The first impression is the last impression, and this is true for all the newly-weds who have such a hard time deciding on the best of exotic honeymoon destinations in the world.From beaches and mountains, to nature, and adventure, whatever your plans of an international honeymoon tour may be, these amazing honeymoon destinations are sure to charm you beyond expectation.
Romantic? Check. Brag-worthy? Absolutely. Filled with enough secret coves and doting waiters to make your seven days in heaven an affair to remember? These destinations most certainly are. How do we know for sure? Because we asked the A-list travel agents of Virtuoso to rank their favorite locations for couples around the world. There’s something for everyone on this list, whether you’re searching for an escape that’s far-flung or nearby, ringed with beaches or teeming with wildlife, filled with history or lush with vineyards. The big news this year: A certain tropical island destination has overtaken two-time winner Italy as the number one honeymoon spot on the globe. So where in the world is it? And is it the perfect getaway for you?
- French Polynesia
Few places on the globe inspire more awe than this group of 118 islands, which include, most famously, the emerald-carpeted outposts of The Islands of Tahiti and Bora Bora. Also helping it clinch the top spot: the buzzy July 1 opening of the Brando, an ecoluxe sanctuary on the private island of Tetiaroa, where Marlon Brando and his wife, Tarita Teri’ipaia, once lived. Spend your honeymoon planted in one of this French territory’s legendary overwater love nests, or puddle jump between otherworldly diving sites and to-die-for atolls. Wherever you wander, you’ll have heavenly views of the infinite sea.
Go ahead, try to honeymoon here and not fall in love. Its 20 regions offer an embarrassment of romantic riches, from the simple pleasures of al fresco dining on a piazza in Florence to the rich history of the floating city of Venice—not to mention the ruins of Rome, the jaw-dropping cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, and the vineyards of Tuscany. It’s no surprise this boot-shaped nation claimed the top spot on our list in 2012 and 2013.
The iconic silhouette of Diamond Head on Oahu’s Waikiki Beach is only a prelude to what lies beyond. Killer surf breaks, traditional Polynesian resorts, and a warmth that permeates all of the eight major islands—no wonder this volcanic chain has been a go-to honeymoon destination for three generations. Pick your pleasure: Oahu, with the bright lights of Honolulu and the drama of the North Shore; Maui, with its fun-loving vibe and celeb-magnet resorts; Kauai, with its jaw-dropping cliffs and waterfalls; the Big Island, with its sputtering volcano and black-sand beaches; or Lanai, home to pineapple plantations and two superluxe hotels. Hit at least a couple of isles now, then come back for your anniversaries to see the rest.
You need a big reason to travel all the way to this Indian Ocean archipelago; getting here is not easy. So there’s no better time than post wedding, when the two of you have the ultimate excuse to snorkel above the Technicolor reefs, lounge in an over-lagoon bungalow, and try to find the spot where the blue sky meets the horizon. Or maybe just the spot where Kate and Wills retreated after their big day!
- South Africa
It’s not just about safari-going anymore. Yes, you can see the Big Five in Kruger National Park, but you can also taste extraordinary sauvignon blancs in Franschhoek, dine on Cape Dutch cuisine in Cape Town, even bungee jump or shark-cage dive where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. Diversity: South Africa has it to spare. The only problem is how much to squeeze into a 10-day honeymoon.
WHY GO: Italy has long been a favorite honeymoon location for newlyweds. After all, nothing says “amore” quite like a gondola ride through the Grand Canal as you sail past historic buildings.
WHERE TO STAY: The just-opened (read: stylish and modern) JW Marriott Venice (from $437, Marriott.com) is located on a private island with stunning vistas of Piazza San Marco. Pretend you’re Hollywood royalty (like Amal Alamuddin and George Clooney) as you take the complimentary 15-minute ferry ride to Venice.
WHAT TO DO: Take a romantic, leisurely stroll around Piazza San Marco to feel the true scale of the enormous domes of the Basilica di San Marco or the beautiful and ornate details of Palazzo Ducale. Then, escape the sights and sounds of the city with a dreamy boat ride to one of the unspoiled islands nearby.
7. Most Romantic: Harbour Island, Bahamas
WHY GO: Chances are you’ve never seen anything like this pink-sand paradise. Plus, it’s loved by boldface names like designer Diane von Furstenberg, Mick Jagger, Bill Gates and supermodel Elle Macpherson, so it must be amazing!
WHERE TO STAY: Tingum Village Hotel has just 19 airy one-bedroom suites (from $140, Hotels.com). Each room opens to an outdoor patio or balcony, perfect for early-morning (or late-night) lounging.
