Vietnam has it all: beaches, colorful culture, Buddhist pagodas, rivers, French colonial landmarks and sophisticated cities. And the food. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and Hanoi are major metropolises, while Hoi An, Mui Ne and Hue offer more rural charm along with art and sandy coastline that’s as pristine as any island. Try the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay for a secluded coastal hideaway, and Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai for a dreamy one with a bit more accessibility. The Southeast Asian country is fairly large, so you might want to consider a road trips to experience the most varied markets, treks, cuisine and temples.
For an active honeymoon, Canada’s cool seaport of Vancouver and nearby Vancouver Island have a lot to offer. Its unique setting, surrounded by mountains and also water, makes it popular for a number of outdoor adventures, but it’s also known for its lively art and music scenes. Whatever you choose to spend your days doing—from the confines of the chic city-centric Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel or Tofino’s romantic, forested Wickaninnish Inn—the natural beauty can’t be topped.
London can be just as alluring as Bora Bora if you’re a couple who’s enchanted by strolls in Hyde Park, world-class museums, celebrated restaurants and plenty of culture, not to mention the idea of royalty. The posh destination has some of the finest accommodations in the world—consider The Connaught or The Savoy—which, of course, sets the tone for romance. The countryside feels like being in a storybook: Try a chic, cozy cabin at Soho Farmhouse, a stately manor room at Heckfield Place in the heart of Jane Austen country, or room in a 350-year-old castle, Cliveden House, where Meghan Markle spent her last night as a single commoner.
04. Turks and Caicos
Southeast of the Bahamas, in the Atlantic Ocean, lie the Turks and Caicos, not two islands as might be assumed, but 40. The coral islands are a bit exotic and totally luxurious, with few people to fill up the countless stark-white beaches. Book into the uber-private Ambergris Cay, a 10-suite resort with private plunge pools, impeccable views and all-inclusive rates. There’s also The Palms Turks and Caicos, on iconic Grace Bay Beach, where a massive spa and slew of dining options makes for a rich retreat, or across the island there’s The Shore Club, which boasts luxury villas and opportunities for yacht excursions.
05. Tel Aviv, Israel
With its sun-drenched Mediterranean coastline and cosmopolitan status, Tel Aviv is perhaps more unexpected than it should be as a honeymoon locale. It boasts beaches, incredible nightlife, mouthwatering food—often served at open-air cafes—and a lively waterfront promenade and the striking White City, the neighborhood filled with eye-catching 1930s Bauhaus-style architecture. From the Carlton Tel Aviv’s rooftop cabana, you can watch the sun drop below the horizon. If you wish to add on an exotic desert jaunt, book the Six Senses Shaharut, Israel, opening in summer 2020 with camel camping, extreme sports and wine tours.
06. Sri Lanka
Rainforests, beaches, Buddhist ruins, wildlife, cities and citadels—for such a tiny country, Sri Lanka offers an incredible amount of diversity to visitors. The exotic island in the middle of the Indian Ocean is rugged but also polished, with cuisine that represents a melting pot of cultures. Honeymooners can visit temples, go backpacking or on safari in national parks and surf. Settle into the lush, LEED-certified solar farm-slash-boutique hotel Ulagalla or stay at the newest chic spot on the coast, the wellness-minded Tri Lanka, in Galle.
Give credit to Crazy Rich Asians, or don’t, but Singapore’s steady rise does seem tied to everybody’s favorite romantic comedy of 2018. Still, what’s crazy about the land of insanely good eats is the hospitality boom, the number of amazing new hotels that have opened recently. A pair of Six Senses—Maxwell and Duxton—offer an opulent take on cultural immersion since they’re in a very local neighborhood near Chinatown. Then there’s the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, designed by Philippe Starck, a Hotel Indigo, a Sofitel on the beachy island of Sentosa, an Andaz near Chinatown, and M Social, also conceived by Starck. Four Seasons just renovated their rooms, and increased flights mean ever easier access from America.
Between Zurich’s excess of chocolate, flowers and lingerie—not to mention art, Michelin-starred food and supreme TLC at The Dolder Grand—and the Swiss Alps’ extreme beauty, world-class skiing and year-round natural attractions, Switzerland has plenty seducing newlyweds. The UNESCO-protected Lavaux wine region is another major crowd-pleaser, looking over Lake Geneva and showcasing not only incredible vino but also epic hikes, floating restaurants (see Le Montreux steamboat), chocolate houses, and Europe’s only overwater hotel. Hotel Palafitte channels Tahiti but on Lake Neuchatel, with ladders from the bungalows plunging you directly into the water.
