Where to go and when: Make your honeymoon the most epic trip ever no matter the season!
Everyone want’s to find the perfect location for a honeymoon. This is a partial list of some great fun locations depending on your interests and the time of year.
Beach honeymoon destination: Sydney, Australia
While you can count on beach weather most of the year, December to February is the best time to hit the Aussie shore. Stay in the city center along the harbor for easy access to Sydney’s top attractions, including the Sydney Opera House, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Zoo—and beaches. After soaking in the sights, take a 25-minute taxi ride to famous Bondi Beach. Known for its waves, Bondi is a popular surf spot (sign up for lessons at LetsGoSurfing.com.au); there’s also an enclosed swimming area on the north side of the beach at the Bondi Icebergs Club with a small daily entrance fee. This is a great location for a beach based honeymoon.
Where to stay: The modern BLUE Sydney, part of Ovolo hotels is right on the wharf, within walking distance of the opera house, shopping district and tons of restaurants.
Sport: Oslo, Norway
Take the metro over to Oslo Winter Park, a central downhill hot spot near more than 60 cabin cafés (yes, you can ride the train right to the slopes!). Tons of trails are lit up at night and stay open until 10 p.m. Ice skating (rent skates at the outdoor Narvisen rink) and sledding are popular, and if you want to explore the countryside, go cross-country skiing in Nordmarka Wilderness Area, a 20-minute subway ride away.
Where to stay: Warm up at the Grand Hotel Oslo, where old-world charm meets modern luxury—aside from their award-winning spa, it’s known for its Grand Sweets bakery with homemade French macarons.
Luxury: Bali, Indonesia
Get pampered in paradise—or, better yet, in a private villa in paradise. On an exotic island that has everything from five-star resorts and a great nightlife to sensual spas and top restaurants. Visit between November and January, when temperatures hover around 80 degrees and rain is a rarity. Just avoid traveling around the holidays when tourists flock. Most of the luxe spots Bali’s known for are on the southern part of the island. You’ll find golf courses, shopping and the types of beaches you’ve only seen on celebs’ Instagram pages. Sign up for a sailing trip—the gorgeous view from offshore is well worth skipping the beach for a day.
Where to stay: You’ll get the full-on royal treatment at the Viceroy Bali, a cliffside resort surrounded by a lush jungle. Enjoy the fabulous views from your luxe villa’s private pool.
Culture: Salvador, Brazil
Thanks to its south-of-the-equator location, Brazil’s summer is our winter, so you can soak up this colonial city’s entire flavor between December and March. Though Rio de Janeiro gets more buzz, Salvador’s dramatic scenery, rich history (it’s one of the oldest cities in South America) and under-the-radar status, make it an ideal honeymoon spot. Not to mention, it’s literally surrounded by beaches. Find culture at Porto da Barra and Farol da Barra, two popular beaches steeped in history. Spend an afternoon strolling along the cobblestone streets and checking out all of the stunning colonial architecture in the upper part of the city. At night, sip caipirinhas, a sweet local cocktail of cachaça and lime.
Where to stay: Enjoy the views from your room at Aram Yami Hotel, a conveniently located boutique hotel set on a hillside overlooking Todos os Santos Bay.
Steal: San Diego, California
San Diego hovers around a comfortable 65 degrees for most of the winter—meaning you can walk along the beaches, check out the nightlife and visit the city’s famous parks without having to pack your winter coats. Many hotels and resorts have discounted rates in the winter, and airfares can be cheaper this time of year. Walk around Balboa Park and check out some of the 15 museums located there; then go to the San Diego Zoo. At night, head to the Gaslamp Quarter for dinner followed by a romantic carriage ride.
Where to stay: The 126-year-old beachfront Hotel del Coronado still has the old-Hollywood feel that once attracted the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe.
*Places to Skip for a winter Honeymoon:
Beijing, China: Chinese families often travel to the capital around the Chinese New Year in January and February, causing long lines at tourist attractions and hotels to book up fast. Many restaurants close down during this time too, leaving the ones that remain open packed.
