Written by Paula Jones Last updated: June 6, 2006
Wondering where to spend the holiday of a lifetime? Be inspired by the top 50 places around the world.
Looking for a honeymoon destination? Browse through the pages or click on a location below.
With 365 beaches (one for each day of the year) and the sunniest climate in the eastern Caribbean, Antigua is a great Caribbean honeymoon destination. A lush island, Antigua is a laid‐back paradise with picturesque scenery, fantastic restaurants and some of the best hotels in the world. Dive, sail, swim with dolphins, sip Antiguan rum, do a spot of shopping in St John’s and pop over to the neighbouring island of Barbuda if you want to have a mini‐adventure.
With unspoilt beaches, rainforests, dusty bush and contemporary cities, Australia is the sixth largest country in the world so really does offer a huge range of activities. If you decide to fly to Sydney, you’ll experience the delights of the Opera House, the harbour and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Don’t miss a trip to the winelands either. Those looking for something more secluded should head to the Great Barrier Reef for some snorkelling or diving, before heading off to a deserted hideaway. Adventurous types can explore the Outback and Ayers Rock.
The Bahamas consists of a staggering 700 islands. Nassau, the glamorous capital city, resides on New Providence Island. Grand Bahama offers a selection of glamorous resorts, and the Out Islands are the most remote in The Bahamas. A combination of a trip to Nassau with a romantic stay on the Out Islands would be an unbeatable honeymoon. With names like Exuma, Eleuthera, Bimini and Andros, the Out Islands are home to golden beaches and turquoise seas. You can choose to take part in numerous activities, or simply make the most of the tranquil surroundings.
Bali is one of 18,000 islands in Indonesia, and its draw is that it is both enigmatic and accessible. Bali has a huge amount to offer, from fabulous local culture and lively nightlife, to luxurious resorts with golf courses and delicious Balinese cuisine.
Barbados is a small, luxurious piece of Britain in the Caribbean. Home to refined hotels such as Sandy Lane, Barbados lures the rich and famous with its white sand beaches and gourmet restaurants. If you’ve got money to spend, Barbados is a haven, but you don’t have to be part of the glitterati to stay here. There are numerous places to stay, and activities such as snorkelling and sipping Barbadian rum won’t break the bank.
Bermuda is perfect. Just seven hours flight from the UK, it’s a home from home, with afternoon tea and cricket matches amidst the tropics. Tiny cottages, pretty roads, flowers and turquoise sea set the scene, along with striking cliffs and stylish yachts. If you like the idea of a slow pace, smart shops, golf (there are more per square mile than in any other country), world‐class spas and soft pink beaches, this is the place for you.
The BVI consists of numerous islands, each with their own character and charm. This is the place to enjoy deserted beaches, spa treatments, sailing and diving. Tortola is the largest island and the primary centre of Caribbean yachting, and Virgin Gorda is full of natural wonders. Other major islands include Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. If you feel like splashing out, you could always rent Richard Branson’s Necker Island.
One of the USA’s most diverse and beautiful states is also home to some of its most exciting cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the place to star‐spot in Hollywood or enjoy the carefree, seaside lifestyle in San Fran. Away from the cities, visit the charming coastal towns like Carmel, drive along stunning Big Sur, ski on the slopes above Lake Tahoe and visit the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma. For some big glamour gambling, pop in to Las Vegas on your way home.
Whether you’re looking to ski in Whistler, cycle through Ontario’s wine region, take a cowboy trail through Alberta, dine in Vancouver or enjoy the hot springs in Banff, Canada has everything to offer adventurous couples. Vancouver Island’s Gourmet Trail is a must for food‐lovers while Eastern Canada offers a touch of France a little further from home.
Nestling in the calm turquoise waters of the western Caribbean, the Cayman Islands are made up of three islands in total: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman is a sunbather’s paradise, and there are numerous dive sites
to suit both beginners and experienced divers. Those looking for a little culture will enjoy the museum, botanical gardens and the turtle farm.
The Cook Islands consist of 15 islands scattered over two million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean. They lie in the centre of the Polynesian Triangle, flanked to the west by the Kingdom of Tonga and the Samoas and to the east by Tahiti and the islands of French Polynesia. Think wooden churches, waterfront bars and deep blue lagoons. Raratonga is the centre of the Cook Islands, with lush rainforests, clear waters and a great range of accommodation. If you really want to get away from it all, head to Aitukaki with its sparkling crystal waters and the whitest beaches. Hire scooters if you want to explore.
