Best Trips for Celebrating Your Anniversary
If couples stuck to tradition, anniversaries would be marked by exchanging gifts of wool and steel. Instead, commemorate your special occasion with a vacation that offers a fresh interpretation on these ancient conventions.
Instead of giving your spouse a leather wallet, for example, visit a town known for hand-crafted leather goods. After all, memories make better gifts than woolen socks and tin cups. And custom leather shoes constructed by an atelier in Oltrarno, Italy, may carry a bit more heft.
Couples celebrating their first anniversary traditionally exchange paper goods, but we're in favor of skipping town together and unwinding in the coastal town of José Ignacio in Uruguay. And if you've stuck it out for 60 years, a diamond may be customary—but an epic adventure to the impressively-preserved mining town of Diamantina in Brazil is definitely more creative.
And if you just can't imagine marking the years without fine linens or a string of pearls, consider snagging them as a souvenir. We promise, a bouquet of tulips collected in the Netherlands will be way more significant that a bouquet picked up from the supermarket florist.
That's not to say you need to travel to the capital of silk for your 12th anniversary, either.
At T+L, we're in favor of forging your own traditions—and we can't think of a better way to observe your anniversary than to pack a bag and head somewhere new. Experiencing a new destination (or planning a decidedly romantic getaway) with your partner could be the best way to keep the spark burning.
José Ignacio in Uruguay
On your first wedding anniversary, it’s tradition to exchange gifts related to paper. Instead of swapping notebooks or paperbacks, head to Uruguay. This South American country is not only home to one of the biggest paper and pulp mills in the world, but it also boasts some of the most impressive landscapes. José Ignacio is a relaxed beach town where elite travelers from across the world come to unwind. Go horseback riding, share a plate of seafood by the sea, and toast your marriage with a glass of regional wine.
Charleston in South Carolina
Cotton is the traditional present for the second anniversary, so head to the heart of cotton country to celebrate your union in the iconic Southern town. T+L’s World's Best City has a lot to offer travelers looking for a romantic weekend away. Book a room with a view at one of the city’s award-winning boutique hotels or the historic Planter's Inn, which dates back to 1844. Reserve a table for two at a local hotspot like Husk, where Chef Sean Brock serves up modern southern cuisine, or upscale, black-and-white Drawing Room for a wine list certain to make your significant other fall in love with you, again. Spend the days on an architecture tour or simply exploring the streets of this charming city.
Tuscany in Italy
Break with tradition to celebrate your three-year partnership with a trip to Tuscany, home to the producers of some of the finest leather goods in the world. Tour the Tuscan countryside from Montepulciano to Lucca in a sports car with leather seats (it’s part of the theme!) looking for leather purveyors. Reserve a room at Villa Bordoni in Chianti, Il Falconiere outside of Arezzo, or the castle-like Il Borgo in the Brunello region. Wander the streets of Florence, stopping in all the shops—and since three years of togetherness is traditionally celebrated by swapping wallets, purses, or leather day planners, there’s really no reason to hold back on purchasing a few special items.
Cornwall in England
Couples celebrating ten years of marriage typically exchange gifts made of tin. As tempting as that may be, splurge instead, splurge on a trip to the former tin mining town of Cornwall. This remote town, separated from England by the River Tamar, feels intimate and secluded, meaning it’s the perfect place to get away from it all with your special someone. Wander the Cornish Coast Path hand-in-hand, climb to St. Michael’s Mount to visit the Tudor castle (and admire the boundless views of the water below), and find souvenirs in the quaint coastal town of St. Ives. Book a room at a castle like the Pentillie Castle or the Star Castle Hotel on the Isle of Scilly, or a more modern retreat like St. Michael’s Hotel & Spa.
Siem Reap in Cambodia
The ancient city of Siem Reap is not only home to the temples of Angkor, but it's also where travelers can find incredible silk farms. As silk is the customary gift for the 12th wedding anniversary, a trip to Cambodia’s northern border and the mulberry plant-filled farms on the periphery of the city is the perfect way to mark the occasion. Experience the deep history of Angkor Wat by watching the sun rise over the temple, tour the Angkor Night Market, and pay homage at the Cambodian Land Mine Museum. To learn about the silk-making process, head twenty minutes outside the city to the Puok District for a guided tour of the Angkor Silk Farm where silkworms eat mulberry leaves and transform them into silk. Pick up souvenirs at the gift shop to swap with your spouse.
Keukenhof in The Netherlands
Mark 14 years of your love with flowers, but skip the staid bouquet and instead head to the flower capital of the world: the Netherlands. Each spring, Holland erupts in tulip blooms and there’s no better place to appreciate the ebulliently colorful flowers than at Keukenhof Gardens, which has been pushing up tulips since the 15th century. The annual flower festival spans two months and boasts seven million bulbs, so travelers have countless opportunities to tip toe through the tulips with the one you love. Keukenhof is the ultimate destination for flower lovers, and it's an easy train ride from Amsterdam.
The Pearl Islands in Panama
Celebrate 30 years together with pearl—specifically, the Pearl Islands. The archipelago of almost 250 islands lies just off the coast of Panama and has all the trappings of a tropical island getaway with few of the crowds that fill Caribbean spots. Check into the Hacienda del Mar for a beachy escape on the second-largest island, Isla San Jose, sip cocktails on the sand at Mar y Oro on Isla Contadora, or spend your days underwater, snorkeling and scuba diving. Keep your eyes peeled on the beach, and you might find one of the island’s namesake pearls to give your spouse as a memento.
Diamantina in Minas Gerais, Brazil
Just wanting to spend 60 years with one person deserves a special commemoration, and there are few places as special as Diamantina: the town built on diamonds. The well-preserved colonial village in the state of Minais Gerais is a romantic trip into Brazil’s Portuguese past. Stroll through the city’s cobblestone-lined center, stop at the Mercado Municipal, and visit the church of Saint Francis of Assisi (built in 1775) to discover why Diamantina was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. Don't miss the Museu do Diamante, which tells the history of the town.