These beach honeymoon destinations are shore things.
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Lazing on a dreamy beach is fabulous, but so is exploring a stimulating scene. These honeymoon destinations offer the best of both.
Barcelona: Beach + Design
Why Here: Buildings by Antoni Gaudí and Frank Gehry abound in this stunning city, many within sight of the Balearic Sea.
Where to Stay: The Hotel Arts Barcelona is next door to Gehry's monumental fish-shaped sculpture and steps from lively Barceloneta beach (from $350 a night).
Date Night: Japan meets Peru in Pakta's zingy ceviches and tuna temakis, topped with puffed quinoa and salmon roe. Reserve two of the 32 seats online well in advance.
Day Out: After taking in the sights from street level, catch the funicular up to Montjuïc Castle for a bird's-eye perspective of the architecture, port, and sea.
How to Get There: Fly direct from New York City.
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Riviera Maya: Beach + Ruins
Why Here: When lolling on the sand at Xpu-Há beach or swimming in pools edged by mangrove jungles gets old (as if!), head to the Mayan ruins.
Where to Stay: The tropical gardens at the Hotel Esencia are more than eye candy. Along with hosting morning yoga, they yield the herbs used in the spa's treatments and the restaurant's gazpachos and steak tacos (from $754 a night).
Date Night: At Playa del Carmen's most lauded restaurant, Yaxché, the stand-out sweet-and-salty Mayan fajitas are made with Mexican honey and soy sauce.
Day Out: Book a private archaeologist-led Tulum ruins tour—minus the crowds—through Journey Mexico.
How to Get There: Fly direct to Playa del Carmen.
Photography: Courtesy of Ellerman House3 of 4
Cape Town: Beach + Wine
Why Here: Set between the Atlantic and soaring mountains, the city has a temperate Mediterranean climate that makes it vineyard-friendly.
Where to Stay: The Ellerman House, on the rocky coastline of Bantry Bay, is just minutes from the golden shores of Camps Bay and Clifton—and a guests-only rule affords tranquility (from $490 a night).
Date Night: Spend an evening cooking and eating traditional Cape Malay curry with a local family in one of the pastel houses that fill the Bo Kaap neighborhood.
Day Out: Tour the cellars at Boschendal Wine Estate and stay for the trout rillettes, local cheeses, and vino, of course.
How to Get There: Fly via London or Johannesburg.
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Rio de Janeiro: Beach + Party
Why Here: Rio's renowned Copacabana and Ipanema beaches abut a riot of cosmopolitan restaurants and bars.
Where to Stay: Give in to the Barry Manilow refrains in your head at the glam '20s-era Belmond Copacabana Palace, where scenesters from Brigitte Bardot to Princess Diana have stayed (from $400 a night).
Date Night: Hotel Santa Teresa's Térèze serves caipirinhas and lobster amid the jungly expanses of an old coffee plantation.
Day Out: Nurse a late night with the Belmond's exclusive sunrise tour of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue. You'll be in and out before the crowds, and fed fresh juices, strong coffee, and still-warm breads and pastries.
How to Get There: Fly direct from Miami or Atlanta.