We teamed up with Squarespace and illustrator Libby VanderPloeg to pinpoint seven memorable honeymoon locations from around the globe. See Libby's Squarespace site here, and scroll down for a code to get 10% off a yearlong subscription to Squarespace.
Thinking about the moments after the buzz of getting married—when not every waking hour is dedicated to florals, hors d'oeuvres, or seating—can be exciting and wonderful. And especially when you're planning a trip you and your partner will take to celebrate just being together.
Sometimes, however, it can be difficult to decide where in the world might make sense for your tastes if you're looking for a less traditional, yet food-focused, honeymoon. As a newlywed myself, I can attest to the difficulty of picking a destination that you know you’ll want to remember forever. That's why we've made a list of seven places to put on your honeymoon—or just plain vacation—shortlist.
Jump to example itinerary: Honduras, San Juan Islands, Nova Scotia, Costa Brava, Kerala, Waiheke Island, or Japan
Covered in national parks, Mayan ruins, and colorful wildlife, Honduras is a mecca for divers, nature enthusiasts, and even those who might just want to enjoy a cocktail on the beach at sunset. It’s also one of the best values for travel in Central America.
If you go:
- The islands of Roatán, Cayos Cochinos, and Utila are great home bases for diving and exploring. They’re also perfect getaways if you don’t want to do anything but eat traditional Honduran food, sip on a drink, and be by the water.
- If you are looking for a bit more backpacking and adventure, Honduras is covered in national parks and nature reserves like La Tigra National Park, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, and Parque Nacional Cusuco.
- For the historically inclined, the Mayan Copán Ruins are a must, and if you like markets, make sure to stop at Mercado Guamilito in San Pedro Sula (order a Honduran street specialty, the Baleada—a fried flour tortilla that’s folded up with goodies like cheese, beans, avocados, etc.)
- To get between destinations in Honduras, you can fly, rent a car, or ride a bus. The north coast of the country is said to be wonderful for driving, as are the roads between the Copán Ruins to San Pedro Sula and the capital Tegucigalpa, but getting elsewhere is best by other means of transportation.
A trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington is perfect if you're looking for peace and quiet after all the chaos of planning a wedding. Wooded and hilly, the archipelago of islands—four of which are accessible for visitors only by water or air—exudes the kind of natural beauty that will make any normal stress and worry melt away.
If you go:
- The islands that have mainland ferry service are San Juan, Orcas, Shaw, and Lopez.
- On Orcas Island, you can rent a Puget Sound-facing cliffside yurt (or a cabin for the less intrepid) at Doe Bay Resort, a rustic retreat with a mostly vegetarian cafe that overlooks the water and a spa with soaking tubs. Take a hike up Mount Constitution, the highest mountain on the islands, in Moran State Park. Stock up on baked goods at Brown Bear Baking before you head out!
- Visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island for lavender, teas, herb blends, and more from Pelindaba lavender farm. For local crafts and food, stop by the San Juan Farmers Market (it’s open on Saturdays from 10 A.M. to 1 P.M.).
- Hop over to Shaw Island for a day trip—it’s the smallest of the ferry-served islands—and stop by Our Lady of the Rock Benedictine monastery to check out the nuns’ active farm. Pack a picnic for midday (there’s a general store on Shaw, but no restaurants), eat at the beach, and head back to one of the larger islands in the afternoon.
Lopez Island is great for cycling, exploring hidden parks, and kayaking around inlets along the coast. And there are tons of lodging options if you want to stay for a few days to see the whole island.
Looking for a seaside escape but want to keep things on the mainland? Head to Canada’s lighthouse-laden province Nova Scotia for a coastal trip that’s likely to surprise even the most regular seafood eater.
If you go:
- Stay in the maritime city of Lunenberg, whose old town/harbor is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It’s covered in homes painted in jewel box tones as well as quaint bed and breakfasts to rest and eat local cuisine.
- Spend a few days on Cape Breton Island. Drive along the magnificent Cabot Trail (and do some hiking, biking, or kayaking if you can), go salmon fishing, and watch whales and puffins. Take in Celtic music and culture in the town of Mabou at Strathspey Place, and then stop by the Red Shoe Pub for local food.
- Take in colossal tides anywhere along the coast on the Bay of Fundy, and eat as much lobster as you can find.
- Go musseling, surfing, and beachcombing along the Eastern Shore and stay in Lawrencetown or Sherbrooke.
