Choose your own adventure
After making what feels like a million decisions: the venue, the dress, your flowers, the seating chart, the list goes on–it’s possible that the last thing you and your fiancé want to do is make yet one more choice about where to spend your first vacation as newlyweds. Honeymoon pressure is real, and we’ve got you covered–here are our picks for this year’s hottest honeymoon destinations and romantic getaways.
1. San Pellegrino Terme, Italy
We’re always on the hunt for Italy’s hidden treasures, and this one stood out for the couple in need of some well-deserved pampering. Located at the foot of the Alps, this quaint town’s main export is, no surprise here, the most refreshing mineral water out there. That locally sourced, free-flowing H20 is also the main resource for the area’s best spa, making it the go-to spot for treatments you can’t find anywhere else.
Where to stay: QC Terme San Pellegrino. Thermal experiences, like a string of pools, saunas, and treatments with the area’s renowned mineral waters make this spa otherworldly; and its proximity and connection to the once-open Grand Hotel San Pellegrino and still-in-use San Pellegrino Casino are a treat for the architecture and décor-obsessed.
Best Time to Go: Like most of Europe, heading to this locale in the Spring is your best bet.
2. Kas, Turkey
The Greek islands, beautiful as they are, have a sort of “been there, done that” feel. Head to this less tourist-y beachfront town on the Turquoise Coast (named for the gorgeous hue of its horizon) that offers equal parts luxury and authenticity. Scuba-diving in this town is unparalleled and sunbathing on Patara Beach, the longest beach on the Mediterranean, gives visitors a chance to simultaneously view the ancient ruins that run along its nine-mile stretch.
Where to stay: The Peninsula Gardens Hotel. Kas is all about easy-going days and breathtaking ocean views–and there is no better one than from the coastal cliffs that this five-star property sits in. Odds are, you’ll also be able to take in the sunset from your room’s private plunge pool; 13 of this boutique hotel’s 18 rooms have them.
Best Time to Go: Summers can be humid and winters here are not swimsuit weather–stick to May, June, September and October.
3. Sri Lanka
Equal parts spiritual sanctuary and luxury retreat, Sri Lanka is the answer for those seeking a Southeast Asian alternative to Bali and The Maldives. While the country’s capital of Colombo is in the midst of a metropolitan upswing, new beachfront hotels are popping up along its shores to accommodate surfers looking for something more upscale.
Where to Stay: TRI Lanka. Ideal for yogis looking to do a downward dog in the most spectacular of settings, this sustainably-designed hotel overlooks the country’s most beautiful lake.
Best Time to Go: Sri Lanka experiences two annual monsoons on its east and west coasts. If you’re heading east: the best time to visit some time between April-September; if you’re heading south or west to hill country, look for tickets any time between December and March.
4. Paris, France
Let’s face it, Paris needs some love right now, especially after all the romance she’s provided us with over the years. We were sad to hear that couples were cancelling the chance to stop over or spend time in one of our favorite cities, and 2016 promises to be an exciting time for the City of Light as it rebuilds and reboots.
What to do: There are overwhelming amounts of ultra-chic options to stay and dine in almost every arrondissement, but this year marks the 30th anniversary of the Musée des Arts Decoratifs. The institution will be celebrating with a Spring exhibition, fashion forward, honoring three centuries in fashion and jewels and featuring 300+ pieces of men’s, women’s and children’s wear.
Best Time to Go: Fall and Spring are by far the best times of year to visit Paris, but avoid the Summer months when most vendors close up shop and relocate to their vacation homes in the South of France.
5. San Sebastian, Spain
If you’re in it for the food, Spain is where it’s at, and San Sebastian’s culinary and art scene are arguably some of the country’s best. This town has the same city-meets-beach vibes as Barcelona, but with a more aristocratic heritage allowing for tours of old palaces. While there, don’t miss out on their tasty version of tapas, called pintxos.
Where to Eat: Arzak. Chefs Thomas Keller and David Chang both recommend this classic Basque restaurant that is considered a culinary landmark. Having held three Michelin stars since the late 1980’s, the preparations and techniques leaving the Arzak kitchen have been refined and improved over its decades in business. While this is not a new, hot up-and-comer, it’s definitely for the couple that lives to experience the best of the best.
Best Time to Go: Fall and Spring time will make for foodie tours with the best weather, while Summer months may have restaurant owners taking extended siestas midday.
6. Arosa, Switzerland
A snow bunny’s paradise, these slopes rival the best in the world and are most magical around the holiday season. In the summer months, this Swiss Mountains staple is ideal for hiking and biking, while its food and wine scene is delicious year-round.
Where to Stay: The Tschuggen Grand Hotel. This luxury resort high in Arosa’s Alpine region features the Tschuggen Express, a private ski lift for guests, and the Tschuggen Bergoase Spa, built directly into the mountain the hotel sits in. Five restaurants on the property range from the fondue eatery, The Igloo Village to the Michelin-rated La Vetta.
