The honeymoon is one of those high-stakes trips that requires careful, thoughtful planning—and a well-padded budget. After all, the idea is that you'll only do it once, so there is inevitably a bit of—okay, a lot of—pressure to make this extremely special. And just as weddings have become ever more extravagant over the years, so too have honeymoons—why take one week when you can take off three? And why not multiple stops? Tanzania and Tuscany? Patagonia and Fiji?
These past 15 months of forced abstinence have only created even more pent up energy to travel, whether for a honeymoon, a birthday, an anniversary, or simply just because we finally can, for the most part. And for those blessed couples who had to contend with Covid-delayed weddings and last minute plan Bs, well, perhaps you deserve two honeymoons.
Here, we break down 20 T&C-approved honeymoon destinations, plus where you should stay in each. Have a thirst for adventure? Consider a 10-day trek across the Serengeti, on foot. Prefer to just sprawl out on pristine sand for a week? We've got the perfect little private island in Australia. Want to stay close to home? Honeymoon a la JFK and Jackie Kennedy in a delightful celebrity's refuge in Santa Barbara.
Whatever you choose, do keep in mind that we are still living in a pandemic, and some of these destinations may be open for the immediate future, while others aren't yet. But it never hurts to plan in advance—and cue up the wanderlust—especially for such a once-in-a-lifetime trip.
1Santa Barbara, California
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With its charming clay-roofed Spanish Colonial Revival architecture and its balmy Mediterranean climate, Santa Barbara ranks high on the list for romantics who want a city-meets-beach escape that is also convenient to access (fly into Santa Barbara airport or make the easy 2-hour drive up from Los Angeles). Plus, for oenophiles, there is picturesque, winery-strewn Santa Ynez Valley, less than an hour away. As for where to stay, there is nothing more romantic than San Ysidro Ranch, the gorgeously landscaped idyllic hideaway where JFK and Jackie spent their honeymoon, and where countless celebrities, from Winston Churchill to John Huston, have sought refuge.
2Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii
COURTESY OF THE MAUNA KEA BEACH HOTEL
Hawaii and honeymoon are rather synonymous, but venture off the beaten path a little bit and head to Big Island, arguably the state's least commercialized—and most authentic—island. Adventures include helicopter tours, nighttime snorkeling to see manta rays, and, of course, the geological marvels of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. Stay at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, a mid-century, open floor plan masterpiece from Laurance S. Rockefeller that features cantilevered stairways, a museum-worthy collection of Asian Pacific Art, and a pretty slice of beach with sand as smooth as silk.
3Big Sur, California
COURTESY OF VENTANA BIG SUR DISNEY+
A land of sweeping views known for its mind-body-soul getaways and retreats, Big Sur has towering redwoods, whimsical meadows, and the most dramatic vistas of 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.
4Punta Mita, Mexico
COURTESY OF THE FOUR SEASONS PUNTA MITA
This 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, plenty of whale watching opportunities, and tons of biodiversity, all topped off with a wild and untamed feel—it's barefoot luxury at its finest. The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita has unique spiritual activities like a chakra balancing ritual, meditation, and yoga on top of a rock, along with other honeymoon-worthy things like private sunset yacht tours and secluded dinners on a cliffside facing the setting sun.
5Lake Como, Italy
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Riva cruises, delicious pasta, ambling strolls through postcard perfect villages, lounging by a fresh saltwater pool that floats in the lake… Isn't this what a honeymoon is supposed to be? Set against the dramatic scenery of the Alps, Lake Como and its picturesque towns (Cernobbio, Bellagio, Varenna among them) have long been a chic, polished refuge for Milanese elite (and George Clooney). For the most quintessential dolce vita experience, head to the grandest dame here: the majestic, historic, and exquisitely manicured Villa d'Este.
COURTESY OF HOTEL WAILEA
They sure know how to do honeymoons on Maui. The island has a polished, but relaxed feel, with enough fantastic culinary options to eat at a different restaurant every night. Add in gorgeous beaches, rain forests, and whale watching during certain times of year. Soak it all in at Hotel Wailea, an adult- only, all-suite property overlooking three Hawaii islands.
7Pacific Harbor, Fiji
COURTESY OF NANUKU, AUBERGE RESORTS COLLECTION
Remote, tranquil, and surrounded by crystal clear water, Fiji is the ultimate place to decompress post-wedding. It's also a haven of luxury properties, many with their own private island—could there be anything more romantic than being alone in the middle of nowhere? Nanuku, an Auberge Resort, offers guests the option of renting out its exclusive two-acre private island, located a 25-minute boat ride away from the main property.
8Bora 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, boasts the longest stretch of white sand beach in Bora Bora and possibly the most legendary sunsets.
9Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
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This 1,400-acre eco-luxury resort and residential community in northwest Costa Rica is home to exotic wildlife and white-sand beaches, and is the ideal jumping off point for exploring Costa Rica’s awe-inspiring nature with your other half. Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo: couples looking for a mix of high-wire adventure (think zip lining) and R&R can find it all here.
10Nova 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, honeymooners also have access to world-class biking, hiking, and sunset boat tours. It's also a seafood heaven, offering an abundance of first-rate lobster, crab, salmon, and naturally farmed local produce. Book a room at Cabot Cape Breton, a a secluded 72-room luxury resort with 19 oceanfront villas along the stunning coast of Cape Breton Island.
11The Azores, Portugal
COURTESY OF AZORES GETAWAYS
Just a five hour flight from NYC lies a group of nine islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that teem with untapped nature for gourmands and adventure enthusiasts alike. The best way to experience this relatively undiscovered destination is through Azores Getaways, a customizable tour operator. They have a diverse list of packages, from food and wine tours to ambitious itineraries for those who want to travel to all nine islands in one trip. The best part? Booking will be headache-free as the packages all include accommodations, roundtrip flights, and airport transfers.
12Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia
COURTESY OF CAPELLA LODGE
This crescent-shaped, World Heritage-listed island is the ultimate getaway, with fabulous weather and, the honeymooners' holy grail, seclusion. Just 400 visitors are allowed at any time, meaning Lord Howe Island really will be like your very own slice of paradise, one that also happens to have the world's most southerly coral reef at its doorstep. Stay at the Capella Lodge, a luxe retreat with just nine contemporary island-styled suites inspired by the carefree spirit of an authentic Australian beach house.
13Canouan, The Grenadines
COURTESY OF THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL, CANOUAN
A still somewhat undiscovered part of the Caribbean, Canouan is an unspoiled tropical island offering excellent golf, tennis, deep sea fishing, and sailing. There's good reason why Mandarin Oriental chose Canouan for its first resort in the Caribbean. The all-suite hotel features top-of-the-line Italian design, private butlers, and plenty of options for romantic outings, from private beaches to uninhabited islands.
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A honeymoon to Florence gives you a bit of everything—food, unlimited culture, and easy access to the Tuscan countryside. Relais Santa Croce, a Relais & Chateaux property, exudes romance and history. Located in an 18th century palazzo, the property offers something totally ideal for a party of two: a hot air balloon ride over Tuscany, complete with tours of wineries in the Chianti region.
COURTESY OF GOLDEN ROCK INN
Charming and very low-key, Nevis is known for its slow, relaxed pace, crystal clear waters, 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, the intimate 11-room property is nestled within lush gardens and has serious art world cred: it's owned by Brice and Helen Marden. There are hiking trails, exceptional views, and gourmet food, all set against the jungle chic jungle of this higher-altitude part of Nevis.
16Turtle Island, Fiji
COURTESY OF TURTLE ISLAND
Turtle Island is a 500-square-mile island that was privately acquired by a media mogul looking to escape urban burnout. It's now home to over a million trees, bountiful reefs, wildlife, and a resort with 14 villas (meaning the island is home to just 28 people at a time), access to 12 private beaches, a myriad of water and land-based activities, and fresh Fijian meals inspired by the bounties sourced from on-island ingredients. And everything is included in the nightly rate so honeymooners can really just totally bliss out.
COURTESY OF MARK THORTON SAFARIS
For true adventure seeking couples, head to Tanzania for a 10-day, 62-mile expedition on foot across Serengeti National Park. This isn't about five-star accommodations: there are no lodges, no roads, no crowds and no smartphones. 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 hooting owls rustling grass. Not for the faint of heart, surely, but arguably what some would call Africa at its best.
18Andaman Islands, India
COURTESY OF TAJ EXOTICA RESORTS
The Andamans are some of the most remote islands in the world, but worth the trip for their 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.
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Santorini has long been an iconic honeymoon destination—and for good reason. The inimitable sunsets, the infinity edge pools overlooking the impossibly blue Aegean Sea, the ancient volcanic landscapes, all coalesce to create a magical atmosphere. While Oia is touted as the most romantic town on the island, Imerovigli's perch atop Santorini's highest cliff means you'll get the most magical—and unobstructed—sunset views. Splurge on the villa at Auberge Resorts' Grace Hotel, which comes with a private swimming pool, its own spa and hammam, a personal chef, and outdoor fireplace. It's your honeymoon after all.
COURTESY OF ONE & ONLY
Located in the Indian Ocean, the island of Mauritius is known for its secluded, exclusive vibe, incredible beaches, and numerous 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.
One & Only Le Saint Geran
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