WHAT TO DO: Visit postcard-perfect Pink Sands Beach and settle in among the three-mile stretch of sand and turquoise waters. Above the beach, join the jet-set for an open-air lunch at Sip Sip (the fresh menu changes daily). Then shop for a flowy caftan or other souvenirs at India Hicks’s Sugar Mill Trading Co. shop.
8. Most Romantic: Cape Town, South Africa
WHY GO: Can’t decide on what kind of honeymoon to take? Cape Town has you covered: glamorous beaches, big-city buzz, wild landscapes, and easy access to wine country and some of the world’s best safaris.
WHERE TO STAY: The über-stylish and secluded Atlantic House (from $137, AtlanticHouse.co.za) is set in trendy Camps Bay and has only five en-suite rooms for the ultimate privacy and romance. Throw open the doors to your elevated wood deck for an “Is this real life?” view.
WHAT TO DO: Go to the ends of the earth with your honey and take a 90-minute drive to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Agulhas, located in the most southern parts of the African continent. On the way back, stop at Boulders Beach to visit the famed colony of warm-weather penguins.
9. Most Romantic: Savannah, Georgia
WHY GO: Get lost in the city’s slow-paced serenity—it’s the perfect antidote to any lingering wedding planning stress. Cozy inns and local restaurants flourish around the tree-shaded historic district.
WHERE TO STAY: The Mansion on Forsyth Park (from $189, MansiononForsythPark.com) offers a top-notch art collection, a cooking school, spa, an outdoor relaxation pool and a popular restaurant on-site. You’ll be forgiven if you have honeymoon withdrawal when you leave.
WHAT TO DO: Take a charming horse-drawn carriage tour around the squares. Or drive 30 minutes to kayak among dolphins off Tybee Island.
10. Most Romantic: Santorini, Greece
WHY GO: This small volcanic island is known for its seriously gorgeous sunsets and pristine whitewashed villas.
WHERE TO STAY: Reserve the Perivolas hotel’s (from $465, Perivolas.gr) Perivolas Suite—its cliffside terrace provides an Instagram-worthy view of the Aegean Sea.
WHAT TO DO: Even couples who get antsy after an hour of beach time will find lots to explore. Take a scooter to the red- and black-sand beaches, check out ancient sites—like the newly reopened Bronze Age settlement of Akrotíri (oftentimes called “Minoan Pompeii”)—visit wineries, go hiking and stop in the many boutiques.
11. Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland
Couples who are in search of a low-key destination where they can indulge in an offbeat experience, they need not look further than Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland which is one of the best honeymoon places in the world. From the shimmering coastline of Solway Coast to the thrilling experiences of yachting and windsurfing, choosing the countryside of Dumfries and Galloway for a honeymoon experience is any day, a choice well made!
Best Time To Visit: March to May
Places To Visit: Caerlaverock Castle, Threave Castle, Sweetheart Abbey, Crawick Multiverse, and more.
Things To Do: Explore the region of Drumlanrig Castle, relax in the authentic wood-fired hot tub, visit the Stewartry Museum, camping at Criffel, and more.
12. Mirissa, Sri Lanka
Located on the pristine South Coast, Mirissa is hands down one of the most offbeat honeymoon places in Sri Lanka. Much famed for its stunning beach which is of the crescent shape, Mirissa is perfect for the happy souls who love to eat, drink, dance, and repeat, all day and night. A popular party destination in the heart of Sri Lanka, Mirissa lacks nothing when it comes to natural, and tranquil surroundings.
Best Time To Visit: December to March
Places To Visit: Kushtarajagala Statue, Turtle Bay, Polhena Beach, Weligama Bay, Mirissa Beach, and more.
Things To Do: Go dolphin and whale watching, enjoy the best of speedboat rides, indulge in luxury spas, experience scuba diving and snorkeling in Sri Lankan waters, and more.
13. Taveuni, Fiji Islands
Following the footsteps of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Taveuni is the third largest island which is perfect for a surreal honeymoon in Fiji islands. The most suitable island for experiencing isolation at its best, Taveuni is a paradise full of dense jungles, cascading waterfalls, and needless to say, quixotic turquoise waters which are perfect for the best diving experiences. Considered to be one of the best honeymoon destinations in the world, for all the wildlife enthusiasts out there, this places is for you!
Best Time To Visit: November to April
Places To Visit: Bouma National Heritage Park, Lake Tagimaucia, Somosomo Strait, Tavoro Falls, and more.
