6 off-the-beaten-track options for an adventure honeymoon

The typical honeymoon may involve sunset strolls on the beach and couple’s massages at the resort spa, or perhaps coffee and croissants from a Parisian sidewalk cafe. However, with a plethora of diverse destinations around the planet offering all kinds of attractions and experiences, the sky’s the limit when you’re planning your own honeymoon. Below are some cool honeymoon places where you can make lasting memories with your new spouse, whether it’s spending time together in the rugged outdoors, seeing the fabled Northern Lights, or getting up close with African wildlife.

Romantic retreats with plenty of nature

Newlyweds who love the great outdoors have plenty of beautiful honeymoon places to choose from, such as the Canadian wilderness or the African bush.

Enjoy a high-altitude honeymoon in the Poconos

Adventure-seeking couples who want to honeymoon within the US can set their sights on Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, where outdoor pursuits include hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, bird-watching, and fishing. A Poconos honeymoon isn’t just about the great outdoors, though. The region also features several destination spas and a slew of wineries and microbreweries, not to mention lots of farm-to-table restaurants in the downtown areas. Booking a cabin in the woods may be the best way to experience the Poconos—and to bask in each other’s company with minimal distractions. After a day of exploring the mountains, you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the hot tub or snuggle by the roaring fireplace.

Beautiful Banff is ripe for exploring

The swoon-worthy Canadian wilderness may not be top of mind when it comes to honeymoon destinations, but it sure deserves to be. Banff National Park is a 4-season playground for couples who share a love for adventure and the outdoors. In summer, honeymooners can pack a picnic and hit the park’s trails, or enjoy a Lake Minnewanka sunset cruise. Meanwhile, powdery winters pave the way for skiing, snow tubing, and dogsledding. No matter when you go, make a pit stop at Banff Upper Hot Springs, where you and your sweetie can soak in the steaming mineral waters. Vacation rentals in Banff include cozy log cabins tucked away in the forests, and scenic, contemporary condos with communal pools and saunas.

Walk on the wild side at Kruger National Park

Game drives to see the “Big 5”—the lion, elephant, leopard, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo—can be the highlight of a honeymoon in Kruger National Park. You can also hit the wilderness trails, go mountain biking, and sign up for guided walks or 4x4 tours. Vacation rentals near the park range from stylish lodges and bush retreats with swimming pools and modern air-conditioned rooms, to simpler guesthouses and homestays. In some of these accommodations, you might enjoy wildlife sightings while reading a book on the balcony. For an unforgettable meal, go on a bush braai—a game drive that takes you to a BBQ site and offers some nocturnal wildlife viewing on the trip back.

Storybook settings in beautiful European cities

Forget Paris—many other destinations in Europe provide a fairy-tale backdrop for the honeymoon of your dreams, and you won’t have to contend with large crowds.

Go and get loved-up in Lisbon

Portugal’s hilly coastal capital reveals striking scenes at every turn, whether you’re visiting top attractions like the Belem Tower, Jeronimos Monastery, and Sao Jorge Castle, or just roaming the sloping streets lined with colorful buildings. It won’t be hard to find an apartment rental that overlooks Lisbon’s picture-postcard cityscape, and you might even have a furnished balcony where you can soak up the scenery while sipping some bubbly. Alfama, the city’s oldest district, is worth a wander. Escape the crowds at popular Carcavelos Beach and go on a day trip to the Berlengas Islands, where you can go hiking and snorkeling and explore the Fort of São João Baptista. Back in the city, enjoy a romantic dinner in the Campo de Ourique neighborhood.

Attention, newlyweds: Colmar wine country is calling

If you’ve got your heart set on a honeymoon in France, how about trading popular Paris for charming Colmar, the third largest commune in the Alsace region? You’ll easily fall in love with the Little Venice neighborhood, where colorful half-timbered houses sit side by side on the Lauch River. You can take a flat-bottomed boat tour or dine al fresco in one of the many riverside cafes. Colmar is on the 106-mile-long Alsace Wine Route, which means there are plenty of opportunities to drink to your new union. There’s a broad selection of apartment and cottage rentals where you can bed down, while local attractions include the Unterlinden Museum, home to a notable collection of medieval art.

Lap up the wintry wonders in Lapland

Finnish Lapland offers a snowy-white wonderland that’s perfect for a winter honeymoon. You can stay in chalets and apartments, or book a remote cottage rental where you can truly be alone with your new spouse—as though you were contained in a real-life snow globe. Seeing the ethereal Northern Lights will certainly be an unforgettable experience, while reindeer rides and dogsled safaris offer unique ways to see the powdery landscape. Or, explore the area on your own by hopping on a snowmobile; bringing a thermos filled with hot chocolate is highly recommended. For a dose of culture, you can go see the modern pieces at the Rovaniemi Art Museum, Korundi, the northernmost regional art museum in Europe, or check out Santa Claus Village, a themed amusement park that’s open year-round.