Spain’s Costa Brava has been a vacation destination for Europeans for decades but has, in recent years, been getting more visibility abroad. With its wild cliffs, long seasons, and beautiful beaches, there’s a place for just about anyone.
If you go:
- Fly into Barcelona and spend a few days getting cultured in Gaudi’s city. Explore the numerous buildings designed by the famous Catalan architect. Catch a late lunch at Chicoa and pop by Morro Fi for vermouth, olives, and huge potato chips covered in Spanish hot sauce. Stock up on produce and meat at the Boqueria and get a glass of wine at El Quim before you head out.
- Rent a car from the airport and drive up to Blanes and visit the beach (and the rock) that is the official beginning of the Costa Brava—and then hike up the hill to the Marimurtra Botanical Gardens for incredible cliff-side views (it’s pretty Game of Thrones-epic). Stay in any number of small towns and municipalities along the coast and you’ll find yourself happy.
- If you eat at one fancy place, make it to El Motel at Hotel Empordà (after you visit the Dalí Theatre-Museum, of course). There is a cool mid-century feel to the teak dining chairs and dusty-pink linen tablecloths, and many of the dishes are made with local ingredients like lamb and prawns. The wine list is extensive, and they’ll give you great winery recommendations like Terra Remota (book a vineyard picnic there) and Martin Faixo or Castell Peralada.
- Want to eat like former el Bulli chef Ferran Adrià? Head to Rafa’s in the seaside city of Roses for incredibly fresh seafood.
If you like to immerse yourself fully in the culture, food, and sense of a place, you might want to visit Kerala, India. Hugged by the Arabian Sea, Kerala is a coastal state with a lush climate, vibrant traditions, and delicious (and spicy) food. You might even encounter an elephant or tiger.
If you go:
- If you can, fly into Bangalore and take the train through Mysore to get to Kerala.
- Drift along Kerala’s canals and backwaters on a kettuvallam, or houseboat, for any number of nights and be treated to traditional meals, inspiring views, and alone time.
- The sprawling markets and historic architecture covering Kochi are alone worth the trip to this seaside city. Catch a performance of kathakali, traditional Keralan dance-drama, and treat your new spouse (and yourself) to an ayurvedic massage.
- Visit tea plantations and spice gardens around Munnar in the Western Ghats for goodies to bring home, and stop off at Eravikulam National Park to catch a glimpse of the Nilgiri tahr, a friendly yet rare mountain goat.
Into wine? Skip Napa, take a pass on Bordeaux, and instead head toward Oceania to Waiheke Island off the coast of New Zealand.
If you go:
- Waiheke is just a 35 minute ferry trip from Auckland, New Zealand, and it’s home to close to 30 different winemakers. Since you made the trip, you might as well pick a starting place and work your way around the island to hit all of them (or at least a few, and then head to the beach for the remainder of your vacation).
- Stay in a variety of accommodations, from rooms at wineries, to beach houses, to bed and breakfasts, and more.
- The island is home to activities other than wine tasting. Take in art galleries, explore the World War II ruins at Fort Stony Batter, or rent bikes and take in the island while pedaling.
- Gorgeous beaches are common, and the cities of Oneroa, Onetangi, and Blackpool are all lined with sandy escapes. There are ample options to lounge, read all day, kayak, or picnic with wine.
Japan’s cuisine is multi-faceted and eating farm-to-table is ever-present all over the country. If you want a deeply local culinary and culture experience, exploring deep into the Chubu region toward the Sea of Japan is the perfect itinerary. Trains connect all of the major cities, as well as some of the smaller gems.
If you go:
- Make sure to stay a few days in Kanazawa, a well-preserved city with beautiful gardens, several museums (like this and this), and historic architecture. The city is particularly known for its seafood and shellfish, Kaga-Yasai vegetables, sweets, and sake.
- Traverse via scenic railway through the Kurobe Gorge, one of the deepest in Japan. The ravine’s natural beauty, the opportunity to explore off-train along the way, and hot springs makes it a great day trip.
- Consider visiting Shirakawa-go and neighboring Gokayama in the Shogawa River Valley. Stay in a minshuku (family-run farmhouse) and eat local dishes for breakfast and dinner. You can book one here.
- Additional relaxation can be found in Kaga Onsen, a group of four hot spring towns nestled between Mount Hakusan and the Sea of Japan. You can book a ryokan (Japanese inn) which usually have traditional baths and cuisine included.
Illustrations by Libby VanderPloeg
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