Chicago, Illinois: The average daily high is around 30 degrees in winter, and the wind chill makes sightseeing almost unbearable. Save the Windy City for summer, when you can cruise on the lake, catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and stroll comfortably along Navy Pier.
Vienna, Austria: This charming city is becoming a travel hot spot—but visit in spring. January temperatures can sink below 30 degrees, which, like in Chicago, makes exploring painful.
If you’re traveling for a honeymoon in… Spring
Beach: Palm Beach, Florida
Take advantage of the off-season in this ritzy area on Florida’s east coast, when rates are low and the weather’s warm—but not too warm. Take a cab to your hotel and change into your suits before heading to one of the dozens of nearby beaches. Cool off with snorkeling or kayaking. When you’ve had your fill of sun, head to Worth Avenue—the Rodeo Drive of South Florida—to peruse the upscale shops and soak in the scene from a restaurant patio.
Where to stay: The Breakers is to Palm Beach what The Plaza is to New York City. Stay in these classic, stylish digs and simply step onto the beach in the morning.
Sport: Guanajuato, Mexico
Cars are banned in much of this colonial city, but you can rent a bike to explore. Walk up the winding staircase of Monumento al Pípila, a statue in honor of the famous miner Juan José de los Reyes Martínez. Wander over to Callejón del Beso(“Alley of the Kiss”), a narrow passageway where legend has it two young lovers once kissed from their balconies. Take a day trip to Cañada de la Virgen, an archeological site that has pre-Columbian ruins dating back a thousand years. This area is known for its thermal springs as well, so bring your bathing suits for a relaxing post-wedding soak.
Where to stay: Tile floors, colonial details and antique décor are just the beginning at Casa de Sierra Nevada. There’s also a cooking school, where you can fuel up on local cuisine.
Luxury: Phuket, Thailand
Have your sun and sand served with an exotic Thai flavor on this mountainous island dotted with Buddhist temples, beaches and jungles. An elephant trek is a must—the 45-minute ride is the quintessential island experience, if only for the photo op. Take a tuk tuk (a rickshaw) to one of the island’s pristine stretches of sand and body surf in the warm water. Enjoy a day trip to Phi Phi Island, where you can snorkel and eat lunch on the beach.
Where to stay: Paresa has honeymoon written all over it. Built into a cliff overlooking the ocean, everything from the spacious suites and villas with their own pools that overlook the ocean to private cooking classes and 270-degree views from the open-air restaurant seem to have been designed with couples in mind.
Culture: Barcelona, Spain
Beat the summer tourist season, but still enjoy comfortable weather between April and June. Stroll along La Rambla, a mile- long stretch with marketplaces, flower stalls and street performers. Take a walking break at the nearby cruise port terminal, where you can hang your feet over the dock and watch the boats come in. Barcelona is famous for its art and architecture: Must-sees include La Sagrada Família and Park Güell, created by Spanish-born artist Antoni Gaudí. Stroll down the Calle Reina Christina and walk the same streets Picasso once did; then visit the permanent Salvador Dali exhibit at the Real Círculo Artístico de Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter. Refuel with Catalonian favorites, like bread with tomato, fresh oysters and escudella i carn d’olla, a meaty stew.
Where to stay: The historic Gran Hotel La Florida is romance all the way, from the scenic city views and an infinity swimming pool to lush gardens and fountains.
Steal: Victoria, British Columbia
Online discounts and packages are inescapable—especially between the ski and summer seasons. Take advantage of the temperate weather to explore the hiking trails and bike routes. Or relax in Jacuzzi-hot water at the Hot Springs Cove in Maquinna Marine Provincial Park, only a one-hour ferry ride away (although you’ll have to walk just over a mile to reach it). May marks the start of whale-watching season—splurge on a boat tour for a close-up view.
Where to stay: Check into The Magnolia Hotel & Spa, located steps from the harbor. Eat at the popular in-house restaurant specializing in small bites.
Places to Skip for a Winter Honeymoon:
Orlando, Florida: Save Walt Disney world or universal Orlando resort for another time—unless you want to spend your honeymoon waiting in lines (no thanks!). Spring break means this tourist town fills up with college students and families.