Things To Do: Experience the coastal walk of Lavena, hike through the Des Voeux peak, explore the islet of Qamea, and more.
14. Udaipur, India
Once a home to the famous Mewar Kingdom, nothing surpasses the charm and the luxuries that a couple is bound to experience on a Udaipur honeymoon. A gem in the heart of Rajasthan, the whole city of Udaipur is set amidst a chain of artificial lakes. Synonymous with royal luxury, and lavish lifestyle, Udaipur is not only the best place in India for couples but also one of the top honeymoon destinations in world.
Best Time To Visit: September to March
Places To Visit: Lake Palace, City Palace, Lake Pichola, Jaisamand Lake, Jagdish Temple, Gulab Bagh, and more.
Things To Do: Enjoy boating at Fateh Sagar Lake, go on a shikara ride on Lake Pichola, stay in the luxurious City Palace, dine at the famous Sheesh Mahal, and more.
15. Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Thinking of escaping with your soulmate to one of the most expensive islands in the world? You’re reading just about that. The most popular, and the most elite island amongst the others in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a paradise in itself which is renowned worldwide for its rich coral reef, crystal clear blue waters, and luxury overwater villas which alone are worth spending your honeymoon here!
Best Time To Visit: November to April
Places To Visit: Matira Point, Monte Otemanu, Bora Bora Lagoonarium, Pofai Bay, and more.
Things To Do: Go hiking at Monte Pahia, stroll around the coastline of Playa Matira, enjoy a glass bottom boat tour, experience shark and ray snorkeling safari, and more.
16. Piedmont, Italy
Much famed for the wine tasting scenes, Piedmont is an apt place for a couple who consider themselves as foodies by heart. Filled with lush green vineyards that are way too romantic as well, this gastronomical hub of Italy can also be explored as one of the most exotic honeymoon destinations on a budget.
So for those who are looking forward to saute romance with the best of food, Piedmont is the place to be. Bon Appetit!
Best Time To Visit: October to November
Places To Visit: Basilica of Superga, Palace of Venaria, Sacra di San Michele, Egyptian Museum and Piazza Castello in Turin, and more.
Things To Do: Don’t miss the white truffle festival; Relish the authentic Piedmontese cuisine with Barbaresco wine tour at Barolo country; Enjoy wine tasting in a translucent bubble at Ceretto; go for fine dining or a romantic dinner date at La Torricella.
17. Namibia, South Africa
Massive sand dunes, breathtaking vistas, stunning stargazing and amazing sunsets, are few romantic experiences that not only make Namibia one the top exotic honeymoon destinations in the world but also one amongst the best honeymoon destinations in the world.
A perfect blend of the desert, and the wildlife, Namibia offers enough tranquil experiences that will make your honeymoon an unforgettable affair.
Best Time To Visit: June to October
Places To Visit: Etosha National Park, Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon, National Marine Aquarium of Namibia, and more.
Things To Do: Desert camping at Sossusvlei; Birdwatching in the Caprivi Strip; Wildlife safari at Etosha National Park; hiking and camping at Fish River Canyon; and much more.
18. Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
If there is heaven anywhere on an island, it is right here on Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia. Considered to be one of the most exotic island honeymoon destinations, the thriving islands covered with jungles, exquisite beaches, and rich coral reefs, make Raja Ampat one of the world’s best diving sites.
One look is all it takes to fall in love with this majestic island!
Best Time To Visit: October to April
Places To Visit: Pulau Wayag, Cape Kri, Pianemo Islands, Pasir Timbul Beach, Pulau Misool Island, Sea Sanctuaries Trust, Harfat Peak, and more.
Things To Do: Watch a romantic sunrise or sunset and snorkel at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge; scuba dive at Pulau Pef; kayak from Gam to Arborek; hike the Piaynemo Island to enjoy panoramic views of Raja Ampat Islands.
19. Queenstown, New Zealand
Though Queenstown is renowned as a global adventure capital of New Zealand, it lacks nothing when it comes to best exotic destinations for honeymoon.
Pristine lakes, inspiring art & culture, and long stretches of vineyards of this romantic yet an adventure honeymoon destination, are all in sync to lift up your spirits on your honeymoon in Queenstown.
Best Time To Visit: December to February
Places To Visit: Lake Wakatipu, Paradise Valley, Milford Sound, Lake Wanaka, Skycity Queenstown, Coronet Mountains, and more.
Things To Do: Ride the Skyline Gondola; enjoy a laid-back day at Lake Wakatipu; dip into the onsen pools near Coronet mountains; enjoy the best of skiing, snowboarding, and more at the Remarkables, and more.
