A Honeymoon in Iberia

We recently celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary. We of course could not travel, as we like everyone else, are staying indoors. We decided to watch The Way (one of the travel movies we had called out in our last blog). This took us back to the time we had decided to backpack to Spain & Portugal on our honeymoon. Penning down our thoughts from 2016 (incidentally our first travel blog ever). Time traveling into 2016 starts now.

The picture below is hardly what you would call that perfect honeymoon snap but this is what we did most in our honeymoon – exploring the beautiful Iberian peninsula.

At one of the bus stations in Seville en route to Lagos
The pre Google Maps days, but had a lot of fun trying to “read” a map

If you happen to stumble upon this blog, while planning your honeymoon (2020 EDIT : When it is safer to travel) , close this window now as this is anything but. I had set the rule straight before the wedding, we work by our core competencies. She looks at all wedding related matters, I plan the Euro trip. Context : We were living in India at the time and going on a Eurotrip was always a dream. Now we live in Ireland and the next dream is exploring the Wild Wild West (greedy bas****s if you ever knew one, I know)

One of the most exciting parts of the wedding is to plan for your honeymoon. We had already decided on going to Europe, the question was where in Europe! Paris? No way!! Switzerland? Naaa.. Greece..Hmm. The thing about Europe is that there is only so much you can see in 2 weeks time. We went ahead and chose Iberia (Spain & Portugal), probably because it was the warmest of all the regions at the time (it was still snowing in other regions of Europe). 

The two of the most important things you need to decide before you set off is where do you stay and how do you move. Skyscanner and Booking.com were my biggest saviors in this regard. Oh, I did think of staying in hostels or AirBnb, but maybe that would have been too much on a honeymoon (or so I was told).

2020 EDIT :  Hotels.com Trivago for accommodation and Google Flights & Kayak for flights are some others we would now use to compare. We have also realized that some AirBnBs are much more value than a hotel and can offer the same luxury, while you can also book a good private room from Hostelworld but then again in 2016 the newbies chose not to 🙂 

And the journey begins!!
We took the 10 hour flight from Delhi with our first stop at Barcelona. You can’t be in Barcelona and not watch a football match and this is what we first did. Straight from the airport, we took the airport line, got off at the Colblanc station to find an army of people chanting for one of the world’s most popular team.

Tip #1 : In case you are not going for a very popular match (games against the 2 Madrid sides, Valencia, Espanyol, Sevilla or any European game) you should still be able to go ahead by not purchasing the tickets too much in advance (Viagogo, StubHub etc charge a hefty commission). Tickets are sold right at the airport and in all official FC Barcelona stores.

Exploring Barcelona
One of the best things in Europe, is how tourist friendly people are. The next day we took a walking tour in the (in) famous old part of the city, on to the world’s most famous street La Rambla, to the port and finally end the day with one of the most breathtaking sites of the city – Font Magica. The next day was set for Sagrada Familia, a little bit of shopping and a short flight to Ibiza. 

Tip # 2 : Take a local sim with at least 2GB of data. Lyca works out to be the cheapest. Can be bought from any grocery shop as long as you have an ID proof.

Tip # 3 : Buy the Hola BCN or the T10 card to travel within Barcelona. Remember the T10 offers more value for money but is not valid on the airport line. Would definitely recommend T10 over Hola BCN as it can be used by multiple persons in the same trip. 

The passionate Barcelona fans create an atmosphere that you would be awed with. Football fan or not it’s definitely worth going to one of the largest stadiums in the world
Mimes make the La Rambla street all the more livelier

Ibiza – April Fools
There is more to Ibiza than parties. April is not the best time to be here (if you are here just for the parties, who isn’t though)  as no clubs apart from Pacha and a few others are open (that too on weekends). And the idiots that we were, we ended up going to Ibiza for the hype, only to find everything shut. But then we discovered this amazing island about 30 mins from Ibiza – Formentera.  We went to Playa des illetes which is a 10 min ride from the port and we  dropped dead on the spot at the first sight. We had never seen such blue waters in our lives. April is one of the best times of the year to come to Formentera as you will find less of those annoying British tourists (as the Spaniards say) and the weather is just perfect. Formentera is a haven for anyone who likes sea food but also a good glass of Sangria. Being vegans, we stuck to the sangria 😉

Tip #4 : Head over to the restaurant behind the lighthouse to have a sangria overlooking this view. It’s worth the effort to walk all the way up to the hill.

The crystal clear waters of Formentera

Hotels we stayed in : Catalonia Sagrada Familia (Barcelona)
Tropicana Ibiza (Ibiza)

Discovering Seville
Our next stop was Seville, we took one of those famous bullet trains from Barcelona. For people who have travelled a lot on Indian trains (an experience in itself but we will cover that in another blog), this was pretty much palace on wheels. 6 hrs is all what it takes to cover a 1000 km journey.

Seville is best explored walking, we recommend staying as close to the Triana neighborhood as possible. You can practically cover all the spots staying here either on foot or by bike. Seville still retains the Andalusian charm from the medieval ages, it had us fall in love with it, within hours of staying in the city.

We reserved the first day to go for Skydiving in the sleepy town of Bullollos. Take a bus from the Plaza de Armas, from there there is no choice but to take a taxi to the aerodrome. Skydive Spain has the highest drop in Europe and it’s worth paying the extra 30-40 euros you will save in other countries. Remember all those Windows XP wallpapers? Think they were all shot here. You could do a 4 hr siesta and not a soul would bother you. It does act as a great setup for skydiving.