Cuba, the largest of the Caribbean islands, is becoming increasingly popular. With a fantastic mix of mountain ranges and plains, over 200 bays, 289 beaches, fascinating history and incredible scenery, it’s easy to see why. Havana is the capital of Cuba and is a must with its exciting music, vibrant culture and crumbling architecture. Beach resorts include Varadero, and the quieter Cayo Coco.
Basking in the warm Mediterranean sun, Cyprus is an island of legends, with wonderful beaches, mountains, vineyards, ancient ruins and old stone villages. It’s also relatively close to home, so you can enjoy a combination of sunshine and culture without travelling half way around the world. Luxurious hotels offer you the opportunity to enjoy some serious pampering, whether you choose to stay beside the sea, or venture a little further inland.
With its magnificent beaches and resorts, vast arches of white sand and clear, sparkling waters, the Dominican Republic makes a great honeymoon destination. However, it also has claim as the location of the oldest city in the New World ‐‐ Santo Domingo ‐‐ so is steeped in culture and history. Merengue, the music and dance of the Dominican Republic, infuses all aspects of life and make resorts particularly lively.
One of the big success stories of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai has year‐round sunshine, soft sandy beaches along the Jumeriah coast and some of the most palatial hotels in the world. If you’re feeling active, you might want to try a camel ride in the desert, have a go at dune skiing or enjoy watersports in the warm waters of the Persian Gulf. Shopping is a must in this duty free city, and it’s also worth considering Dubai as just part of your honeymoon. It is, for example, part way to the Maldives.
Travellers have been marvelling at Egypt’s wondrous antiquities for thousands of years ‐‐ they even put the ancient Greeks and Romans in awe. Today, its mystical appeal remains, from the fascinating pyramids to the glorious beaches of the Red Sea. An Egyptian itinerary could also include diving along the Red Sea coast, a desert trek or visits to ancient temples and tombs further south.
The beautiful islands of Fiji lie nearly 2000 miles off the east coast of Australia. With 333 islands, Fiji’s population actually resides on two main islands ‐‐ Viti Levu (Great Fiji) and Vanua Levu. Fiji is exotic, giving you the opportunity to swim with manta rays, snorkel over soft coral, float in turquoise lagoons at sunset and explore lush rainforests. Fiji is the kind of place where you can picnic at the edge of a waterfall before dancing the night away. And, if you’re looking for some hustle and bustle, Viti Levu offers several large towns including the capital, Suva. There are some excellent hotels and a superb choice of cruises, making Fiji ideal for a single or multi centre holiday, or stopover en route to or from Australia and New Zealand.
Ah, the ‘funshine’ state. For fans of Disney World and Universal Studios, a honeymoon in Florida is a must. But, of course, Orlando isn’t all that Florida has to offer. For glitz and glamour, you can’t beat the Latin chic of Miami’s South Beach and its Art Deco hotels and nightclubs. The Everglades offers plenty of eco action with its wetlands. And for those who like the idea of cruising down the open roads, how about hiring a convertible and heading to the Florida Keys to soak up a few rays?
One of the most romantic and cultural countries in the world is right on our doorstep, and makes a perfect honeymoon destination. Paris makes a great honeymoon city with its magical sights, from Notre Dame to the Eiffel Tower, fantastic restaurants and picturesque hotels. And, of course, there’s nothing more romantic than sitting in a Parisian café with coffee and croissants for breakfast. If you want to go further afield, consider the French countryside. Bordeaux, Provence and the Côte d’Azur all make wonderful honeymoon destinations, as does a long weekend in the Champagne region.
You might not have considered it, but what about staying close to home on your honeymoon? We might not have the sunniest weather, but there’s plenty to offer honeymooning couples, from exciting city breaks in London or Edinburgh, to romantic country retreats in Cornwall, Yorkshire, and the Lake District. The UK’s hotels are getting better every year, and there are some fantastic romantic hideaways available.
Another destination that’s relatively close to home, Greece gives you the opportunity to enjoy plenty of culture in the sunshine. City lovers should head to Athens, which has been thoroughly overhauled after the 2004 Olympics. Stay in one of the new boutique hotels and marvel at the Acropolis before heading off to the islands. The Greek islands vary hugely, from romantic Santorini with its white cliff‐top homes, to Crete with its orange groves and valleys covered in olive trees. Be sure to make the most of your visit by sampling the Greek cuisine.
Hawaiiis a great combination of tropical, sun‐drenched beaches, surfing, and stunning scenery, all with a convenient American undertone. This group of islands, off the West Coast of the USA, were created by millions of years of volcanic activity in the Pacific Ocean.
