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10 Best Honeymoon Destinations Abroad from the World’s Longest Honeymooners

By , October 19th, 2018

Feature photo by Mike and Anne Howard, HoneyTrek.com

When we were planning our honeymoon, we sat around the kitchen counter with a pen and paper, excitedly going back and forth with all the places we dreamt of exploring.

“Let’s scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef,” Mike said with the wide eyes of a young Jacques Cousteau.

“Ooooh yes!” I replied. “And we should stop in Kauai on the way and helicopter the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

This was a honeymoon, after all, a time when you can dream big and worry about the bills and vacation days later. Just as the wish list was running off the page, Mike asked me, “What if we did them all?” It seemed unfathomable, and I chuckled at the thought. “No seriously,” he said. “We’ve got our health, some savings, and each other. Will there ever be a better time?”

That night we started the ‘HoneyTrek’–our honeymoon and journey around the world. Six-and-a-half years later, we’ve honeymooned on seven continents, in 53 countries, and fallen in love with hundreds of destinations.

Narrowing our favourite honeymoon destinations down to a top 10 was no easy task. But when it comes to a perfect blend of gorgeous landscapes, interesting cultures, and romantic vibes, these are some of our absolute favourite honeymoon destinations.

Wherever you go on your honeymoon, celebrate the sunsets, feel your heart race, laugh at the bumps in the road, and create moments you’ll never forget.

 

10 Best Honeymoon Destinations Abroad

Sintra, Portugal

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Set high in the mountains, just 20 miles from Lisbon with cool temps and views of the ocean, Sintra has been wooing visitors–from medieval royalty to the European jet set—for a millennium. Play prince and princess, starting at the 10th-century Moorish Castle high above the town. It’s straight out of a storybook, landscaped like an enchanted forest—partly due to the eccentric 19th-century King Ferdinand II, the veritable founder of the Romantic style.

Hike to the Pena Palace and see his architectural fantasies played out in a rainbow of colours. E-bike through the hills, past dozens of eclectic Romantic-era mansions, the serene 16th-century Convent of the Capuchos, the Colares vineyards, and down to the dramatic beaches of Azenhas do Mar. Have an early dinner at the cliff-side restaurant by the same name, before zipping back up the mountain without breaking a sweat.

Get the royal treatment with a few nights at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais. An actual palace from the 18th century, it has labyrinth gardens, fresco-adorned ballrooms, and plenty of sumptuous suites. Slip into plush robes, share a bottle of port, and toast the good life.

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Harbour Island, Bahamas

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With colourful clapboard houses, posh shops, and cobblestone streets just wide enough for a golf cart, Harbour Island has been fondly dubbed the Nantucket of the Caribbean. Aristocrats from the Duchess of Windsor to style queens like Diane von Furstenberg have spent ample time on this Eleutheran isle, though unlike other star-studded beach destinations, it’s all charm and no pretension. The top-notch restaurants serve fish caught from hand-thrown nets, designer boutiques neighbour straw-hat stands, and the posh beach bars are just as much fun as the bottle shop.

Harbour Island is world-renowned for its pink sand beaches and no one captures that barefoot luxury better than the Coral Sands Hotel. Among the first resorts to attract the Hollywood set, Coral Sands has a Caribbean colonial style, with a fresh renovation across their suites, bungalows, and beach cottages. Dip in the seaside pool, scuba dive historic shipwrecks, learn to snag the elusive bonefish, or just sit under a thatched umbrella sipping Bahama Mamas. Just be sure to wake up for at least one sunrise beach walk, when the pink sand glows its rosiest hue.

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Torres del Paine, Chile

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If you’re the type of couple that would rather hike a mountain than lay on the beach, you’ll be head-over-heels for Patagonia. At the tip of South America where icefields meet subpolar forests, windblown steppe, and sawtooth peaks, it’s the continent’s grand finale. As if sculpted by the hands of a giant, the Paine massif is squeezed and smashed into craggy peaks, raw valleys, and deep lakes. The Torres, three sheer granite monoliths tucked in the center of the cordillera, have every hiker fantasizing about their route, be it the iconic W Trek along French Valley and Grey Glacier, or a day-hike up the moraine to the Mirador Las Torres.

To soften the extremes in one of the world’s wildest places, there’s EcoCamp. On countless “best of” lists, particularly when it comes to sustainability, this luxury geodesic-dome hotel and adventure outfitter knows the yin and yang of honeymooning (treks on glaciers earn Chilean Seabass and high thread-count sheets). Retire to your suite dome, turn off the lights to enjoy the firelight and stars twinkling through your skylight windows.

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Kauai, Hawaii

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There are few honeymoon destinations as iconic as Hawaii—and with good reason. It’s tropical, mountainous, beach-studded, culturally exotic, and you can access it all without a passport.

While Oahu has long attracted honeymooners, Kauai still feels far-flung and utterly wild. A volcanic island rising from the seafloor, covered in tropical rainforest, cut with canyons, and surrounded by jagged cliffs, the Garden Isle is more than just a few pretty beaches. It has many dimensions and begs to be explored, from Hanalei Bay’s luxury resorts to Hanapepe’s ancestral salt ponds. Fly into the island’s hub of Lihue, rent a convertible, and cruise north through a place of cinematic beauty (you may recognize it from Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean).

Let the wind carry you on a traditional sailing canoe along the sheer mountain coastline, ride a doors-off helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and lace up your sneakers to hike the jaw-dropping Nāpali Coast. This ancient isle is full of adventure, but don’t worry, it also has 50-plus white sand beaches and plenty of relaxing resorts. If your wedding ate into your honeymoon funds, try the charming cottages at Fern Grotto, or if you want post-wedding pampering with that classic Hanalei Bay view, St. Regis Princeville is your sweet escape.

