Planning to trade the dark & chilly winter nights for tropical trists on the beach? Or maybe you’re a snow bunny who would love nothing more than a romantic evening in a ski lodge by the fire? Winter is one of the very best times to take off on your honeymoon, and we’re sharing the best destinations to flock to.
The November to February season offers some of the best choices year-round for travel. Whether you’re looking for a break in the snow, a week on the beach, or a city getaway you won’t get rained on, winter (Northern Hemisphere winter that is) brings the perfect conditions from some epic trips around the world for honeymooners.
We can’t give travel advice without noting that it’s important to double-check your dream destination is currently open for visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of our destinations listed below are open to the majority of our readers. But many countries have rules in place like vaccine requirements, proof of a negative COVID-19 test and even quarantine. Just make sure you know the rules when you book your trip (and check again the week or two before you fly!) We’ve rounded up some honeymoon destinations that we’re dying to visit post-Coronavirus here.
More reason not to fret about your postponed honeymoon: while many European and North American couples opt for a summer wedding and honeymoon, it’s not the best time to travel to many popular honeymoon destinations. Not only is summer often a more expensive time to travel, but some resorts are packed with kids in July and August, while many regions are in the height of rainy or hurricane seasons well into September.
Choosing a winter honeymoon is savvy for lots of reasons, whether you get away before Christmas, or skip the back-to-work vibes of the new year. While it might be harder to shop for a bikini in London or New York in December, once you getaway, these destinations offer amazing experiences, ideal weather conditions, and phenomenal accommodation.
Plus, even if you’re not having a fall or winter wedding, delaying a honeymoon after a summer bash will give you both time to save up your spending money, and something to look forward to after your big day.
Still not sure if holding out for a winter honeymoon is right for you? Check out ten of our favorite destinations to visit between November and February. We’ve also made the ultimate guide on how, where & when to book your honeymoon (plus the gear you’ll need!).
1. The Baja
Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos
Hotel San Cristobal in Todos Santos
Encuentro Guadelupe in Valle de Guadelupe
Cabo is making a comeback. The Sea of Cortez offers dives with whale sharks, dolphins, rays and more. Mexican wine country is as chic as can be. And Pueblo Magicos – like our editor Claire Eliza’s own wedding destination, Todos Santos – are becoming more accessible & luxe thanks to hip boutique hotels. There’s never been a better time to visit Mexico’s Baja California & Baja California Sur.
Mexico is one of those destinations that might seem tried and tested, but always has something cool and new to offer travelers. For couples who want a vibrant city on the beach, try San Jose del Cabo. Cabo San Lucas’ more authentic sister city boasts hip hotels, an authentic food scene & a number of luxurious resorts that celebrate Mexico’s heritage with organic farm-to-table restaurants built into the desert. Foodies flock to ACRE and those looking to splurge on the best beach accommodations are found lounging by the pool of Zadun, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve hotel.
Surfers & free-spirits looking to escape the crowds for something more unique can drive an hour up the Pacific Coast to Todos Santos. Host of our editor Claire’s own wedding, the tiny town on the Pacific is oozing with charm. A great jumping-off point for all Baja adventures, the area provides privacy, chill vibes, epic ocean views for whale watching and excellent food. You can stay at Claire’s wedding venue, Villa Santa Cruz, with private bungalows & lavish suites. Or stay at the very hip Hotel San Cristobal for Palm Springs meets beach vibes.
Wine lovers, particularly those already in Socal, will love how easy it is to escape to Mexico’s burgeoning wine region: Valle de Guadalupe. Just an hour or so drive across the border from San Diego, this arid desert valley is one of the world’s up-and-coming destinations for wine lovers and foodies alike. You’ll be spoiled with riches with unique Mexican wines & farm-to-table cuisine. Perched above the valley, the modern all-glass suites of Encuentro Guadelupe give honeymooners the most incredible wine country views. For something more classic & food-forward try El Cielo Winery & Resort.
Those looking for an escape from their Northern winter can count on the Hawaiian Islands’ near-perfect weather all winter long.
With eight major islands to choose from, Hawai’i has a unique destination for every type of couple. Looking for lush rainforests & luxe villas? Visit Kauai. Thinking of all-inclusive beach time? Try Maui. Want to feel like you’re the only couple on your own tropical paradise island? Consider Molokini.
Or if you’re a serious outdoors adventurer (our editor Claire Eliza swears by this one…) look no further than The Big Island of Hawaii. Offering active volcanos, black sand beaches, deserts, ranchlands, sacred valleys, sky-high waterfalls & plenty of space to romp about, the Big Island is a rugged adventurer’s paradise.
3. The Caribbean
The Cotton House in Mustique
Sublime Samana in the Dominican Republic
Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia
Another post-Christmas playground of the rich and famous, the islands of the Caribbean offer endless options for a romantic break. As you might remember, we visited Barbados and Antiqua and paired with the likes of St. Lucia, Mustique, St John, or bigger islands like Jamaica, Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico, you can choose a single or multi-destination winter break with guaranteed sunshine.
Boasting world-class resorts, breathtaking beaches, and the friendliest people, a holiday in the Caribbean is about more than just lounging by the pool. Watersports, wildlife, nightlife and great food make this a truly memorable place to visit, and winter is the prime time to do it.
One thing to note though, some Caribbean islands are not as friendly as others to same-sex couples, so check before you travel so you don’t encounter any nastiness on your honeymoon. (We hear Puerto Rico is extremely welcoming to same-sex couples!)
