Go Here, Not There: 9 Alternative Honeymoon Destinations
We’re firm believers that there’s nowhere in the world that shouldn’t be seen, visited, and explored. Even the biggest tourist traps usually have some worthy attraction. That said, there is a time for everything, and the time to spend a boatload on hotels, restaurants, and entertainment isn’t necessarily following your wedding day. It’s likely you’ve spent a small fortune on your big event, and you may have plans to buy a house or start a family—both expensive ambitions. With that in mind, it can’t hurt to save on your honeymoon.
But who says saving should mean settling? There are countless stunning and unforgettable places to visit in this big wide world, so don’t feel obligated to buy a ticket to one of the handful of newlywed meccas you know about. Instead of renewing your passport, consider somewhere in the States you’ve never explored… or visit the closer Caribbean island rather than the one that requires three boat trips and a small jet plane. Read on for nine alternative honeymoon destinations we’re smitten with.
A honeymoon in the South of France sounds like cinematic perfection, but being one of the hottest summer vacation destinations, it comes with a hefty price tag. Instead, head to the Greek islands, where the economy is still recovering and your dollar will go further. In addition to a picture-perfect setting, you’ll also enjoy beautiful beaches, fresh seafood, and island hopping at much lower cost.
Our hotel pick: San Giorgio Mykonos ($234/night and up)
Sonoma and Napa Valleys are wine lover’s delights, but they’ve become quite commercialized and have lost some of the charm they once had. If a wine-country getaway is on our wish list, consider instead California’s Central Coast, which offers top-notch smaller vineyards in Paso Robles, great hiking in Big Sur, and coastal exploration in Morro Bay and beyond.
Our hotel pick: Hotel Cheval ($375/night and up)
If you want to soak up the Caribbean sun, the British Virgin Islands, a favorite of the yacht set, will cost you an arm and a leg. Instead, consider the more affordable Dominican Republic, which is known for its pristine beaches, all-inclusive resorts, great golfing, and lively music.
Our hotel pick: Casa del XVI ($254/night and up)
Want to enjoy the spicy cuisine, fresh seafood, and the thriving nightlife of Barcelona but don’t want to leave the country? Head south to New Orleans and trade paella for jambalaya. The city has heavy Spanish and French influences and offers the feel of a European vacation without the travel and expense.
Our hotel pick: Henry Howard Hotel ($189/night and up)
Do you love wine, art, history, and great food? Tuscany sounds like a dream getaway, but it can be a tourist trap with the prices to match. Instead, explore Portugal, which has a strong wine industry that rivals Italy. Get your art and culture fix in the capital, Lisbon, and then head a couple hours north to the coastal city of Porto, which is known for its medieval architecture and Port wine production.
Our hotel pick: Palácio Ramalhete ($154/night and up)
Paris is the world’s most romantic city, but it’s also notoriously expensive. If you’re interested in European history and love to relax in outdoor cafés, wander cobblestone streets, and admire centuries-old architecture, consider Prague instead. The Czech city is picturesque and full of history and culture—yet much more affordable.
Our hotel pick: Boho Hotel ($94/night and up)
When it comes to Caribbean honeymoons, Barbados and St. Lucia are two of the hottest destinations, but both are also very far away (almost to Venezuela). Instead, visit Caribbean island Puerto Rico—no passport required! You’ll enjoy a similar climate and coastal Old San Juan shares a European influence as a beautifully preserved Spanish colonial city. Its sorbet-colored buildings couldn’t get more photogenic.
Our hotel pick: Hotel El Convento ($207/night and up)
Dreaming of crystal-clear oceans and over-the-water bungalows? Bali could cost you a large fortune, and Thailand isn’t much better. Instead, consider Vietnam for a relaxing, exotic honeymoon. In the northeast, Hạ Long Bay is known for its emerald waters and thousands of rainforest-topped limestone islands, as dramatic a sight as any. In Hanoi, you’ll relish the French-influenced food. Though flights to Vietnam can be a significant expense, once you arrive, you’ll live like kings and queens.
Our hotel pick: Evason Ana Mandara ($217/night and up)
South Africa is an unforgettable place, but the flights alone could bankrupt you. Save yourself a pretty penny and head to the picturesque Wild West. There’s breathtaking wildlife (bison, grizzly, elk) to see and lots of adventure to be had in Wyoming, Montana, and Utah. The West's majestic landscape alone is reason enough to visit.
Our hotel pick: Amangani ($750/night and up)
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What other honeymoon destinations do you recommend? Share with us below.