The most romantic honeymoon destinations
Plan a honeymoon that exceeds your wildest dreams. | By Joanna Tweedy | November 12, 2021
Begin your marriage with a vacation to the world’s most romantic destinations. Maybe that means packing your bags to a classic tropical island. Perhaps you’d prefer to get lost together in an ancient European city. You could find space for two at the bar, sampling flights of local beer at microbreweries. No matter which destination you choose, you and your partner will create lasting memories by experiencing:
A romantic European escape: Take a romantic gondola ride made for two in Venice
Tropical paradise: Snuggle with your sweetie under swaying palm trees in the Maldives
Toast to the years ahead in style: Experience the finest food and wine in San Francisco and Napa Valley
A sure-fire way to inject some exoticism into post-nuptial celebrations, Marrakech’s old city is a vibrant marriage of color, smells and sounds. Wander the souks for honeymoon souvenirs — a tagine to take home? Or perhaps babouches (flat leather slippers)? — in the city’s ancient medina or revive plane-weary souls with a trip for two to an authentic hammam.
Take a daytrip to the Atlas Mountains for beautiful walks followed by mint tea in Berber villages. It’s a lovely way for you to plan your years ahead against the backdrop of this hypnotic North African country.
You and your partner will be swept up in the beauty of this captivating Greek island. It’s lapped by sparkling blue waters, dotted with secret coves and blessed with architecture bestowed by the Venetians. Kefalonia’s beaches might have been invented for Instagram: Myrtos, on the island’s east coast, remains one of the world’s most photographed. You’ll find a steep cliff that gives way to a strip of white sand flanked by turquoise ocean that gently fades into cobalt blue.
The fishing village of Fiskardo, on the northern tip, exudes romance; bag a table for two at Nicolas Taverna, right on the horseshoe bay, and devour Greek mezze — and perhaps a nip of ouzo — as the sun drops into the ocean.
Honolulu is a world-renowned honeymoon destination and has myriad fabulous experiences for newlyweds, plus views that’ll make your hearts flutter. Lounge all day on palm-studded Ala Moana Beach Park, take a hike through the misty mountain trails at Ko’olau and then share a delicious meal in lively Chinatown.
Diamond Head State Monument — Oahu's volcano that is known to locals as Lē'ahi — takes you and your sweetie to the edge of a 300,000-year-old crater. The ascent isn't a long one (not even a mile), but it isn't easy on calf muscles either, with a challenging but interesting ascent that includes a cavernous-looking tunnel and dozens of steep steps. At the top, take a moment to rest together, before soaking up one of the best views of urban Honolulu's glittering skyline, including golden Waikiki Beach.
If only a dreamy island retreat will do as your honeymoon destination, then the Maldives has nearly 2,000 of them to tempt you. Newlyweds touching down in the capital of Malé can board a seaplane with a glorious view to what is effectively honeymoon heaven. Beautiful resorts with swaying palms and immaculate white sand beaches are par for the course. Attentive staff can serve you a private dinner on the beach or help to organize Maldivian adventures, including snorkeling trips or glass-bottomed boat rides.
Impossibly romantic Venice remains a honeymoon destination hotspot for those who’ve just waltzed down the aisle. Majestic marble palaces and ornate architecture — including the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace and Saint Mark's Basilica — sit pretty on the Venetian lagoon, with narrow waterways and vast boulevards of water latticing the city.
Experience the classic activity for lovers and summon a gondolier (wearing distinctive striped T-shirts and boater hats) and glide through Venice in style, sipping Champagne as you go. There’s pleasure in just wandering, though. Explore on foot, stopping for an Aperol spritz and cicchetti (small bites), taking in world-renowned art at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (across the Grand Canal) or window shopping at San Marco’s designer boutiques.
San Francisco and Napa Valley
What better way to toast a union than in the mellow winelands of Napa Valley? You’ll also find luxe restaurants, tasting rooms and stylish bars awaiting you in this top honeymoon destination. From here, Napa Valley’s wineries — some boutique, some household names — are yours to explore, popping up among gently sloping hillsides or behind acres of vineyards. Adding San Francisco, a 90-minute drive south, to your honeymoon itinerary is an inspired way to add an exciting urban element. Rent a tandem bicycle and traverse the Golden Gate Bridge, soak up the hippy vibe in Haight-Ashbury or indulge in a fine dinner out on the town.
Bid the wedding party farewell and make for the azure Adriatic and golden architecture of Dubrovnik. Croatia’s red-roofed southern city comes with an old town that’s a charming mishmash of Baroque architecture and 13th century limestone buildings. Walk together along the historic wall that encircles Dubrovnik. It spans 1.2 miles (nearly 2 km) and you’ll soak up a bird’s-eye view of the islands beyond the city’s shores.
A private boat tour will whizz you out onto the ocean to explore them. Book a snorkeling adventure in the Blue Cave — named for its dazzling turquoise light — on Koločep. Croatian food mostly comes rustic and hearty; be sure to try a black risotto (crni rizo) or Pag Island cheese, a local favorite made from sheep’s milk.
Cote d’Azur, France
Spending your honeymoon on one of the most glamorous stretches of the Mediterranean is one way to ensure that big day feeling lingers a little longer. The French Riviera is home to beguiling beaches, five-star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and palatial homes — many owned by A-listers. The starry towns live up to the hype: Monte Carlo’s famous casino is made for people-watching and Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is a prime spot for sunset walks. Don’t miss Cannes’ rich film heritage — it has its own Hollywood style Walk of Fame — or the chance to mingle with the beautiful people at Saint-Tropez’s glitzy harbor (although a celebratory bottle of fizz will be pricey).
U.S. Virgin Islands
Couples keen on Caribbean fun will find the U.S. Virgin Islands, 40 miles (64 km) east of Puerto Rico, tick all the honeymoon boxes. The tropical trio of St. John, St. Thomas and St. Croix -- the largest island -- all deliver when it comes to picturesque beaches, lush interiors, spirited resorts, fantastic diving spots and delicious dining options.
St. Croix feels a million miles from the mainland. Here, couples can meander from beach to beach — there are 36 to discover — enjoy a horseback ride, discover the island’s European heritage in the laid-back towns of Christiansted and Frederiksted or explore the fascinating underwater Buck Island Reef National Monument.
Victoria, British Columbia
Your special celebration calls for a special vacation, and the quirky city of Victoria, 76 miles (122 km) southwest of Vancouver, offers just that. There’s a nod to British heritage here, so you could find yourselves riding a double-decker bus or sharing a portion of fish and chips.
Victoria also has a cooler scene; there are microbreweries, farm-to-table restaurants and high-octane adventures to be enjoyed. Take a moonlit kayak tour or rent a pair of Vespas and explore the area’s great outdoors. Don’t miss Craigdarroch Castle, which could have been teleported straight from the Scottish Highlands; it offers tours of its lavish rooms and manicured grounds.
From quintessential tropical paradise to ancient European castles to North African hammams to mingling with celebrities in the French Riviera, your honeymoon can be all that you’ve dreamed – and more. Start your marriage off with a passion-fueled vacation and create memories that’ll last till death do you part.
Joanna Tweedy is an award-winning travel writer and editor who lives in London.