The first step to planning the perfect honeymoon is picking your destination. Consider some of these romantic locales in Europe.
Loire Valley, France - This tranquil region southwest of Paris offers newlyweds historic villages, wineries and enchanting castles, such as Chateau d'Usee, Chateau d'Azay-le-Rideau and Chateau de Chenonceau. Some of the region's castles have been converted to hotels.
Medieval villages add to the charm of the Loire Valley. The 15th century home, where Leonardo da Vinci once lived and died, now a museum, is located in the town of Amboise. In Chinon near the Vienne River is the Joan of Arc Museum.
Couples who appreciate the outdoors will enjoy the gardens, valleys, forests and babling brooks of the Loire Valley, perfect for hiking, biking and horseback riding. And vineyards throughout the area, such as those in Sancerre, Vouvray, Touraine, Bourgueil, Reuilly, and Montlouis and Saumur, welcome wine lovers for tours and tastings.
Why you should go: To indulge your dreams of fairy tale castles and storybook, country settings.
Bruges, Belgium - This town with its cobblestone streets, sleepy canals, and lovely bridges is romance itself. Belfry towers mark the center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from which colorful medieval buildings radiate outward.
Your honeymoon will be spent strolling along canals, ducking into chocolate shops and having candlelit dinners in cozy restaurants. There's also a wealth of museums such as the Groeningemuseum, where Flemish culture and history are on display.
Bruges, while romantic, may feel a little slow for some honeymooners, though, travelers often pair it with visits to Amsterdam and Paris.
Why you should go: To enjoy cozy, candlelit dinners, quiet walks and chocolate-covered whatever you want.
Paris, France - In the lovers' capital of Europe, a cruise down the Seine River offers an opportunity to kiss beneath one of the famous Paris bridges. Or perhaps you would enjoy a picnic in the park at lunch, a sidewalk café in the late afternoon or five-star dining in the evening atop the Eiffel Tower.
Sometimes overlooked is the wealth of nightclubs Paris has for listening to live music from salsa, to jazz to pop music. The city is also where you can spend your nights in the most luxurious of hotels or charming boutiques decorated in traditional Parisian style with interesting architectural details, such as slanted ceilings and crown molding.
Why you should go: To be in a beautiful city that is the epitome of romance and has so much to do.
Florence & Tuscany, Italy - The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence is a living museum with statues set in piazzas, Renaissance buildings and the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery. Cathedrals like the Duomo, and palaces, such as the Medici's Pitti Palace abound.
What's more, Florence is a shopper's paradise from the high-end boutiques of Via Tornabuoni to the jewelry shops on the 14th century Ponte Vecchio or leather goods at Mercato di San Lorenzo.
For many travelers, Florence serves as a gateway to Tuscany. Tuscan towns of Volterra, Lucca, Cortona and others lie within a landscape of rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves. Local cuisine is a draw here, from olive oil and truffles to roasted meats and pecorino cheese. This is also your base for sampling Chianti Classico wine.
Some towns can be easily reached by train, while others require a car. Either will take you through the beautiful countryside for a romantic and peaceful honeymoon.
Why you should go: To step into history and savor cuisine and wine just as it has been enjoyed for centuries.
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