09. Sicily, Italy
In Sicily, you can experience island vibes and Italian vibes—the best of two worlds. Hanging right off the toe of Italy’s boot, it straddles the divide between Europe and Africa and is the largest isle in the Mediterranean. Appropriately, the out-of-this-world food isn’t the only thing that’s diverse—there’s architecture, art and ruins from many different influences. Likewise, accommodations from which to soak it all in run the gamut, from colorful farmhouses (Hotel Signum) to sea-facing suites (Monaci delle Terre Nere) to Baroque residences (Seven Rooms Villadorata)
You don’t have to be obsessed with Outlander or The Crown to think that a Highlands honeymoon is a good idea. Between cities Edinburgh and Glasgow, and farther-flung wooded wonderlands like Cairngorms, with lakes (lochs) and verdant alleys (glens) between, there’s something for every taste. Activities even range from golf—world-class, like at The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links on Islay, home to nine whisky distilleries—to surfing, with a thick wetsuit, of course. As home bases go, the luxurious hotel The Balmoral, with its Michelin-starred Number One restaurant, is pretty epic.
11. Sacred Valley, Peru
Nestled in Peru’s Andean highlands, the Sacred Valley comprises gorgeous valley towns like Urubamba and Aguas Calientes, where one travels to ascend Machu Picchu. Understandably, a honeymoon in this unique destination is for those who live to enjoy nature in all its glory. Both Inkaterra Hacienda Urubamba and Tambo del Inka are flawless resorts that marry an eco-aware spirit with thrilling activities, cultural traditions and pure luxury. Make sure not to have too many pisco sours—alcohol doesn’t exactly help altitude sickness.
12. Rajasthan, India
Known as a vibrant destination for Holi, the ancient Hindu festival, Rajasthan is a dynamic place to visit anytime. Experience contrasts the likes of which you’ve never seen by visiting both rural villages and cities such as Jaipur, the capital, known as the Pink City. Go tiger trekking in the desert and tour striking architecture. And live like queens and kings at the pink palace hotel Amanbagh, the one-time Mughal royal retreat. Along with the usual luxury trappings, you can even learn the most exotic of sports, camel polo.
13. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has come back even better than ever. The spirit of Puerto Ricans shines bright in the island paradise, known as the island of enchantment. Resorts are reopening at a rapid pace, with the birthplace of the piña colada, Caribe Hilton, coming back online on an exclusive, lush peninsula with views of San Juan’s shore. After a $60 million renovation, St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort bows again, the first ultra-luxury resort on the island, and one surrounded by sea, sand and foliage with private bird sanctuaries, an on-site marine biologist, ocean-front Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, plenty of activities (think kayaking, wind-surfing, fishing, hiking and SUP) and several dining outlets.
14. Portland, Oregon
Domestic getaways can run the risk of feeling less exciting than international, but in and around Portland—base yourself at the sophisticated The Nines—there’s so much going on that’s not a problem. There’s the natural beauty of the snowy Mount Hood, countless parks and bike paths, gardens, a hip music and art scene and trendy microbreweries and restaurants. Outside the city, take your time on the gorgeous drives to other mountains, up the coast or to Willamette Valley (stay at The Allison Inn & Spa) for pours of Pinot Noir.
15. Paris, France
Talk about a no-brainer. Paris is the City of Lights, but it might as well be called the City of Love. If you appreciate a great romantic walk hand-in-hand, you’ll love the French capital, which offers culture, architecture and art alongside, of course, incredible food and wine. From iconic luxury stalwarts like the Four Seasons George V and Le Royal Monceau — Raffles Paris to impeccably designed new boutique hotels such as Hotel Providence Paris, you can tailor a honeymoon to your style, whether it’s classic and fancy or more boho and artsy.
16. North Island, New Zealand
New Zealand’s adventure hub of Queenstown is beloved in the south, but its massive North Island has equal if lesser known opportunities to discover jaw-dropping scenes and sights. Waiheke Island, close to Auckland, is one charming option. Another is Northland, with lush green landscapes and cliffs over the Pacific and Tasmanian Sea. There, try foraging and scuba diving at super private Helena Bay Lodge, or go for 6,000 acres of farmland in the Bay of Islands with award-winning golf, ancient kauri forests and private beaches at The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers further down the island in Hawke’s Bay puts you smack in the middle of primo wine country, not to mention natural beauty.
