Honeymoon Destination Recommendations for… Wine Lovers

It’s been quite awhile since I wrote my last Where To Go? post, so in honor of my good friend Stephanie who’s visiting San Francisco this week and in the midst of planning her own wedding, I thought it would be quite appropriate to cover a topic that’s dear to her heart: wine.

The following is a list of honeymoon destination recommendations for wine-loving couples created by myself, someone who knows little to nothing about wine.*  Since I am faaaar from being a wine expert, let’s just say that everywhere on the list is known for great wine, and hopefully my non-wine related comments will help you decide whether a particular location suits your particular honeymoon interests.  Pour yourself a glass, and let’s begin!

1) South Africa

Cape Winelands, South Africa

The Cape Winelands, South Africa

I’m starting off the list with the place that I want to visit the most.  South Africa really has it all: beautiful beaches, incredible wild life and safari opportunities, and the infamous wine regions of Constantia, Stellenbosch and Paarl.  It’s not a budget-friendly destination (especially if you want to go on safari as well), but if you’re going to go big on your honeymoon, I think South Africa would be absolutely fantastic.

2) Argentina

Malbec

I guess that’s what Malbec looks like?

On the other end of the budget spectrum, Argentina’s Mendoza region is another perfect honeymoon destination, especially if you love steak and a good Malbec.  While Argentina may not be as cheap as it used to be, it should still be significantly less expensive than a honeymoon in either South Africa or Europe.  Keep in mind though that Argentina is a huge country, so if you want to check out Buenos Aires as well as Mendoza, you’ll need to book some additional flights.

3) Australia

Hunter Valley, NSW

The beautiful Hunter Valley

If you’re going down under for your honeymoon, you’re in for a treat because Australian wine is delicious, and you don’t have to travel far from Sydney if you want to experience the wineries first-hand.  You can easily take a day trip to the Hunter Valley region in New South Wales, and then sleep off your hangover on Bondi Beach the next day.

4) France

Bordeaux

A winery in Bordeaux

There are three things that the French sure know how to do properly: food, wine, and romance.  What else do you need during your honeymoon?   The correct answer (at least for me): Beaches.  Fortunately, the French Riviera is just a short flight or train ride from Paris so you can have the best of both worlds, as well as Champagne, Burgundy, Loire Valley, and Bordeaux in between.  Stay tuned for an amazing Real France Honeymoon post coming up in a few weeks from a very food and wine-savvy couple.

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Real Honeymoon: Argentina

I’m a huge fan of South America, so I was very excited when my friends Christine and Tommy decided to go to Argentina for their honeymoon.  Since they were planning on traveling in December, they made the right choice to go to the southern hemisphere where it was sure to be nice and sunny.  The details of their trip throughout Argentina and a couple of their beautiful photos are below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Tommy and I left for our honeymoon in Argentina in December of 2012.  We went to Buenos Aires, Patagonia/Bariloche, and Iguazu Falls.

Bariloche

Bariloche, Patagonia

How long was your trip?

Our honeymoon was 12 days.  We felt like we could have had a couple more days, but you can easily spend time in two places versus three, and have plenty of time to see everything.

Kayaking in Argentina

Hi Christine!

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We got married in December and wanted to go somewhere warm for our honeymoon, so we were looking in the southern hemisphere.  Since we got married in Hawaii, we didn’t want to do a beach honeymoon.  We’d heard great things about Argentina, so we decided to give it a shot!

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires

The best part of our honeymoon was….

The boat ride at Iguazu Falls.  The falls were unlike anything I’d ever seen.  You only need to go for a day and you can see all of the falls and do the boat ride.  We stayed at the Sheraton on the Argentinian side, its definitely not a luxury hotel but its super convenient.

I’d also recommend going to a tango show in Buenos Aires, we loved the one that we went to!

We also used a travel agency called Jacada.  They were amazing in terms of recommending hotels, restaurants, and taking care of all of our transportation to and from airports.  All of their employees spoke English (which was great for my husband and I who don’t know much more Spanish than, “Gracias.”)  In addition, included in their package is a one day personal tour of the Buenos Aires which we loved.  We really felt like we got to see the city and since our tour guide grew up in Buenos Aires, she was able to fill us in on the history and politics of the city.

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

Real Honeymoon: Argentina

This week is the first South American Real Honeymoon on Peonies to Palm Trees, and I’m so excited to share Ashley and Jason’s awesome trip to Argentina!  I’d definitely recommend Argentina to anyone who likes cosmopolitan cities, good wine, and red meat.  Don’t get me wrong, vegetarians will also have a great time in Argentina, but steak lovers will be in heaven.  Enjoy!

When and where did you honeymoon?

Jason and I left for our honeymoon in Argentina a few days after our wedding in June 2012. While in Argentina we traveled to Buenos Aires, Salta, and Mendoza.

Argentina

How long was your trip?

Our honeymoon was two weeks! I always recommend getting off as much time as possible—it seems like one of the few times where work will give you a lot of time off!**

Argentina

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

In some ways, the decision to go to Argentina was made for us. We had never traveled to the southern hemisphere, so we searched where we could go on miles in the southern hemisphere—Argentina was the best option! While it felt like a random choice at the time, Argentina clicked with us! We fell in love with the country.

Argentina

The best part of our honeymoon was….

If I had to pick just one, the best part of our honeymoon was visiting Mendoza, the Argentinian wine country. The wineries were all so beautiful and the wine was so different than what you find in Napa/Sonoma. One day we took an amazing horseback ride with “Finca Las Lechuzas” to various wineries—it was magical!

There were so many other amazing parts too! In Salta we drove north to Purmamarca to see the “Hill of Seven Colors” and salt flats—they were stunning!

In Buenos Aires, per the suggestion of a local, we took the “Hop On, Hop Off” bus. It turned out to be a fantastic way to see the entire city!

Argentina

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Two things! First, we were shocked at how expensive it was to fly between cities in Argentina. It’s a huge country so if you don’t have a lot of time, flying is generally the best option. Along the trip we heard of new overnight buses with full reclining seats—I may have checked those out in hindsight. Second, in Buenos Aires we rented a Jetsetter apartment. While very cute, we missed having suggestions of what to do in the city that a concierge or other guests can provide.

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Delaying Your Honeymoon? Travel in January!

A lot of people choose not to go on their honeymoons directly after their weddings for a variety of reasons. As I wrote in a previous blog post about timing your honeymoon, I think it’s really important for a couple to consider where they want to go, what their work/school situation is like, how they want others to treat their honeymoon, and their finances.

Ko Olina, Oahu

Sunset at Ko Olina, Oahu

So if you do want to delay your honeymoon, when is the best month to travel?  That, of course, depends on where you’d like to go.  There are certain places that have great weather all year (e.g. Hawaii), but obviously the major European destinations like Italy and Greece are going to be quite cold.  Beach Tomato’s “Follow The Sun” map is an awesome tool for finding sunny destinations all year round.

Financially speaking though, January is a great month for traveling.  Prices are usually at all-time highs around the December holidays, but they drop dramatically after January 1st once kids go back to school.  And for spontaneous couples that don’t need a lot of time to plan ahead, you can get really great travel deals if you actually book your January trip at the last minute.

What are my favorite January destinations?  If you’re looking for warm weather, it’s a great month to visit the Southern Hemisphere, and I especially recommend going to Australia, New Zealand, or Argentina.  I’d also looove to visit South Africa in January one day, too.

But if getting a tan isn’t high on your honeymoon priority list, January is also the perfect time to visit world-class ski resorts throughout the U.S., Canada, and Switzerland.