. Couples looking for a mix of hire wire adventure--think zip lining--and some R&R can find it all here.
Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
10 Nova Scotia, Canada
For those looking for a slightly out of the box honeymoon, the coast of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia is just the place. Home to two of the top 100 golf courses in North America (ranking No. 43 and No. 9 on Golf Digest’s “World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses), honeymooners also have access to world-class biking, hiking, and sunset boat tours. A seafood heaven, this is the place to get first rate lobster, crab, salmon, and naturally farmed local produce. Cabot Links is a a secluded 72-room luxury resort with 19 oceanfront villas along the stunning coast of Cape Breton Island.
11 Sorrento, Italy
One of the gateways to the magical and romantic Amalfi Coast, Sorrento, a beautiful cosmopolitan city has the perfect combination of a real town and access to the sea. To have all of this at your fingertips, stay at the luxe Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, which sits above the town harbor and is surrounded by the lush greenery of a 20,000 square meter Mediterranean garden—a perfect place to take the in the scenery with your plus one.
12 The Azores, Portugal
Have you heard of the Azores? It's a group of nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic and around a five hour flight from New York City. (Delta has a nonstop route from JFK to Ponta Delgada Memorial Day through Labor Day). Teeming with untapped nature for gourmands and adventure enthusiasts —all for relatively low cost as the area is still relatively undiscovered by tourists. The best way to experience the destination is through Azores Getaways, a customizable tour operator. They've introduced all-new food and wine packages, like allowing (very ambitious) visitors to travel to all nine islands in one trip. The best part is that the packages include accommodations, roundtrip flights, breakfast, airport transfers bundled for easier travel--one less thing for honeymooners to think about.
Azores Getaways BOOK NOW
13 Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia
This crescent-shaped, World Heritage-listed island is the ultimate honeymoon getaway, with good weather and just 400 visitors allowed at any time—it truly feels like your own secluded paradise, one that has the world's most southerly coral reef on its doorstep. Stay at the Capella Lodge, the island's deluxe retreat with nine contemporary island-styled suites. Inspired by the carefree spirit of the authentic Australian beach house, Capella Lodge hits the sweet spot of barefoot luxury.
14 Puntarenas, Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica
Located in the heart of Costa Rica’s rainforest on the coasts of Golfo Dulce in the Osa Peninsula and accessible only by boat, this area of of the country is worth coming to for Playa Cativo--an upscale beachfront eco-lodge. This five-star Costa Rican hideaway is a wellness haven. You'll find calming ocean waves, lots of wildlife, and exposure to some of the purest, least developed, parts of the world.
15 Canouan, The Grenadines
A still somewhat undiscovered part of the Caribbean, Canouan, a 45-minute flight from Barbados, is an unspoiled tropical island offering excellent golf, tennis, deep sea fishing, and saling trips to the Tabago Cays. The Mandarin Oriental picked Canouan for its first resort in the Caribbean. An all suite hotel with top-of-the-line Italian design, honeymooners have their own private butler and lots of options for romantic outings, from a private beach to an uninhabited island.
16 Florence, Italy
A honeymoon to Florence gives you a bit of everything—food, seemingly unlimited culture, and easy access to the Tuscan countryside if you are looking for a jumping off point for a more rustic trip. Relais Santa Croce exudes romance and history. Located in 18th century palazzo, the property offers something totally ideal for a party of two: a hot air balloon ride over Tuscany, complete with a champagne breakfast.
A charming and very low-key island, Nevis is known for its slow, relaxed pace, crystal clear water, and white sand beaches. But for a bit of a change to the typical Caribbean escape, there's Golden Rock Inn, designed by the architects of the famed AMAN resorts, that's an intimate 11-room property located in lush gardens owned by the famed New York artists Brice and Helen Marden. There are hiking trails, exceptional views, and gourmet food, all set against the chic jungle vibe of this higher-altitude part of Nevis.