Each island has a different charm and character. The main island of Hawaii is the largest and gives you the opportunity to see current volcanic eruptions. It’s also a must for those wanting to pay a visit to Waikiki beach and enjoy a beginner’s class in surfing. Lanai is an oasis dedicated to rest and relaxation while Oahu is more of a bustling, lively island. Kauai has some stunning scenery including picturesque waterfalls and dramatic mountains.
As well as being enormously easy to get to, the Emerald Isle has to be one of the most romantic honeymoon destinations. Think castles, dramatic coastlines, misty moors, peace and quiet… and Guinness, of course. Make the most of Ireland by mixing a little of the city and the countryside. Tuck in at a historic castle or cosy country house hotel before spending a few nights enjoying Dublin’s has culture, Georgian mansions and lively nightlife.
When you’re thinking of romantic destinations, Italy has got to be up there at the top. Rome, Florence and Venice are three of the most romantic cities in the world ‐‐ whether you choose to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, cuddle in a gondola or wander around the picturesque streets of Florence with its magnificent Uffizi Galley. Away from the cities, Tuscany offers rolling green hills and medieval towns, the Amalfi Coast has glamorous resorts, and the lakes and mountains offer secluded villages and stunning scenery. And the cuisine is heavenly.
Jamaicais the third largest island in the Caribbean and famous for its laid‐back pace of life, as well as its powder‐soft beaches, lush green mountains, shimmering waterfalls and potent rum. If you’re looking to relax, stretch out on the seven mile beach at Negril, and enjoy the market at Ocho Rios. For more active adventures, take an exhilarating raft trip down the Rio Grande, climb Dunns River Falls, enjoy the various watersports and head for the nightspots of Montego Bay. Food lovers will appreciate mouth‐watering jerk chicken ‐‐ remember to bring a few bottles of jerk sauce home so you can relive the moment when you get back.
There’s so much more to Japan than karaoke and sushi. The unique culture of this country with its seductive blend of the past and the future makes it a fascinating holiday destination.
If you’re looking to experience modern Japan, head to Tokyo. Alternatively, visit the former capital of Kyoto with its traditional crafts and wonderful sightseeing. Be sure to take in the sights of Mount Fuji and ancient temples.
Kenya has much to offer couples looking to experience a combination of exciting wildlife and stunning tropical shores. The country is best known for its excellent national parks, where you can spot the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo and leopard), on wide savanna plains. In contrast, the warm waters and soft sand beaches of the Indian Ocean offer relaxed resorts and excellent watersports.
Lapland is the region in north Europe that stretches over Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The wonderful winter snow makes it a truly romantic destination for those who like the idea of wrapping up warm and enjoying cross‐country skiing, rides drawn by husky dogs and reindeer, and snowmobiles. You might also decide to pay a visit to Santa and a reindeer farm. Fantastic accommodation can include igloos and ice hotels.
The original Sin City is big, bold and brash and not for couples who want a quiet, secluded honeymoon. If you sign up for Vegas, you have the option of booking in to some of the most amazing hotels in the world (very reasonably if you’re flexible with dates), and see some incredible sights. One minute you’re strolling along the Grand Canal inside The Venetian, the next you’re staring up at the Eiffel Tower outside Paris Las Vegas. Synchronized fountains dance in front of Vegas’s most luxurious retreat, Bellagio and waves crash on the manmade beach at sprawling Mandalay. During the day, lounge around the pool or enjoy some excellent shopping; at night, take in a top show, try your hand at gambling and party the night away in the huge choice of restaurants, bars and clubs.
Its spices, silks and silver have been attracting people to Malaysia for centuries, but now its appeal has extended to tourists. The beautiful beaches are just one aspect of Malaysia, with Kuala Lumpur, the capital city, a fascinating combination of both east and west. Fantastic beach resorts include Penang and Langkawi.
Take a look at Tourism Malaysia
The Maldives is a group of tiny coral islands due west of the southern tip of India and scattered across the Indian Ocean. Over 1000 islands are all surrounded by fine white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, deep blue lagoons and dazzling underwater coral gardens.
The fabulous marine life makes the Maldives a top dive location and also wonderful for other water sports, from snorkelling to sailing. Your stay in the Maldives really depends on your choice of hotel ‐‐ the small sizes of the islands means that most have just one hotel on them. This is the place to spend what you can afford to ensure wonderful facilities and cuisine on an all‐inclusive basis.