Hamilton, Bermuda: This tiny island off the South Carolina coast stays in the 60-to-70-degree range until May, making it a bit too cool to fully enjoy the beaches, which is sort of the whole point of going.
Kenya, Africa: If taking a safari is on your and your fiancé’s bucket lists, you might want to delay your trip until the summer or fall. Show up in April or May and you’ll be smack in the middle of the heaviest part of the rainy season.
If you’re traveling for a honeymoon in…Summer
Beach: Newport, Rhode Island
The Caribbean is rainy this time of year, and you’ll melt in parts of Florida—but Newport’s beaches are in their prime. Expect 80-degree temperatures during the day and a cool New England breeze at night. Fit the Cliff Walk into your itinerary—the 3.5-mile elevated path from First Beach to Bailey’s Beach takes you through the historic district full of impressive Gatsby-worthy mansions. Accessible only by foot or by bike, Bailey’s Beach is a small and secluded stretch of sand perfect for post-wedding recovery and romantic picnics. For a change of scenery, take a cab to Newport Vineyards to enjoy an afternoon wine tasting.
Where to stay: Book a room at the more than 100-year-old Castle Hill Inn, a beach-summerhouse-turned-resort. For total privacy, rent one of the beach cottages.
Sport: Telluride, Colorado
Lauren Bush’s rustic ranch nuptials in 2011 took place near this charming town in southwestern Colorado, which is also an ideal honeymoon destination for outdoor enthusiasts. While tourists flock here in winter for the skiing, Telluride is a hiker’s dream in the summer. Test your skills on peaks that exceed 14,000 feet, or take
A scenic “stroll” on one of the easier trails. If you want to up the ante, sign up for rock climbing lessons. There’s even a man-made boulder in the Mountain Village that you can try before going for the real thing. For a more relaxing option, go horseback riding high up in the gorgeous San Juan Mountains, or spend an afternoon fly-fishing.
Where to stay: Take a break at The Peaks Resort, a romantic retreat overlooking the mountains.
Luxury: Beau Champ, Mauritius
Make the trip to this secluded island off the coast of Africa for an upscale beach retreat minus the scorching weather. Temperatures hover around 75 degrees during the summer (which is winter here). The posh locale has become a hot spot for jet-setters and celebrities (Prince Harry, Simon Cowell and Penélope Cruz have all reportedly vacationed here. It’s no wonder: Everything from the pristine beaches to luxurious spas. The romantic suites with private plunge pools are designed to let you completely indulge.
Where to stay: Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, a five-star resort with a golf course, spa and palm-tree-lined beach.
Culture: Budapest, Hungary
Summer is the only time of year when all 15 of the city’s thermal baths are open to the public. Soaking in one of the bath houses dating back to the Turkish occupation in the 16th century is a can’t-miss experience. Enjoy 80-degree weather while exploring Budapest’s cultural riches. Start with the House of Parliament, Hungary’s largest building. Walk through the Millennium Underground Railway, the first in continental Europe. Make stops at the Royal Palace and The Opera House. This is a 19th-century building that’s home to the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra (concerts are on Mondays).
Where to stay: The boutique Lanchid 19 Design hotel is über-chic and has a dramatic interactive façade featuring changing images. Equally dramatic is the hotel’s venerable location along the Danube.
Steal: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Temperatures hover around a comfortable 60 degrees in summer. This makes it a great time to discover this city’s diverse neighborhoods, outdoor markets, local art, cafés and tango culture. Hook up with the Google-like guides from BA Free Tours, who will show you around the downtown sights for free, plus tips. Or take a cool tour of the city’s graffiti and street art. Explore the restaurants and shops along bustling Corrientes Avenue.
Where to stay: Housed in a 100-year-old town house, Art Hotel is situated in the swanky Recoleta neighborhood. Admire works from Argentine artists in the ground-floor gallery and in your room.
*Places to Skip for Honeymoons in Summer:
New York, New York: Summer in “the city that never sleeps” is notorious for stifling temperatures and funky smells. Plus, weekends are dead since locals flock to nearby beach towns.
