Although many couples still book a relaxing beach getaway after saying “I do,” there's growing interest in romantic experiences that make pulses race. According to a recent report from Pinterest, “African safari” was a popular honeymoon trend this past year, as were international destinations like Switzerland and Bali that cater to daring adventure-seekers.
From shark diving in the Pacific to motorcycling through Norway, these high-impact honeymoon trips around the world are perfect for starting happily wedded life on a thrilling note. (Bonus: They're great for all other adrenaline junkies, too.)
Go Extreme-Skiing in Colorado
Colorado is the ultimate hub for couples that love cold-weather sports. Ski your way through the back country as you travel to the San Juan Huts between Telluride, Ridgway and Ouray. Accommodations are rustic and include padded bunks, propane lamps, a kitchen and firewood for your wood stove. Water is obtained the old-fashioned way — by melting snow.
If bare-bones accommodations aren’t your style, opt for a more luxurious resort and then get your kicks on a helicopter ski adventure. Travel via snowcat or helicopter to a remote, unspoiled ski spot where you’ll be guaranteed fresh powder and no crowds. Book a trip with a professional guide to help keep watch for avalanches and ensure that your adventurous honeymoon is also a safe one.
Paraglide in the Dominican Republic
Most people associate a honeymoon in the Dominican Republic with white-sand beaches and pina coladas at a poolside bar. But head several hours west of Punta Cana into the heart of the island and you’ll discover a lush, mountainous paradise that is a world away from the beaches along the coasts.
The mountain village of Jarabacoa is a popular getaway for those looking to escape the summer heat, offering mild temperatures, verdant scenery and adventure at every turn. Explore the area’s stunning waterfalls or hike to the top of Pico Duarte, the tallest point in the Caribbean.
If you visit Jarabacoa, leave your fear of heights at home — paragliding from 4,000 feet above ground is the best way to enjoy some of the best views of the region’s rolling farmland and mountains. Local outfitters like Flying Tony pair visitors with professional paragliders, or if you want to take flight with just you and your partner, sign up for Flying Tony’s Paragliding School to learn the ins and outs of this extreme sport.
Snorkel in Iceland’s Chilly Waters
Bargain flights from the United States to Iceland have made this destination popular among Americans, and it’s easy to see why. Picture-perfect glaciers, geysers and waterfalls are ripe for exploration and provide a stunning backdrop to a honeymoon you won’t soon forget.
If you make the trip, don’t miss the opportunity see the technicolor northern lights. Tour groups like Arctic Adventures follow the aurora and cloud forecasts, providing transportation from the capital city of Reykjavik to deep into the countryside for stunning views of the aurora borealis.
If that doesn’t satisfy your taste for adventure, gear up for a next-level experience and plan a diving excursion into the brisk Icelandic waters to snorkel between tectonic plates — it might be the most interactive geography lesson you’ll ever have.
Sand-Surf in Israel
Israel boasts a dizzying array of thrilling activities on both water and land, perfect for adventurous couples. Chances are, a float through the Dead Sea is already on your Israel bucket list. While you’re there, take advantage of the opportunity to try stand-up paddle boarding or surfing with one of the area’s many outfitters. If you’re already an experienced surfer, rent equipment by the hour or for the day; if you’re a novice, sign up for a lesson.
Afterwards, move to land for a sand-surfing excursion in the Negevdunes. With no experience necessary, just bring your need for speed. Sand surfing, also known as sandboarding, is similar to sledding or snowboarding, minus the snow. Adults take on the dunes on a board that resembles a snowboard. Ride the sand while standing, sitting or on your stomach. It’s easy to enjoy the activity in pairs — perfect for newlyweds.
Compete on an “Amazing Race” through the Amazon
If a shared love of pulse-pumping action brought you and your partner together, embark on the ultimate challenge with an “Amazing Race”-style honeymoon through the Amazon jungle.
Adventure outfitter Large Minority offers an eight-day challenge that will pit you and your partner against nine other teams as you take on challenges like piranha fishing and participating in the indigenous Olympics, which includes archery, blow pipe, swimming and canoeing competitions. You’ll traverse Colombia, Peru and Brazil as you conquer the jungle, relying on your own wits to bring you to the finish line. Afterwards, you’ll both have bragging rights, and you can even feel good about your honeymoon — a portion of the cost goes toward helping local communities. (Large Minority also caters to adventurous lovebirds with a rickshaw challenge in Sri Lanka.)
If competing against other teams doesn’t sound very romantic, couples can book bespoke tours that offer the same adventurous experience without the competition.
