Honeymoons are special. If you are a fortunate individual who has met his or her ideal other and wish to start a long and happy life together, the Honeymoon is the time in your relationship when you embark on that adventurous voyage of mutual discovery. Honeymoons aren’t always about the first flush of romantic love. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you might have already been on the matrimonial merry-go-round and are looking for the best destination for a second, or even third, honeymoon.
Well, please look no further than Spain. For the first time rounders, a Spanish honeymoon will suit a couple filled with youthful exuberance and romance. For the many time rounders, a honeymoon in Spain can bring a quieter and more nuanced vacation experience. You see, with so much diversity in natural beauty, culture and socialising styles, there is the perfect Spain honeymoon for just about everyone!
Here are my quick and easy reasons that will help you understand why Spain has always been a country for true romantic adventurers.
1. The climate
They say the weather decides everything. Well, a honeymoon in Spain promises delightful conditions. From Spring through to late Autumn there is a warmth and loveliness to life on the mainland and across the Balearic islands of Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
The weather conditions for most of the year are warm, dry with hours of blue skies each day. If you are marrying and planning your honeymoon for around Eastertime, you will be dazzled by all of the pomp and ceremony of the traditional Spanish celebrations. Regardless of your religious leanings, you will be swept up in the parades, the grandeur of the rituals all brought together by divine celebratory dinners and of course the cakes. There’s always a cake for every celebration in Spain. Just walk past any Spanish patisserie for that heady smell of vanilla custard and caramelised sugar!
Just forget the Easter Bunny, he’s just some hallmark twinkie in comparison to the huge statues on plinths that are carried by hooded men to mark significant moments during Semana Santa (Holy Week). The Procesion de los Pasos seems only a short step away from ancient Spain – all very medieval. Easily accessed from Marbella, you can leave the luxurious confines of your beach fronted villa to watch this incredible procession pass through the city of Malaga. The streets are lined with families who participate in the incredible spectacle that has been part of Spanish life for centuries. It can be the wildest backdrop to any honeymoon you are ever likely to have.
High summer sees the beaches fill up with locals and tourists. The nightlife around Marbella is very fashionable. The marinas with their superyachts, the glamour of Puerto Banus and Sotogrande mean you can rub shoulders with the glitterati who move across the Mediterranean over the course of the Summer. Basing yourself anywhere along the famous Golden Mile in the heart of Marbella is the place to take your honeymoon on mainland Spain. This is the place to see and be seen.
For the party honeymooners, travelling to Ibiza is a really good idea. Where better to meld a once in a lifetime adventure with world-class clubbing.
Towards the end of the Summer, a semblance of normality returns to Spain with families getting back to their regular lives across Europe. The Balearics have another burst of tourism, where individuals who want that perfectly civilised honeymoon get to enjoy all the pleasures of Spain without the more full-on tempo of high season. You get to enjoy the heavenly Deia in Mallorca or great cities like Seville without the bustle.
Even winter in Spain can be wonderful. If you are looking for an escape from the chilly and snowy conditions of Northern Europe it can be a gentle option. The coastal towns take on a beauty all of their own. You get a very authentic Spanish experience and, again, the emphasis on another religious festival – Christmas – adds some serious magic to your honeymoon.
2. The Timetable.
Laidback. I do love that word. Whether it’s applied to a person or a nation, it conjures up a very gentle approach to living. Perhaps it’s not the word you want to be associated with your daily working life where you are always waiting for suppliers or tradespeople to turn up. But when you are on holiday and more so on honeymoon, it is the only term appropriate.
The Spanish really do deliver on the laidback lifestyle. No surprise to hear that Spain has one of the highest rates of longevity in the world. It appears that no one’s blood pressure gets a work-out in this great nation.
Workers ease into their day. There’s a healthy time allocated to lunch where a beer or glass of wine is always on the menu. A siesta (invented in Spain, of course) can ease one from the pace of the morning into one’s afternoon activity.