The American West has never beckoned louder for domestic travel. Not only can US couples travel to some of the world’s most geologically unique & stunning destinations by car (or maybe a rented VW bus?!) but anyone who ventures to Utah & the many wild states around it can social distance with ease thanks to expansive, empty National Parks, landmarks & the open road.
We shared our wanderlust for Utah’s Amangiri Resort on our Post-Coronavirus Honeymoon Guide this Spring, but for a Winter honeymoon, we’re thinking perhaps one of the many lavish spa resorts in Utah’s Park City? Imagine skiing (or for our editor Claire Eliza, snowboarding) to your luxury honeymoon suite & spending cozy evenings with your honey by the fireplace.
5. The Swiss Alps
Some couples want a winter honeymoon that takes them away from the cold weather, but for others, it’s all about getting to the heart of it. And there’s nowhere as quite as splendid as Switzerland for taking in the apres-ski atmosphere in a honeymoon-worthy setting.
Alpine resorts like Klosters (a favorite with the Royals), St Moritz, Davos, Gstaad, Wengen, and Verbier, offer the most superb winter scenery.
While skiing and snowboarding are the most popular things to do in the Alps come wintertime, less sporting honeymooners can avail of thermal spas, idyllic villages and lake cruises. If all fails, put your feet up by the fire with a rich hot chocolate, and your new spouse.
6. The Canary Islands
Royal Garden Villas & Spa in Tenerife
Salobre Hotel Resort & Serenity in Gran Canaria
Occidental Lanzarote Mar in Lanzarote
Fully open & safe from the recent volcanic eruption, The Canary Islands offer Europeans (and the rest of us!) a sunny beachside haven to escape the winter cold.
From December to March, the European islands off the coast of Morocco average a pleasant 70 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius. But, which Canary Island is best? While Tenerife, the largest and most populated island, boasts the most sophisticated hotels, it would be a shame not to at least visit one or two other smaller islands. La Palma celebrates nature, harboring natural preserves and peace and tranquility for travelers. Bask in the sun on Fuerteventura’s beloved beaches or plan a diverse trip filled with a variety of adventures on Gran Canaria. Many say La Gomera is an authentic view of Canary Island life while Lanzarote is something special…
Not just an idyllic beach retreat, the Canary Islands boast one of the most unique wine cultures in the world. Growing their vines inside volcanic craters, the resulting Lanzarote wine has seductive hints of smoke & a pleasant ocean saltiness to pair with all that beautiful seafood.
7. Southern Thailand
Banyan Tree Samui in Koh Samui
Six Senses Yao Noi in Koh Yao Noi
The Pavillions in Phuket
Southern Thailand is another one of those classic destinations for a winter break, but that doesn’t mean your honeymoon has to be anything close to classic. Whether you’re looking for a plush hotel or an island beach hut, this region has got it all.
Rugged cliffsides on the Andaman Sea offer iconic scenery off Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi and Ko Lanta, while the Gulf of Thailand to the east, lays out white sand beaches and great diving on Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan.
The entire region boasts incredible food and fun nightlife, but if it’s a slice of serenity, privacy, and romance you’re after, while it can be hard to find in this popular part of the world, it’s certainly not impossible.
6. Tanzanian Serengeti
This Fall, we celebrated African Wedding Week featuring the best African wedding destinations plus, what to wear on a safari honeymoon. And if it got you excited for taking a walk on the wild side for your winter honeymoon, then one of the best places to visit this time of year is the Serengeti in Tanzania.
Before Christmas will see a million wildebeest start their Great Migration south through the Serengeti, a sight that will truly take your breath away. With calving taking place in the shorter grass in late January and early February, this is a good time to spot some predator action.
Along with the ubiquitous wildlife, the landscape is lush and green, and the rains tend to be short in winter, making for an all-around more enjoyable safari experience.
Be sure to splash out on a hot air balloon over the Ngorongoro Crater, epic is not the word.
If it’s a wonderland you’re after for your winter honeymoon, look no further than the Lapland region of Northern Finland (Lapland itself stretches into Sweden and Norway too).
Like a real-life version of Frozen, this snow-covered region might be most associated with family breaks to meet Santa Claus, but it’s also a pretty stunning place to spend your honeymoon too.
With unique igloo hotels, tree houses over snow fells, and cool cocktail bars made from ice, Lapland has a fun adult side, but add in husky tours, reindeer sleigh rides, backcountry skiing and ice-swimming, it’s got lots of adventure to offer too.
With the Northern Lights visible almost every other clear night from September to March, it’s also the ideal time of year to take in one of the most beautiful sights on the planet.
The polar night, or Kaamos lasts for about a month over December and January, where it stays mostly dark over the entire period, a unique thing to experience, but definitely something to keep in mind, if you’re visiting during this time.
9. Indian Ocean Islands
Resort Kandolhu in Maldives
Fregate Private Island in Seychelles
One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius
One of the most popular hotspots for winter sun, the islands of the Indian Ocean offer sheer bliss if you’re after the kind of honeymoon that’s all about relaxation.
With world-class 5-star resorts, the kind of white-meets-turquoise beaches dreams are made of, and fantastic seafood, this region shows us how to do the beach bum life, in style! Though with sunset cruises, seaplane trips, diving, snorkeling, fishing and whale-watching, you certainly won’t get bored.
Mauritius, the Maldives, and Seychelles are the most renowned island destinations, but the Zanzibar Archipelago and Reunion are also well worth checking out.
Lots of cool ideas in there, whether you’re honeymooning in winter by choice or necessity. It’s great to know there are options for a beach break or snow holiday, a city trip, or an adventure getaway, even when it’s so grey outside the window!
Have you any other tips or suggestions for a winter honeymoon? We’d love to hear them!