Europe is brimming with hidden gems. You just need to know where to look...especially if you're looking for under-the-radar European islands for your honeymoon. There’s no doubt that Ibiza and Mykonos are on your radar, but what about the Texel and Vis? These enchanting enclaves are among the continent’s best-kept secrets. Clued-in locals love ‘em, however, they’re frequently forgotten or totally out of the purview of most Americans.
Ready for an off-the-beaten-path adventure? Ahead are six spectacular European islands you probably haven’t considered visiting—heck, you likely didn’t even know existed—till now.
Cíes Islands, Spain
The Cíes Islands are Spain’s answer to Seychelles. And, we must admit, the similarities are striking. Both boast beautiful beaches, secluded stretches of white sand, and cerulean waters. One key difference? You won’t find five-star amenities on the former. Part of a protected national park, there are no cars or hotels, camping is restricted to a solitary site (reservations are required), and a maximum of 2,200 people are permitted to visit per day.
No disrespect to Santorini (it’s as amazing as advertised), but those looking to avoid the crowds should set their sights on Kastellorizo. This Dodecanese islet tantalizes in-the-know travelers with its mesmerizing views—made famous in the 199 film “Mediterraneo”—and beguiling Blue Cave that rivals the famous Grotta Azzurra in Capri, sans the hordes of tourists. Plus, its proximity to Turkey means you can also take a day trip to Kaş.
São Miguel, Portugal
Rolling hills, verdant valleys, volcanic craters, and sparkling lakes. Sounds like paradise, right? The Azores, a Portuguese archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, have long lured intrepid travelers. But a lack of direct fights has made getting there a pain—not to mention pricy—until now. Delta just introduced direct routes to São Miguel. So, all that stands between you and paradise is a five-hour flight.
Texel, one of the Dutch-speaking Wadden Islands, off the coast of the Netherlands, abounds with sandy beaches, flowing dunes, unspoilt grasslands, colorful tulips, and pine forests. Sample fresh-churned, raw sheep milk cheese—reason to visit in and of itself. See seals and rare birds up close at Ecomare, a nature museum, aquarium, and wildlife sanctuary.
The farthest inhabited isle from the Dalmatian Coast, Vis has managed to stay under the radar thanks to its isolated location. That said, this tucked-away treasure is well worth a visit! Not only does it flaunt stunning sea caves, craggy cliffs, and fascinating historical sites, but its main town is steeped in heritage with its preserved ancient walls, thermae (public bath), and a fortress turned Archaeological Museum.
Faroe Islands, Denmark
A tropical escape this is not. If you’re looking for a sun-drenched destination where you can break out your bikini, the Faroe Islands, located between Iceland and Scotland in the North Atlantic, aren’t for you. But if the promise of venturing off the beaten path to explore the treeless expanses, rugged mountains, and majestic fjords is too intriguing to pass up, pack your bags for this autonomous archipelago.