Do you and your partner share an intense curiosity about the world? If so, a simple beach holiday won’t do. Think about exploring somewhere exotic like Morocco. In Marrakech, a Berber-era medieval walled city, you’ll dine on mouthwatering dishes, navigate the mazelike souks holding hands, watch storytellers and musicians perform and feast your eyes on spectacular architecture and design. You can stay like kings at the palatial pink Amanjena, or go a bit more traditional in the beautiful city of Fes, at chic Riad Fes. Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot a gorgeous home base for hiking the Atlas Mountains, and Essaouira is the most charming seaside village with camels on the beach and plenty of twisting cobbled paths to explore.
Hear Maldives and you instantly think honeymoon. The tropical South Asian nation is made up of 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean, which means unlimited beaches, turquoise waters for miles, extensive reefs and plenty of fresh fish and seafood. You’re pretty secluded at whichever of the luxurious resorts you choose—such as the Four Seasons’ dream collection and pioneering, super-private Soneva Fushi—so expect a vacation filled with intimate meals, spa treatments, underwater adventures and just plain relaxation.
This underrated African island makes for a truly spectacular honeymoon destination, and it’s practically a given that you’ll be the first of your friends to journey there. The call of the wild is strong here, and there is everything from whale watching to deserted white sand beaches, lemurs to luxury lodges. The terrain is hugely varied and includes rainforest, open savannah, highlands and desert, with lots of culture to explore in between. The penultimate stay is at Time + Tide Miavana, an ultra-luxe retreat on picture-perfect Nosy Ankao, where you can explore the depths of the Indian Ocean while diving, and get high above it in helicopters, and track down translocated crowned lemurs in the forest, all while overnighting in dreamy digs and dining on five-star cuisine.
Natural beauty, sake, sushi, history, culture—Japan balances rich ancient heritage with the modern in its awe-inspiring cities and maintains a vast network of hikes and walks for those more inclined to nature. There’s skiing and shrines, cat cafes and stunning coastline. Tokyo is a city that lights up all the senses (consider the deluxe ryokan-style Hoshinoya Tokyo), while Kyoto boasts more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites (plus the brand-new and breathtaking Aman Kyoto). The country boasts a trending chain of tropical coral isles, too—Okinawa, where Hoshinoya Taketomi Island gives a peek into traditional Japanese island life, and the new resort Halekulani Okinawa celebrates authentic culture and nature immersions.
Iceland is for adventurers. It’s lengthy list of attractions includes the spectacular Northern Lights in the wintertime (stay at Ion for an impeccable viewpoint), seemingly endless opportunities for trekking, riding the country’s famously tiny but strong horses, exploration of caves, volcanos, ice fields and glaciers; and steamy hot springs and lagoons—the new Retreat at Blue Lagoon is the place to sleep and play at the most iconic of them all, with a spa built into the volcanic earth and a five-star restaurant. The land of fire and ice may be cold, but there’s enough adrenaline and romance to keep you hot.
Is there a more classic exotic island honeymoon than Fiji? It’s hard to imagine something better than hopping between five-star resorts on the South Pacific’s 300-plus islands, filled with white sand, palm trees, mountains and blue lagoons. For a dose of heaven on earth, visit Laucala, a private-island destination blending tropical rainforests and volcanos with deserted beaches, sustainable locally grown cuisine and activities ranging from diving and golf to horseback riding and game fishing. Kokomo Private Island Resort and Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection, are two more options for postcard-perfect getaways.
Whether you want to explore magical crystalline terraced lakes and waterfalls, check out historical sites and ruins, sail around on a yacht, tour cathedrals or even go wild partying, Croatia is the place to do it. The country that stretches down the Mediterranean offers a Greek Isle-like flavor but with its own unique culture and look. Superbly designed sea-view spots like Villa Dubrovnik are what this authentic, unspoiled destination is all about.
25. Costa Rica
The Pacific side of Costa Rica has everything for nature and adventure enthusiasts. Santa Teresa is a tiny beach town with plenty of surfing to mellow the vibe. There’s wildlife everywhere, the ocean is warm, the waves are perfect and the rainforest above the beach is home to creative kitchens and boutique-y hotels such as Florblanca Resort and Milarepa. Farther north, on Peninsula Papagayo, is the intimate, immersive boutique resort Kasiiya, with elegant platform tents and a profusion of ways to get into the wild and connect with each other and nature. Up on a quartz mountain overlooking the Pacific Ocean is The Retreat Costa Rica, a go-to for all things spa, healing and organic gardens.
