It may have been a last minute decision, something not given priority over the long lists and things to do when it came to planning our wedding, but the decision to spend our honeymoon in Spain was certainly something my husband and I were so happy we did. As an adventurous couple, young, in love and, of course, newly wed, we seemed to have found just what we needed when we stepped off the plane in Barcelona. The weather was warm, the sun was shining and the city seemed so alive.
Staying just a five minute walk from the beach in the Spanish coastal city of Salou, we quickly came to discover that our days would be filled with the perfect mix of enjoying each others company and enjoying the area. The beach stretched for miles and we spent most mornings snuggling in the sand and soaking up the sun. We walked back and forth at the water's edge, people watching and photo taking, in awe of the culture and happy to be honeymooning. It was relaxing and exciting all at the same time.
We had read much about the nightlife in Spain, knowing that the city would be a buzz well into the night. We strolled down the streets, where one restaurant after another offered unobstructed views of the sea and the sand. I remember thinking how perfect life was as we spent our nights sipping sangria and watching the sun slip down below the horizon.
My husband is not one to spend his holidays parked on a beach, so with Salou situated just an hour and a half from Barcelona it made a great starting point for day trips. We only wish we would have made more time for Barcelona, as it was a city full of fascinating finds, hidden streets and a wealth of history that we had a hard time taking it all in. It seemed as if around every corner was something new to see and sharing it with my new husband made it all the more exciting.
The architecture of Antoni Gaudi certainly made it a city like no other. We literally gasped as we approached the Sagrada Familia – no brochure or tour guide could have prepared us for the incredible craftsmanship and overwhelming size of the 129-year-old work in progress that stood before us. Barcelona took our breath away on more than one occasion and as a city so rich with history and full of life, it was quite the contrast to our beach days before.
Spain was certainly a great honeymoon destination for us just as it would be for many couples looking to really get away after their wedding. Not only does Spain make you feel more romantic and adventurous at the same time, it really allows you to lose yourself to your holiday. The energy is high as people move around the city streets, stopping at shop after shop before picking a patio to soak up the sun over tempting platters of tapas. The energy is up as the sun goes down and dinner and drinks go well into the night under the warm, dark sky. It's an exotic honeymoon destination that truly makes you forget what it's like to be at home.
With bustling urban centers and breathtaking landscapes that seamlessly fade into one another, Spain is picture perfect for the tourist in us all. A drive down the streets of Madrid or Barcelona is a history lesson in itself yet beautiful to even the uneducated eye. Antiquities mix with innovations resulting in stunning city streets of the past in between streamlined structures of the future. This combination of old and new can be seen throughout Spain and certainly gives it a character all its own.
If the beaches are all you're after, Spain will surely have what you're looking for. With over 5,000 miles of coastline, beautiful beaches for both sun tanning and swimming can be found along the Spanish coast. From San Sebastian in the North down to Costa del Sol in the South, the Mediterranean coast of Spain has become well known for its beach resorts that allow for total relaxation in a sunny and comfortable setting. If you're looking to stroll hand-in-hand through the sand or tempted to try a new water sport together, there will be a beach for both of you to enjoy.
As a country of contrasts, Spain's mix of old and new, city and coast, fast-paced lifestyle yet laid-back attitude is guaranteed to please. The combination of climate and culture make Spain a serious contender for any new bride and groom looking for a honeymoon as memorable as their wedding.
La Sagrada Familia Cathedral – basilica designed by Antoni Gaudi under construction since 1882
Park Güell – a municipal garden overlooking the city in between the architecture of Antoni Gaudi
La Rambla – a tree-lined pedestrian mall lined with terraces and a large open air market
National Art Museum of Catalonia – housed in the gorgeous Palau Nacional exhibits all disciplines of Catalonia art throughout the ages
Where to Stay:
Hotel Arts Barcelona – exceptional luxury with panoramic city or Mediterranean views
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona – history in the heart of the city with all the small details that make a difference
Le Méridien Barcelona – exceptional artistry in the middle of the old town action
Museo Nacional del Prado – main Spanish national art museum in central Madrid with one of the world's finest collections of European art
Royal Palace – built in the 18th century housing art treasures and antiques in 2,800 rooms open to the public
Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid – 20 acres of beautiful botanical garden
Reina Sofía National Art Museum - ever growing collection of modern art including Picasso's Guernica
Plaza Mayor – the main square in the centre of Madrid popular for people watching and many markets
Where to Stay
Hesperia Madrid – sophisticated, chic and centrally located
Hotel Ritz Madrid – a Baroque palace with individually designed suites
AC Santo Mauro – an elegant and impressive urban hotel in a late nineteenth century building
A seaside escape on the Costa del Sol, one of the prime beach and resort destinations in Europe
The Old Quarter – narrow cobblestone streets centred around the Plaza de los Naranjos, the historic centre
The Golden Mile – a stretch of four miles of the most luxurious residences and famous landmarks of Marbella
La Fontanilla – one of the many breathtaking beaches along the coast
Where to Stay
Hotel Puente Romano - the charm of a beachfront village in a luxury hotel
Marbella Club – a beach resort of exclusive luxuries on the shores of the Mediterranean
Hotel Meliá La Quinta Golf & Spa – stunning views of the Mediterranean in the midst of the golf valley