18 Turtle Island, Fiji
Turtle Island is a 500 square mile island that was privately acquired by a media mogul looking to escape urban burnout. The island is now home to over a million trees, bountiful reefs, and wildlife. The resort Turtle Island has 14 villas that have access to 10 private beaches, a myriad of water and land-based activities, local Fijian dinners inspired by the bounties sourced on-island ingredients. And everything is included in the nightly rate so honeymooners can really just totally bliss out.
For true adventure seeking couples, head to Tanzania on a 10-day 62 miles expedition on foot across Serengeti National Park. Trek through the country's most remote and wild regions. This isn't about five-star accommodations--there are no lodges, no roads, no crowds and no smartphones. So it's only walking, fresh cowboy coffee, long lazy lunches, journal-writing, photo-snapping, cold Tanzanian lagers at sundown, hearty meals of curries and stews, storytelling around burning campfires, stargazing and sleeping in a tent to the sounds of roaring lions, owls hooting, and grasses rustling. What some would call Africa at its best.
The Great Serengeti Traverse
20 Andaman Islands, India
Some of the most remote islands in the world are the Andamans, but worth the trip for its dive sites, beaches, and lush jungles. The Taj Exotica Resort and Spa is the first five-star hotel on Havelock Island, with 50 villas on a 46-acre estate. There are white sand beaches with crystal clear water, kayaking through mangroves, glow in the dark algae, and exceptional hiking and diving.
Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Andamans
21 Santorini, Greece
Santorini has long been an iconic honeymoon destination--and for a reason. The amazing light, the sea, and the food all coalesce to create an undeniably magical atmosphere. The Auberge's boutique Grace Hotel in Santorini is located on the Imerovigli hillside in northwest Santorini. For those really looking to splurge and indulge (and if not on your honeymoon, when?), the property has a villa that comes with, among other amenities, its own hammam steam bath, indoor plunge pool, and fire pit.
Located in the Indian Ocean, the island of Mauritius is known for its secluded, exclusive feeling, beaches, and reefs. Embodying all of this is the One & Only Le Saint Geran. Located on a vibrant coral reef, the hotel has modern, lush interiors, every kind of water sport imaginable,and world-class dining. Bottom line: you'll never want to leave.
23 Praiano, Italy
Located next to the more well-know Amalfi Coast destination of Positano, Praiano is a more rustic, and quaint, Italian seaside town that is still, as much as anything can be on the Amalfi Coast can be, under the radar. One thing putting Praiano on the map is the ultra modern hotel Casa Angelina, which has received a "Most Romantic Retreat" award from the Small Luxury Hotels group. The dramatic cliffs, the chic pool club, and floor to ceiling windows make this an ideal destination for honeymooners who are seeking the glamour of the Amalfi Coast but a bit removed from the crowds in a totally contemporary hotel.
24 Hong Kong
A perfect jumping off point for a honeymoon in Asia, or a destination in and of itself, Hong Kong has one the world's best culinary scenes, beaches and hiking that are an easy day trip, and some of the most deluxe accommodations anywhere. There is no better place to take it all in that the Peninsula Hong Kong, the city's oldest and most legendary hotel, located on the Victoria Harbour's waterfront district in the fashionable Kowloon district of Tsim Sha Tsui. And honeymooners don't even have to leave the hotel to get a dose of culture—the hotel has a global art program called Art in Resonance with curated, interactive pieces by artists from around the world.
The Peninsula Hong Kong
25 Mallorca, Spain
A short flight from Madrid, Mallorca is a larger island known for its rippling hills, olive and lemon trees,locally grown and sourced food, and, of course, the Mediterranean Sea. Finca Serena is 20 minutes away from Palma, the main town, and is set on a sprawling estate with breathtaking vistas and an over 2,500 square foot spa. Ideal honeymoon activities include lazying around the pool that has far reaching of the Mallorca countryside or a morning yoga class.
