5 Must-Do Honeymoon Activities in Portugal

Portugal is tailored for a dreamy honeymoon getaway.

Gorgeous riverside streets line its historic capital city of Lisbon, medieval castles sit proudly throughout hilltop towns, world-renowned wines and pastries are celebrated countrywide, and all across its lengthy Atlantic Coast is the ever-present prospect of discovering a perfect, unexplored beach.

While there’s an endless activities list for newlyweds, the following experiences are at the very top for any honeymoon getaway.

Where to Go

No trip to Portugal is complete without exploring Lisbon, the country’s centrally-located capital city. The city is a lovely maze of winding alleyways which weave between colorful buildings, tiny wine bars and fresh seafood restaurants en route to eventual stunning hilltop views (so frequently referred to that they’re known locally as miradouros). Vintage trams rattle and chug through the city’s streets, giving way to trendy cocktail lounges, historic landmarks, outdoor markets, museums and plenty more.

Pink sunsets are frequent, and with them, the beautifully melancholic sound of Portuguese fado will fill Lisbon’s bars and clubs as the evening unfolds – a musical translation of the old, romantic soul that Lisbon really is.

What to Do

The infectiously dramatic sounds of Fado will fill cafes, bars, restaurants and romantic hearts throughout all of Portugal, though it’s most popular in Lisbon. Make an evening out of a performance, with dinner, drinks, loving contemplation and cultural understanding at Clube de Fado, Sr. Fado, or wherever you hear that recognizable heart and soul being sung as you stroll through the city.

Where to Eat

Don’t let the long lines at Pasteis de Belem deter you from experiencing the otherworldly deliciousness of the sweet egg tart pastries that have made this Lisbon bakery famous since its inception in 1837. The recipe hasn’t changed since then, and the recognition only continues to grow, with this establishment recently being crowned the most reviewed restaurant on the planet.

The namesake pastries – buttery, crisp egg custards that don’t shy from sugar – are known as Pasteis de Nata throughout the rest of the region, but the Pasteis de Belem are built on a secret family recipe which warrant the practically permanent queue. Move past the line and opt for table service in the back dining room for expedited delivery of your treats.

Where to Drink

In Porto, Calem wine lounge can bring you into their 160-year-old cellars, spill some of their classic methods for producing the world-renowned Port, and even show you a 5D film (tastings included). Outside of the city, wine resorts like L’And Vineyards and Six Senses Douro Valley compliment intermittent and informative tastings with vineyard tours, grape crushing classes, and even restorative grape-infused treatments in luxurious wine spas.

Where to Stay

Situated on a hilltop overlooking the rolling wine vineyards and winding Douro River below, the Six Senses Douro Valley focuses on wellness, relaxation and rejuvenation. Guests are invited to partake in activities like yoga, pilates, meditation and even guided tree climbing. Three pools, an award-winning spa and rooms with panoramic river views ensure that your days have a healthy dose of leisure time to balance (or overtake) a more active approach to well-being.

 

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Honeymoon with a View: Ambassade Hotel, Amsterdam

Our latest edition of “Honeymoon with a View” takes us to historic Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Canal District, the stunning Ambassade Hotel is set within 10 beautiful canal houses built during the 17th century.

Overall romantic, comfortable and elegant, the hotel boasts 56 cozy rooms — many of which feature incredible views of the canal — along with exceptional dining and bar options, plus an impressive art gallery.

While situated in a quiet section of the city, the hotel is still nearby to top restaurants, museums, and other notable attractions, making it a great home base for newlyweds looking to explore “Venice of the North.”

Room: Grande Suite

View: Herengracht canal, one of three main canals in Amsterdam’s city center.

 

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Images courtesy of Ambassade Hotel

The Top 5 Honeymoon Destinations for Wine Lovers

From the gorgeous scenery of South Africa’s Cape Winelands to France’s abundance of historic vineyards, the following prominent wine regions are among our favorite travel destinations for an unforgettable honeymoon getaway.

Cape Winelands, South Africa

Whether as a leisurely day trip from Cape Town, or a few days of solid R&R, the Cape Winelands are not to be missed. The Stellenbosch region was the first to create a formal route to access its now 200+ wine producers, and is dotted with boutique hotels, spa-like sanctuaries, fine-dining restaurants, and even informative museums which offer insight into the region’s deep history.

Nearby Franschhoek boasts beautiful landscapes, enriched with French Huguenot heritage, which is immediately evident in the region’s famed “Cap Classique” – the Cape’s take on Champagne. Its boho chic village is lined with bars and bistros, and a hop-on, hop-off wine tram makes traveling between estates a total joy.

Bordeaux, France

This world-renowned winemaking region is home to some of the most valuable and historic châteaux and vineyards (Château Latour, Château Margaux, Château Lafite Rotschild).