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Cappadocia, Turkey

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One of you is a history buff, the other is an avid hiker, you’re both foodies and love to do the unexpected. Why not honeymoon in a luxury cave dwelling above a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Millions of years ago, an eruption blanketed Cappadocia in ashy tuff, and the forces of erosion have sculpted it into whimsical fairy chimneys, ruffled valleys, castle-like cliffs, and one of the most otherworldly landscapes. The seemingly disastrous conditions turned out to be ideal for carving elaborate architecture—both above and below ground—which has been inhabited since 1700 BCE by the Hittites, Romans, Ottomans, and now present-day Anatolians.

Sleeping in a cave doesn’t sound all that romantic? Trust us, it is when you stay at Turkey’s only Relais & Châteaux property, The Museum Hotel. The owner and avid art collector took 10 years to meticulously renovate dozens of Castle Hill’s ancient dwellings into a retreat that transcends space and time. Lavish rooms come with sweeping valley views and those that don’t make up for it with bottomless wine taps. Wake up to the smell of Turkish coffee and watch the sky fill with colourful hot air balloons. Be sure to schedule your own flight in this world-class ballooning destination so you too can glide over Love Valley, peer into ancient Hittite homes, and toast your flight over this historic wonderland with a champagne breakfast.

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Pacuare River, Costa Rica

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Want to really get away? Escape to the rainforest of Bajo Tigre where there are no roads or electricity. You’ll arrive at this National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World on the Pacuare River by rafting down Class III rapids. (A tropical drink will be waiting to reward your adventurous spirit.) Settle into your Canopy tree house or thatched-roof riverside suite with a dip in your private plunge pool or outdoor shower, all while bird-watching for toucans and oropendolas.

Each day, you can choose your level of adventure, be it relaxation at the Jawa Juü spa for an indigenous-inspired body treatment or zip-lining to a multi-course lunch high in the trees. Meals are organic and locally sourced, and as with everything at Pacuare, sustainability is top of mind. The lodge works hard to create a thriving natural environment, working with conservationists to protect the wild jaguar population and reintroduce howler monkeys to the surrounding forest. Their energy conservation efforts are also looking out for your love life— you’ll see what we mean when you return from dinner to find dozens of candles flickering around your canopy bed.

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Southwest, USA

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Windows down, music up, and your honey riding shotgun down the open road—nothing says freedom and happiness quite like a road trip. Over the last 17 months, we’ve driven over 34,000 miles around North America and it’s tough to find anything better than the western half of the Grand Circle of National Parks. To drive along the soaring red cliffs and hike between its hoodoo-filled valleys is like being in an open-air art museum.

Fly into the urban jungle of Las Vegas and the cityscape quickly gives way to national parks and UNESCO World Heritage sites. Check into Zion Under Canvas at the foot of the park for posh safari-style tents with stargazing windows. After canyoneering the sandstone cliffs of Zion and hiking the maze of fairy chimneys at Bryce Canyon National Park, brake for a few days at Capitol Reef Resort. Truly unique, they offer contemporary teepees and covered wagons decorated in a chic Southwest style.

For your last honeymoon hideaway, the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Lodge is a registered historic landmark on the rim of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. This 600-mile honeymoon road trip will undoubtedly satisfy your wild west spirit, but if you can get more vacation days to complete the Grand Circle, it will be well worth the overtime.

 

Livingstone, Zambia

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Maybe it’s the waterfall’s relentless roar or its spray which can be felt for miles, but everything is more exciting around Victoria Falls. Cutting between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Zambezi River spans 5,604 feet and plummets 354 feet, creating one the world’s largest falls and most jaw-dropping landscapes with exotic wildlife, tropical flowers, and plunging gorges.

Unlike most falls where you see them in one shot, this one reveals itself a little more with each adventure: river rafting, microlight flights, cliff hikes, and a death-defying plunge into the Devil’s Pool. Head upstream to Tongabezi, one of our favourite lodges in the world, and the landscape changes from lush rainforest to woodland savanna, replete with roaming elephants, honking hippos, and cruising crocodiles.

While a safari can spark up from your suite or floating dining room (you must book the Sunset Sampan with the canoe choir!), proper game drives are only a nine miles away at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. As an intimate all-inclusive resort, an adventure guide, bartender, and butler are always at your service. So whether you wake up feeling like a sunrise fishing trip or a bubble bath sprinkled with flower petals, it’s all possible with Tonga hospitality.

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Railay, Thailand

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Everyone’s heard of Phuket, but hop across the Andaman Sea and you’ll find that same karst beach beauty with a fraction of the tourists. The first travellers to fall in love with this lush limestone peninsula were rock climbers and it has retained that sporty, chill vibe. Even though Railay has 700 bolted routes and the opportunity to deepwater solo (free climbing meets sea cliff diving), it’s not just for adrenaline junkies. Stroll to Tonsai beach at low tide for a Thai cooking class, night snorkel with bioluminescent plankton for a glow-in-the-dark swim session, and soak up the sun at the drip-castle-like cove of Phra Nang (often voted one the world’s most beautiful beaches).

For the utmost privacy and pampering, check into Rayavadee Resort. This Small Luxury Hotel of the World has two-story villas, private freshwater pools, butler service, and–wait for it—a restaurant inside a grotto. Spring for their honeymoon package, where couples massages, private boat trips, intimate dinners and romantic surprises unfold without lifting a finger.

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This story originally appeared in trivago Magazine US