26 Sao Paulo, Brazil
One of Brazil's most dynamic cities, which can be a gateway to the rest of the country, is a great urban escape to begin or end a honeymoon. Or for the real city seekers, a place to the spend the whole trip. The first Four Seasons in Brazil opened last year with locally sourced and luxurious finishes. The hotel also offers a "Fall in Love" package.
Four Seasons HotelSão Paulo at Nações Unidas BOOK NOW
27 Abu Dhabi, UAE
On the outskirts of Abu Dhabi lies the world's largest sand desert - called the Empty Quarter, the perfect expanse where couples can dine by the dunes or transverse the miles of open land by camelback. The luxury resort Qasr Al Sarab is the place to make this Arabian fairy tale come true. The palatial resort is in the heart of the Empty Quarter, an unexplored region of barren desert and shimmering oases.
28 The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
A quick flight from the East Coast, Iceland has a lot to offer aside from proximity: horse back riding, amazing geologic and volcanic features, and hot springs. Now this can all be enjoyed from the Retreat at Blue Lagoon Iceland, a 62 suite hotel where guests have unlimited access to the entire Blue Lagoon facility. There's also an 18-hole golf course a 10-minute drive from the property. So something for everyone.
The Retreat at the Blue Lagoon Iceland
29 Champagne Region, France
What better way to toast your marriage than in the birthplace of bubbly: the Champagne region of France. Couples can explore miles of UNESCO-certified vineyards, Michelin-starred restaurants, and hot air ballon or boat rides down the Marne River. The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa is a 49-room boutique hotel with Biologique Recherche spa treatments and private terraces overlooking the surrounding vineyards and villages.
The Royal Champagne Hotel & Spa BOOK NOW
30 Cruise around Greece and Italy
Why just pick one destination for a honeymoon when you can visit many? On the Azamara Club Cruise, couples can visit Venice, Corfu, and Santorini on this nine day cruise along the Dalmatian and Greek Coasts (starts in Venice and ends in Athens). Highlights include hiking with local guides, leisurely driving tours, and gondola rides.
Azamara Club Cruises BOOK NOW
31 Masai Mara, Kenya
Arguably the most renowned safari destination in Africa, home to the big five and stage to the great annual wildebeest migration, and the Masai Mara National Reserve. The Sanctuary Olonana has resident hippos who lounge across the dramatic Mara River, which runs below the lodge's forest setting. And the new Geoffrey Kent Suite is the ultimate splurge, with its two bedrooms, wraparound porch, and infinity pool overlooking the river. After all, this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience—what honeymoons are for!
Sanctuary Olonana BOOK NOW
32 Paris, France
Is there anything more romantic than a trip to Paris? Maybe not? The City of Light could easily be called the City of Love. The Peninsula Paris epitomizes everything that is great about Paris. Located int he city's elegant 16th arrondissement, it's walking distance from some of the world's most famous monuments, museums and luxury shopping districts. It occupies a historic, meticulously restored 19th-century Haussmanian building. The famed rooftop terrace is the perfect spot for newlyweds to enjoy sparkling views of the Eiffel Tower at night.
33 Marrakech, Morocco
An imperial city full of gardens, mosques, and some of the best markets (souks) in the region that sell carpets, jewelry, and everything in between Marrakesh is a more exotic—and exciting—honeymoon destination. Stay a La Monounia, a Moroccan institution since the 1920s. The hotel boasts Jacques Garcia designed interiors under the shade of 700 year old olive groves grown for a Moroccan prince, so certainly meets the standard for a honeymoon.
34 Rome, Italy
A city that exudes romance, culture, and la dolce vita, Rome is a great entry point to the rest of Italy, or a place where honeymooners could spend the whole trip exploring...or eating cacio pepe. Rome Cavalieri, a Waldorf Astoria Resort is a good home base for all of the above, with their aristocratic suites, Rome's only three-Michelin star restaurant, and a reputation for service and elegance since it opened in 1963.
