Relaxing on a beach in Tahiti or touring a vineyard in the South of France are certainly memorable ways for newlyweds to celebrate their marriage. However, for others, traveling to an underrated honeymoon destination is the ultimate vacation goal.
If you’re the type of couple who wants to spend your honeymoon trying exotic foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or walking through tunnels of centuries-old castles, read on for some of the most underrated honeymoon destinations to consider for your next romantic getaway.
Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
If you were considering a trip to Barcelona or Madrid for your honeymoon, why not venture off the Spanish mainland and head to the Canary Islands? Located off the coast of Morocco, this Spanish archipelago is small but with plenty of fun things to do and its diverse and dramatic landscape offers everything from tropical beaches to cliffside treks.
For a romance-focused day, start your Gran Canaria visit at Doramas Park, an urban park in the center of Las Palmas, the capital city. You can walk hand-in-hand around the many paths shaded by giant palms, stop for a morning tea or coffee in the cafe, and swing by the Museo Nestor for a little artistic inspiration.
In the afternoon, one of the best things to do in Gran Canaria is to relax at Maspalomas Beach, a nearly 9,000-foot-long beach that is well known for its substantial oceanside dunes. Right next to the dunes, the two-mile-long beach has calm and warm waters and resorts along the shore that offer umbrellas and sun lounger rentals. Be sure to bring sandals to walk on the dunes as the sand can get quite hot.
If you’re looking for a more active time, take a hike through the Agaete Valley, one of the best hikes in Europe. Though, you could also walk through some of the cute small towns inside of the valley. In the afternoon, head to one of the island’s quaint villages like Puerto Mógan or Firgas to indulge in some traditional Canary Island cuisine, like tapas, fried and grilled seafood, mango, and avocado dishes, and a bit of Spanish wine.
Bruges is one of the most underrated honeymoon destinations in the world. After all, it’s home to the “Lake of Love,” which is just as beautiful as it sounds.
While strolling through town, be sure to visit Market Square, the center of activity in the city since the Middle Ages. Here, you’ll find buskers, street performers, farmer’s markets, and historical buildings.
Market Square is also where you can book a carriage ride around town, which is one of the best things to do in Bruges for honeymooners. Ride along the canals and through green parks, cozying up with your sweetheart as you admire the scenery.
To make your honeymoon even sweeter, consider taking a chocolate-making class in the historic town of Ghent, just east of Brussels. Aficionados revere Belgian chocolate as some of the best in the world, and you can learn how to make it (and properly taste it) during a historical factory tour.
In Ghent, you can also take a sunset cruise for two along the canals and waterways of the city, or set out on a cycling tour through the Flemish countryside, stopping at a local pub for lunch and a Belgian beer.
Patagonia (Chile and Argentina)
Patagonia is a bucket-list destination for adventure travelers, but it’s also one of the most underrated honeymoon destinations for couples. While hiking through occasional mud and wind may not seem at first glance like a romantic activity, standing together in front of some of the world’s most iconic mountains can be a magical experience when shared with the right person.
While in Patagonia, consider booking a ride on the End of the World Train, which runs from Ushuaia, Argentina to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city; only the tiny island of Navarino, Chile stands between Ushuaia and Antarctica. Make your way through this remote landscape and marvel at the sights while sharing some light bites and a bottle of Chilean wine.
If you’d rather see Patagonia by water, you’ll have plenty of options. Consider hopping aboard a catamaran to spot playful seals at Sea Lion Island, paddling a canoe for two along glacier-fed waterways, or taking a sightseeing cruise along the Beagle Channel, where you could spot everything from majestic whales to charming penguins in South America.
Charleston, South Carolina
You don’t have to go far to visit the under-the-radar honeymoon spot of Charleston, South Carolina, a city consistently voted as one of the most beautiful in the country. Stroll hand-in-hand through the cobblestone alleys of the French Quarter, where there are colorful, historic buildings, avant-garde art galleries, unassuming bakeries and cafes, and high-end restaurants near Charleston’s Waterfront Park.
Spend a day in Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, a massive historical site with gardens that cover more than 460 acres. Here, the flower gardens are intentionally allowed to overgrow in their natural state, and a large portion of the grounds are protected as swamp gardens for wildlife. If you’d like a narrated guide while you explore the grounds, go on a tram tour where you’ll learn all about the different blooms.
If you have more than a day in Charleston, you can also tour a 127-acre working tea farm (complete with tastings, naturally) or venture out after dark for a lantern-lit ghost tour.
Curaçao, Netherland Antilles
Curaçao often gets overlooked in favor of more well-known island destinations. But Curaçao has some of the clearest and bluest waters in the world, making it the perfect underrated honeymoon destination for beach enthusiasts and travelers keen to get in the water.
