Western Europe honeymoon in Jan/Feb

Old Sep 13th, 2021, 11:38 AM
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Hi!

I know it's not what you asked, but anyway... have you thought of Cabo Verde? With 10 days you can visit something like 3 islands. Sal has very good beaches, and beach things to do (wind-surf, diving, etc). It has some recent very good hotels, I Was there 20 years ago and stayed at Hotel Morabeza, That was ok, but I know by friends that there are much better now. It's a desert island, without water, so one must be carefull - cannot drink tap water. At Boavista you can visit the Volcano, and it's a completely different island, very green, with lots of agriculture. And then at Santiago Island you can visit Tarrafal, the terrible prison for portuguese political prisioners.

Of course that me, being portuguese, felt at home at Cabo Verde. Their oficial language is portuguese, and we have a common history and culture.

Last but not least, it's cheap.

Well, that's just an idea, perhaps to make you even more confused (sorry!)!

Helena
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Gardyloo
A few years ago we spent some days in southern Spain in February and while it certainly wasn't terribly warm, it was shirtsleeve weather for part of most days. We based in Gibraltar for a couple of days and in Tarifa for the rest. We'd been to Gibraltar before and found it as interesting as ever, even though the crossing to/from Spain was subject to some delays (only for cars; pedestrians can cross easily, and there are rental car offices on the La Linea side of the frontier if interested.)

From Tarifa we visited a couple of wonderful "white villages" in the Andalusia hills, and also visited the Baelo Claudia Roman ruins near the sand dunes and beach where the kiteboarders and windsurfers were enjoying themselves immensely. Every day was sunny, the roads and restaurants pretty empty, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely. We didn't go into Cadiz but could have easily; Seville is a couple of hours from Tarifa as well.
Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and experience - it definitely looks something worth considering for our honeyoon. Since you went in February which is the time we are planning to go, do you have an itinerary we can use as a guideline? Also, how would spending nights in Gibraltar and Taifa compare to the typical Seville, Cordoba and Garnada stopovers?
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamon
We visited Andalusia in southern Spain in December (I'd been there twice before in warmer months) and we absolutely loved it. The weather was mild with some sunny days (check historical weather at wunderground if you wish). I would not hesitate to return again in winter, although I have never visited in January or February. If you have 10 nights on the ground, then I agree that a maximum of 3 stops would be best. I suggest you focus on Andalusia, with stays in Seville, Granada and Cordoba. This is a classic itinerary and for good reason. In this area, the main airports are Seville and Malaga.
Could you share your itinerary please as a guideline for what we should be looking at? We are also considering extending our trip to a total of 12 days and squeezing in 3 days at the Canary islands for around 3 days. Does that sounds like a good idea?
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick
Most Europeans are outdoors 365 days a year.

If you're looking for beach weather the Canaries are fairly busy during the winter. It won't be my definition of hot but you'll have no trouble finding places with Northern Europeans swimming in the ocean. Problem is you'll lose at least a morning getting there and a second one on the return. A ten day trip makes those mornings precious.

The second thing is don't think north south. Granada IIRC is 700 metres above sea level. That means it'll be colder than say Valencia which is further north.

The only red flag I see in your requests is the want/need for adventure. What's that? Remember on the mainland many of the adventure activities are likely closed for the off season. You'll find surfing,scuba, sailing etc easily on the Canaries.

Final point your personal cold tolerance ends up playing a big role. I wouldn't call any of the places discussed cold or even that cool. If OTOH you're from Hawaii or other warmer parts of North America you might have a totally different cold tolerance.
We planning on extending our trip to a total of 12 days to fit in the Canaries - this is something we really want to do! I see the flight from Barcelona is about 3 hours so if Spain does work out, we are planning to start with Tenerife, go up to Andalucia and finish off at Barcelona. Does that sound like a good plan?

For adventure, it could be anything and not necessarily those with an adrenaline rush (although some of it would be nice ). This is the first time to Europe for both of us so it's difficult to contextualize what kind of adventure we are looking for (if that makes sense). I think we would survive lows of 8 degrees
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HelenaFatima
Hi!

I know it's not what you asked, but anyway... have you thought of Cabo Verde? With 10 days you can visit something like 3 islands. Sal has very good beaches, and beach things to do (wind-surf, diving, etc). It has some recent very good hotels, I Was there 20 years ago and stayed at Hotel Morabeza, That was ok, but I know by friends that there are much better now. It's a desert island, without water, so one must be carefull - cannot drink tap water. At Boavista you can visit the Volcano, and it's a completely different island, very green, with lots of agriculture. And then at Santiago Island you can visit Tarrafal, the terrible prison for portuguese political prisioners.

Of course that me, being portuguese, felt at home at Cabo Verde. Their oficial language is portuguese, and we have a common history and culture.

Last but not least, it's cheap.

Well, that's just an idea, perhaps to make you even more confused (sorry!)!

