Centuries-old castles. Rolling vineyards. Coastal beaches with sapphire blue waters. Hollywood itself couldn’t create a more idyllic setting for fairytale-like honeymoons than the scenes set by some of Europe’s most romantic cities and regions.
If you’re a wedding planning advising couples who are looking to Europe for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, here are five lovely destinations to consider along with recommendations for luxury hotels where the couples can stay.
Art collector Peggy Guggenheim once cautioned honeymooners about coming to Venice, saying visitors are prone to fall in love with the city itself and have nothing leftover in their hearts for anyone else. Venice, indeed, is a lovely city, but we dare couples to flout Guggenheim’s precautions, and together fall for the ancient city.
With gondolas gliding through the Venice Canals past Baroque buildings while gondoliers croon Italian love sonnets, this Northern Italy destination is synonymous with romance.
Enjoy handmade pastas paired with wine at waterfront ristorantes, sit in the golden balcony seats while watching the opera at Teatro La Fenice and make it a tradition to watch nightly sunsets from Piazza San Marco. You can also island hop from Venice, visiting famous glass-blowing studios on Murano or stroll the color-saturated canals of Burano.
One great thing about Venetian honeymoons is that you can tack on other destinations in Italy like Rome, Tuscany or the Amalfi Coast.
Where to Stay: For a hideaway honeymoon, book a stay at the San Clemente Palace Kempinski Venice, a luxury hotel on a private island in a Venice Canal lagoon. Complimentary boats are available to shuttle couples to Piazza San Marco. Enjoy aperitivo hour at the hotel’s sunset bar, relax in the Merchant of Venice Spa with 24-carat gold facials and a massage that incorporates roses and borrow a vintage bike to explore San Clemente Island on two wheels.
Escape the coastal crowds elsewhere in Europe and whisk away to Croatia’s reclusive northern Coast for a picturesque honeymoon. Istria has ancient towns, charming villages, medieval castles, rolling vineyards and a robust culinary scene with dishes like clam buzara (a regional sauce with white wine, garlic and fresh herbs).
Nature lovers can visit Brijuni National Park, which has 14 islands and islets, and is the perfect place to go scuba diving, enjoy a boat ride or take a swim at Saluga Beach, which is surrounded by centuries-old pine trees. Or, for a different perspective, explore some of the island’s caves, like the Baredine Pit located near the village of Nova Vas, which is lavishly studded with stalagmites and stalactites.
We should also mention that Istria is a heart-shaped peninsula; it doesn’t get much more romantic than that!
Where to Stay: Find yourself surrounded by olive groves and vineyards at the Kempinski Hotel Adriatic Istria Croatia, a secluded seaside resort that you could consider an “Adriatic secret.” The hotel has a private beach with lounge chairs facing the cerulean Adriatic Sea. Golf-loving couples can play a round at the 18-hole course, with hole names like “Vineyard,” “Seaview,” “Olive Tree,” and “Romantic Church,” giving clues about the scenery you’ll encounter on the greens.
Wedding planners with beach-loving couples should definitely put Spain on their honeymoon radars.
In southern Spain, Malaga is ideally located on the Mediterranean coastline and you can get your fill of ruins, pretty beaches and botanic gardens here. For those who love a dare, the Caminito del Rey (King’s Pathway) is a hiking trail along a cliff face with views of mountains and valleys. To keep these narrow passageways from overcrowding, reservations are required for this storied hike.
Mallorca is another Spanish destination that’s hot right now, thanks in part to non-stop flight options to Palma Airport. Considered a crown jewel of Spain’s Balearic islands, there’s beautiful swimming coves plus an assortment of cute little villages like Valldemossa, where you’ll find Instagram gold along the cobblestone streets, plus local boutiques, gelato shops and maze-like gardens.
Where to Stay: Enjoy a stay along the Andulsian coast at Kempinski Hotel Bahia Marbella Estepona, which is an ideal jumping off point for the charming village of Estepona and the luxury town of Marbella and is a destination in its own right that’s perched on the Mediterranean Sea. El Paseo del Mar is a gastronomic hub that allows guests to sample the food and beverages scene with local beers and craft cocktails at Black Rose the Bar, Spanish grilled meat and fresh fish classics at Baltazár, and artisan pizzas, oysters and crudo at Spiler Beach Club.
Or, in Mallorca, retreat to Cap Vermell Grand Hotel. The luxury hotel reflects the style of a traditional Mallorquin hilltop village. Splurge on a villa, which comes with private pools and marble-wrapped bathrooms, and book a couples experience with a private steam bath at the Serenitas Spa.
Paris is known as the City of Love, and there’s lots of romance to put on the itinerary in France’s capital.
Visit the Eiffel Tower as the sun sets or see a cabaret performance at Moulin Rouge. Wedding planners can help newlyweds book a sunset cruise along the River Seine that flows through the heart of Paris and past some of the city’s most famed landmarks, like the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Another idea? Pop into one of those lovely Parisian bakeries and take your goodies to go for an impromptu picnic in a famous garden like the Tuileries Gardens or Par des Buttes-Chaumont. The whole city is brimming with pretty parks and romantic squares that are perfect for leisurely strolls.
Where to Stay: Let the romance carry through at L'Hotel Du Collectionneur, an Art Deco-inspired luxury hotel where couples can book rooms with Eiffel Tower views and enjoy breakfast in bed. For a celebratory meal, make a reservation at SALVAJE and savor dishes that are a fusion of Japanese and Mediterranean gastronomy. Clink champagne glasses in the hotel’s spa, which has a hammam and decadent treatments, like a body scrub with coffee and sweet almond.
Prague, Czech Republic
Love reigns in Prague. The Czech Republic’s capital city has several romantic rituals for couples to partake in, like smooching in front of the bronze statue of romance poet Karel Macha in the Petrin Hill Park, preferably on May Day, to make your love eternal. Another rite of passage for honeymooning couples in Prague? Locking in your love by leaving a signed padlock on Lovers’ Bridge.
Other ways to celebrate your honeymoon in Prague include a visit to the Castle of Vysehrad, on the bank of Vltava River or by enjoying a show at one of Prague’s three opera houses which are regarded as some of Europe’s finest. You can also arrange for a romantic dinner cruise on a modern glass boat that moves through the historical core of Prague.
Where to Stay: Find contemporary luxury at Almanac X, where Prague’s architecture inspired room designs. Enjoy cocktails and sunsets at the ninth-floor Almanac X Rooftop Bar and take in views of the Prague Castle, church steeple-studded skyline and layered tile rooftops. Take a souvenir home from the Concept Store, which is stocked with jewelry, ceramics, glassware, as well as clothing, sunglasses and more.