20. Canton of Ticino, Switzerland
Home to the best of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, variety is what Canton of Ticino offers as an exotic honeymoon destination in Switzerland.
Soaring peaks, rolling hills, alpine valleys, bustling glaciers, and swirling palms, work together like a charm to cast a magical spell on you at Ticino.
Best Time To Visit: July to August
Places To Visit: Piora Valley, Brissago Islands, Gotthard Peaks, Bellinzona Castles, Verzasca Valley, Monte San Giorgio, and Mendrisiotto Hills.
Things To Do: Hike the Monte San Salvatore for panoramic views; enjoy the best skiing in the Alps; adventurers can choose to bungee-jump at Contra Dam; relish the scenic views of Valle Verzasca, and more.
21. Barcelona, Spain
Romance abides in the seaside city of Barcelona wherein you can experience all of modern culture, old traditions, authentic food, and sparkling range of wines.
An epitome of stunning architecture and exotic attractions, Barcelona is filled with romantic places that will add the much needed charm to your honeymoon trip to Spain.
Best Time To Visit: April to June and September to October
Places To Visit: La Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Montserrat, Parc del Laberint d’Horta, Torre de Collserola, La Barceloneta Beach, and much more.
Things To Do: Go shopping at La Roca Village; go for a romantic walk in Parc del Laberint d’Horta; witness Barcelona at its best from the observation deck of Torre de Collserola; watch the sun go down from Sagrat Cor Church in Mount Tibidabo; and more.
22. Las Vegas, Nevada
One of the greatest honeymoon destinations so far, your honeymoon in Vegas is sure to be a hit. This party destinations is full of romantic places that come alive in night.
Do try your luck at the casino and do not miss out on getting a taste of the multiple cultures of worldwide destinations at one single place. Go to Vegas for experiences but stay for romance and memories!
Best Time To Visit: March to May
Places To Visit: The Neon Museum, The MGM Grand, Shark Reef Aquarium, Caesars Palace, Adventuredome, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and more.
Things To Do: Play a table game at Bellagio Casino; Shop at the LINQ Promenade; enjoy a bit of everything at Planet Hollywood; enjoy 360-degree views from the Stratosphere Tower; and more.
23. Bagan, Myanmar
An exotic environ is what you need on an honeymoon and that is exactly what you get to witness in Bagan, Myanmar.
The infinite number of ancient temples gives Bagan an enchanted feeling which works well with the pristine lakes, countryside parks, calm beaches, mesmerizing mountains, and the kind people. Exotic in nature, make sure you don’t miss out on exploring this lesser known gem of Southeast Asia!
Best Time To Visit: November to February
Places To Visit: Pwasaw, Inle Lake Floating Gardens, Popa Mountain National Park, Ananda Temple, Bupaya Pagoda, Bagan Golden Palace, and more.
Things To Do: Take an e-bike tour of Bagan; enjoy hot air ballooning in Bagan; witness a beautiful sunset on Inle Lake; relish the sunset dinner as well as the views at Bagan Viewing Tower, climb the nerve-racking 777 steps to the monastery on top of Mount Popa, and more.
24. Split, Croatia
Live the Dalmatian life to the fullest at this exotic city of Split that is set on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Being the second-largest city of Croatia, Split offers you the best of both the old, and the new that makes it one of the best honeymoon places in the world.
With its turquoise beaches, the attractive building blocks, and the extraordinary architecture, Split has all the right ingredients for your exotic honeymoon!
Best Time To Visit: May to June & September to October
Places To Visit: Diocletian Palace, Marjan Hills, Cathedral of St.Duje, Brač Island, Prokurativa, Riva, Mestrovic Gallery, and more.
Things To Do: Explore the timeless beauty of the Old Town; go on a sightseeing tour; explore the churches of Marjan; go for a romantic walk along the Riva; experience island hopping; and much more.
25. Kerala, India
Considered to be one of the most exotic honeymoon beach destinations in India, Kerala is class apart in its offerings.
From finest beaches, and bustling backwaters, to a long stretch of palm-lined shoreline, goodness of ayurveda, and its romantic houseboats, Kerala is one of the top honeymoon destinations in India that offers tranquil experiences which cannot be felt anywhere else in the world.
Best Time To Visit: November to May
Places To Visit: Alleppey, Munnar, Kovalam, Kumarakom, Kochi, Kasargod, Varkala, and more.
Things To Do: Witness the craze of snake boat racing; relax with ayurvedic massages; watch the traditional Kathakali dance; paraglide in Varkala; camp in Periyar National Park, and more.