There’s nothing like honeymooning in a romantic location to kick off married life. Unfortunately there are few things that can ruin your honeymoon quite like Zika. If you want to avoid the mosquito-borne virus, many of the traditional beach destinations are off-limits. But the good news is that there are still plenty of Zika-free spots that make for the perfect honeymoon. You can find an up-to-date map of risky areas on the CDC website. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika
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1. Prague, Czech Republic
With its medieval castle and Gothic churches, Prague is as romantic a city as they come. Prague is a great destination for lovers of art, culture and architecture and in season, you can fly direct from Toronto and Montreal.
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2. Cappadocia, Turkey
Fairy chimneys, underground cities and cave hotels make Cappadocia a truly unique honeymoon destination. For an unforgettably romantic experience, pack some local wines and take a balloon ride over the lunar landscape.
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3. José Ignacio, Uruguay
Uruguay is one of only two South American countries to have escaped Zika. José Ignacio is a sleepy fishing village that becomes a playground for the chic, beautiful, rich and famous during the Uruguayan summer from November to February.
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4. Lake Como, Italy
The aristocracy have flocked to Lake Como since Roman times to take in the scenery and in recent years it’s been the setting of choice for A-list celebrity weddings. Honeymoon accommodation here ranges from your very own villa to a luxury hotel with a pool floating on the lake.
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5. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
If you want to spend your honeymoon scuba-diving or lazing on impossibly white beaches, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s east coast is the destination for you. There are plenty of tiny islands with their own exclusive luxury resorts where you can get away from it all.
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6. Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
Peggy’s Cove is a seaside destination that’s gorgeous even on a stormy day. In fact, stormy days give you the perfect excuse to gorge on fresh seafood and then snuggle up while watching the waves crashing onto the rocks.
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7. Northern Ireland
With its dramatic cliffs, spooky forests, deep valleys and medieval castles, Northern Ireland is like something straight out of Game of Thrones. Much of the hit series was actually filmed here, including the scenes taking place in Winterfell. You’ll also find many friendly pubs and quaint inns here.
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8. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Crystal-clear waters, coral reefs and dugongs make the Bazaruto Archipelago a prime diving and snorkelling destination. It’s a marine reserve, so the beaches are pristine too. A must-do on your honeymoon here is a dhow safari.
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9. Atacama Desert, Chile
Rain will definitely not ruin your honeymoon in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth. Instead, you can stay in one of the area’s luxurious desert lodges where you can explore the desert by day and stargaze at night, with spa treatments in between.
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10. Whitehorse, Yukon
The area around Whitehorse has some excellent lodges where you can get back to nature. In summer you can go hiking or play golf under the Midnight Sun but if you have a winter wedding, nothing is more romantic than playing in the snow all day and then watching the Northern Lights at night.
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11. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
Whether you stay in the town of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side or in Livingstone on the Zambian side, you can enjoy the Victoria Falls in full colonial splendour. Take a cruise up the Zambezi or a game drive as a Zika-free alternative to the typical African safari.
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12. New York, New York
From meeting on top of the Empire State Building to having an all-night conversation on a bench overlooking the East River and Queensboro Bridge, New York has been the setting for some of the most romantic scenes in cinematic history. Even if you’re not a film buff, you’ll love the incredible variety of honeymoon things on offer in the Big Apple.
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13. Chengdu, China
Chengdu has a milder climate than Southeast Asia and is Zika-free too. This city in southwest China is a paradise for foodies and also offers interesting glimpses into Chinese culture, from Sichuan opera to temples. The main attraction, however, is pandas.
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14. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
If your idea of the perfect honeymoon includes glitz and glamour, shopping until you drop, beaches and lots of pampering, Dubai is the destination for you. Escape the city lights with a desert safari.
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15. Taos, New Mexico
Taos is an adventure destination where you can do everything from river rafting in summer to skiing in winter. You can even go llama trekking. If the great outdoors isn’t your thing, explore the art galleries and museums or learn more about Pueblo culture.
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With direct low-cost flights from Toronto and Montreal, Iceland is more accessible to Canadians than ever before. Whether you want to explore waterfalls, trek across lava fields, soak in thermal springs or enjoy the vibrant music scene, you’ll find it here. Don’t miss the Icelandic Phallological Museum for an eye-popping start to married life.
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17. Kananaskis Country, Alberta
For a roughing-it honeymoon complete with skinny dipping and sleeping – or staying awake – in a tent, look no further than Alberta’s Kananaskis Country. This spectacular landscape with its rugged peaks and forests was the filming location for the romance between the main characters in Brokeback Mountain.
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18. Cyclades, Greece
The Cyclades are among the most picturesque and most popular of the Greek islands. They include the perennial honeymoon favourites of Santorini and Mykonos but also quieter islands such as Sifnos, Tinos, Kea and Milos.
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19. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town’s summers are warm and dry so you can have that Mediterranean feel after your Canadian winter wedding. With its beaches, mountains, vineyards and food scene, the city is a popular honeymoon destination. The favourable exchange rate means you can easily afford staying in a luxury hotel.
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20. Paris, France
The ultimate honeymoon destination, Paris is for you if you love food, fashion, art, culture or, well, love. Whether you want to kiss on a bridge or dine in a back-alley bistro, there’s no end to the romantic things you can do in the French capital.