Best Time to Go: If you’re in it for the spa, the summer months are nice enough, but going to a skiers paradise at any time other than Winter could be a missed opportunity.
7. Lagos, Portugal
The chic cosmopolitans of Lisbon head to the Algarve for surfing and its beaches, and Lagos likely sits at the top of their lists. A seafood mecca, this town’s low-key vibe walks the fine line between catering to visitors and remaining unaffected by tourism, resulting in a fun nightlife scene, high-quality eateries and hotels, and an English-speaking population that is rife with chic ex-pats.
Where to Stay: Casa Arte. A small, boutique hotel and villa comprised of only five rooms, this respite from the typical resort scene is well worth being a bit farther from the beach. While the food at the hotel is top notch, heading into town for the nightlife after-hours and the chicken piri-piri at Mullen’s is a must.
Best Time to Go: This is is truly a year-round destination. While Spring and Summers’ surf draw a a bigger crowd, the Winter months are the best time to score off-season rates.
8. Croatia, Vis Island
Beyoncé and Jay-Z traveled here before it was cool, and we know why: it’s by far one of the most romantic destinations out there. The scent of pine trees pervades the mountainous beaches of Vis, whose clear water astounds most of its visitors. Other towns, like Rovinj, will have you sipping champagne at sunset on its rocky cliffs. You’ll appreciate Croatia’s lack of major must-see landmarks that in any other European city would make traveling there just for the beaches something your friends would hold against you.
Where to Eat: Fort George. A gallery, restaurant, bar, and venue, this converted military fort in Vis speaks to all your senses. For wine lovers, this city is home to some of the region’s most distinctive varietals, and the Fort is a beautiful spot to sip them.
Best Time to Go: July and August are high-season on the Adriatic Coast, but extending your dates to some time between June-September will allow you to experience the country when it’s less crowded and temperatures are milder.
9. British Columbia, Canada
The unexpected trip for the couple that wants a quick flight, British Columbia is best known for its landscape, food scene and adrenaline-junkie appeal. Whistler’s slopes and Vancouver Island’s artsy vibes are main attractions, while chartering a boat to take in it’s natural beauty is a romantic activity worth splurging on.
Where to eat: Tojo’s. The Asian influence on this region comes to life in fine eateries like this one, and those in-the-know recommend trusting the chef entirely and opting for the Omakase menu.
Best Time to Go: March through May and September to November are when the weather is tepid, and Summer is popular due to the nice weather. But–if you’re a snow bunny–head there mid-Winter when the slopes are at their prime.
10. Tasmania, Australia
Australia’s smallest island state, this heart-shaped (apropos, we know….) region is simply breathtaking, and boasts the world’s cleanest air. The last stop before Antarctica (another one of the world’s up and coming places to visit), this certainly fits the bill for adventurous couples looking to travel to the world’s end.
Where to stay: The Saffire Freycinet.What was once a multi-million dollar development overlooking white-sand beaches and deep blue bays is now Tasmania’s 20-room attraction for guests seeking body cocoon and scrub treatments that utilize the natural resources of the area. The chance to wine and dine in Great Oyster Bay as oysters are freshly shucked and prepared for you is not to be missed.
Best Time to Go: December through February are Australia’s summer months, perfect for a warm weather escape during our polar vortex.
11. Guadeloupe & Martinique
East coasters can now fly directly to the French Caribbean via Norwegian Air’s direct flights, and heading to one of these chic getaways to start gives you easy access to island-hop to the other after a few days. The blend of cultures and cuisines on these breathtaking shorefronts makes them top picks for those looking for the best of both worlds, and the food on these abundant islands is said to be just as good as their stellar beaches.
Where to Stay: Le Jardin Malanga. Breathtaking lookouts and the scent of citrus trees are two features of this charming property. Accommodations range from a renovated colonial house from the 1920’s to quaint cottages. The hotel restaurant, Le Panga, serves up French cuisine using only local ingredients.
Best Time to Go: Get away from the winter weather any time between December-April, when the French Caribbean is at it’s best.
Known best for its cultural landmarks, music scene, and craft beers and cocktails, Dublin is a fun start to a honeymoon that is better when wrapped-up with a road trip through Ireland’s bucolic countryside. Is spending a night or more in a historic castle on your bucket list? This trip is the chic way to feel like a princess for the day.
Where to Stay: Ashford Castle. For the Downton Abbey-obsessed, this thirteenth-century castle turned luxury hotel was once the home of the Guinness family. It’s furnishings live up to your (and their) high expectations.
Best Time to Go: Despite the beautiful weather, Spring and Summer are the busiest months in Dublin, resulting in crowds and high rates. Heading here as the leaves change in Fall is the secret to getting the best out of this trip.