Your Complete Guide to a Romantic Christmas Honeymoon
They say there's no place like home for the holidays, but some newlyweds may have visions of a Christmas vacation dancing in their heads. Christmas honeymoon ideas run the gamut: couples can enjoy the experience of a European winter wonderland, where Christmas markets allure revelers from around the world. Those who prefer warmth, instead, can cozy up at luxury resorts set on sandy beaches in Hawaii or the Caribbean.
Here's how to make the most out of your great Christmas honeymoon, along with romantic honeymoon destinations that would make Santa and Mrs. Klaus swoon.
In This Article:
Christmas Honeymoon Travel Tips
Christmas is a magical time to travel, but it comes with a few extra considerations. Destinations have extra cheer, and newlyweds may have time off from work. Without being a Scrooge, there are a few things you'll want to consider before booking your getaway.
Prepare for Long Lines
Whether people are heading home or on a vacation (like you), the foot traffic at airports goes up this time of year. Arriving early for security checks can prevent unneeded headaches. Once you get to the terminal, you can use the extra time to sit back and relax—or pick out photos for your wedding album.
Score a Deal On Air Fare
Airlines know the holidays are prime time for travel, and late-bookers pay the price—literally. Booking in September can help you nab a better deal, and you can also cut costs by scheduling a flight for Christmas Day itself.
Check Schedules of Local Attractions
Many of the best honeymoon destinations have plenty of Christmas spirit leading up to the big day but are closed on Christmas Day. See which attractions are open, including local restaurants. If the region shuts down, consider accommodations with a kitchen so that you can indulge in your own festive meal. Also, some big celebrations may happen closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas—plan accordingly if you have your heart set on being there for them.
Think About Family
For some couples, a Christmas honeymoon can be intimate and dreamy. But others may envision spending their first holiday season as a married couple with their nearest and dearest. The choice is yours, but consider taking a moment to talk over whether both of you would rather be home for Christmas. You can always jet off for a New Year's Eve getaway.
Make a List, Check It Twice
When you're crafting a list of your top honeymoon choices, consider what you want out of a vacation. Are you looking for a winter wonderland (and a sleigh ride together for two?) or maybe you're dreaming of a white Christmas (a white-sand beach Christmas, that is).
The Best Christmas Honeymoon Destinations
Honeymooning during the holiday season gives couples a chance to experience new cultures and create new traditions as a party of two. Whether you're staying in the USA or jetting off to Europe, you'll eat, drink and be merry. Some regions go all-out with Christmas markets and lighting towering trees. But even laidback locales get dressed up for Christmas, and it makes for a unique experience. All of these Christmas honeymoon destinations made our nice list.
New York, New York
New York is known for going big any time of year, and Christmas is no exception. The city welcomes a towering fir to Rockefeller Center each December. Honeymooners can snap a selfie in front of it and then enjoy ice skating. Couples can also glide around the two main outdoor rinks in Central Park and walk up and down Fifth Avenue to see the dazzling lights illuminate the storefronts. Suggested accommodations include the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown or The Carlyle, a favorite among royals. On New Year's Eve, if watching the ball drop outside in Times Square is on your bucket list—have at it. But Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel combines unobstructed views with warmth.
Barbados' warm, sunny weather and traditional holiday cheer are a recipe for the perfect Christmas honeymoon. Average temperatures are in the mid-80s and resorts like the Colony Club offer prime views and access to the island's best beaches. (Carlisle Bay is an ideal spot for snorkeling and kayaking.) Keep in mind: Barbados doesn't skimp on festivities. Bridgetown's beautiful light displays make it a perfect place for a nighttime stroll or drive. Locals also often gather in Queen's Park after church services on Christmas morning for something of a fashion show. Everyone dons their finest clothes and biggest smiles to listen to music and gather with loved ones.
Los Angeles, California
The City of Fame gives honeymooners a chance to experience a different kind of Tinsel Town. Though Los Angeles is home to more palm trees than evergreens, there's plenty to do this time of year. Each December, there's a Ferris wheel lighting at Pacific Wheel Ferris on Santa Monica Pier, and more than 170,000 LED lights are installed to brighten the area for the remainder of the season. Consider packing a sled—seriously. Sleigh rides in the sand are also popular activities for kids of all ages at spots like Venice Beach. Light shows are also popular in these parts. When not looking at lights, newlyweds can see the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. With its enchanted settings, recommended stays include the Hotel Bel-Air and the newly-renovated Thompson Hollywood.