Paris, France: Most of the Parisians have the entire month of August off and head out of the city—leaving the City of Light feeling way less authentic and just a little too quiet, unless you count tourists in fanny packs.
Mumbai, India: Monsoon season runs from June to September and floods are common when rainfall peaks in July. Unless you love the sound of rain so much you want it to be the soundtrack to your honeymoon, avoid these months.
If you’re traveling for a Honeymoon in…Fall
Beach: Lanai, Hawaii
Winter is Lanai’s busy season, when mainlanders flock to the island to escape the cold. You’ll get prime weather in the fall—and have a better chance at getting a quiet patch of sand. Especially at Huawai Bay, which is rarely visited by travelers. Enjoy the 47 miles of coastline, starting at Hulopoe Bay. You can get your snorkel on and maybe see a dolphin. For an adventure, trek up the lava rock that runs along the coast of Shark’s Bay. You can also get your feet (and everything else) wet at the Cathedrals, a diving spot with underwater caverns.
Where to stay: White sand beaches, two world-ranked golf courses and the at-your-service staff all await you at Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay.
Sport: Portland, Oregon
Summer’s the busy season, but if you go in early fall, you’ll miss the constant drizzle of winter. You will also still get warm enough weather to enjoy all of the biking, hiking and kayaking. Another bonus: Oregon’s foliage season peaks in mid-October, when the leaves are at their most breathtaking. Wake up with the locals for a morning bike ride (many Portlanders cycle to work). This way you will have plenty of time to work up an appetite before hitting up the city’s massive farmers market. After you fuel up, take a ride to Scappoose Bay Kayaking and paddle along secluded waterways.
Where to stay: Wake up in your quintessentially Pacific Northwest room (think: artsy décor) at Hotel Monaco Portland, just eight blocks from the waterfront.
Luxury: Zanzibar, Tanzania
This hard-to-reach destination gets monsoons in the spring, and rates increase in the summer as the weather dries up. Come fall, you’ll still get the dry weather—plus, better prices on some of Africa’s most exotic five-star resorts. This is Where you’ll experience the ultimate in pampering. Splurge on a sailing tour around the island. Ask your hotel’s concierge about hiring a private boat for a swim with dolphins. After all, it’s your one and only honeymoon!
Where to stay: You might not want to leave your private villa at Kilindi Zanzibar, a luxury resort set on 50 gorgeous acres of tropical garden and white sand beach. Well, unless it’s to take a dip in the pool, indulge in spa treatments or taste the mouth-watering menu featuring local produce and spices right next to the ocean.
Culture: Agra, India
Visit between late September and November to avoid monsoon season. Agra is packed with historic gems, including the world’s most significant monument of love—the Taj Mahal. If you time your trip right, you can take a romantic evening tour of this Wonder of the World. The monument is open for night viewing five evenings per month around the full moon. Also, spend a day strolling local marketplaces, where you can buy crafts and ogle over precious jewels.
Where to stay: You and your fiancé can enjoy a priceless view of the Taj Mahal and participate in a Hindu blessing ceremony for good luck and happiness at The Oberoi Amarvilas.
Steal: Austin, Texas
Thanks to the influx of music festivals, trendy restaurants and galleries, Austin has become a hot spot. Tourists swarm in the sizzling summer months. However, the best time to visit is in the fall when the temperatures are at a more comfortable 70 to 80 degrees. Head to South Congress Avenue to score some great vintage swag during the day. At night, stroll to Sixth Street to check out the live music scene. For a dose of nature, go for a dip in the Barton Springs Pool—a natural pool that stays warm year-round.
Where to stay: For a hip boutique with a retro spin, stay at Hotel San José on Congress Avenue.
Places to Skip when planning a fall honeymoon:
Cayman Islands: Tropical storms and hurricanes rage in the Caribbean this time of year. The northern islands, like Grand Cayman and its smaller cousins, typically take the brunt of them. Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas are also risky.
Cancun, Mexico: It only rains about 58 days a year here. Most of those days fall between September and November.
Queensland, Australia: October, November and December are among Queensland’s hottest and most humid months. This can make sightseeing uncomfortable to say the least. Also, some tour companies and attractions close during the fall.