If you are on honeymoon, is there anything lovelier than a long languorous lunch, overlooking the ocean or in a gorgeous historic city followed by a lazy snooze. It is a guaranteed recipe for romance, wouldn’t you say?
The value, of course, in taking this necessary siesta is to recharge your batteries. Not for you the early-bird dinner special at 7pm. You are in Spain now. There’s a lovely long introduction to your dinner. It should start with a delicious fino (cold white sherry). Coupled with some delicious tapas or snacks (more on this later) before you sit to a very late dinner. This is how to live by the Spanish clock.
The Spanish do love dining late. Many restaurants are only warming up around 10pm. If you can retrain yourself to live by this timetable, you will be swept up in the exuberance of the lifestyle, where large family groups bond affectionately over a multi-generational, multi-course feast each evening. When you first see one of these large gatherings you imagine it’s a special occasion only to discover later that this is a very frequent occurrence. Celebrating life, is truly woven into the fabric of everyday life in Spain.
Once dinner is over, you brace yourself for the club scene. In wonderful Ibiza, the clubs are only taking their second breath around 2am. Expect to roll out the doors at dawn, finding somewhere on a beach for a yummy breakfast (my recommendation – The Unexpected Breakfast at Ushuaia Ibiza Beach Club) before heading to your bed or your Ibiza luxury villa sun lounger to recharge before doing it all again!
3. The beaches.
Spain’s Costas (coasts) are one staggeringly beautiful beach after another. All across the Costa del Sol (the Sun Coast) are stretches of perfect beach that drape elegantly along the Mediterranean. If you go further afield to the island group known as the Balearics, you can enjoy fabulous beaches in Mallorca, Ibiza, and some of the smaller islands. The beaches vary from the big, lively tourist spots like Playas de Puerto Banus in Marbella, Las Salinas in Ibiza and Playa de Alcudia in Mallorca to small more discrete coves that you might need to hike or sail into.
For every bustling beach there is the sweet and intimate opposite. Es Calo des Moro in southern Mallorca might involve a bit of a hike down some rocks but the payoff in spectacular. No hotels or tourism mar the perfection of this pretty beach. Clear waters, sandy beaches and a perfect climate make a beachy Spanish honeymoon super easy.
In many ways, what makes a Spanish beach honeymoon more varied than a Caribbean escape, has probably a lot to do with the wealth of interesting activities that you can indulge in during your trip. It’s not just a beach and more beach. You can intersperse those lazy languid days on your own private villa terrace with fascinating outings to some of the most picturesque and famous towns and sites of Europe. With over 45 UNESCO sites, there’s a lot to see in Spain. From the hilltop town of Rondo that sits above Marbella to the Moorish extravaganza that is the Alhambra. Cities like Seville, Madrid and Barcelona can be bookends for your beach vacation. The Old Town of Ibiza and the rich capital of Mallorca’s Palma … there is history, shopping and sophistication waiting for eager explorers.
The calibre of food in Spain has gained international recognition. At the core of all great cuisine is the quality of ingredients. It certainly helps that the vast terrain of Spain, including the islands, offers every possible type of food ingredient one could wish for. Spain provides most of its food requirements from within its borders. The warmth of the south encourages vines and citrus groves. The northern plains are ideal for arable conditions and dairy farms proliferate too. Fishing, always a huge part of the Spanish way of life, contributes a wide range of seafood to menus across this great country.
Once you have the ingredients, then you simply add the cooking techniques and styles. So many of these are a legacy of the invading forces that left indelible cultural footprints across not just the architecture but the table of this vast country. The Moorish influences from Northern Africa brought spices and heat to Spanish cuisine.
The most famous foods and beverages Spain have brought to a wider world involve the rich aromatic flavours of paella, gazpacho and numerous salamis and cured meats. The incredible sherries from Jerez as well as great Rioja wines have refined over the years and are a graceful addition to any meal. Regardless of how many Spanish themed dinners you’ve enjoyed back home, to get a true sense of the flavours and textures, you really need to eat this food in Spain.
