Getting hitched seems to be very cool at the moment, with everyone from Prince Harry to Chiara Ferragni tying the knot. But beyond a grand wedding with a quirky personalised Instagram hashtag and a custom Dior gown and Tom Ford party favours, it’s likely that what the part newly-wed couples most look forward to is the honeymoon.
The honeymoon, the uber – nay, ultra – relaxing holiday that comes after the wedding as a can-you-believe-we-just-did-that retreat for the newly-wed couple has been stuck in a bit of a wanderlust-y rut in recent years. Hawaii is so passé. The Maldives are so yesterday. Croatia was cool for a hot minute, yet now even Ibiza is losing its charm.
However, 2018 came soaring in like a turtle dove out of a cage at a French wedding, and much has changed. Dad trainers are in fashion. People are asking Keke if she loves them. Plant-based diets are very much a thing. And new and unusual honeymoon destinations are thriving.
If you’re seeking a quick adventurous mini-moon or a full-fledged tropical beach vacation, we’ve compiled a list of the hottest honeymoon destinations you should set your eye on this upcoming wedding season. Whether you’re looking to swirl spaghetti on your spoon along the Amalfi Coast, or clutch your binoculars from the jeep on a safari in Zambia, these spots will ensure you have the most exotic, eclectic, or downright electrifying trip of your newly-wed lifetime. After all, does it really matter where you are, so long as you’re with your beau? Of course it does. And here’s where you should head.
Hero image credit: Cuixmala
Rum & Romance in Cuba
Starting off our list vibrant and charmingly vintage is Cuba. A country that boasts an old-world charm that only few possess, take in the colourful colonial architecture in old Havana whilst driving a retro Cuban car, before following on the haunts of Ernest Hemingway and Frank Sinatra, who both spent a lot of time here. Dance the night away at a salsa bar after a few too many rum cocktails, or visit the white sand beaches of Varadero and the underground rivers in Finales. Rich in cultural and culinary traditions, Cuba offers a perfect blend of undiscovered seaside and historical cityscape.
Stay: Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski La Habana, with an incredible city view from the rooftop pool
Eat & Drink: Ropa Vieja, stewed shredded meat with a spicy tomato sauce, churros for dessert, a mojito for drinks, and some Cuban Coffee for the hangover (and don’t forget a fine Cuban cigar)
For the ‘gram: Stunning architecture in Havana’s Old Town
Views & Vongole on the Amalfi Coast, Italy
Located on the beautiful bay of Naples, the Amalfi coast is known for its stunning scenery, with sweeping views over sleepy Italian villages on the cliffs above the Mediterranean sea. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s the perfect spot for soaking up some Italian sun and sampling the world-renowned Neapolitan cuisine with a glass of Prosecco. A fun tip? Rent an Italian car and drive along the scenic highway to the nearby town of Positano. Bonus points if you blast romantic Italian ballads from the radio. That’s amore.
Stay: Palazzo Avino, a once 12th century private villa for an Italian noble family, boasts a beautiful view and a one-star Michelin restaurant
Eat & Drink: Neapolitan pizza, caprese salad, spaghetti alle vongole, Neapolitan sfogliatelle pastries
For the ‘gram: Go boating and take a picture of the coast, dotted with rustic Italian houses
Alpine chic in Switzerland
According to a Pinterest 2018 Wedding Report, there’s been a 856% increase in searches for Switzerland as a honeymoon destination, and whilst unexpected, it’s not hard to see why. Whether you stroll the streets of the busy cities of Zurich and Geneva, or go skiing in the unspoiled beauty of the Alps, Switzerland offers many options. Take a walk along the lake in Lucerne or hike to the top of Europe at Jungfrauhoch, and unwind each day at one of the health spas for which the country is known for.
Stay: The Chedi Andermatt offers an intriguing blend of Alpine and Asian interiors in the heart of the Swiss Alps
Eat & Drink: Cheese fondue after skiing, rostis as an afternoon snack, and chocolate, plenty of Swiss chocolate
For the ‘gram: The Matterhorn, as you sit in a horse-drawn carriage and admire it
The royal treatment in Rajasthan, India
Be your own Bollywood movie and visit one of India’s most breathtaking states at Rajasthan. Whether you take a hot air balloon over Jaipur and admire the Pink City from above, or watch the sunset at Kailana Lake in Jodhpur (where you must also purchase a pair of famous Jodhpur pants), the northern Indian state is a mesmerising blend of quiet waters, grand palaces, royal gardens, and great food.
Stay: The Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, a floating vision in marble that literally sits in the middle of a lake
Eat & Drink: The state’s signature lentil curry dal, onion kachori as a snack, and, of course, masala chai
For the ‘gram: The rich colours of the saris and the turbans of the people in the street, and the intricate marble inlays of the local Mughal art and architecture
A wild hideout in Zambia
Rumour has it Harry and Meghan went to Africa on their honeymoon, and if Harry and Meghan went to Africa on their honeymoon, we want to go to Africa on our honeymoon, too. Located in Southern Africa, Zambia is home to some of the most diverse wildlife in the region, and offers a thrilling retreat for all those seeking adventure in an intimate and still relatively secluded location. Spot all of the Big 5 (that’s the lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant, and Cape buffalo) on a walking or jeep safari, and go for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river for a honeymoon that’s a serene balance between stargazing and giraffe spotting.
