22 Best Honeymoon Destinations

Honeymoon: The prize after a many times stressful wedding-planning season. We think honeymoons should be the opposite of stressful — calm and restful (but not so restful that you grow bored), romantic (but not in a cheesy or contrived way) and enjoyable for each new spouse.

Why go: The Hawaiian island of Kauai offers private villas on secluded beaches, which make for wonderfully restive honeymoons. But couples with an adventuresome bent can hike through the Na Pali Coast or kayak down the Wailua River, among other activities.


Why go: Because some couples enjoy roughing it — or at least sort of — Maui is an ideal honeymoon destination. With jungles to explore, volcanoes to tour, theWaianapanapa State Park to hike, Maui bursts with adventures to take. But if you want to catch up on your rest and relaxation, there are also gorgeous beaches to laze upon, cute towns to explore and luxurious spa resorts to enjoy.


Why go: Set along the banks of the Arno River and nestled in the Tuscan hills, Florence is an intimate city of renowned Renaissance art and architecture, local Italian wines and cooking. Since it’s a small city, the best form of transportation is walking — preferably hand-in-hand (after all, you’re honeymooners!) through the labyrinth of stone streets, the Boboli Gardens, and the attractions — theDuomo, the David, the Uffizi — are magnificent, but there aren’t so many that you feel stressed or rushed to see it all; and Florence offers some sumptuous hotels, so you might want to take advantage of the plush rooms and sleep in.


Why go: The large Greek isle of Crete is broken into four distinct regions that offer very different experiences, from jungle adventures to beach-bum lazing. The beaches are lovely, as are the hotels, spas and Greek cuisine.


Why go: Known for its breathtaking sunsets, calm waters of the Aegean Sea, rich Greek food (think fish, honey, olives, feta), and couples-specific accommodations (on cliffs overlooking the Aegean Sea), Santorini is almost tailor-made for those who’ve just said, “I do.” The streets, which wind past white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, are lined with boutique shopping and restaurants; otherwise, honeymooners can enjoy lazing about on beaches or visiting the island’s wineries.


Why go: For many, it’s the ultimate honeymoon destination, and why not? There’s fine French dining, elegant shopping boulevards, renowned museums (Musee d’OrsayLouvre) and swoon-worthy sights (Eiffel TowerSacre-Coeur), entertainment at places like the Opera Garnier, and ultra-chic accommodations. However, you might have to shell out a pretty penny to experience Paris in the lap of luxury, (with five-star hotels creeping into the $1,000-a-night range). But it’s your honeymoon, and you’ll hopefully only do it once, right?


Why go: The city of canals, gondolas, waterside hotels and Italian cooking, Venice has been a long-standing honeymoon destination. Because Venice plays on its status as a romantic destination, prices for nice hotels, fine dining and gondola rides can be pretty high. And outside of traipsing the confusing web of streets, gorging on pasta and wine and maybe doing a bit of shopping, there’s not much else to do — but we think that might be to its benefit.


Why go: Experts say it has all the class of Paris, but Martinique also has a beautiful set of beaches and enjoyable weather year-round. Because the island is a mixture of French and Creole cultures, the island’s chefs have melded the two to create French-Creole Fusion fare, which travel writers say is to die for. There’s also a pretty decent nightlife, and accommodations range from charming inns to luxurious resorts.


Why go: Catering to an upscale clientele, Turks & Caicos are perhaps one of the least developed Caribbean destinations — and make for an intimate and somewhat secluded honeymoon experience. Besides the beaches, the main attractions in Turks & Caicos are snorkeling, scuba diving and spa treatments, all of which can be enjoyed by newly married couples. And these islands are also known for their spectacular (though pricey) dining scene.


Why go: Lots of beaches mixed with culture Dutch, French and Caribbean cultures, as well as some cute towns to explore, local foods to try, (which travel writers mention is some of the best in the Caribbean). And did we mention, beaches to laze on?


Why go: One of Mexico’s most luxurious destinations, Puerto Vallarta is replete with gorgeous beaches, a small town ambience — despite its many resorts, and an authentic “Old Town” with local shops and restaurants. Also, the Sierra Madre Mountains are nearby, which brim with active excursions.

