|Destination||Reasons to Go|
|Barcelona||Stunning architecture, Art museums, Gorgeous gardens, Cuisine|
|Basque Country||Cuisine, Art museums|
|Seville, Granada & Andalusia||Moorish architecture & culture, Secluded beaches|
|Mallorca||Beautiful beaches, Mountainside seclusion|
Most international flights arrive into Madrid, but many also serve Barcelona. Either city makes a good base to begin your trip, although Madrid, centrally located, is closest to the destinations on this list. From Barcelona, drive time to Bilbao at the heart of Basque Country is 5.5 hours, to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia 10.5 hours and to Granada in Andalusia 8.5 hours. Mallorca is 6.5 hours from Barcelona by ferry.
Because of the big distances, flying can save time: Barcelona, Bilbao (in Basque Country), Santiago de Compostela (in Galicia), Malaga (in Andalusia) and Palma de Mallorca (in Mallorca) all have domestic connecting flights.
With ten days or so in Spain, consider the following to help better plan your Spanish honeymoon:
- Highlights of Barcelona - 5 Days
- The 6 Best Boutique Hotels in Barcelona
- Food & Culture in the Basque Country - 10 Days
- Ultimate Tour of Galicia: Santiago de Compostela, Lugo & Vigo - 6 Days
- Highlights of Spain's Capital & Andalusia: Madrid, Seville & Granada - 10 Days
- Highlights of Barcelona & Mallorca - Cities, Beaches & Mountains - 8 Days
Arresting Architecture, Gorgeous Gardens and Great Meals in Barcelona
One of Europe's classiest and most enthralling seaside cities, Barcelona is a domain of dramatic architecture, mighty culture, thrumming nightlife and delicious cuisine. With sandy beaches close to the city, it ticks every box for the honeymooning couple except, perhaps, peace and quiet. So vast and dynamic is Barcelona that it can be best to begin with a bike tour that gives you and your loved one a great overview of the city and its surroundings, as featured at the beginning of this 8-day itinerary.
You with both then want to dreamily gaze at the beautiful buildings making up Barcelona's cityscape. The most unique contributions to the skyline come from the striking works by impressive works by the legendary Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. Start with the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Park Güell, a 42-acre hilltop park full of Gaudí's boundary-pushing modernist buildings with magical views out over the city for you and your partner to share. Then gasp at the Gothic-Catalan modernist mix of Sagrada Família, the landmark Roman Catholic basilica: construction began on the church in 1882, it was only consecrated in 2010 and is still technically under construction, such is the intricacy of its multi-turreted facade (the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death, 2026, is earmarked as the completion date).
Have fun together choosing produce at one of the major showcases of Spain's superlative array of foodstuffs, Mercado de la Boqueria, and take an obligatory stroll hand-in-hand down one of the most famous thoroughfares in Europe, the bustling La Rambla. Off the northern end, near the Placa de Catalunya square, is Barcelona's ritziest shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia, where you could treat your partner to an elegant gift, if budget allows! Be sure to linger at the Museu de Picasso−the famous artist spent many of his formative years, between the ages of 15 and 23, in the city−the world's finest collection of early Picassos. And for an oasis of calm for the two of you within this buzzing 24-hour metropolis, gravitate to the gardens of Rosaleda de Cervantes, a rose garden in the Les Corts neighborhood, or neoclassical Parc Laberint d'Horta, featuring a hedge maze and water gardens.
Detailing the endless food, drink and nightlife possibilities would be the subject of a book or even books in a city this rich with possibilities, but one of the most romantic experiences is climbing to the Observateri Fabra, one of the world's oldest still-functioning observatories, for delightful views of Barcelona and, if you book in advance, indulging in the observatory's 'Dinner with the Stars' available during summer months. Try Ohla Chillout Terrace at Ohla Barcelona for a bar with a romantic view.
And finally, inject some sparkle into your Barcelona honeymoon with an excursion out into the heartland of renowned effervescent wine Cava at Sant Sadurni d'Anoia. Plenty of wineries here offer tours and tastings. Enticing sandy beaches near Barcelona include those at Barceloneta (lively!) and Bogatell (mellower).
Tantalising Food and Art in the Basque Country
Basque Country might be diminutive in size, but it is of absolutely colossal importance for its cuisine and its art. Base yourself in either San Sebastián or Bilbao, a 1.25-hour drive west along the north coast, but ensure you visit both.
With more Michelin stars per square metre than any other city in the world, San Sebastián is a major destination for its fantastic restaurants, although getting a reservation at one in peak season can be tough - book ahead. A great way to get acquainted with the local cuisine is to spend time together in a Pintxo Bar−pintxos are small snacks designed to be consumed with drinks, not dissimilar to tapas, and their spiritual home is in Basque Country−the lovely Bergara Bar is an excellent venue to partake. In San Sebastián you will be spending most of your stay either in Parte Vieja, the old town with its charming narrow streets and pretty harbor, or on the sandy horseshoe of Playa de la Concha. The romance will flow in either. Swim, kayak or take a boat trip out to Isla de Santa Clara in the bay for private time together.
Bilbao is firmly on the list of Europe's greatest places to view art. You and your spouse can first gaze in awe at the Guggenheim, its glimmering titanium exterior of sensually curving lines already looking like a sculpture before you have even set foot inside. The museum's 24,000 square-meter space houses a treasure trove of works from famous artists like Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Eduardo Chillida. Bilbao also boasts the Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao, with a spectacular array of work from Old Masters like El Greco, Murillo and Van Dyck through to Gauguin and Bacon.