Malta, the ‘heart of the Mediterranean’ has much to offer, with wonderful scenery and architecture, and a wealth of culture. Carnivals and open air concerts are a regular occurrence ‐‐ you could find yourself watching the arrival of the Knights of St John in Malta, re‐enacted with pomp and ceremony. In medieval Mdina, you’ll come across everything from Napoleonic troops to flower festivals, while the capital, Valletta, is an historical and cultural haven.
Those looking for an active holiday can experience diving or sailing, particularly popular around the island of Gozo, or hire a car and venture through the beautiful countryside to sun‐drenched beaches.
The turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, along with soft white sandy beaches, make the picturesque island of Mauritius a great honeymoon destination. Thickly‐wooded mountain peaks, sugar cane plantations and extinct volcanoes add to its charm, and it offers a wonderful mix of Indian, Chinese and Creole religion and cuisine.
See Beachcomber for honeymoons to Mauritius
Most of the hotels in Mauritius are so fantastic that you’ll never want to venture from your pampered haven but, should you wish to, the island has plenty to offer including colourful markets, friendly fishing villages and game reserves.
Civilisations flourished in Mexico over 2000 years ago, so the culture here is incredibly rich, from Mayan temples, to colonial Spanish churches. Coupled with this are fabulous Caribbean beaches and luxurious hotels. Cozumel, Punta Mita and Zihuatenajo are the places to relax, while Cancun, Acapulco and Ixtapa are the places to party.
Mexican cuisine is mouth‐watering, perfect when washed down with a margarita. And, for those wanting something a little more active than lazing on the beach, you can do everything from deep‐sea fishing off Acapulco to diving the barrier reefs of the Yucatan, or cruising the Baja desert in a four‐by‐four.
St Lucia is perhaps the most touristy of the less‐travelled Winward Islands, but it’s nowhere close to islands such as Nassau in terms of crowds. It’s an island of amazing natural beauty, smothered in rain forest and sugar‐cane plantations, offering many diverse attractions.
Those seeking adventure can take to the island outback on mountain bikes, or clamber up the twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons, rising dramatically from the water over Jalousie Bay. Kitesurfing and deep‐sea fishing are other popular activities here, as is a visit to the entrance of La Soufriére volcano with its bubbling sulphur hot springs.
The beaches are relaxed, accommodation is varied and impressive and the nightlife is laid‐back and very Caribbean.
A hundred islands and islets scattered in the Indian Ocean make up the Seychelles, but the vast majority ‐‐ nine out of 10 people ‐‐ live on Mahé, the largest island, with Victoria as the capital city and the Morne Mountains forming a backdrop to the town. Accommodation is available on 16 islands, but most of the hotels are on Mahé with its 68 beaches and coves, and Praslin, the second largest island.
The lush tropical islands are idyllic, with glorious white sand beaches and sparkling blue water. Rich vegetation includes coconuts, mangoes and bananas and you can expect to see a range of wildlife. Incredible tropical fish make the Seychelles a popular place for diving and snorkeling.
See Beachcomber for honeymoons to Seychelles
A beautiful island of the southern tip of Italy, Sicily is home to the bustling capital of Palermo (of ‘Godfather’ fame), and the towering form of Mount Etna, which still spews lava. Its food is legendary, with a mix of classical Italian and spicy local flavours, inspired by North Africa.
It also boasts a magnificent coastline, dotted with glamorous resorts. Taormina, in the province of Messina, is a wonderful place for a honeymoon. It has a bustling town with fine boutiques, street cafes and smart restaurants, all with a fabulous view of the bays below. Mondello in Palermo is another of Sicily’s popular resorts.
Located on the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa has more to offer than any other country on the continent. As well as stunning safari parks, there are endless beaches, buzzing cities, stunning mountain ranges and dramatic winelands.
To make the most of South Africa, it’s important to travel around in order to experience the different things that it offers. It’s a good idea to start off in the fashionable ocean‐side city of Cape Town, before venturing into the winelands, known for its fantastic wines and restaurants. Then cruise along the Garden Route, and finish off with a safari in Kruger National Park, one of the largest national parks in the world.
Accommodation is very good value, and there is an endless choice: top five‐star hotels, stylish boutique hotels, family‐run B&Bs and trendy guesthouses. And its climate is generally warm and comfortable.
See Beachcomber for honeymoons to South Africa
No single experience can define this vast continent of magnificent beaches, mysterious rain forests, windswept pampas and majestic peaks. South America offers everything, and you need to choose what aspects you’d like to experience on your honeymoon.
