After months -- or even years -- of organizing, stressing, and saving for a wedding, couples finally get to kick back and relax during their honeymoon. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 1.4 million honeymooners per year, and in the last five years, 75 percent of newlyweds opted for vacations in the U.S. or Canada. But what about the other 25 percent? Europe is a popular honeymoon option, but in a diverse continent bursting with destinations, where should one go? From the food, wine, and dolce vita vibe of the Amalfi Coast to the pampering serenity of the Greek islands, here are seven of the best honeymoon destinations in Europe.
Santorini, with its whitewashed buildings, rustic coastal paths, gorgeous Aegean Sea views, and delicious seafood, offers the ideal place to unwind after the stresses of a wedding. Here, visitors can swim and snorkel from chartered yachts, explore the island’s pretty villages, and dine in traditional trattorias. To top it off, a warm climate ensures that you can spend as much time as you want on the beautiful beaches. A favorite with the celebrity crowd, this Greek island gifts you an overall slow-paced honeymoon.
The capital of Tuscany, Florence is the best place to base yourself for a honeymoon that combines city culture and beautiful countryside views. Walking around the city is the best way to soak up its atmospheric charms. Must-see highlights include the Duomo, Museo di San Marco, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Uffizi art gallery. From Michelangelo to mozzarella, art and food are two of Florence’s great loves, and fine dining can be found in even the most basic family restaurants. After exploring the city, make a break for the Tuscan hills with a tour through the Chianti trail, where red wine and sunsets provide the ultimate romantic experience.
3. Amalfi Coast
While the Amalfi Coast is a hugely popular destination, the attractions in this beautiful region are fairly dispersed, which means you don’t have to spend your honeymoon squished shoulder-to-shoulder with other couples. Glamorous and quintessentially Italian, the Amalfi Coast is filled with hidden bays, stunning cliff walks, and quaint villages. There are also scenic drives to take. Some of the best views can be seen from the roads between Positano and Ravello, where a lush landscape hides olive groves, secret forests, and historic buildings. For a romantic day trip, take the hydrofoil from Positano to Capri, an island that hums with dolce vita style.
While Santorini and the Amalfi Coast offer a perfect climate and parade of great beaches (and plenty more), Amsterdam guarantees neither -- though summers in the Netherlands are generally warm and sunny. However, what the Netherlands’ most famous city can provide is charming cobblestone streets, beautiful canals, amazing parks, lots of culture and buzzing nightlife. Don’t be put off by Amsterdam’s reputation as a party mecca -- beyond the red light district, this is a city that oozes romance. From bike rides through the quirky Jordaan neighborhood to paddle boat rides on the Amstel river and its canals to roaming the tight, tree-lined streets, this city serves up a whimsical honeymoon escape.
The Cote d’Azur is scattered with picturesque places, but few are more romantic than Antibes. Located a short drive from Nice and Cannes, this town was loved by artists like Monet and Picasso -- and it’s not hard to see why they gained inspiration from its beauty. Overflowing with floral displays and hidden gardens, the narrow streets are a sight to behold. Beyond the ramparts of the town, the port walls welcome super yachts of the rich and famous and hide a small sandy beach, which gets very busy during the summer. The other great thing about Antibes is its location. While it offers fine restaurants, relaxing walks, artsy enclaves, and some of the sweetest wine bars you’ll find on the Riviera, it also doles out plenty of beaches, including the long Plage du Ponteil and the relatively quiet and serene Plage des Ondes.
Croatia is no longer Europe’s hidden gem, but it still feels like you’re discovering something new every time you visit. The mix of beautiful beaches, medieval old towns, and clear blue water make Croatia a no-brainer for couples who are searching for a romantic honeymoon destination. We recommend Dubrovnik, a city that has developed into Croatia’s luxury capital. Explore the pedestrian-only Old Town and visit its ancient churches and medieval ramparts. Or, while away the days on the beautiful beaches, which are lapped by the clear water of the Adriatic Sea. Don’t forget to enjoy some island hopping to the nearby Elaphiti Islands, where snorkeling and diving are encouraged between destinations.
Paris, known as the City of Love, is an obvious honeymoon choice. London, however, needs some more help because although the city’s cultural appeal (free museums, art galleries, and historic monuments) is well documented, its romantic side often gets a little lost. In fact, there is romance all around, from the picturesque Regent’s Canal and its quaint floating bookshop to the rolling hills of Hampstead Heath. Plus, don’t miss a visit to the Columbia Road Flower Market during the weekend. To top it all off, visitors can also enjoy the sultry nightlife in Soho -- not to mention, some of the most romantic hotels in Europe.
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