Of course, the most famous culinary export from Spain to the wider world has to be tapas. This dining concept has recreated itself time and time again in many countries. With the formula and presentation changing based on what’s available locally or seasonally.
Historically, tapas were small complimentary morsels of food presented on pot lids in bars. The term ‘tapa’ referring to the lid of a pot. Historically, these snacks would have been slices of cured pork, salamis, olives – generally something salty and tasty to whet the thirst of the customer who might buy a second or third drink. Hence the idea of a Tapas bar. Over time, the tapas have evolved into a variety of delicious mini-dishes that can often constitute an entire dinner.
Fabulous Patatas Bravas (hot delicious potato pieces), mini paellas (savoury rice with meat and seafood), or Albondigas (spicy meatballs in a rich tomato sauce) – feature on most tapas menus. You can also be sure of plates of local cheeses, fabulous meats and grilled Mediterranean vegetables. Wonderful crusty bread and good red wine and you have a feast for the gods.
There’s something rather honeymoon appropriate about a candlelit tapas meal. Generally, a traditional style finca has that dark and cosy interior. You and your beloved get to share these small dishes, enjoying the same food and revelling in the added pleasure of local wine. Spain honeymoons just wouldn’t feel authentic without a tapas experience!
6. Family Life.
This might seem a bit ahead of schedule to be discussing Spanish honeymoons and referencing family life but the modern world we inhabit brings many couples together who may already have young children either together or from earlier relationships. It might be viewed as slightly unorthodox to embark on a honeymoon with your children in tow but it can be an incredible bonding experience for this newly blended family.
My reason for promoting honeymooning in Spain is the warm welcome that children receive in this fabulous nation. The national consensus is that children are just gorgeous and adorable. There are places around the world where restaurant maitre d’s will blanche in terror when you arrive with anyone under the age of 12.
Not so in Spain.
The one thing that immediately strikes all visitors to Spain is how inclusive society is of all generations. From the tiny babe in arms to the ancient grandparent, they are all a part of the celebration of life. So, when you book that wonderful honeymoon (with or without family) you can be sure that you are entering a very tolerant and welcoming society. How great is that?
7. The Party Scene.
If you are a young or simply lively couple who love a good party, then Ibiza is that remarkable destination island that will definitely speak to you. The party scene is world-famous and the mega clubs attract the biggest DJ names in the world. You can fly into the glorious ‘White Isle’ of Ibiza and join a wild party scene by night but slip back quietly into your heavenly private villa to revive spirits before the next onslaught.
Spain honeymoons for the perennially young at heart have always included Ibiza. In fact, getting married on the island can be the perfect plan. Imagine all your friends joining you for the wedding celebration of a lifetime. Fabulous dinners, long lunches, lots of parties leading up to big ‘I do’. Then your friends disperse leaving you and your beloved to decompress and enjoy all of the charms of Ibiza or even Mallorca. And the party doesn’t have to stop there. A flight of about 30 minutes can drop you straight into Barcelona where you can embrace the whole Catalan experience.
These are just some of the wonderful reasons why Spain honeymoon ideas are a no-brainer. This vast country with wild mountains, gorgeous beaches and wide, open spaces have attracted millions of visitors to her shores. It certainly helps that the local people have a very welcoming attitude too.
There is a quiet elegance to Spanish life. The native people live in a very unshowy way. They prefer quality and style to loud and flashy living. The society is made up of all generations co-habiting in harmony.
A casual stroll through any village or town before dinner will see young couples walking hand in hand, little children moving between their parents and grandparents. Everyone has time to stop and chat. The pace of life is designed to create space for relationships to deepen and grow. This is the very place you want to start your married life. Without a doubt, if you are lucky enough to go to any corner of Spain for your honeymoon, you will return again and again – usually with your children – to show them where you began your wonderful journey together and share with them the magic that is Espana – proud, regal but oh so inviting!
About Mairead Moriarty
Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories.
It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name!
Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really.
Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be.
Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.