City sophisticates will want to tango all night amid grandeur of Buenos Aires, frequently referred to as the Paris of South America. Outdoorsy types will hike to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes. Nature lovers will want to feel the mist from gargantuan Iguazu Falls, or come nose‐to‐nose with gentle, doe‐eyed guanacos as they graze in Chile’s stunning Torres del Paine National Park.
When you’ve had your fill of flora and fauna, head for Brazil and the sights and sounds of Rio de Janeiro with its exciting nightlife and world‐famous beach at Ipanema. Sip icy mojitos until the sun goes down, and wake up to visit the impressive Iguacu Falls. So much to do, so little time!
Relatively close to home and with picturesque countryside, cosmopolitan cities and heavenly beaches, Spain is a great honeymoon destination.
If you want to shop and party, head to Madrid or Barcelona ‐ both rich in culture and nightlife. Alternatively, rent a villa in the wonderful landscape of olive orchards and laze away the days walking, sitting by the pool and sampling Spain’s wonderful food and wine.
Known as the tropical teardrop at the foot of India, Sri Lanka is becoming increasingly popular for honeymoons. It’s a great destination on its own, but its close proximity to the Maldives also makes Sri Lanka a great two‐centre honeymoon.
As well as it’s wonderful tropical climate and fabulous landscape, Sri Lanka is rich in culture. Colombo is a bustling, fascinating city, and you can visit other mystic ancient cities, Buddhist temples and tea plantations. Inland Sri Lanka gives you the opportunity to experience the wildlife with elephants roaming their natural habitat.
Stunning beaches on the Indian Ocean, along with great hotels, make Sri Lanka a great place to relax as well as explore. The people are wonderful and the cuisine mouth‐watering. What more could you ask for?
Tahiti and her islands have a Technicolor charisma that enchants returning visitors as much as it seduces first‐timers. There are five main island groups with the most popular being the Society Islands (including Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora). Each of them is a tiny paradise, perfect for honeymooners. Intimate resorts, small peaceful villages and quiet pristine beaches are the key points of Tahiti.
Stay in a water bungalow, relax in the spa, cruise on a yacht and explore on a safari… all bliss! Just make sure you save enough energy to enjoy an evening at the world famous Bloody Mary’s on Bora Bora where you can bury your toes in the sand-covered floor and feast on crab and grilled mahi mahi.
When it comes to a combination of culture and idyllic beaches, Thailand is legendary. The ‘land of smiles’ is full of wonders with its temples, markets, historical places, shops, beaches and delicious food. Its shape and geography divide Thailand in to four natural regions — the mountains and forests of the north, vast rice fields of the central plains, farm lands of the north-east plateau and the tropical islands and coastline of the southern peninsula.
Those looking to explore might choose to visit the bustling capital of Bangkok, or Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Mae hong Sorn. When it comes to relaxation, beaches are abundant, and the variety of hotels is excellent, whether you’re after absolute luxury or comfortable quality. Phuket and Pattaya are lively resorts, with Koh Samui that little bit quieter and more secluded
Twinned with Trinidad, Tobago lies at the southern tip of the Caribbean island chain and is the more serene of the two islands. Tobago is home to the oldest protected rainforest in the Western Hemisphere and it’s considered an unspoilt haven. The island is tiny — just 41 by 14 kilometres — ringed with stunning beaches, clear water and colourful coral reefs.
Tobago isn’t about nightclubs and entertainment — it’s for those looking to completely relax and escape from the hustle and bustle of home, offering golf and watersports for those who want to be a little active.
The Turks and Caicos islands lie at the very end of the Bahamas chain, remote and essentially undiscovered between Cuba and Haiti. Eight of the 40 islands are inhabited (Salt Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, Parrot Cay and Pine Cay), but most couples head to Providenciales (which everyone shortens to ‘Provo’). Grace Bay, on the north shore, is a five-mile beachcomber’s canvas where you can spend hours walking along the beach or snorkelling Smiths Reef.
Accommodation varies from the ultimate in luxury to more rustic hotels, and native dishes such as fresh fish and peas and rice are served along with international cuisine with tropical twists.
Vietnam is a land of ancient temples, rugged mountains, rice fields and palm-lined beaches, and is famous for both its welcoming people and its delicious cuisine. It’s ideal for those looking to venture a little off the beaten track. Pack in as much of this ancient land as you can, visiting the city of Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue and Saigon. Vietnam also offers quickly-developing beaches in Nha Trang, or it’s possible to combine your honeymoon with a beach holiday in Phuket, Thailand.