Not only are you planning the most important day of your life but you’re also expected to organize an amazing trip to enjoy directly after your wedding, too? While plenty of people opt to go on their honeymoon a couple days or weeks (even years) after their big day to avoid extra stress, the endless options on where to go can get a bit overwhelming no matter what timeline you go with.
In an effort to help you choose the best honeymoon destination for your needs, wants and budget, we spoke with Andrew Satkowiak, executive vice president for The Luxury Travel Agency to get his top recommendations.
From a safari-filled trip in South Africa, the romantic vineyards of Tuscany, adventurous accommodations in Patagonia or even something a bit closer to home in Hawaii, there’s an option for all couples.
“I like to think of a honeymoon as a once in a lifetime event,” Satkowiak said. “Some people want a destination that they’ve never been to and probably would never go back to — to keep the honeymoon as a special memory and other people want to go to a destination they’re more familiar with, in the end it really comes down to what the client is looking for.”
Ahead get the 411 on the best honeymoon destinations of 2023.
If you have plenty of time and PTO isn’t an issue, a honeymoon in Australia would be an unforgettable memory.
“You can climb [the] Sydney Harbor Bridge, do a private tour of the Sydney Opera House or a private behind the scenes [tour] of Taronga Zoo in Sydney,” Satkowiak suggested. “Hike in the Blue Mountains, [go on] wine tours in Adelaide, spend a day on Whitsunday Islands (or do helicopter tour), [enjoy] a guided café crawl in Melbourne or a restaurant tasting tour in Sydney.”
Where to stay in Sydney: For a spectacular high-end pick, you can’t go wrong with the Four Seasons Hotel. If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable and near Bondi Beach go with The Baxley Bondi hotel.
Where to stay in Melbourne: The Westin Melbourne is a great choice for those who want to be in a centrally located area to see the most of the city.
2. New Zealand
New Zealand can easily be paired in the same trip to Australia although both countries could also be done very well during separate vacations.
“In New Zealand, a few days in Queenstown is a must as is a visit to Milford Sound and a Fiorland helicopter tour. If you’re adventurous, you can try a Dart River Jetboat adventure and go bungee jumping off Kawarau Bridge. If time allows, try fly fishing in Taupo, sailing on Lake Taupo, wine tours, hiking, private picnics and much more,” Satkowiak said of honeymooning in New Zealand.
Where to stay in Queenstown: Situated directly on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa boasts famous waterfront and mountain views — a place you won’t regret booking.
3. South Africa
For the adventurous couple who loves wildlife, a trip to South Africa is the way to go.
“A trip to South Africa must include some time in the vibrant city of Cape Town (Johannesburg is worth a visit too). It has a diverse and colorful culture, a great dining scene and tons of things to do in town and nearby,” Satkowiak told The Post. “Wine tours in the Winelands, shark cage diving, mountain hiking, visiting the African penguins going to see where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet. And of course, no trip to South Africa is complete without a few days on safari!”
“South Africa’s safari lodges are some of the very best lodges in the world with many of the located on private game reserves which just adds to the remoteness and peace of the whole experience. It often feels like you have the whole country just to yourself!” Satkowiak said.
Where to stay in Cape Town: The Westin Cape Town is a great, centrally located spot with unique views over the V&A Waterfront, Table Mountain and the whole of Table Bay.
Where to stay in Kruger National Park: For an incredible safari experience the Imbali Safari Lodge is a no-brainer. With limited cell reception, romantic suites with private plunge pools, personalized safari tours and exquisite service, you won’t be disappointed.
Another popular option for honeymooning is Bali. It’s insanely beautiful and quite in-expensive once you get there — making it ultra appealing to many.
“Bali is a tropical paradise with stunning scenery, delicious cuisine, and a rich culture. It’s [also] a perfect destination for those with a more typical budget of time (7-10 days),” Satkowiak said. “Bali is known for its peaceful atmosphere [so] it’s perfect for newlyweds who want to unwind and enjoy each other’s company.”
“Bali has some of the most stunning landscapes in the world,” Satkowiak said before mentioning the emerald rice paddies throughout the countryside are one of his favorites.” Couples can explore these natural wonders on hikes, bike tours, or simply relax and soak in the beauty of their surroundings.”
Other activities include sunset cruises, sunrise hikes, white water rafting, trekking along the rice terraces and for the less active travelers, the resorts are perfect for lounging and most of them offer world class spas.
Where to stay in Bali: Immerse in authentic Balinese culture at the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay — an ocean-side, all-villa beach retreat that features a hand-crafted furniture, stunning views and incredible staff. For an equally as special but less-expensive option, consider the Kelapa Retreat and Spa. For an extra special treat, consider staying in a luxury treehouse.
“Known worldwide for their luxury over-water villa, the Maldives has a plethora of resorts to choose from. Each has its own unique character, distinctive style and atmosphere,” Satkowiak said. “With each island only having just one resort on it, privacy is one of the biggest benefits of the Maldives, that, plus the crystal clear water, white sand beaches and of course, the sunny blue skies.”
“To make it even more private, many of the villas have their own private pools. Nothing says romance like having your own pool,” Satkowiak told The Post.
According to Satkowiak, while most people think of the Maldives as a place to relax, there’s plenty of activity to do including snorkeling, scuba diving, private sunset cruises, boat charters, mingling with locals, private romantic dinners, wine tasting, star gazing, cooking classes and more. Another big draw to the Maldives? The spas!
Satkowiak also often recommends his client’s add a few days in Dubai, Istanbul or London, to the start or end of their time in the Maldives, depending on where they’re coming from since most flights to the islands stop in the locations.