Helena
Cabo Verde seems interesting and something I never thought of - thanks, I'll take a look. Although this definitely makes me more confused xD
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler
As a northern European I tend to go as south as possible for this sort of holiday and as close to the coast as possible. The Canaries are the obvious visit as they are geographically part of Africa. I also go to Morocco as they offer a European-lite version of Africa and Islamic Africa (partially because Morocco has a number of religions and a good policy of positivity to other religions) Two obvious places to stay are Marrakesh (often warmer here than on the coast) or Essaoiura on the coast(more traditional) but there are plenty of others. I'd also look at the Azores but note that the weather changes a lot on an hourly basis in the Azores.

Southern Portugal and Southern Spain is also possible but I'm not convinced unheated water will be ok. Some people reckon that Sicily is also good and certainly prices fall heavily in winter and I've been frozen in Sicily in February.

Another option would be to go to a spa (fresh or salt water). There is a culture of spas (both out doors and indoors) on line from Germany to Hungary and some of them can be fantastic. When combined with skiing or at least cross country skiing or just snow that can make for a great holiday.
Morocco has been on our mind. However, we see that the COVID situation doesn't look very good there and the extended curfews might not make a our trip too enjoyable.

Portugal is something we are strongly considering. Do you have any suggestions on a Portugal vs Spain honeymoon?
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by keegan2022
Thanks for sharing your lovely photos and experience - it definitely looks something worth considering for our honeyoon. Since you went in February which is the time we are planning to go, do you have an itinerary we can use as a guideline? Also, how would spending nights in Gibraltar and Taifa compare to the typical Seville, Cordoba and Garnada stopovers?
The area we visited in February is very different from the Seville/Cordoba etc. area. In Jan/Feb I suspect the weather would be significantly cooler in those areas (but probably still nice.) Evenings will be chilly throughout the region, of course. You could certainly combine both areas in one trip - they're not very far apart, after all.

It's been 20 years or so since I was in Seville and Cordoba (never got to Granada) so no current info, or course. On that same trip (as Seville) we spent a couple of days in the Alentejo region of Portugal and loved, loved it. (It's in the warmest part of Portugal - too hot in summer but nice the rest of the year.) If I were going on a honeymoon (congrats by the way) I'd head in a minute to a hotel in that area where we stayed - quite a wonderful place, the Horta da Moura near the hill village of Monsaraz.

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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 03:54 PM
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Gardyloo, Horta da Moura looks so wonderful, the kind of place that really leaves a memory. Don’t know how much more traveling is in my future, but this is going on my wish list of places to stay.
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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by keegan2022
We planning on extending our trip to a total of 12 days to fit in the Canaries - this is something we really want to do! I see the flight from Barcelona is about 3 hours so if Spain does work out, we are planning to start with Tenerife, go up to Andalucia and finish off at Barcelona. Does that sound like a good plan?

For adventure, it could be anything and not necessarily those with an adrenaline rush (although some of it would be nice ). This is the first time to Europe for both of us so it's difficult to contextualize what kind of adventure we are looking for (if that makes sense). I think we would survive lows of 8 degrees
The big issue is 12 days is very rushed for that. Barcelona can also be cold . Even in May it can feel cold. I love Barcelona but accept mid winter it can be cold. At least it'll be warmer than Madrid -)


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Old Sep 13th, 2021, 07:13 PM
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12 days will leave you approx 9-9.5 free days on the ground after accounting for transatlantic flights, immigration/logistics, and jet lag. If you plan three bases the transit time cuts another 1.5+ days from your sightseeing/exploring/relaxing time. So you are talking about 7.5 to 8 free days for 3 places.

With less than 2 full weeks and being winter time I'd probably limit myself to two destinations
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Old Sep 14th, 2021, 12:01 AM
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This is a valid point - we also don't want to exhaust ourselves after the running around from the wedding. Is Canary Islands + Barcelona a good option then? We can leave Andalucia for some other time. Otherwise, we are also looking at Portugal which we might be able to fit better in 12 days.
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Old Sep 14th, 2021, 12:44 AM
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I don't think you're going to the islands but one specific island. There are quite a few Canary islands and some are fairly large.

Plan out what you want to do. For example in Barcelona

Sagrada Familia ?
The museums?
Some people like going to the main market but I find it touristy.
That time of year at most you're walking along the beach


Make your own list and then decide how long you want to spend in each. Two stops will be much easier
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Old Sep 14th, 2021, 12:44 AM
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Canary Islands, at least the popular ones eg Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura are busy in the winter season ie very touristy. There are some really built up areas, I think you need to research where to go if you are looking for local culture. There are some lesser known islands which have been on my list to visit.
Did you look into Madeira already?
The Andalusia itinerary looks like a great option for winter.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 02:22 AM
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For the Canary islands, we're leaning more toward Gran Canaria. You would not recommend this for an end of Jan honeymoon?

