The Best European Honeymoon Destinations

Elizabeth Heath Avatar

Paris Eiffel Tower at Night with lights
The Eiffel Tower lit up at night against the Paris skyline. Photo Credit: Yvonne Jasinski

Whether you’re heading straight from your wedding reception to the airport or finally taking that long-delayed honeymoon you’ve been saving for, you’ll find that Europe remains one of the world’s most romantic destinations. And while there are many romantic countries, Greece, France and Italy top our list for the best European honeymoon destinations.

From smooching your way through major cities like Paris, Venice or Lisbon, or walking hand-in-hand on the beaches of Santorini, the Amalfi Coast or the French Riviera, newlyweds will find that Europe is worth the hype, and fully deserves its reputation as one of the best honeymoon destinations.

It was tough to narrow down the choices, but based on my own travels (and some of my #travelgoals), here are some of my favorite European destinations for a romantic honeymoon. It’s no surprise that many of them sit near the stunning Mediterranean coastline, in case your idea of a romantic getaway involves beautiful beaches and dreamy sunsets.

My city picks offer a warm mix of sightseeing in old towns that seem right out of the pages of fairy tales, with familiar landmarks, bucket-list experiences (because a gondola ride is just a wee bit romantic!), and lazy days of hitting cafes. Because really, what are you here for if not to relax, cuddle, canoodle, and enjoy a perfect honeymoon?

Dreamy Italy: Venice, Rome, Sicily and More

Where to start? I’m admittedly biased, because I live in Italy. And on a nearly daily basis, I’m struck by how beautiful and romantic the country is. If you and your sweetie are first-timers in Italy, here are my top picks:

Venice

For all the hype, there’s simply no place else like this Venice, especially for romance. While the city is busy all the time, I recommend a slightly off-season honeymoon, say in late fall or early spring, in order to enjoy romantic dinners alongside the Grand Canal, stroll narrow alleys, museum-hop and yes, take that moonlight gondola ride because really, it’s about the most. romantic. thing. ever, and it will make you feel like you’re the only two lovebirds in the city.

I love Hotel Flora for an affordable stay right in the heart of the city center. But if you want to splurge, you can try some of Venice’s hallowed luxury hotels, such as Hotel Danieli, Aman Venice, or the San Clemente Palace Kempinski, which sits on its own island.

Rome

The Eternal City just seems to get more beautiful with time, and it’s a perfect place for starting an Italian honeymoon. Restaurants across the city center offer romantic outdoor dining, and cobblestone streets, many of which are car-free, invite laid-back strolls hand-in-hand. Be sure to take in nighttime views from the 17th-century Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, with the whole city lit up before you.

And be sure to toss a coin over your shoulder at the Trevi Fountain—it’s said to guarantee a return trip (second honeymoon, perhaps?) to Rome. On top of the Spanish Steps, the Hotel Hassler is a classic luxury choice, and I also love the boutique Hotel Vilòn, one of the most romantic in the city. For a mid-range option with plenty of Old World charm, try Hotel Mediterraneo. It’s right by the main train station, so an excellent base for day trips to Orvieto, a nearby beach, and even into Tuscany.

Sicily

We all fell in love with Sicily during Season 2 of The White Lotus, and Italy’s largest island remains a top destination for a European honeymoon. You can start amid the dizzying sights and sounds of big cities like Palermo or Catania, or head right to the white sand beaches and turquoise waters of resorts at Cefalù, Taormina or the Agrigento.

Along the way, be sure to book wine tastings, visit some of Sicily’s amazing baroque towns, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and take in the foodie pleasures on this island unto itself. In Cefalù, the all-inclusive Club Med is just right for a romantic getaway with a decidedly French vibe. Adler Spa Resort Sicily will set you up with couples massages, candlelit dinners and local sightseeing.

Elsewhere in Italy, I’d also recommend the Cinque Terre, the Amalfi Coast and Capri as great honeymoon spots. But to be honest, these destinations are better in the off-season or shoulder season, and are best avoided in July and August.

France pour l’amour: Paris, the French Riviera and More

The French language, French food, French film noir cinema—they all possess a certain sexiness and make France, especially Paris, one of Europe’s most romantic places. Beyond Paris, there’s the bare-all (if you dare!) beaches of the Mediterranean and the idyllic ancient villages of Provence.

Paris

My husband and I spent our babymoon in Paris and even my die-hard Italian spouse had to admit that it’s just straight-up romantic. We spent our evenings walking along the Seine, and our days of sightseeing were broken up by long lunches at sidewalk cafes or with picnics right near the Eiffel Tower.