It may be a struggle to pronounce most of the words in Denmark’s capital, but that’s half the fun. The gorgeous Scandinavian home of the Little Mermaid sculpture, grand castles and tons of hyper-influential design is easily navigable and intimate. Beyond the city take day trips to hike in wooded Edens, and by night cuddle up at a top hotel like the iconic Hotel d’Angleterre with your one true love in hygge style, with an excess of candles, wine, sweets and a fire roaring in the background.
27. Cartagena, Colombia
This magical colonial town is the jewel of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, with charming cobblestone streets, brilliantly colored buildings, exotic fruits and foods, and infectious live music at every turn. There’s romance all around, especially by night when it’s salsa time. Stay in one of the gentrifying port city’s best boutique hotels—lush Casa Lola or the beautifully restored Hotel Casa San Agustin—and make it a point to visit the surrounding islands. Casa San Agustin’s new ACASĪ Experience takes lovers on a private boat charter to paradisiacal Isla Barú for lunch on a private white sand beach fringed by turquoise water and palms.
28. British Virgin Islands
Hurricane Irma is being avenged by a collection of spectacularly gorgeous Caribbean islands that have come back to life, a glorious rebirth. On Virgin Gorda, Rosewood Little Dix Bay (fresh off a four-year renovation) and Bitter End Yacht Club are slated to reopen in 2020, while superluxe Valley Trunk began welcoming guests to its pristine beach again in December, showing off refreshed interiors, cinema, gardens infinity-edge pool. Meanwhile, on Tortola, the reggae-infused Quito’s Inn is a new 21-room option in Cane Garden Bay, and the truly virgin island of Anegada, Anegada Beach Club is a place for beach bums to sleep in elevated tents just atop the sugary sand.
If off-the-beaten-path is your couple style, this South Asian gem is the way to go. Sandwiched between India and China, it’s a magical country with its own identity and topography, although anyone who’s been to one of those spots knows natural beauty is a sure thing. The miniature kingdom in the Himalayas is epic for trekking, and has retained quite a sense of culture thanks to its remoteness and subtle Western influence. Explore Buddhist monasteries, jaw-dropping panoramas and fortresses as you make your way from one valley to the next. Blend luxury with adventure via Six Senses Bhutan, which debuts the fifth of its lodges—for the ultimate circuit—in Bumthang in spring 2020.
30. Bali, Indonesia
A honeymoon in Bali is pure magic. The Indonesian island—the only one in the huge country that’s Hindu—is a perfect place for passion. With a bit more of an exotic feel than the tropical islands closer to the US, Bali doesn’t only offer unspoiled beaches, surfing, snorkeling and massages, it’s full of culture, art, music, rice terraces and temples, many, many temples. Nature is celebrated here, and it’s easy to get into the spirit at unbelievably lush properties such as Four Seasons Bali at Sayan and Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve for jungle vibes, and Uluwatu Surf Villas or Mulia Villas for coastal bliss.
The debate between Sydney and Melbourne is like the one between LA and New York—but there are so many other parts of this great island nation, too. In the former stay at the QT Bondi to work on your golden tan, or the newish Old Clare Hotel for an urban adventure.
After checking out foodie mecca Melbourne’s divine restaurant scene and mural-filled laneways, hit the artsy Jackalope Hotel for wine-country immersion on the Mornington Peninsula. Western Australia has a lot to offer, with buzzy Perth giving honeymooners bang for their buck, Rottnest Island offering up adorable quokkas and Chris Hemsworth–approved glamping at Discovery Rottnest Island, and outback and ocean adventures in the Kimberley and Ningaloo Reef. And it’s hard to find more idyllic beaches than those in the Whitsundays, of course.
32. Amalfi Coast, Italy
There are many reasons the Amalfi Coast continues to be at the top of honeymooners’ bucket lists. It’s hard to picture more classically romantic a scene than Positano’s steep village streets, Moorish architecture, azure water and colorful loungers and umbrellas lining the dark sandy beaches. Glamour comes easy, especially at the five-star Le Sirenuse, where the formula for a sexy, sophisticated getaway is tried and true.
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