Barcelona is definitely in our itinerary so now the decision is whether we would like to split our time between Barcelona and, Gran Canaria or 2 cities in Andalucia (Seville and Granada?). Any thoughts?
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 03:34 AM
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It really depends on your interests.

Granada the Alhambra.


Seville the Alcatraz , the bullfighting ring , the square from the worlds fair (I think). Plus the city in general


Or do you want beach time?
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by keegan2022
Otherwise, we are also looking at Portugal which we might be able to fit better in 12 days.
Portugal is a small country, with lots to visit and do. The hottest part of the country is Alentejo region, but this year we had snow there in January. So, we never know. A few years ago I spent a week there (in a village called Minas de São Domingos, between Serpa and Mertola, that has a very nice boutique hotel) exactly at the end January, beg Feb, and it felt almost Spring, only had one day with a litle rain, and there were already lots of flowers in the fields.I live in Porto, and usually here we have rainy days and very cold weather until end of April. I lived in Lisboa for a year, it's only 300 kms away, but in my experience, there you can have one or two days of rain, but then the sun appears. Here in Porto, you can have one week, two weeks, always raining, sometimes I feel that I can't remember what the sun looks like!

I'm not sure if Portugal fits your wishes. When you mentioned Portugal, I though Cabo Verde because they used to be a portuguese colony (still in my lifetime).

If I were you, I would choose Andalucia, Spain. I love Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Algeciras, Gibraltar (well, that's not Spain, but it's there), Tarifa, Malaga... I made a promess to myself, I will return there (have been twice) in Winter. And you can take the boat to Ceuta (half an hour) or to Tanger (2 hours, I think).

Spain is more expensive than Portugal, but nothing comparing with some other european countries. Good food, good wine, happy and beautifull people. And someplaces, like allambra, can be real romantic!

Congratulations for your wedding!

Helena
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 04:55 AM
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beaches in Oman
sorry, link is not posting, but if you actually want beach time, why not go while you are in Oman. The beaches look amazing there and they have so many adventure activities with some unique and beautiful resorts. I will try to post links again later.
If you have narrowed the trip down to Spain, then focus on Seville, Granada, Cordoba, perhaps Marbella and Barcelona. That will fill your time nicely.
Otherwise, I would actually suggest you do a very different city (like Paris or Rome) in another country for four nights and pair it with Southern Spain. You might also look for festivals during that time.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Sep 15th, 2021 at 05:09 AM. Reason: Adding info
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Traveler_Nick
It really depends on your interests.

Granada the Alhambra.

Seville the Alcatraz , the bullfighting ring , the square from the worlds fair (I think). Plus the city in general

Or do you want beach time?
A mix of both would be great! Is the Andalucia region recommended for a beach holiday? This way we can skip the Canaries and focus on Andalucia + Barcelona.
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by HelenaFatima
Portugal is a small country, with lots to visit and do. The hottest part of the country is Alentejo region, but this year we had snow there in January. So, we never know. A few years ago I spent a week there (in a village called Minas de São Domingos, between Serpa and Mertola, that has a very nice boutique hotel) exactly at the end January, beg Feb, and it felt almost Spring, only had one day with a litle rain, and there were already lots of flowers in the fields.I live in Porto, and usually here we have rainy days and very cold weather until end of April. I lived in Lisboa for a year, it's only 300 kms away, but in my experience, there you can have one or two days of rain, but then the sun appears. Here in Porto, you can have one week, two weeks, always raining, sometimes I feel that I can't remember what the sun looks like!

I'm not sure if Portugal fits your wishes. When you mentioned Portugal, I though Cabo Verde because they used to be a portuguese colony (still in my lifetime).

If I were you, I would choose Andalucia, Spain. I love Cordoba, Granada, Sevilla, Algeciras, Gibraltar (well, that's not Spain, but it's there), Tarifa, Malaga... I made a promess to myself, I will return there (have been twice) in Winter. And you can take the boat to Ceuta (half an hour) or to Tanger (2 hours, I think).

Spain is more expensive than Portugal, but nothing comparing with some other european countries. Good food, good wine, happy and beautifull people. And someplaces, like allambra, can be real romantic!

Congratulations for your wedding!

Helena
Thanks HelenaFatima for sharing your experience. I was considering Portugal because we could cover a lot of it in the short time we have, compared to Spain which is HUGE. I am debating between Andalucia and the Canaries so hopefully I'll be able to decide soon
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Old Sep 15th, 2021, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by keegan2022
A mix of both would be great! Is the Andalucia region recommended for a beach holiday? This way we can skip the Canaries and focus on Andalucia + Barcelona.
If you mean to actually go in the water, no. It will be way too cold. Feb is really not beach holiday time in most of Europe. It is usually too cold even for sunbathing too. Let go of this idea.

Last edited by Sassafrass; Sep 15th, 2021 at 05:30 AM.
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