Strolling the cobbled streets of the historic center of Bilbao, many of which date back to the 1400s, you and your partner can drink in iconic buildings such as the 14th-century Bilbao Cathedral, the 16th-century Church of Saint Anthony and the Mercado de la Ribera (Seaside Market), largest covered market in all Europe. You could factor a visit to the market into a cookery course such as that detailed in this 6-day tour of Basque Country. Preparing local delicacies together will be as revealing about Basque cuisine as it will be romantic.
Lonely Shores and Exquisite Seafood in Galicia
Out in the far northwest of Spain, Galicia is a destination apart, a fact which has helped it foster its own distinct identity and a culture with affinities to other ancient Celtic regions such as Wales, Cornwall in England and Brittany in France. If you like solitude on your honeymoon, this could be the place for you.
The best-known destination here is Santiago de Compostela, conventional end point of the Camino de Santiago, the historic pilgrimage route. You should wander to the mesmeric Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, construction of this which began in the 11th century over the site of what is purportedly the burial place of the apostle Saint James the Great. A religious pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, it marks the end of the Camino de Santiago. It is a moving sight watching the pilgrims who have walked many hundreds of miles to arrive here, and emotions are on show for all to see as complete strangers, bound by their shared journey, embrace each other.
But Galicia's rugged beauty, particularly that of its coast, is best viewed elsewhere. Many pilgrims continue their journey to end it at lonely Cabo Finisterra, a rocky peninsula crowned by a lighthouse. On the peninsula, you will also see the ruins of monastery Ermida de San Guillerme, where childless couples once came for help with conceiving. The sea views from here are exceptional. You could also check out the natural rock arches and caves that make up Praia das Catedrais (Beach of the Cathedrals) at Foro, stroll unpeopled curves of sand like Praia de Doniños near O Outeiro or go properly remote visiting the Cies Islands near Pontevedra. If you are looking for an idyllic fishing village to feast on some seafood with your loved one, then try time-lost places like Baiona, near the border with Portugal, Combarro near Pontevedra or Redes near Pontedueme.
Moorish Magic in Sultry Seville, Granada and Andalusia
No other destination in Spain seduces you like Andalusia: a land in Spain's far south of vibrant flamenco, palatial Moorish buildings, sun-drenched plazas, olive and orange groves.
Flamenco−perhaps Europe's most sensual dance−originated in Spain in this region: learn about the intimacy and intensity of the tradition at a venue like Seville's Centro Cultural Flamenco "Casa de la Memoria". Seville is perhaps the most attractive amongst Andalusia's lovely destinations. Wander with your partner through the pretty Plaza de España and Parque de María Luisa (you can go ona boat ride too) or share tapas together in the former Jewish quarter of Santa Cruz. For unforgettable views of the city, visit the Metropol Parasol, a vast sunshade with a honeycombed canopy added to the city skyline in 2011, or dine in the riverside restaurant Abades Triana, from where the city's waterfront and bridges are illuminated spectacularly by night. And how about heightening the romance by bathing together in ancient Arabesque baths at AIRE Sevilla?
Granada is another wonderfully magical honeymoon destination in the region. It is fabled for its Moorish masterpiece the Alhambra Palace, described by Moorish poets as 'a pearl set in emeralds' in reference to the palace's color against the surrounding woodlands, it is one of the most beautiful buildings in Spain. But lovers might want to linger in the nearby and relatively uncrowded landscaped gardens of Carmen de los Mártires, where gorgeous leafy grounds offer up great city views as well as plenty of places to canoodle. In early evening, newlyweds should head to the traditional district of Sacromonte, famous for its whitewashed cave houses, dwellings quite literally carved out of the hillside. The district is also known for its animated nightlife, so to dance the night away with your partner, this is the spot.
Beyond the cities is Andalusia's peaceful, sun-drenched countryside. Many fincas (rural farms) such as the charming Casa Olea offer rustic chic stays out in the olive-clad foothills of the Sierras Subbéticas. And here, miraculously, Spain's south coast still has a handful of rarely-visited beaches awaiting to be discovered by you and your loved one, such as those in Parque Natural Cabo de Gata-Níjar.
Peace and Quiet on the Mountains and Beaches of Mallorca
Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, gets our vote as the most romantic of Spain's main islands. Capital Palma de Mallorca should rightly waylay you. Some of the city's buildings date back to the 13th century. An exploration of the historic center takes you to the likes of Cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma, an expansive Roman Catholic church right by the sea, built by the Catalan Crown of Aragón in the 13th century over the site of a former Mosque that had been erected during Moorish rule. Famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí added a distinctly Art Nouveau interior during the early 1900s.
But to catch some of the island's unspoilt rural beauty, travel to the northwest coast. An obligatory stop for budding romantics is Valldemossa, nestling within the Tramuntana Mountains. Famous now for the nearby pad of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones (the celebrity couple fell in love here), it was once where composer Frédéric Chopin stayed with writer George Sands during their affair. The 13th-century monastery where Chopin once resided now hosts a Chopin Festival.
Just generally roaming the rugged Tramuntana Mountains, thrusting out of the glittering ocean into beguiling little towns like Deia with its artists' community or Mallorca's highest village Galilea where you can tuck into tapas with stupendous island views, is a peaceful, romantic experience.