My favourite honeymoon destination – the dreamy and the realistic

My favourite honeymoon destination –  the dreamy and the realistic

I found this in some leisurely after-work travel surfing session and it strangely spoke to me…

Well! We are getting married in a few days time and while our honeymoon is all bottled up (just!), here is my bit on how we found our favourite honeymoon destination. So I will join the merry round of marrying and honeymooning people and thank the Reiseeule for her inspiring post and invitation.

Dream honeymoon destination

So, if money were no object:

Japan

Always top of my list. Such a  culturally refined and safe destination with great food. A shame about the long flight – we seriously considered it, but as my future husband doesn’t do Aeroflot, flights would have cost upwards of 800EURO. I would head straight to Kyoto and the pilgrimage site of Koya-san, followed by a few days of shopping and eating in Tokyo. And I would definitely seek out some new places to visit!

Kyoto Gion District blossoms
Forever in love with Japan: old film shot of Kyoto ume blossoms from my first trip in 2004

Thailand/Malaysia

I last visited in 2013 and I love the country, to me, perfect combination of climate, culture, food, beach and shopping. Also, good hotels for under 50 EURO everywhere. I always stay at the Atlanta if I can help it and although I have stayed in fancier places like the Sukhothai, I just love the vibe ( and the super vegetarian food) of the Atlanta. I’d probably visit the Northeast again then head to an uncrowded beach in Southern Thailand, meaning, then head to Penang and stay at Cheong Fatt Tze and put on the kilos I tried to lose before the wedding. Or the E&O although I admit I only took tea here, because Cheong Fatt Tze was a heck of a lot cheaper when I stayed in 2007.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang: one of the most beautiful places to stay and totally suitable for a honeymoon

Silk Road

I blame Arte documentaries, but I would love to travel along sections of it. So far, I only managed the “easy bits”: Istanbul, Venice, Georgia, Israel and Lebanon. Further (and pricier) sections were vetoed by significant other as they would involve too much “work” meaning grappling with languages other than English, bumpy public transport, a rather small backpack, and quite likely visa. 

 

South Africa

I associate South(ern) Africa with some of the happiest holidays of my life, but I travelled with two mates, slept in camping lodges or private rooms and always had a boot full of booze. I find it hard to conjure up romantic thoughts with this one. We had four weeks and toured the Kruger Park, Swaziland, the coast north of Durban, then crossed the Drakensberge and  Great Karoo and continued on the Garden Route into Cape Town, and this is what I recommend you do – a long driving holiday! South Africa makes for a great road trip if you can stomach the left hand driving

Just your average suburban drive, Cape Town
Quaint Franschoek

China

It is not picture book honeymoon, but I find China fascinating. From imperial Chinese treasures to the Silk Road 2.0 and the immense productivity of China, I love to experience it. As a novice acupuncturist, China and its traditional medicine hold another attraction – but since most courses in English are in big cities like Beijing and Chengdu, they are rarely a romantic destination, and neither is the scent of a moxa roll what you want in your honeymoon suite.

Mauritius

Of the “romantic” places, this would be on top of my list. It sounds nice but high flight costs put me off, and it seems miles from any dry land. For someone who actually sails on the sea (always with dry land in sight though, haha) this might seem a strange admission, but being on a tiny island in the middle of an ocean is something I feel a little uneasy with.

What about Hawaii?

I visited the Big Island of Hawaii in 2016 and stayed in a mega resort. When we eventually toured the island, I was much mor attracted by the shabby 1960’s aesthetic of the shoreline hotels in Hilo rather than the fancy destinations of the Kona and Waikoloa Coast. Again, small island fears – see above.

Retro vibes of Hilo

Not wanting to come across like a spoiled brat here, I liked Hawaii, but I am not an eager traveller to the US any more. I studied in Texas in the 1990s, and travelled a few times to the US since, always loved it, but in recent years I stopped. The Big Island is wonderful, but food and drink can be expensive, even when shopping in supermarkets, and you’re looking at a flight time of about 20+hours from Europe.  

Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia

are our for the same reason. As an Economy flyer, anything of 12 hours plus is somewhat forbidding and only tolerable with a generous stopover.

Financial /practical considerations

We decided to get married last summer and planned the wedding fast – because once we had decided, we saw no need to engage in year-long planning.  March was a mutually suitable time to all involved, plus lots of good hotel options and availability of wedding suppliers, and the idea of a winter wedding when it’s really spring outside appealed to me.

It also meant that although we have a financial battle chest, we did not want to spend tons of money on a single festivity. We want to serve  high quality food and drink, have a free bar, offer entertainment to our guests and pay for our families accommodation.  I also wanted nice rings, so unless you are rich or have been saving for a long time, you got to set priorities where to allocate your funds. For us, this was definitely a nice reception, and good rings. The wedding venue is an ancient chapel which can be hired for little money, and we decided to use local businesses, so in semi-rural Brandenburg, got excellent value for money and also saved a ton fo money by not using an “all inclusive” wedding venue but having our reception in a local restaurant we know well.

So, in the end, we decided not to book a long haul flight to a potentially pricey destination but take something low key in Europe.

Also, if you decide to change your name when you marry, everything, absolutely EVERYTHING has to be updated with your new name, passport, credit cards, air ticket… everything. What if there is a hiccup and you paid for expensive tickets? Nah. Planning a wedding is busy enough, would you really want a logistical disaster to follow in its wake?

Reality

We had somewhat different ideas about honeymoon. While mine were fairly clear, except that they changed from time to time, subject to a new article I read, my future husband was not sure, but he wanted somewhere warm, somewhere very safe, culture, but not too much of it and definitely not backpacking, and by no means roasting on a  beach for days. So we each made a list then picked something that we were both happy with, so we decided on…

Andalucia!

It has it all, doesn’t it? Not exactly an exotic destination, I have been to Andalucia twice in the past few years. I did not enjoy Spain very much until I travelled to Andalucia in 2012 – the seemingly perpetual sun, friendly people, blue seas… I saw a lot of blue seas because I learned to sail in Andalucia, and it clicked.

We started the honeymoon planning by buying two super cheap flights to Malaga. We really pushed the boat out and paid for priority. Can you guess what airline will be our honeymoon carrier?

One of our cats comes from near Malaga, so I will try to visit the shelter we adopted her from, and possibly visit another cat shelter we support. Thanks to our honeymoon carriers no-animal policy, we will be unable to return with another cat, which is probably a good thing, because while I would love to have ten cats running round my house, I don’t want to upset the good balance between our two girls.

We’ll visit the beauty sports of Cordoba,  Seville and Cadiz. Following a friends advice, we’ll head to Jaen province firs,t where we have booked ourselves in this honeymoon-worthy renaissance palace. And then… as we will have a rental car, we will just go where we feel like. This may not be a fancy honey moon, but it is exactly how we like it… drive around on a route that we plan on a whim, stop where we like, and still have a bunch of cultural sites within a couple of hours reach.

Andalucia: This will be my third trip and I love to return

Morocco

When booking flights to Malaga, we also have an option to visit Morocco easily by taking a passenger ferry from Tarifa to Tanger City (or Algeciras to Ceuta or Tanger-Med). Train travel in Morocco has really smartened up in recent years and from Tanger, you can travel in comfort to Fez or Meknes in about four hours. Or get a shared taxi to Tetouan or Chefchaouen.

Whatever you do, visit the wildly bohemian  Continental Hotel in Tangier!  If we head to Tangier, I will  book ourselves in for a Moorish treat.  I stayed there before, in 2012, and although rooms are somewhat more simple -and no honeymoon suite as far as I can see – this definitely makes it into the “great classic” album.

Continental Hotel, Tangier: If we go across the Strait of Gibraltar, we will stay there

Disclosure: Our honeymoons entirely self funded. I receive no monetary or non-monetary rewards for linking aside from some affiliate links. For the simple process of linking to other businesses, I proclaim this unpaid advertising. I will only review and recommend places that I have stayed in myself. You can trust me for the whole, unbiased truth.  More details on my affiliate link policy are here

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