You can also get an aerial view of this if you are up for jumping from a little airplane 😉

When you think of Spain and monuments, you think of the Alhambra. We couldn’t find tickets to the Alhambra (so recommend booking it in advance from here; it’s about 14e per person) , so we spent that day chilling in Seville instead. We went to Plaza de Espana (one of the biggest & most enchanting squares you would see) , Plaza de Toros (the bull ring) and the famous Alcazar (GOT fans – this is where Dorne is)

GOT fans rejoice! The Alhambra is where a lot of the scenes were shot. Even if you are not, the architecture would be sure to amaze you!

When the sun sets (and it sets lets), Seville is transformed, you will find tapas bars full with people enjoying Sangria and Flamenco shows. Head over to La Carboneria ( takes some time to find but worth the free flamenco show), you won’t regret it.  What a way to end our Seville journey! There is so much more to do in Seville, but Portugal was waiting for us.

Tip #5 : Although Alcazar is said to be just as beautiful, one should spend a night in Granada to see the Alhambra, it’s a 4 hour train/bus ride from Seville. Book tickets at least 2 months in advance unless you want to be too enterprising and try your luck there.

Tip #6 : Gastronomy in Seville is world renowned. Do have the Paella and Tapas for dinner and Churros with hot chocolate enjoying the sunset in one of the evenings you are there.

Hotel we stayed in : Monte Triana (Seville)

Beautiful Beautiful Algarve!!
If there is heaven on earth it is here, whoever came up with that quote, was probably referring to Algarve. To be honest, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight as we reached Lagos (a sleepy town in the Algarve coast) quite late and had to walk our way to the hotel. Since this was off season (end of April), things shut down pretty early. So here we were with all our bags in the bus station, waiting for someone to drop us to our hotel. We booked a place close to Ponte de Piadade arguably the most beautiful place in the world. Lagos, in Algrave has everything you can ask for. You can kayak in the Atlantic ocean, sky dive overlooking the coast, go on a hike, walk aimlessly around the town, enjoy the sunshine at the beaches and have great paella. Needless to say we did all that and more (except the skydiving which we did in Spain). 

Tip #7 – If you are looking at some peace and quiet, come to Lagos (Camilo beach is a lesser known beach and a must visit) , if not, stick to Albufeira (more resorts, better nightlife)

Ponta de Piedade – arguably the most beautiful place in the world

2020 EDIT : While it’s still true that lesser people go to Lagos v/s Albufeira, Lagos has been getting quite busy lately. Odeceixe is a relatively unknown entity that we would now recommend if you want to avoid the hustle and bustle.

Hotel we stayed in : Villas D. Dinis (Lagos) 

Final Stop : Lisboa 
Final stop and a place which has given many memories to last a life time. Lisbon. The first sight of the city when you are entering is enough to take your breath away. Lisbon has everything that a modern European capital should have and more. It has one of the most cosmopolitan crowds and has the best nightlife you will ever experience.

No that’s not The Golden Gate bridge, but a very worthy doppelganger. Photo by Cassia Tofano on Unsplash
Tram 28 takes you through the most scenic spots of Liśboa
Photo by Vita Marija Murenaite on Unsplash

Tip # 8 : Go on a Pubcrawl, especially in Barrio Alto and you will have a night you will never forget. We met many people whose name we did not remember the next day but are suspiciously in are phone’s photostream (it happens..)

Tip # 9 : Take a Viagem card for the number of days you are here. Public transport in Lisbon is as good as it is in Barcelona. Bonus it works on the tram too. Do take the famous Tram 28 to Chiado.

It’s not just the nightlife, Lisbon has a very rich, cultural heritage and some of the most amazing architecture you will see. Take a walking tour (a walking tour unlike a guided tour is based on tips and is normally led by students looking for some cash so you can get a very unbiased view of a city, we really love walking tours for this reason) and go to Rossio Square and Alfama for some great street art and music (Fado).

The walking tour of Lisbon is one of our favorites till now!
One of the many street murals in Lisbon that add to its color

You can spend a week in Lisbon and not know it. Head over to Cascais if you are not yet sick of beautiful beaches or to Sintra, which is a fortress town around 2 hrs train ride away from Lisbon. We did the latter and were not disappointed.

Tip #10 : When in Sintra do take some time to sample Ginjinha (Portuguese Liqueur made from berries) although if you love wine yards, do go to Porto which is a 4 hr drive from Lisbon.

You always dread the last day of an amazing trip, and more so if that last day is in a city like Lisbon. By now we were  used to the daily hiking, but tonight was to see a sight which will still stay in our minds for the rest of our lives. There are plenty of viewing points in Lisbon but Miradouro da Senhora de Monte is one of the best and a well hidden gem. We spent at least an hour once we reached and were in awe looking at the incredible night sight of the city. We were too late and too tired to walk to the metro station and as was fitting and destined spotted the tram 28 which would take us back to our hotel.

Ariel view of the city at night
Photo by Andreas Brücker on Unsplash

The next morning was spent on the breakfast table remembering the last 2 weeks and what a journey it had been. Home awaited us. Other European countries will have to wait. We left for the airport and said our goodbyes to what we both agree is the city that has fascinated us the most.

Hotel we stayed in : Jupiter Lisboa Hotel (Lisbon)

Spain and Portugal are not the first destinations that will come to your mind while planning a Euro trip, certainly not the first when you plan a honeymoon; but it’s certainly two of the most beautiful countries you would ever go to. We spent 2 weeks there but we could have spent 2 months and would still have places to explore. It’s still a while before we can travel again but when we do, we would definitely go back for one more refreshing Sangria.  

Author: thenomadicverses

We are everything that the world hates about couples.. We fight, we tease, we annoy each other, we embarrass each other even more, but we find our peace in our common love for travel. No we are not THAT couple who would do anything for a perfect couple shot, we just want to show the world through his blog & her camera and encourage others to travel responsibly. We can be reached over email - thenomadicverses@gmail.com, Instagram - @the_nomadic_verses or Facebook - @thenomadicverses