Ah, the honeymoon! The stress of wedding planning is behind you, you’ve got time off from work, and all you have left to do is enjoy your brand-new spouse in a stunning setting. There’s no better time in the newlywed life as far as we’re concerned. But, while we love a great Hawaii or Napa trip as much as the next newlywed, we’re always on the hunt for unique honeymoon destinations to switch things up. Today, then, we’ve rounded up four unexpected and stunning locales to sweep away to after your Big Day—so pack your bags, dust off that passport, and get ready to globetrot with an unmistakable newlywed glow!
An eastern European country with a stunning stretch of coastline along the Adriatic Sea, Croatia earns the top spot on our list of unique honeymoon destinations. With mesmerizing sparkling water and age-old islands peppered along its coastline, Croatia is perfect for those who want sunbathe on white, sandy shores or embark on exciting water activities—all while taking in Croatia’s stunning turquoise waters. Plus, because of its position between the Balkans and central Europe, you’ll find tons of evidence of its rich history of competing kingdoms and empires risen and fallen. From Slavic churches to unmistakable Roman architecture, Croatia is chock-full of culture.
- Must do: Visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park, a stunning forest reserve in Central Croatia that boasts 16 terraced lakes connected by picturesque waterfalls—all leading to a striking limestone canyon. (Trust us—it’s a turquoise scene sent straight from the heavens.)
- Perfect for: Water lovers, outdoor-adventurers, and beach goers who want their sun-soaked days served up with a side of some serious history and culture.
The capital of Hungary and one of the largest cities in the EU, Budapest earns our number two spot on our roundup of unique honeymoon destinations for a number of reasons. Because of its stunning architecture and striking setting, Budapest has been dubbed “The Paris of the East,” making it a perfect locale for a honeymoon as romantic as it is exciting. From its incredible thermal baths to its rich nightlife scene to its youthful, energetic atmosphere, Budapest is a place for energetic explorers and city lovers alike. From bars built in the ruins of abandoned buildings (dubbed “ruin bars”) to an iconic castle district that will leave your jaw on floor, you and your spouse will find unexpected adventure and stunning architecture at every turn.
- Must do: Spend a night out at one of Budapest’s ruin bars, then recoup the next day with a massage, treatment, or infamous “red wine bath” at one of its 120+ thermal springs.
- Perfect for: City lovers and night-owls who aren’t afraid of a little exploration, excitement, and energy.
3. Suncadia, Washington
Number three on our roundup today takes us stateside to Suncadia, Washington, a mountain resort 80 miles east of Seattle, tucked away amongst 6,400 acres of Cascade Mountain forest. With sun-soaked meadows and refreshing rivers abound, you and your spouse can enjoy the serenity of the great outdoors—without ever having to leave your favorite creature comforts and lush accommodations behind. A world-class winery, 40+ miles of hiking and biking trails, and a 2.2 million-acre forest right next door allow you to unplug from the everyday and enjoy the absolute best of Pacific Northwest.
- Must do: Embark on a hike or cycle on Suncadia’s 40+ miles of trails, then spend the next day at their environmentally-friendly Glade Springs Spa (and be sure to top of your trip with a glass of incredible vino at Swiftwaters Cellars Winery).
- Perfect for: Outdoorsy couples, spa-enthusiasts, eco-conscious couples, and mountain-life-lovers seeking stunning seclusion without having to skip on accommodations.
A region in southeastern France that’s as romantic as they come, we’re rounding out our list of unique honeymoon destinations today with the one and only Provence. We particularly love Provence because of its diverse landscape: with everything from the towering southern Alps to rolling vineyards to acres upon acres of pine forests at your disposal, it’s the perfect honeymoon locale for couples seeking a little bit of serenity, a little bit of adventure, and a whole lot of beautiful. Provence includes the well-known (and stunning) city of Nice, as well as high-end coastal resort destinations like San Tropez and Cannes. (And don’t get us started on Provence’s lavender fields.)
- Must do: Soak up the glitz and glam of the yacht-peppered beaches and expansive coastal villas along the French Riviera. If you’re visiting from June-August, visit the Luberon blooms for a lush lavender scene that looks as if it’s been plucked straight from the pages of a fairytale.
- Perfect for: Couples seeking serious glamour and Instagram-worthy activities ranging from sailing to wine tasting to museum-going to yachting.
Photo courtesy fashion wedding photographer Claire Morris