With the Atlantic coast to the west, Medoc to the north, and Saint-Émilion to the east, Bordeaux is a perfect place from which to day-trip your way around France. It’s also the perfect gateway to Dordogne, the modern-day home of the ancient country of Perigord — filled with honey-colored medieval villages like Sarlat, more than 1,500 ancient castles, and even truffle markets (check out the stalls in Périgueux).

Image courtesy of The Vines of Mendoza

Uno Valley, Argentina

Argentina’s Uco Valley is one of those rare places that is able to produce quality wines at high altitudes, making it a world-famous region for Malbecs and other red wines. It’s also totally remote and relaxing.

To taste the terroir, post up at The Vines of Mendoza, a 22-villa resort in the foothills of the Andes. It’s set on a 1,500 acre working vineyard, with spa-style bathrooms, en-suite fire pits, and an on-site restaurant imagined by Francis Mallmann. The Argentine super-chef applies his open-flame cooking techniques to regional dishes that showcase Argentina’s famous beef, like four-hours roasted lamb with Anna potatoes and watercress salad.

Napa Valley, California

Northern California’s grape-growing region is widely recognized as one of the premier places in the world for wine production. All the while, it has steadily become one of America’s top honeymoon destinations thanks to its beautiful landscape, diversity of activities offered, charming small towns, phenomenal dining choices, high-class wine making facilities, and elite resorts and inns.

For an incredible day, start with a tour of wine country from above via Napa Valley Balloons. Next, head to Schramsberg Winery outside of Calistoga, famous for its sparking wines, caves and majestic views.

In the afternoon, visit beautiful Hall Vineyards high atop the hills in Rutherford for a private tour before dinner at The Rutherford Grill.

Santorini, Greece

The island of Santorini is known for its Assyrtiko grapes, which produces some very distinct but excellent dry white wines. After checking in to your hotel at the elegant Perivolas Santorini, make your way to Santo Wines, an exceptional winery situated high atop the caldera cliffs just south of Fira.

Stop in for a wine and food tasting right before soaking in a brilliant Santorini sunset. The property also features a deli shop where couples can purchase an assortment of wines plus traditional food products like capers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fava beans.

 

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Image courtesy of Kym Ellis

Hotels We Love for a Honeymoon: Rosewood Baha Mar, Bahamas

The megaresort complex of Baha Mar is the hottest new development in the Caribbean (with a $4.2-billion price tag).

While it’s composed of three different resorts, the forthcoming Rosewood Baha Mar — which is situated on the incredible white sands of Nassau’s Cable Beach — promises to be the most luxe.

Post up in your residential-style room before testing your luck at the 100,000 square-foot casino, playing a round on the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, getting massages at the ESPA spa, or dining at one of 20 different restaurants and bars.

We promise nowhere else in the Caribbean will you eat sushi as delicious as at Katsuya by Starck Baha Mar.

Are turquoise waters and soft white sands calling your name? This incredible property will be the perfect fit for your once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon getaway.

A Honeymoon in Napa Valley: Top 5 Things to Do (Besides Wine Tasting)

With gorgeous scenery, beautiful small towns, top-notch accommodations, and an endless activities list, California’s Napa Valley makes for a terrific honeymoon destination.

Here are some of our favorite things to see and do (in between your wine tasting outings and vineyard visits, of course).

Hiking

Napa and Sonoma Counties offer more than just vineyards. Actually, they are both packed with wilderness as the unique topography gives way to foggy forests, petrified trees and crazy rock formations. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park and Sugarloaf State Park are both great places for exploring the backwoods.

Biking

The biking options in wine country are plentiful and highly recommended. Check out Napa Valley Bike Tours for rental information and suggested routes. No matter if you’re a biking enthusiast or just a casual biker, there’s an itinerary available for you. Blaze past vineyards on backcountry roads or take the main drag through some of the beautiful small towns dotted throughout Napa Valley.

Hot Air Ballooning

After a few days of wine tasting, there’s nothing better than a tour of wine country by balloon. From lift off and landing to the views of the region (and even San Francisco on clear days) and the bird’s eye view of the vineyards, a trip to wine country isn’t complete without a hot air balloon tour.

Small Town Discoveries

Take a few days to explore the beautiful Napa Valley towns of Yountville, St. Helena, and Calistoga. The relatively small size of these villages and proximity to each other make for a perfect day trip away from wine tasting. Each destination offers something a little bit different, but visitors can certainly still expect great dining, late night options, local shopping and boutiques, and unique galleries.

Spas

Northern California wine country is widely recognized as a top destination for spa treatments with sophisticated gems like Solage Calistoga and the Spa at Silverado. Experience invigorating massages, mineral baths, mud baths and a vast array of beauty and body treatments in a tranquil, one-of-a-kind setting.

 

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Photo by Sebastien Gabriel