It is roughly nine o’clock in the evening and Spaniards are just waking up for the night. Tapas bars are filling with bite-sized morsels of the Mediterranean country. Beer, wine and sangria are flowing. Wind the clock back to the afternoon hours. We are driving through fields of golden wheat, interspersed with bright red poppies and a ruined castle or two. We pause to picnic under some of those ruins, castle ruins the mythical Don Quijote wandered on by with Sancho Panza. While nearly one year married, I’m beginning to wonder why we didn’t honeymoon here, a country who naps in order to stay up late and eat tapas and one sprinkled with romantic settings.
Spain tends to get overshadowed by its neighbors, not always a top honeymoon destination. Newlyweds head off to France or Italy for wine, fine dining, breathtaking scenery and luxury accommodations. However, Spain has all of the appeals of its popular neighbors, without much of the hype or attitude. Not only is it less touristic compared to its neighbors, but also the country almost caters to honeymooners, even if by accident. While I don’t regret honeymooning in Greece, if I could back and honeymoon again, Spain would be a contender for these appealing reasons.
Couples looking for an ideal perch for their honeymoon getaway are often drawn to Spain for one reason and one reason only, the wine. Spain is one of the biggest producers of wine on the planet. As a result, the country is critically acclaimed for having some of the best wines in the world.
Honeymooners can frequent a number of wine regions all around Spain. La Rioja is perhaps the most famous, set up in the foothills of the Pyrenees. The area has been churning out wine since the ancient Romans were here. White wine lovers can head to Galicia while sparkling wine fans, known locally as cava, will find the area around Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea flowing with bottles of the good stuff. The Ribero del Duero region is also notable for its wines.
Newlyweds who love wine can also visit some of the oldest wine growing regions in the world on a trip to Spain. In Andalusia, one of the oldest wineries sets up shop in the village of Alvear, Cruz Conde and Pérez Barquero. As Spain is crawling in vineyards, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to go and sample reds and whites. The Wines From Spain website makes it easy with a tool to help you find wineries and wine regions to visit. You can select areas on a map or search the region in which you are headed to find out where there are wineries to visit.
The Imposed Siesta
If you wander around the streets of Spanish villages and towns around two or three o’clock in the afternoon, you won’t hear a peep. Siestas in Spain are an everyday occurrence in the afternoon hours. Most Spaniards stop what they are doing and go take a nap or relax in the middle of the day. As the imposed siesta slows down most of Spain in the afternoon, it is difficult not to partake as visitors.
Those who are honeymooning in Spain, the relaxed, slow pace to the day forces couples that are constantly on the move to truly relax. Few attractions and shops are open during siesta time, allowing couples to take it easy after their wedding in a location that embraces a slower pace to life.
The Castles and Palaces
For a romantic honeymoon getaway, couples should select a setting that tends to add the romance merely throughout its structures and scenery. Spain is certainly romantic, namely due to its wealth of palaces and castles. The country is crawling with ruined castles and royal palaces that evoke those feelings of romance.
Newlyweds can begin their castle hopping in Spain’s capital at Palacio Real. Located in Madrid, the former royal residence boasts around 2,000 rooms you can tour. Couples heading to Granada won’t be hard press to find romantic palaces as well. The city is known of its Alhambra, an intricate former Islamic palace complex where every wall and ceiling is ornately decorated. Sevilla’s Alcázar is also worth a visit. It once served as home to Ferdinand and Isabella.
Even Spain’s lesser-known castles or those away from big cities prove romantic. El Castillo de los Mendoza in Manzanares el Real looks as castles should, nearly perfect in its construction. There are also plenty of ruined castles in the Castilla-La Mancha region where newlyweds can picnic amidst the ruins of greatness, often all by their lonesome.
Historic Yet Luxurious Accommodations
Most honeymooners want to stay in luxury properties on their honeymoon. You don’t want to worry about a hotel’s cleanliness or if you will have enough privacy. At the same time, newlyweds want to feel like they aren’t just staying in any old hotel. In Spain, it is possible to time travel and get that dose of luxury with its accommodations. The country boasts a network of government owned paradores, restored historic buildings, usually convents, monasteries and castles, turned into luxury hotels.
Newlyweds craving a bit more privacy can even rent out historic digs for their honeymoon. Can Bassa is just one example, a former 14th century agricultural estate. Located in the small village of Madremanya in northeastern Spain, the accommodations include a wine cellar, expansive gardens and breakfast buffet, all amidst 14th century glory. Almiral de la Font is also one of Spain’s historic vacation rentals. The restored masia, a Catalan manor house, rests just south of Barcelona. Newlyweds in Spain have the chance to rest up for the night with history all around them.
Did you honeymoon in Spain? Why was the country perfect for your newly married getaway?
Share your experience with us in the comments below.