Looking for a honeymoon destination but worried about Zika virus? While the virus is prevalent across much of the tropics, there are still plenty of destinations that are both romantic and Zika-free. Here are 10 to get you started.
(Vanuatu, Moorea, and Guadeloupe previously had Zika but have now been declared Zika-free by the Centre for Disease Control.)
1. Positano (Amalfi Coast), Italy
Positano is one of the most popular villages on the Amalfi Coast. Perched dramatically on a steep hillside, Positano’s colorful buildings cascade down to a pebble beach and a small harbor.
Have a gelato while strolling through the narrow alleys, and shop for custom-made leather sandals. For a romantic experience, take the cable car up Monte Faito at sunset, or splurge on a wine tasting with Swirl the Glass.
2. Praslin Island, Seychelles
The Seychelles are what honeymoon dreams are made of: turquoise waters, slim palm trees arching over white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and beautiful nature reserves.
With a population of only 6000, quiet and laid back Praslin Island is a honeymooners’ favorite. Swim, snorkel, or dive in the clear warm waters. Explore Anse Lazio Beach with its smooth round boulders, or virtually untouched Grand Anse Beach. Not-to-be-missed Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve contains many endemic species including the very rare coco de mer palm.
3. Rethymno (Crete), Greece
If you’re looking for somewhere less glitzy and more intimate, head to Rethymno on Crete. Smaller and less visited than Hania an hour to the West, Rethymno has an attractive harbor and old Venetian-Ottoman quarter that includes a 16th-century fortress.
Wander the narrow streets, chat with the friendly locals, or take a boat trip. There is a strip of beaches east of Rethymno, but the South Coast has better ones. Crete is also a great island for hiking. Local company The Happy Walker organizes guided walks in the countryside.
With its blend of French, East Indian, and African culture, and some of the best food in the Caribbean, Guadeloupe makes the perfect honeymoon destination. Although you may need to speak a little French at times!
Grande-Terre is a beach-ringed coral atoll, home to most of the resorts and large hotels. The largest city, Pointe-à-Pitre, with its markets and museums, is also worth exploring.
With a few intimate restaurants and inns, and the Parc National de la Guadeloupe, Basse-Terre is a quieter, greener alternative. Consider staying in Deshaies, a charming small commune with the best beach on Basse-Terre. Nearby, Pigeon Island offers scuba diving.
5. Gozo, Malta
Located on the southern edge of Europe, Gozo is both quieter and more exclusive than its sister island Malta, a quick ferry ride away. Upmarket accommodation, high-quality restaurants, and no package-holiday crowds make Gozo a great honeymoon choice. Here you’ll enjoy green scenery, friendly locals, a less harried pace of life, and of course delicious food and wine.
If you’re feeling active, go on a walk, swim, scuba-dive, snorkel, or take a boat trip to visit the stunning Blue Lagoon on Comino. For more quiet days, enjoy the medieval citadels and megalithic temples. For nightlife, you’ll need to hop over to Malta.
6. Kauai (Hawaii), USA
Kauai is the lushest and oldest of the Hawaiian Islands, with some of the best scenery in the state.
You can fly over the inaccessible forests and waterfalls of its interior on a one-hour helicopter tour. Or drive around the island to visit the various beaches, taro farms, coffee plantations, and the impressive Waimea Canyon. Kauai also offers hikes for all levels, including the challenging Kalalau Trail on Napali Coast.
7. Seville (Andalusia), Spain
Flamenco, Moorish architecture, and endless sunshine are what characterize Seville. Stroll through Maria Luisa Park and take a look at the gorgeous Plaza de España, visit the Cathedral and the Alcázar, and catch a flamenco show. Relax by wandering the narrow streets of the Santa Cruz neighborhood, or cross the river into Triana with its azulejos tiles and ceramic shops. You may want to avoid summer, when the weather is unbearably hot.
8. Moorea, French Polynesia
If money is no object, and a South Pacific island is what you’re yearning for, look no further than Moorea. This spectacular island is covered in green peaks and surrounded by a turquoise lagoon.
Here you can shop for black pearls, hike the lush hills, snorkel, and kayak. Many tours are available as well, to help with the logistics. Or you could just settle in your overwater bungalow and enjoy the scenery.
9. Korčula, Croatia
The island of Korčula makes a relaxing honeymoon destination in the Adriatic Sea. Its interior is rich with vineyards, olive groves, and small villages, while its shores offer both pebbly and sandy beaches. Korčula Town is a medieval Dalmatian town and resembles a mini Dubrovnik, with part of its walls and towers still intact.
Wander the narrow streets of the old town, and relax near the water. Taste the best-grilled calamari you’ve ever had with a glass of the island’s white wine. Catch a performance of traditional folk dances and music. Day trips are available to other villages, neighboring islands, or the mainland if you get restless.
If you’re looking to get away from it all, make a beeline for Vanuatu. Boutique resorts, such as popular Tamanu on the Beach, welcome honeymooners, and great spa facilities ensure a relaxing and romantic vacation.
Capital Port Vila offers the best choice of dining options, while Tanna Island will appeal to adventure-seeking couples. Here you can take a guided trek up an active volcano and ride horses. The island of Espiritu Santo is all about water activities with some amazing beaches like Champagne Beach as well as the naturally-formed freshwater Blue Holes.
All information was correct at time of publication but travelers should be sure to check the latest CDC Zika advisories before booking.