35 Canguu, Bali
A not well as known part of Bali Canggu is on Bali's south coast, a laid back coastal village lapped by the Indian Ocean with some of Bali's best surf breaks. COMO Uma Canggu is the first luxury hotel to open in the area. Honeymooners looking to try something new, or practice their already honed skills, will have the opportunity to work with TropicSurf on all kinds of surfing under the watch of an expert eye. The hotel has top-of-the-line Asian and Italian touches and dining menus that rely on locally sourced ingredients.
36 Rangali Island, the Maldives
Want to spend your honeymoon under the sea? You can on Rangali Island in the Maldvies. The MURAKA has the world's first undersea residence, a two-level residence that has living space both above and below the ocean. Below the surface, guests will find an undersea bedroom, living space and bathroom. Above the water, guests will find a separate bedroom, living room, dining space, and entertainment space. THE MURAKA also offers devoted, 24-hour butler service for all aquatic and land needs.
THE MURAKA at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
37 Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico
After devastating hurricanes, Puerto Rico is back and better than ever. Nothing showcases this more than Dorado Beach, Ritz Carlton Reserve, one of the brands most elite categories. Each of the oceanfront guest rooms has gone a transformative renovation. And this treasured Puerto Rican Reserve has seen the addition of more than 300,000 plants, giving honeymooners a tropical paradise to enjoy.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
38 Sacred Valley, Peru
Nestled in the heart of the sacred mountains of Peru, Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa offers a perfect honeymoon for adventure-seeking couples. Couples can explore Machu Picchu as a VIP through the resort’s own a private train station, bringing guests directly to the famous Incan Citadel.
Tambo del Inka, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa
39 Maalifushi, the Maldives
Situated on the pristine Thaa Atoll in the Maldives, and renowned for its diving and surf breaks, is COMO Maalifushi. COMO Maalifushi is the first and only resort to open on the unspoilt Thaa Atoll, in the archipelago’s southern reaches well regarded for its diving and surf breaks. Accommodations includes 33 overwater villas and suites, and 32 beach villas, suites and garden rooms. Overwater suites and villas are built off wooden walkways that stand above the shallow lagoon, each with its own private terrace and pool, while garden villas and suites are set within the folds of the island’s lush tropical vegetation—yet still only twenty steps from the beach’s high tide mark.
COMO Maalifushi BOOK NOW
40 St. Moritz, Switzerland
Have a bit of everything when you stay in the very heart of Pontresina, an Engadine village just six kilometers from glitzy St. Moritz. You can have the peaceful mountains but access to all the hustle, bustle, and glamour of nearby St. Moritz. Pontresina's only five star hotel is the Grand Hotel Kronenhof that has alpine vistas with the Roseg glacier in the distance, a truly exclusive intimate alpine getaway for any season.
41 Kyoto, Japan
A peaceful sanctuary in the cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto has beautiful gardens, shrines, old streets, and a rich cultural history. The city's first branded luxury property, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto, has Michelin-starred dining, Japanese-inspired spa treatments, and intimate rickshaw rides for newlyweds.
42 Grampian Wine Region, Austraulia
One of Australia’s most acclaimed, yet under-the-radar wine regions is the Grampians Wine Region. Regarded as the birthplace of Australia's sparkling wine industry, the Grampians region has an impressive mix of large and boutique wineries in production since the mid-1800’s, setting the stage for a charming honeymoon with a glass of the region’s signature silky shiraz in hand. Located at the foot of the Grampians in the sleepy little town of Dunkeld, The Royal Mail Hotel has an award-winning restaurant and a 28,000-bottle wine cellar, and many walking tracks that lead to waterfalls, wildlife and jaw dropping lookouts.
