The trendiest destinations for honeymoons and weddings abroad run the gamut from tried-and-true locales to ultra-exotic spots. What these destinations have in common is that they offer honeymooners and destination wedding parties access to unique bucket list-worthy experiences that perfectly complement the celebration of a lifetime. From shacking up in some of the Caribbean’s top hotels to delving into one of the world’s hottest food scenes, 2017’s top destinations offer a little something for everyone.
For newlyweds who don’t require scorching sun and 30-degree heat to have a good time, Ireland is jam-packed with dreamy adventures that will especially appeal to the inner romantic (even a casual countryside stroll can conjure up flashbacks of Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler in P.S. I Love You). On top of checking out cultural hubs like character-filled Dublin and must-sees like the Cliffs of Moher, the show-stopping scenery—think: majestic ancient castles perched atop dramatic cliffs—begs for a good old road trip. There’s a stunning two-day route along the Causeway coast in in Northern Ireland that starts in Belfast and takes you through lush glens to attractions like the imposing Carrickfergus castle, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the folklore-ridden “Giant’s Causeway,” a three-mile bit of shoreline filled with 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Of course, booze-loving couples will have a heyday wherever they go, hitting up the charming local pubs for a pint of Guinness or touring one of the many whiskey distilleries.
The Adriatic Sea is lined with so many incredible honeymoon hotspots in Italy, Greece, Croatia and Montenegro that hitting them all during a standard hotel-hopping Euro honeymoon is basically impossible. To take in the area from a different perspective, Star Clippers Cruises offers an especially authentic expedition aboard one of its “Star Flyers,” a four-mast, 16-sail ship designed for modern day explorers. With only 85 cabins, it’s an intimate environment—but one that doesn’t scrimp on the onboard amenities (there are two pools, well-appointed suites, a cozy piano bar and Edwardian-style library). The eight-stop voyage starts and ends in Venice, and visits the historic city of Dubrovnik, the island of Losinj, the architecturally rich Slovenian town of Piran and the fortified Montenegro city of Kotor. The best part? You can actually tie the knot on deck while hosting the most unique destination wedding of all time!
A Mexican holiday is certainly not a novel idea for honeymooners or couples looking to marry abroad—but the type of trip we’re recommending, whether for a twosome or a wedding group, is a unique culinary-focused fiesta. The country’s food scene is having a moment, and offers a huge variety of eats that go way beyond fish tacos (although those are obviously delicious). Even the country’s all-inclusives are catching on, with foodie-focused resorts like The Azul Fives near Playa del Carmen. Further west, Oaxaca is known as the country’s food capital, and for good reason: the southern state invented street food staples like mole and tamales, but it’s also home to higher-end dining options—like a new spot from famed chef (and Chef’s Table star) Enrique Olvera, called Criollo. Fans of mezcal, the tequila-like spirit that’s made by fire-roasting agave hearts, will be in heaven: the area is now crawling with artisanal distilleries that produce some of the best mezcal in the world. The flavours are incredibly varied and deserving of many a taste test—ideally after diving headfirst into spicy salsas and the freshest guacamole.
The tiny (yet famously mountainous) Caribbean island of St. Lucia is ideal for couples on the hunt for an elevated take on a tropical vacation. It’s home to a ton of luxury properties that offer romantic adults-only retreats, indulgent spa vacations and fitness-focused getaways—all with stellar views of the coast (and without venturing into overly developed all-inclusive territory). The flawless white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise ocean mean you could literally sunbathe and lounge in the water from dawn to dusk, but more active couples have lots of alternatives. The Pitons—twin volcanic mountains that reach 771 metres high—can be hiked (or simply photographed), and the lush rainforest is full of awesome waterfalls and volcanic sulphur springs waiting to be discovered.
There’s a reason why Colombia is currently number one on the bucket list for every stylish millennial couple (and it’s not just its highly Instagrammable nature). The country has it all: rich urban experiences, remote countryside getaways and beautiful beachside resorts. Everywhere you go is a lesson in bold colour schemes (even the most austere dressers will gain a new appreciation for rainbow-hued everything). In Medellin, the brightly coloured houses nestled into the hills provide envy-inducing photo backdrops, and the abundance of contemporary art galleries, boutique hotels and fashionable indie boutiques are an urbanite’s dream. In the charming city of Cartagena, couples can satisfy any cravings for colonial architecture or the Caribbean coastline, and the nearby islands offer a picturesque break from city life. Inside the historic walled city, souvenir-obsessed couples can stock up on traditional crafts (like these colourful handwoven totes) from street vendors.