Stay: Tongabezi Lodge, listed on Condé Nast Traveller’s Gold List 2018, is a romantic hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River
Eat & Drink: Nahima, Zambia’s staple corn carbohydrate, fresh Kapenta fish, and traditional fruit like wild masaku loquats
For the ‘gram: Take the ‘flight of angels’ and go on a helicopter ride overlooking the Victoria Falls
Eat, Pray, Love a lot in Bali, Indonesia
Bali remains on the hot list for honeymoon destinations in 2018, and between its gorgeous private jungle villas and spas, buzzing food scene, and exciting nightlife, it’s sure to stay that way for many moons to come. Explore the crystal clear waters of Uluwatu or go on an adventure in the lush greenery of Ubud. And whether you visit the Monkey Forest, the Hindu temples, or hike up the volcanic peaks by day, definitely party it up at any one of the chic sunset and rooftop bars in Seminyak and Canggu come nightfall.
Stay: Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is located on the island’s central highlands, tucked away beside the Ayung River
Eat & Drink: Babi Guling (sucking pig) and Nasi Campur (mixed rice dishes), together with a cup of Balinese kopi
For the ‘gram: A selfie together with one of the komodo dragons on Flores island
Arabian nights in Marrakech, Morocco
For an oriental desert adventure, head to Marrakech. Here, you’ll not only get to do some Moroccan home décor shopping in the world-famous souks (where your bargain skills will really come to shine), but also explore a host of stunning palaces, mausoleums, and gardens. Indulge in a traditional hammam spa session for two, or wander through the stylish halls of the recently opened Yves Saint Laurent Museum. Intriguingly, Marrakech also boasts many golf courses for the avid golfer looking to hit the putting green on their honeymoon, too.
Stay: La Mamounia, a stunning Arabic-Andalusian palace turned luxury hotel
Eat & Drink: Slow cooked meats or veggies from a traditional Tagine, cous cous, and fresh mint tea
For the ‘gram: The Ait-Ben-Haddou palace, where they filmed the movie ‘Lawrence of Arabia’
On the tails of a romance novel in Big Sur, California
A rugged stretch of Central California’s coast, Big Sur refers to the 90-mile-long area between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Hearst Castle. An area that has drawn the likes of many famous authors (from Henry Miller to Hunter S. Thompson) to its shores, the spot proves to be a quiet and relaxing honeymoon hideout for nature-loving couples. Expect gorgeous beaches, waterfalls, and mountain ranges, in the company of hearty farm-to-table restaurants and charming libraries and galleries. Visit the Point Sur Lighthouse that stands atop a volcanic rock off the coast, or the small town of Carmelor, the Fisherman’s Wharf at Monterey, for some fresh seafood delights.
Stay: Post Ranch Inn, an iconic California hotel set on a ridge overlooking the waves
Eat & Drink: If you’re in the mood for a road trip, drive to the Napa Valley vineyards and pick up some local wines to enjoy back at the hotel, or back home after your trip
For the ‘gram: The ocean views from inside Andrew Molera State Park
A luxe hideout in Jalisco, Mexico
Away from the buzz of spring breakers in Cancun and the mainstream tourists in Tulum, a top secret celebrity hideaway sits in the western Mexican state of Jalisco. Dubbed a ‘Millionaire’s Moorish Playground’ by luxury boutique travel front liners Mr & Mrs Smith, Cuixmala has been frequented by everyone from Ronald Reagan to Bill Gates. Explore the greenery on a horseback jungle trek, or take a mountain bike along one of the plantation trails. Prefer the waters? Go kayaking in the Pacific Ocean, or try your luck looking for dinner from one of the fishing boats.
Stay: Cuixmala, a luxury resort set over 25,000 acres of eco reserve land
Eat & Drink: Signature fried spicy tacos de barbacoa, and Tequila – plenty of it
For the ‘gram: Take a selfie with a Mariachi band, which are said to have originated from here. For bonus points, get them to serenade your new beau, too
Dancing lights in Iceland
There’s something almost extraterrestrial about Iceland, and for an out-of-this-world experience, it’s a cool spot to head on a honeymoon. Explore the glaciers and the black sand beaches, and head to the famous Blue Lagoon (or for a less mainstream location, the Secret Lagoon) to enjoy the natural hot springs. For the ultimate Icelandic experience, chase the ‘Aurelia Borealis’, or the Northern Lights, and witness one of the world’s most beautiful natural phenomena. Well, the world’s most beautiful natural phenomena besides love.
Stay: Less than an hour’s drive from Reykjavik ION Adventure Hotel sits against a backdrop of majestic mountainous lava fields
Eat&Drink: Creamy dairy Skyr and rye bread for snacks, fresh plokkfiskur white fish hash, and the famous Icelandic tender free-range lamb
For the ‘gram: The Northern Lights, but only for a second. They’re best enjoyed live and offline