Oahu and Maui, Hawaii
A Maui Christmas to you. Honeymooners who want to trade hot cider and snow for Mai-Tais and sand will want to head to Oahu or Maui. The Honolulu City Lights bring color, a parade and a 50-foot Christmas tree to the downtown area. Surfers can go big instead of staying home for Christmas. Sunset Beach and Waimea Bay are considered two of the best beaches for winter surfing. Over on Maui, Santa ditches his sled and makes his way through sunny Wailea Beach via an outrigger canoe (a stay at the Four Seasons is recommended). Newlyweds who want unrivaled access to shops and top restaurants should book a stay at the Westin Ka'anapali and its exclusive Hokupa'a Tower, where they can spend all day sipping cocktails and whale-watching with unobstructed oceanfront views.
Gothenburg is Sweden's best honeymoon destination this time of year. Liseberg, an amusement park, transforms into a sparkling Christmas market where couples can peruse more than 80 booths for unique gifts. The Lane of Lights runs about two miles from Liseberg to the harbor and illuminates the streets each night. Like the rest of Sweden, Gothenburg celebrates the Feast of St. Lucia on December 13 with rich saffron buns for breakfast and candlelit processions and concerts at night. A cozy cabin or apartment rental on Airbnb is recommended. Bonus points for honeymooners if a fireplace is included.
Quite simply, Zurich is full of Christmas magic from late November through January. Christmas markets keep things merry, bright… smelling like cinnamon and spice. Niederdorf is home to the oldest market, and it creates a festive village next to the opera house. And Christkindlmarkt at Zurich Main Train Station is famous for its hot punch and massive 49-foot tree. After perusing the booths, warm up in the outdoor hot tub at Dolder Grand or in the wine library at B2 Boutique Hotel. Couples who want to splurge will want to book La Réserve Eden au Lac located right on Lake Zurich. If you have time, consider taking a road trip to the Swiss alps. Flumserberg ski resort is about an hour from the city.
If you're dreaming of a white—and extended Christmas—Iceland is the place to go. Christmas lasts 26 days in this snowy winter honeymoon destination. If you see shoes in windows, there's a reason. According to Icelandic folklore, 13 Yule Lads come and deliver small gifts to good little children in the days leading up to Christmas. The Yule Lads aren't the only ones visiting Iceland in December. It's prime time to view Northern Lights, and Thingvellir National Park, 45 minutes from Reykjavik, is a popular place to do it. Other bucket-list-worthy experiences, like dog sledding, the Blue Lagoon (which doubles as a luxury hotel) and the hot springs in Reykjavik, are also on the table. The city has numerous Airbnb options, plus a new EDITION Hotel with delicious interiors.
Vienna's enchanting Christmas markets smell like fried sausage and spice and everything nice. Christkindlmarkt on the Rathausplatz has about 150 stalls, making it the largest, and the Karlsplatz Christmas market is known for funky arts and crafts that make for unique gifts. Local churches and cathedrals often host Advent concerts where orchestras and ensembles play classical music. Pro tip: Book your seat in advance as they fill up. Vienna has numerous boutique hotels and baroque-inspired properties, such as the new Hotel Motto. Those who want to add extra honey to their honeymoon should schedule morning trips to local bakeries, which offer Lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread) and stollen (fruit cake) during the holidays.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague's Christmas markets typically stay open until the first weekend in January, including Christmas Day. Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square are an easy five-minute walk from each other. Peruse the booths for local pastries for yourself and hand-crafted gifts sure to warm family members' hearts when you get home. Old Town Square's Christmas tree is a sight to behold—it's more than 60-feet-tall. And for more outdoor activities, guided snowshoeing tours are a unique way to walk in a winter wonderland.
Auckland, New Zealand
Christmas in New Zealand is so nice, they celebrate it twice—once in July (which is winter there) and again with everyone else in December. During the traditional holiday season, newlyweds can take advantage of the warm weather by attending the annual Christmas in the Park, a large outdoor concert usually held at the end of November or the beginning of December. Around the same time, Auckland hosts a lively Santa parade with floats and music. When not celebrating, chase waterfalls like Oakley Creek, considered a hidden gem.