By Brittny Drye
With the stress of planning a wedding behind you, it’s time to revel in newlywed bliss. Whether you want adventure, relaxation or culture, we have 10 gay-friendly honeymoon hotspots that are the ultimate dream destinations. (Click on each destination for more information.)
For Rustic Romance: Montana
Particularly breathtaking in the winter, Montana is filled with cozy romance, roaring fires and outdoor adventures. Snuggle with your sweetie in a timber-built retreat in the middle of the woods for a truly intimate escape.
For History: Athens, Greece
When it comes to history, it doesn’t get much more ancient than Greece. In a place where gods and goddesses mingle, this birthplace of the Western world stirs the spirit, boasting icons such as the Acropolis and its Parthenon. Along with sizzling nightlife, , Mediterranean paradise awaits just offshore in the gay-friendly Greek Isles.
For Eco-Tourism: Aruba
Relax on white sandy beaches on the skirts of the turquoise water that the Caribbean is famous for. What sets this particular island apart in paradise is the many resorts, such as Bucuti and Tara Beach Suites & Spa, that strive to maintain an eco-friendly atmosphere. If you grow weary of relaxation, Aruba is home to some of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean. If you’d prefer to stay dry, you can still view the haunting attractions from the comfort of a tiptop submarine or semisubmersible boat.
For Adventure: South Africa
Rich in flora and fauna diversity, the choices are endless for safaris as you check off your Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) bucket list.
For Culture: Lisbon, Portugal
Explore the cobblestone streets in this enchanting town where famous landmarks rise amongst weathered buildings. Rummage through the bric-a-brac at the morning market for personal treasures, immerse yourself in the highly regarded fado culture (start with the Fado Museum) and follow your nose to Praça dos Restauradores where they famously serve Portuguese rotisserie chicken with spicy piri-piri sauce.
For Nature: Reykjavik, Iceland
Create a home base in the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik. Though its place on the map may be high, the geothermal heating system keeps temperatures mild, so don’t be afraid to take a dip in one of the city’s public swimming pools in the summer. Dare to try some traditional Icelandic foods, often served in jars, such as hákarl (fermented shark) or lundi (smoked puffin) and be sure not to miss Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a hotdog stand that has become an institution. Escape outside the town for a day of soaking at the Blue Lagoon, an ethereal hot spring of mineral-rich geothermal seawater. Try to time your travels to spot the Aura Borealis (Northern Lights) dance in the skies or go on a whale-watching expedition (September-April, April-September, respectively).
For a Tropical Paradise: St. Martin/St. Maarten
Get two-for-one when you travel to the two countries of St. Martin/St. Maarten on this tiny Caribbean island. Claimed by both the French and Dutch, the island is enriched in a cultural marriage that features the best of both worlds in the relaxed Caribbean atmosphere. Wash away worries on the white sandy beaches or wade in the crystal-clear waters. If you’re up for exploring, wander the bustling cobblestone streets of Dutch Philipsburg where artisans sell their wares or meander through the quaint French town of Marigot, which is speckled with colorful houses and sidewalk bistros.
For a Quick Escape: Baltimore, Maryland
We currently have a crush on this city since Maryland passed the marriage equality law in November. With three large airports within easy driving distance (BWI, Dulles and Reagan), getting into Baltimore is a cinch. Once you’re there, meander amongst the picturesque streets that boast more than 130 attractions, dozens of artisan restaurants and hundreds of boutique shops.
For a Once-in-a-Lifetime Trip: New Zealand
For those who have a couple of weeks to spare, it’s worth making the nearly day-long trip to down under. Explore the windy paths of New Zealand’s two islands by car, soaking in the friendly Kiwi culture along the way. Whether you’re a oenophile (sip your way from North to South) or an adventure junkie (get an adrenaline rush with “zorbing,” white water rafting, skiing and bungee jumping), a spa seeker (hit up the geothermal gems at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland) or a beach bunny (bask on the golden sands of Mission Bay), there’s truly something here for everyone.
For the Foodie: Paris, France
Though it’s known as the City of Love, this French favorite is a foodie’s paradise. Food is an experience here, whether you’re sipping on a café au lait with the Eiffel Tower peeking in the background, or eating your way through four courses at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants (it has been awarded more than any other European city—82 starred as of 2012, with three claiming top three-star honors).
Brittny Drye is the senior editor at Equally Wed, the nation’s premier online magazine for gay and lesbian weddings and honeymoons. Follow her on Twitter @BrittnyDrye.
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