The secret to a relaxed honeymoon in Paris is to take it slow—don’t rush trying to see everything and check attractions off a box. We stayed at the wonderful Art Deco Hotel Lutetia on the Left Bank. Super-sexy Secret de Paris is a short walk from Montemarte, and boutique Hotel Castille Paris puts the Louvre, luxury shopping and the Jardin des Tuileries right at your door.

The French Riviera

You and your boo, a glass of champagne, and the beautiful beaches and iconic glamor of the Cannes, Nice or Saint-Tropez. If that’s your idea of a romantic getaway, then set your sights on the French Riviera. The see-and-be-seen vibe is almost as important as the sand beaches here, but there’s no denying that these legendary European honeymoon destinations will make you feel like a VIP.

If the glam gets to be a bit much, head out on a kayaking excursion, take a day trip to San Remo in Italy, or try your luck at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in the tiny Principality of Monaco. For the best hotels, Le Negresco in Nice brings all the luxury frills, and Grand-Hotel du Cap Ferrat is simply amazing. You’ll find fewer, but more affordable hotels, plus plenty of vacation rentals, in Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Provence

Not too far from the French Riviera, but a world away in look and feel, the rolling hills and charming towns of Provence are ideal for a low-key honeymoon. Spend your days biking past lavender fields, wine tasting at vineyards, getting adventurous at Verdon Gorges, and visiting ancient Roman ruins, UNESCO sites and hilltop villages.

Cities and towns like Arles, Avignon and St-Remy-in-Provence are brimming with art, history and ambiance. Here, I’d avoid the flashy hotels (for starters, there aren’t very many), and opt instead for cozy B&Bs, small inns and guesthouses. LGBTQ+ honeymooners will find plenty of welcoming lodgings here, too.

Epic Greece: Athens and the Wonders of the Aegean Sea

From Athens to more than 200 islands in the Aegean Sea, Greece offers a fascinating and romantic blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. I admit that I still haven’t been to Greece, but it’s on my bucket list! I’m planning a visit with my SO later this fall, and we’ll stop in Athens before hitting a few islands.

Athens

Greece’s bustling capital just oozes history and character. Arrange a private tour of the iconic Acropolis—if you can time it right, go around sunset for some amazing photos of the two of you. Athens can be a hectic city, but you can get something of a break from the fracas by visiting one of the city’s historic neighborhoods, like Plaka where charming streets are lined with rustic tavernas.

If you have the honeymoon budget, the Hotel Grande Bretagne is a legendary 5-star with swoonworthy views of the Acropolis, while the more affordable Foundry Suites is an urban love nest. A short ride from the city, the One & Only Aesthesis has an adults-only beach and a swanky spa.

Santorini

This is probably the most famous Greek island of them all, and for good reason. Santorini is postcard-perfect Greece, with its whitewashed villages such as Oia, tumbling down to just gobsmackingly beautiful beaches. Santorini’s massive volcanic caldera is mostly underwater, and forms a natural shelter for some of the island’s best beaches.

Santorini is no hidden-gem—it’s packed with visitors and is a regular stop on the cruise ship circuit, but choose the right hotel and it’ll still feel like you’ve got the place to yourself. Newish Magma Resort Santorini has suites with private pools, and the island’s largest spa. Iconic Santorini is a unique cave hotel, with some suites carved out of the lava hillside, and most with private pools and views of the Aegean Sea.

Mykonos

If you both want to keep the party going long after the wedding reception is over, head to Mykonos, the legendary nightlife spot of the Greek islands. And while there are plenty of bars and nightclubs in which to dance until dawn, you’ll also find cozy little wine bars and romantic restaurants with splendid sea views.

There are beautiful sand beaches all over the island—ask at your hotel for tips on some of the less crowded, more remote locations. Plan to spend plenty of time shopping, sightseeing, and taking the island at your pace. In Mykonos Town, Belvedere Hotel brings all the whitewash charm, plus a terrific pool and a foodies’ restaurant. Or offset all that partying with the spa and wellness offerings as serene Santa Marina Mykonos.

Best European Honeymoon Destinations for Cold Weather

If you’ve planned a fall or winter wedding, a Greek Island or an Amalfi Coast beach might not be so inviting. That’s when it’s time to head to one of Europe’s romantic cities, some of which are downright dreamy in a winter setting. In Switzerland, San Moritz is a posh winter wonderland, and capital city Bern is perfectly compact and cozy for low-key sightseeing.

Prague, with its fairytale castle and atmospheric old town, is great for a romantic break. It and other fabulous European cities are frequent stops on river cruises—another great way to spend a honeymoon. In Seville, Spain, it’s all about Moorish and Gothic architecture, flamenco dancing and Michelin-quality tapas dining.

Game of Thrones fans flock to the Adriatic port city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, which is enticing at any time of year. And if you really want to commit to cold weather on your winter honeymoon, head north to Norway or Iceland, and rub noses under the glow of the Northern Lights.


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