Where to stay in the Maldives: The Four Seasons Resort Maldives At Landaa Giraavaru or the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa are two options that anyone would enjoy. Both offer incredible scenery, outstanding service and private villas to create the most romantic honeymoon.
According to Satkowiak, Patagonia is bucket list trip for many honeymoon clients.
“This gives a great mix of both adventure, awe-dropping views, romance and unforgettable excursions,” he said. “Spanning into Chile and Argentina Patagonia is one of the most unique destinations in the world. With tons of lakes, glaciers and the snow-capped Andres mountains, there is a little something for everyone to do.”
In the winter travelers can ski, trek on glaciers, enjoy winter hikes, go canoeing or kayaking in icebergs. During the summer you can hike, go on 4×4 excursions, splurge on a scenic helicopter tour, go white water rafting, fly fishing and horseback riding, just to name a few activities.
If you and your partner enjoy wine, Mendoza is another great option in Argentina.
“Here visitors can visit wineries to do some wine tasting and learn all about the wine making process,” Satkowiak said.
“Mendoza has some of the most exceptional lodging options, small boutique options — the perfect destination to truly escape the hustle and bustle of life and really connect with your new spouse.”
Where to stay in the Patagonia: While you can certainly find budget-friendly ways to enjoy the beauty of Patagonia, most will recommend spending a bit more money, especially during a special trip like your honeymoon. An all-inclusive, luxury lodge like Estancia Cristina, located in the north arm of the Lago Argentino is a great option. While the property is no longer a working cattle ranch, the trip to this Estancia is well worth the trip. With extraordinary views of landscapes you could only dream of, incredible service and included activities like horseback riding, hiking and more — what’s not to love?
Where to stay in the Mendoza: The Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Hotel boasts just 19 rooms, winery tours, a vineyard, and a tasting room, plus a spa and a high-end, on-site restaurant.
For those looking to experience the incredible Iguazú Falls, the luxury Awasi Iguazú treehouse-esque hotel is all-inclusive and outstanding.
“From its history and culture to the scenery, fashion and of course the food, Italy is a spectacular destination! Most first timers to Italy tend to visit Florence, Rome and Venice,” Satkowiak said before mentioning the wine region of Italy, Tuscany.
“The Tuscany region is surely one of the most picturesque and beautiful areas that I’ve visited. You don’t need to be a wine aficionado to enjoy that region but it surely does help. Depending on how much time you have, it’s very easy to tie in [Florence, Rome and Venice] or another popular add-on would be the Amalfi Coast and Capri.:
Where to stay in Rome: Hotel Artemide is one of the best hotels in Rome for it’s incredible service and amenities but more so for it’s location. Walk to just about any attraction directly from your hotel! Enjoy an incredible buffet breakfast, as well.
Where to stay in Venice: The Gritti Palace, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Venice is housed in a 15th century noble palazzo and one of the most iconic and romantic properties in Europe. Overlooking the Grand Canal, the property boasts one of the most majestic views in the city, spanning from the island of San Giorgio Maggiore past Punta della Dogana and the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
For a special experience about 20-minutes outside the city, consider the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa. Settled on its own private island in Venice, Isola delle Rose, the property features 40-acres of gardens, olive groves and exceptional amenities.
Where to stay in Tuscany: The Renaissance Tuscany Il Ciocco Resort & Spa is located on 1,700 acres in the heart of the Serchio Valley and is the perfect destination for your Italian getaway. Enjoy ideal access to charming and historic attractions including Pisa.
Where to stay in the Amalfi Coast: The Anantara Convento di Amalfi Grand Hotel is a fabulous 5-star option in the Amalfi Coast that was once home to Capuchin Monks. Featuring an infinity pool, elegant decor, exquisite views and more.
“Los Cabos is a popular destination for honeymoons especially with its close proximity to the western side of the US. The array and options for top-end hotels and resorts is unparalleled to most other honeymoon spots in Mexico and the Caribbean,” Satkowiak said. “There really is something for everyone in addition to that they’ve got a great restaurant scene and a lot of water based activities, plus some charming towns nearby which are worth a visit.”
Where to stay in Los Cabos: Corazon Cabo Resort & Spa is situated on Medano Beach and steps away from everything else you could want in Cabo. Another great option is the JW Marriott Los Cabos Beach Resort & Spa. Boasting a beachfront location in San Jose del Cabo, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific Ocean, this JW Marriott location is perfect place to celebrate your marriage.
If you’re looking to spend some time in Tulum, the Hilton Tulum Riviera Maya property is all-Inclusive and another incredible option with five-star accommodations and beautiful views.
Last but not least, Hawaii — a classic honeymoon location that won’t disappoint!
“Maui is the perfect destination for [travelers] that want to be around people, have great shopping, restaurants and great beach life. Maui offers all types of land and water activities for you to enjoy,” Satkowiak said. “Maui also [offers] some of the beat Luau’s in all of Hawaii.”
Expert tip: Whale season is from mid-November to Mid-May in Maui.
After spending some time in Maui, Satkowiak recommends venturing to Kauai for a totally different experience.
“Kauai [is] lush, idyllic, peaceful and serene,” he said. “If you are looking for great scenery, outdoor adventure and being ‘off the grid’ [this is the place for you].”
“The island has jagged costal cliffs, deep emerald valleys waterfalls and sea caves – truly an amazing island. This island gives you a good mix of romance, outdoor adventure and culinary and cultural experiences,” Satkowiak said.
Where to stay in Maui: AC Hotel by Marriott Maui Wailea or the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea (where The White Lotus season 1 was filmed!) are two great options that offer amazing views, great service and amenties.
Where to stay in Kauai: The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is set on the soothing white sands in Poipu (Kauai’s sunny south shore) over 50 acres of lush gardens.
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