43 Trancoso, Brazil
Backed by thick jungle on three sides and ocean on the fourth, Trancoso, Brazil has developed separated from the rest of the world, only put on the map, among the hip global elite, by boutique hotel UXUA. The hotel features 11 one-to-three-bedroom casas, all restored using local sustainable materials. Billed as a “fantasy treehouse,” Casa da Avore is one of the most requested casas at the hotel and a favorite among couples for its ultra-private atmosphere inside UXUA’s gardens.
44 St. Tropez, France
Home to society and global jet-setters, St. Tropez is one of the crown jewels of the French Rivera. But if you want to enjoy the nightlife and glitz and glam of St. Tropez but also have a rustic and quite honeymoon, stay just outside at La Réserve Ramatuelle, nestled in a Mediterranean jardin overlooking the Côte D’Azur. This Spring, the property is lifting the veil on its first-ever beach club, La Réserve à la Plage. Located on the famous Pampelonne Beach and designed by Philipe Starck
45 Mayan Riviera, Mexico
Set on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Mayan Rivera is Mexico at its best--laid back, warm hospitality, and amazing beach front to enjoy. The Viceroy Riviera Maya is an adults-only couples getaway, e.g. perfect a honeymoon. Each villa features a patio, plunge pool, outdoor shower, and high-ceiling thatched-palapa. So no reason to leave your room, really.
46 Nantucket, Massachusetts
Miles of public beaches, New England charm, and a burgeoning food scene, Nantucket is the perfect place for a honeymoon or perhaps a mini moon. Stay a bit removed from the center of town on the northeast end of Nantucket, bordering the peaceful Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge at The Wauwinet, a private, adults-only escape which just underwent a million-dollar restoration and renovation – the first major renovation in its 30-year history. Watch the sunset over dinner at TOPPER’s, located between two private beaches. Visit the family-owned Bartlett’s Farm for fresh fruits and vegetables – ideal for a picnic lunch. Tip: book the Coatue Suite which includes a private sundeck facing the bay.
47 Mnemba Island, Zanzibar
As we've mentioned, it doesn’t get much more romantic than being on a private island with your new spouse. Off the north-eastern tip of Zanzibar lies the private andBeyond Mnemba Island, made up of just 10 thatched bands and inhabited only by guests and the staff taking care of them. Less than a mile in circumference, Mnemba is surrounded by the clear turquoise water and coral reefs, offering some of Africa’s most best dive sites. Shaded traditional Zanzibari ‘beach’ beds are located along the sand, offering the perfect place to cuddle up with a loved one. Other romantic touches include private dinners served on the beach or a sunset cruise on a Dhow, a local Swahili-style sailboat.
48 Casole d'Elsa SI, Italy
Tuscany is high of many people's bucket lists. And for good reason. The rolling hills, proximity to mega centers of culture like Florence, and Sienna, and the food and wine. Head to Casole d'Elsa, Belmond Castello di Casole's is a 4,200-acre property is one of the largest private estates in Italy and features just 39 spacious suites. A former castle dating back to the 10th century, modern creature comforts include: the Essere Spa, the newly launched Enchanted Table and a new an alfresco dining option situated underneath the same tree where Visconti used to conjure up his next film.
49 Ireland by rail
Ready to go old school and take a train as part, or all, of your honeymoon. The Belmond Grand Hibernian is Ireland's first luxury sleeper train. Expect artisan cheeses, seafood, and local whiskies in the two dining cabins, plus an observation car that will serve as a social gathering place with local spirits including Irish gin and local music. Itinerary highlights include tours to Blarney Castle to see the Blarney Stone, a private tasting at Jameson distillery, and a city tour of Galway.
50 Jaipur, India
This imperial, pink city is a great stop-over on any journey to India, or Asia for that matter. Known for its literary festival, unique jewelry, and beautiful palaces, Jaipur is both very interesting and romantic. The Rambaugh Palace is one of the city's most iconic hotels--and a five-star luxury hotel that blends new and old world seamlessly.