Starting our days with sangria and ending them with foot-tapping flamenco or sizzling-hot samba. Indulging in delicious Iberian ham or tucking into traditional Valencian paella. Soaking in the gorgeous Gaudi architecture, enjoying live music performances on the streets, and pecking on tapas as we go bar-hopping till the wee hours. Just the mention of Spain brings up these fabulous memories.
It’s no wonder then, that Spain is one of our favourite European countries! It's culturally rich, has fantastic food and wine, and is home to unique architecture, idyllic beaches, undulating mountains and scenic roads that are designed for some of the best road trips. But most of all, we love this vibrant country for its inimitable romance! There seems to be palpable happiness in the air – or was it simply because we traversed its ancient alleyways at our own pace, as the perfect starry-eyed twosome?!
Maybe you can follow our steps and share the same experience as us. Here's the itinerary we followed — ideal for a two-week honeymoon. These cities have a unique character which makes them fun to explore and create your own special memories. But, of course, this is just a glimpse of what the country has to offer. It is dotted with some of the most romantic cities, and you can design your trip based on your interests and preferences.
1. Beautiful Barcelona
This city encapsulates the vibe of Spain with its lively markets and outdoor cafes, ancient structures and modern museums, laidback beaches and buzzing rooftop bars.
Cultural buffs can’t miss La Sagrada Familia and the unique architecture of Gaudi. In construction since 1882, the former is a shining example of varied architectural styles – Spanish Gothic, Art Nouveau, Modernisme and Noucentisme – and is the largest unfinished Catholic church in the world. In fact, we know couples that have made multiple visits here to cherish their moments together and to witness the progress in its construction. Antoni Gaudi laid out the original design, and over time other celebrated architects added their input.
Gaudi’s inimitable works can be enjoyed all over Barcelona, including Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. Couples particularly enjoy spending the day at Park Guell designed by the great architect. Not only does it afford a bird’s eye view of Barcelona, but it also has several iconic spots to capture your memorable moments on camera, especially at the mosaic-tiled Serpentine Bench and the slanted colonnaded structure known as the Laundry Room Portico. Another popular romantic spot in the city is the Magic Fountains at Montjuic. It's a magical show of lights, music and wate acrobatics.
Barcelona has some of the finest restaurants. While it is advisable to make prior reservations, you can try what we did, to add an element of spontaneity. If you’re not in a rush, just get a table at one of the most buzzing restaurants on any of the popular streets. We were surprised by the quality of food and wine, and realized that this way we had even stumbled across some fine restaurants that featured on the top ten lists for the city.
2. Vibrant Valencia
With a unique blend of a charming old town and the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences that includes a planetarium, oceanarium and an interactive museum, Valencia is quite the hidden gem.
The Valencia Cathedral is made in gorgeous Gothic architecture and is home to the Chapel of the Holy Chalice. At its altar is one of the chalices that is claimed to have been used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Right outside the Cathedral, at Plaza de la Reina, are some lovely tapas bars, serving pintxos and sangria.
Besides being this enriching contrast of opposites, Valencia has some of the finest beaches on the Mainland and the warmest weather most of the year, making it ideal for outdoorsy fun like biking and hiking through the Albufera National Park. The Malvarossa beach is a strip of beautiful golden sands that stretches for a kilometre along the city’s seafront.
Over and above all the culture and heritage, Valencia is also home to excellent cuisine. It is the birthplace of the famous Spanish delicacy – paella. Valencian paella is believed to be the original version, and is made with round-grain rice, bajoqueta and tavella green beans, rabbit, chicken and lima or butter beans. It is best enjoyed leisurely, at the beach, since Valencia is said to enjoy more than 300 days of sun a year.
3. Sexy Seville
It is difficult to choose one, but if I absolutely had to pick my favourite city in Spain, it would most certainly be Seville.
You can almost always hear the strumming of Spanish guitars in its narrow alleys. The fountain-filled plazas are indeed a thing of beauty with many Hollywood films and award-winning series, including The Game of Thrones, being shot here. And from here you get the perfect opportunity to explore the Real Alcazar, which was the center of power for different civilizations and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a collection of palaces, fortresses and picture-perfect gardens.
We highly recommend you to watch a flamenco show at one of the ‘tablaos’ in Seville. But the highlight of our trip was at one of the many bars in the charming neighbourhood of Triana — located by the Guadalquivir River, overlooking the Puente de Isabel II bridge that is lit up beautifully every evening. This is where the locals like to party. The buzz in the area increases as the night progresses. What made it extremely special for us was that we got to see an impromptu flamenco performance by the same artistes whose show we had seen the previous night at a tablao. Although the show was fabulous, catching them dancing on their night off was something else!
4. Gorgeous Granada
Tucked into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Granada is renowned all over the world for the Alhambra Palace and the picturesque gardens of the Generalife estate. The whitewashed Moorish neighbourhood of the Albaicin further lends it a unique look. This ancient city is rich with culture and history at every bend of its narrow alleys. Being an erstwhile Moorish kingdom, it also has indelible marks of Islamic architecture.
After you’re done exploring the famous heritage sites, just soak in the vibe at the colourful Gypsy quarter, the bustling La Alcaicería, and the Arab Spice Market. You can then visit The Bañuelo, the traditional Arab baths, for some rest and relaxation. To get a real taste of Granada, book a night at the Hotel Alhambra Palace. This elegant hotel, surrounded by the Alhambra forest, boasts fine hospitality, and offers panoramic views over the romantic city as well as the mountains.
5. Magnificent Madrid
Madrid wraps up your Spanish honeymoon perfectly. The capital city blends chic city life with laid-back Mediterranean energy, making it ideal for a young cosmopolitan couple. It boasts some of the hottest tables and coolest bars, live music performances, swanky shopping, and world-class museums like the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Reina Sofía Museum of Modern Art.
Gastronomes will enjoy spending time at the 100-year-old Mercado San Miguel, a covered market just walking distance from Plaza Mayor. It has more than 30 vendors retailing fine tapas, freshly prepared baked goods, and an array of ham, olives, wine and beer. Indulge in churros con chocolat, try the traditional bon bon coffee (only recommended if you have a sweet tooth) and nibble on patatas bravas, pimientos de padron, jamon and tortilla.
Walk a little further and you’ll reach Puerta del Sol. This is one of the busiest squares in Madrid and the city’s symbol – the statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree is located here.
Madrid is also known for its scenic sunsets. While dusk at the Temple of Debod will leave you with a gorgeous memory of a lifetime, the rooftop bar Circulo de Bellas Artes is one of the best spots in the city for a sundowner.