Curaçao is known among snorkelers and scuba divers for having some of the world’s best reefs, which you’ll be able to see at sites like the Curaçao Sea Aquarium Park, an open-ocean marine park. Go scuba diving or snorkeling in Curaçao on the reefs, where the water is warm and visibility is fantastic, allowing you to see for 80 feet or more underwater. If you’d prefer to stay dry, you can take a ride on the marine park’s submersible or get a fish-eye view of coral restoration projects through the Ocean Lens Window, which lies 17 feet below the surface.
One of the best things to do in Curaçao on your honeymoon is to lounge on the island’s idyllic beaches. Spend an afternoon cozying up under a thatched-roof palapa at Mambo Beach or rent a pair of tubes and float under the sun at Seaquarium Beach, where you’ll likely be able to find a few sandy beach bars.
If you do manage to tear yourself away from Curaçao’s best beaches, head to Shete Boka National Park, a sea turtle habitat with impressive sea caves and caverns on the island’s north shore.
Set on the meeting point of Asia and Europe, Turkey’s Istanbul is hard to describe. Equal parts colorful and deeply historical, it features ancient sites, a rich and flavorful culinary scene that blends European and Middle Eastern dishes, and an urban center with nightlife and museums that rival any European capital.
One of the best places to visit in Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. Built in the 500s C.E. by the emperor Justinian the First, the Hagia Sophia was the center of the Byzantine Empire for centuries. Other stunning nearby sites include the Blue Mosque and the Basilica Cistern, built approximately the same time as the Hagia Sophia. Both sites are stunning architectural wonders that remain in immaculate condition over 1,500 years later.
While you’ll most likely want to sleep in, consider waking up early for a sunrise breakfast cruise down the Bosphorus, the body of water that separates the city into two continents. Or attend a formal afternoon tea at the Ciragan Palace, a former Ottoman Empire palace.
For a little fun in the kitchen, take a Mediterranean cooking class for two and learn to create the dishes that will remind you of your honeymoon once you’re back home. Be sure to pick up all the spices you’ll need at one of the best markets in Istanbul, including the sprawling Grand Bazaar before you leave.
Puerto Rico is the ideal underrated honeymoon destination for couples looking for sunshine, delicious cuisine, and tropical rainforests.
Start your life off as a married couple with an adventure at El Yunque Rainforest, where you can soak in waterfall-fed swimming holes or stand among the treetops at the park’s Yokahú Observation Tower. It’s an incredible outdoor vacation destination for nature enthusiasts.
Spend at least one evening in Old San Juan, the historic heart of the city, where you can embark on a food and cocktail tour, enjoy a candlelight dinner for two in a historic building, or swap your flip flops for high heels during a salsa session with your new dance partner for life.
Every honeymoon should include a beach day or two. Head to Playa Escambron, one of the best places to snorkel in Puerto Rico for beginners, as the water is clear and rarely choppy. There’s much to see here including a reef wall that is usually teeming with life, and an underwater sculpture park depicting the lost city of Atlantis, which is a great place for underwater photos.
On land, explore the Bateria del Escambron historic fort, where you can rent a lounger and relax under a shady palm or stroll along the beach and dip in and out of various food vendors and beach bars.
Swap your flip-flops for a pair of hiking boots while visiting Banff National Park. While it doesn’t have a tropical beach, this gorgeous national park in Canada does have several natural hot springs set in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies, which offer endless opportunities to snuggle while stargazing.
Before you set off for a soak in the historic Banff Upper Hot Springs, which dates back to 1883, take the Sulphur Mountain Gondola to the summit and explore the high-altitude boardwalk. Enjoy a high-end dinner at the outdoor restaurant or grab a cocktail and relax on the deck during one of the many summer music events held outdoors.
When you’re ready to get some exercise, head to Lake Louise and hike to one of two historic teahouses: The Plain of Six Glaciers tea house or the Lake Agnes teahouse—the latter is reached via a more leisurely hike. Both tea houses have beautiful views of the mountains and you’ll find it irresistible not to cozy up with some snacks and tea for two while on this romantic mountain peak.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
For a truly underrated honeymoon destination, set your sights on Vietnam. It’s a lively, colorful, and welcoming country with a vast variety of landscapes and terrains within its relatively tight borders.
Your honeymoon will likely start in Ho Chi Minh City. If you can break yourself away from the colorful shops, fantastic street food carts, and temples, you’ll find plenty to do outside of the city.
Take a boat cruise on the Mekong Delta to see some of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Travel along narrow waterways through bamboo forests and past colorful floating markets. In the same area, you can also take a guided tour through the tunnels used by the guerilla Viet Cong troops during the Vietnam War, or head out on an easy cycling route through pastoral rice fields in the countryside.
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