Search for Gorillas in the Mountains of Uganda
Animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will be in heaven on a honeymoon in Uganda. Travel with a local outfitter through the brush in search of mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park. The hike can take up to seven hours and offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe a gorilla family in its natural habitat. These endangered gorillas can only be seen in Africa, and only about 786 mountain gorillas remain in the world.
After a long day of hiking and observing the animals, check in to a private cottage at the Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the highest lodge in the country at more than 6,000 feet above sea level. The luxurious amenities include a private butler, fireplace, and views of volcanoes and mountains. Cottages are built with local volcanic stone and feature art from some of Uganda’s most renowned artists.
Explore Ancient Caves in Belize
Dreamy beach setting: Check. Adventure at every turn: Check. A bonus of history and culture: Double check.
Belize is more than a tropical paradise. Just ask anyone who has toured the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave, or ATM Cave for short. ATM Cave is part of Belize’s national park system and is a top tourist attraction, but don’t let the tourist appeal fool you — a trip to the cave is not for the faint of heart. You’ll be climbing rocks, swimming, traversing narrow channels and getting within inches of real human remains.
Tour guides provide a history lesson along the way, explaining the significance of the caves to the ancient Mayans, who performed a number of rituals in the dark yet beautiful setting.
Swim with the Sharks on Guadalupe Island
If the thought of swimming alongside great white sharks sounds more thrilling than terrifying, it may be your ideal honeymoon activity. Several tour operators offer shark diving excursions near Guadalupe Island, located off the northwest coast of Baja California. Expeditions leave from San Diego and transport daredevils to the shark-filled waters of Guadalupe Island.
Cage diving is the perfect opportunity for novice divers (or those who don’t want to get too close to the ocean’s most notorious predators) to get their feet wet. You and your sweetie can swim alongside the sharks and snap photos from the safety of your diving vessel. Horizon Charters says they regularly bring honeymooners to the island and even host the occasional subaquatic proposal.
Take a Motorcycle Trip in Norway
In Norway, the Lofoten Islands are an under-the-radar ecotourism mecca. Getting there is a journey in itself — most travelers arrive by multiple flights before hopping on a ferry to the islands. But you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping scenery, punctuated by mountain peaks and fjords.
Hop in a kayak to travel between small villages or gear up for a strenuous backcountry hike through the mountains. Don’t miss the midnight sun between May and July, best experienced by kayak for a romantic experience that Visit Norway likens to “bathing in gold.”
Looking for an on-land adventure? Norway’s stunning landscape begs to be taken in from the seat of a motorcycle. Tour operators from Oslo to Alesund offer itineraries that hit all of the country’s most worthy attractions — ideal for ride-or-die newlyweds.
Bike Through Europe’s Wine Country
If you and your partner are bike enthusiasts with a shared love of fine wine, your honeymoon is the perfect time to plan your own indulgent version of the Tour de France.
Luxury-travel planning firm Honeymoon Islands has coordinated epic honeymoons that take newlyweds through wine country by bicycle. Couples have explored the banks of the Garonne River and Gironde Estuary in Bordeaux and pedaled through thousands of miles of peaceful, paved roads in Burgundy, where long days of cycling are rewarded with some of the country’s best vintages. For lovebirds looking for amore in Italy, plan a bike ride through Tuscany, where you’ll enjoy the region’s finest Chianina beef, Chianti wine and pasta.
Stay in a Treehouse in Thailand
A honeymoon is the perfect opportunity to put up an out-of-office response and, for once, turn off your phone — and where better to unplug than in a treehouse on a hilltop in Thailand?
The Island Hideout lodges at Koh Yao Noi are located on a sleepy island in southern Thailand, and the Hideout promises that “jungle wildlife, the song of wind in the trees and the whispers of waves against our island shores are the best medicine for your senses.” You won’t find TV or Wi-Fi in your room, but your au naturel accommodations feature unobstructed ocean and jungle views, bringing you and your partner closer to nature and to each other.
The resort is also a convenient starting point for active adventures including jungle trekking, kayaking, rock climbing and muay thai boxing.
Jet Off to the Final Frontier
If you can’t get your kicks on planet Earth anymore, fear not: A new luxury hotel will take travelers into outer space starting in 2022. The Aurora Station will host 12-day treks that soar 200 miles above Earth’s surface. Experience life in a zero-gravity environment, view 16 sunrises and sunsets every 24 hours, gaze at the northern and southern aura from your window, and fly over your hometown for a one-of-a-kind view.
Honeymooners will be accompanied by a two-person crew, but the experience doesn’t come cheap — there is a pre-travel deposit of $80,000 per person and a total cost of $9.5 million per person. The price tag is steep, but it’s still just a “fraction of the cost of a home grown human spaceflight program,” according to Orion Span, the aerospace company behind the hotel.