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The 11 best honeymoon destinations right now

These honeymoon destinations around the world promise adventure, stylish hotels and bucket-list activities

Written by
Lorna Parkes

Listen up: your honeymoon is the best chance you’ll ever have to fulfill your travel fantasies, so make it good. Peruse our list of the best honeymoon destinations to factor in a bit of excitement in between lying by the pool because, hopefully, you’ll only do this once. 

We’ve picked the very best places to travel to in 2019 and 2020, including romantic getaways to Japan, Bali, California and New York. So whether you want to plan your honeymoon around major sporting events, seriously stylish hotels or bucket-list activities, we've got you covered. We’ve also included the world’s most environmentally friendly country, the best-value Caribbean island, and the greatest road trips on the planet. You’re welcome.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in the world

Best honeymoon destinations

Photograph: Shutterstock

1. Japan

It’s eye-wateringly expensive, but it’s ok because this is your honeymoon, right? Japan is the holy grail for culture-lovers. It’s just so … different. Bask in the neon glow of Tokyo, book a ryokan room with a private onsen in a samurai village, climb Mt Fuji (in summer), and stroll the bamboo groves around Kyoto. And with the 2019 Rugby World Cup set to kick off in September, and the 2020 summer Olympics to follow in Tokyo, you can expect the Japanese to be in a particularly good mood.

Discover the best things to do in Japan

Costa Rica
Photograph: Shutterstock/ Luis Alvarado Alvarado

2. Costa Rica

Some 25 percent of Costa Rica is already protected land, so it doesn’t seem a far stretch to think the country can achieve its ambitious goals of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral country by 2021. Nature lovers rave about Costa Rica for its prolific wildlife viewing (you WILL see a sloth at some point). It’s also a land of surfers, boho villages, pristine rainforests, broad beaches and volcanoes. Plan your trip around its ever-expanding network of eco-lodges.

Discover the best things to do in Costa Rica

Photograph: Shutterstock/Duilio Farina

3. California

Top down, wind in your hair, Pacific Ocean in your wing mirror— renting an open-top car to drive California’s Route 1 is a bucket-list experience. Start in the jazz clubs of Las Vegas, then road-trip up to Big Sur with its honeymoon resorts and swish new glamping suites at venerable Ventana Inn. If you’ve energy for more, there’s San Francisco, wine-tasting in Napa and the Redwood forests further north. Californians say autumn is the best time to go.

Discover the best things to do in California

Photograph: Shutterstock

4. Iceland

In the depths of winter, the best night-time action anywhere in the world is in the Arctic Circle. We’re talking about the Northern Lights (in case you were in any doubt). The aurora is visible from most Scandinavian countries, but Iceland has the added bonus of increasingly sophisticated design hotels to plan your trip around. Stylish digs include the new minimalist Retreat Hotel at Blue Lagoon, the stilt-grounded ION Adventure Hotel with its glass-walled aurora viewing bar, and even a huddle of transparent bubbles in the woods.

Discover the best things to do in Iceland

Photograph: Shutterstock/Pisit Rapitpunt

5. Himalayas

Possibly the most awesome honeymoon backdrop on earth? The Himalayas have a fearsome reputation among hikers, but there are plenty of soft options (with cute inns, comfy beds and soul-soothing views) in the foothills. Next year will be the five-year anniversary of the Nepal earthquake and the country has worked hard to put itself back on the travel map. October/November is one of the best times for inn-to-inn ambling around Poon Hill in the Annapurnas, bookended by a stay at beautiful Lake Pokhara. If you can afford it, Bhutan can provide the same mountain views with five-star luxury.

South Africa
Photograph: Shutterstock/LMspencer

6. South Africa

For the past five years the South African rand has been in the doldrums, making its world-class lodges, wines and food astoundingly good value. Economists predict that the end of 2019 will herald a bounce-back, so get in quick while there’s still a bargain to be had. Start in Cape Town with a trip up Table Mountain, sunset at Camps Bay, and fusion curry in colourful Bo Kaap suburb. Finish in a gorgeous colonial winery estate in Stellenbosch.

New York City
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. New York City

Sassy and sophisticated, NYC is top dog for couples seeking urban excitement. Manhattan’s world-class bars, restaurants and museums have long made the city a popular honeymoon destination. This year, it’s also buzzing from the honour of hosting World Pride on the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in June, making it the world’s best destination for LGBT+ honeymooners in 2019.

Discover the best things to do in New York

Photograph: Shutterstock/Monika Vlageryte

8. Bali

There’s been a handful of new beach club openings in Bali in the past year, but it’s the new Potato Head Hotel that has us excited. It’s slated to open in November and promises not only an OMA-designed hotel, but also an oceanfront cultural hub, dome-enclosed restaurant and various public spaces for music, art and design with a focus on sustainability. It’ll sit close to the original Potato Head beach club in Seminyak, making it perfect for party-loving honeymooners. Also don’t miss Ubud, Bali’s temple-strewn jungle heart.

Discover the best things to do in Bali

Photograph: Shutterstock/Nick Fox

9. Scotland

Scottish whisky tourism is at an all-time high. Distilleries are improving their visitor facilities, and Diageo is in the process of building a state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh. For the perfect road trip through Scotland this autumn, follow the Malt Whisky Trail through Speyside, skirting the Cairngorms National Park. It neatly pulls together some of the most storied places to sample a wee dram. Meet master distillers and craftsmen by day, then cosy up each night with a tumbler beside the fire at a country inn.

Discover the best things to do in Scotland

Photograph: Shutterstock/Delbars

10. Tanzania

The latest African nation to entirely ban plastic bags, Tanzania is the place you’re probably thinking of if you close your eyes and say the word ‘safari’. It’s the country where wildebeest roam the plains of the Serengeti alongside the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo and rhino). There’s something impossibly romantic about the African bush, from dawn wildlife-spotting drives to G&Ts at dusk around the campfire. Add in some R&R on the spice island of Zanzibar, and you’ve got a honeymoon classic.

Photograph: Shutterstock/Sean Pavone

11. Cuba

If Caribbean resorts aren’t your thing (or in your budget), and you like your glamour with a side of grit, Cuba is what you’re looking for. Last year the new Paradisus resort upped the ante on white-sand Cayo Santa Maria. Cuba’s increasingly sophisticated network of casa particulares (homestays) are another draw, along with $1 mojitos, cheap lobster dinners and raucous Havana nights. Renewed restrictions on American travel to Cuba will reduce the number of tour groups and cruise ships that honeymooners have to contend with, too.

Discover the best things to do in Cuba

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