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Why go: Puerto Rico is an easy flight from the U.S., which might be the deciding factor for wedding-weary couples looking for relaxation as soon as possible. The large island offers both quiet, secluded beaches — like the ones found onVieques — and lively ones like Rincón. Resorts, restaurants and couples-friendly activities, such as hiking and scuba diving, abound.


Why go: Set amid the rolling Scottish hills, complete with castles, up-and-coming restaurants, luxurious accommodations (bed and breakfasts, too), and a vibrant theater scene, Edinburgh makes for an interesting yet laid-back honeymoon. If you feel like sightseeing, Edinburgh offers neighborhoods to explore, nearby hills to hike, shopping streets to peruse and attractions likeEdinburgh Castle and the Holyroodhouse Palace to see, but you can also lounge in the Royal Botanic Garden, enjoy a spa treatment or simply sleep in — and not feel guilty about it.


Why go: A laidback ambience pervades this string of islands off the coast of Florida. Complete with upscale hotels and restaurants, Key West is ideal for couples who want to spend their days on the beach or water and their nights in restaurants and bars.


Why go: All-inclusive resorts reign, meaning honeymooners after their brilliant but exhausting weddings can fully relax…without worrying about what to do, where to eat or the weather (it’s Jamaica, and the temperatures average in the 70s to 90s year-round). However, if couples do want to get out and explore, Jamaica offers a host of things to do — from reggae bars in Kingston to the tropical flora and fauna of Ocho Rios.


Why go: It’s not Italy or France, but Charleston is an intriguing city, dripping with Southern charm, not to mention upscale Southern cooking. The downtown fills with galleries, boutiques, restaurants and lovely historic homes to tour by day — and live-music bars, ghost tours and romantic walks to partake in by night. To bed down, honeymooners can book a historic inn downtown or a beachside resort-spa (average temperatures range from the 60s to 70s during May’s wedding season).

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Why go: If you’re among those avid skiers whose ideal honeymoon is spent on the slopes and at the lodge, Banff might be your ideal honeymoon destination. Set in Alberta Canada, Banff Town is a posh village of upscale lodges, tasteful yet hearty restaurants and a pretty active nightlife. By day, snow bunnies can hit the immediate area’s three ski slopes — Banff Mount NorquaySunshine Village andLake Louise Ski Area.


Why go: Yes, Niagara Falls are a somewhat “camp” honeymoon destination, but Jim and Pam from “The Office” had a blast — you might, too. Accommodations range from retro (complete with heart-shaped bathtubs) to high-end resorts, and the views of the falls — whether from high above in a helicopter or at the bottom on a Maid of the Mist boat — are said to be transcendent, especially standing beside a new spouse.


Why go: A large city filled with things to do for the cosmopolitan couple who enjoy touring museums together and exploring interesting neighborhoods. San Francisco also brims with awesome (and health-conscious) restaurants, and a hotel scene that runs the gamut, from upscale chains to sumptuous boutiques. Plus, you can also rent a convertible and spend an afternoon driving through California’s nearby wine country.


Why go: North Carolina’s Outer Banks are a beach destination that won’t break the bank. In the affluent and quiet town of Duck (a northern OBX beach), honeymooners can book accommodations at a nice bed and breakfast, sunbathe on the beaches and participate in some leisurely watersports like fishing or kayaking. And though the cuisine isn’t renowned, the area does offer a handful of fine dining establishments.


Why go: Yes, Spain’s capital is a big and bustling city (people literally stay up all night), but it’s also filled with the Spanish sensibility — the afternoon siesta, delicious tapas, free-flowing wines, flamenco and all-night parties. There are also must-see museums like the Prado and excellent parks for catnaps, though in Madrid, you won’t lack for comfortable places to lay your head — the hotels are world-class.


Why go: You know exactly what you’re going to get when you honeymoon in Vegas, and some couples love that. After checking in at a glitzy hotel like theBellagio or the Wynn, couples can hit the casinos hoping to get lucky. Hotel pools are another way to while the days away. At night, couples can dress to the nines and dine at one of the many fancy restaurants and later catch a Cirque du Soleil show or club hop along the Strip.


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