Tag Archives: Spain honeymoon

Our Honeymoon in Spain: Cordoba

Andrew and I took a two-part honeymoon: We traveled to Scotland right after our wedding in October of 2016 (you can read about our trip to Scotland here) and then saved up our vacation days to travel to Spain for 10 days in May of 2017, starting with three days in Barcelona, which you can read about here. Next up: two days in Cordoba!

Since we did so much, I’m going to write separate posts about each destination and I’ll link them all below. Here is our 10-day Spain itinerary:

Three days in Barcelona
Two days in Córdoba
Two days in Ronda
Two days in Granada
One day in Gavà

And now, on to our Córdoba travel guide! We took a short flight from Barcelona to Seville on Vueling, a very affordable regional Spanish air carrier, then rented a car at the Seville airport. Many people were surprised that we didn’t choose to stay in Seville, and I’d love to see the city someday, but I really wanted to spend more time in Córdoba, so we decided to skip Seville on this trip.

  • Tip: If you need an automatic car (like we do), make sure you book one in advance! The majority of cars in Europe are manual, so you’ll need to reserve the automatic to make sure you get one! I also recommend choosing a small compact car. While the highways in Spain were excellent with nice wide and well paved roads, the roads in cities can be pretty narrow and having a smaller car will help you navigate any tight squeezes with a bit more confidence.

Here’s our Cordoba travel guide.

Travel guide for two days in Cordoba. This was the second stop on our 10-day honeymoon to Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 1

Our Hotel

We stayed at the Eurostars Palace in Cordoba. I’d give this hotel 4 stars out of 5. The hotel is located right outside of the old city and at the edge of a large city park. It is very conveniently located to all the major sights and the popular Victoria Market is just a few steps away. The hotel is very modern in design—it’s covered in this interesting steel structure with holes in it, which kind of obstructs the views, but also kind of looks cool. There is a nice little pool on the roof, and we also liked the rooftop bar. I’d say the one downside is that the hotel is a very popular event venue—we saw both a conference and a wedding while we were there. But I’d definitely recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a good central location with modern amenities.

The Eurostars Palace hotel in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Exploring Cordoba

Cordoba has so much charm and character and we really enjoyed just exploring the streets. It’s a small enough city to feel manageable and not overwhelming, but large enough to keep you busy for a long weekend. The streets are lined with colorful buildings and the window boxes are often bursting with flowers. Each square is paved with mosaics made of polished stone pebbles, and there’s a lovely promenade on the river. Really a charming place to visit and my second favorite city on our trip (favorite goes to Ronda, which I’ll write about next).

Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Tea shop, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

La Mezquita

One of the reasons I wanted to travel to Andalusia was to see the Moorish architecture that is so unique to that region. La Mezquita is a perfect example of that. The site was originally a mosque, but was transformed into a cathedral after the Christians conquered the region in the 13th century. The combination of the two types of architecture is really stunning. You enter a hall filled with red-and-white striped arches, and can find tombs decorated with Catholic icons and statues lining the walls. At the center of the Mezquita, the architecture dramatically shifts to the Renaissance with a soaring domed ceiling decorated in white and gold relief. In other areas of the mosque-turned-cathedral, you can find gold-leaf Islamic designs and tile work. It’s truly a stunning combination of two very different design styles.

La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! La Mezquita, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Spanish-Asian Fusion and Oxtail Churros

By the time we got to Cordoba, Andrew and I were a little burned out on traditional Spanish tapas. I mean, I love Iberico ham and croquetas as much as the next person, but I can’t eat that every night. So we tried two modern Spanish restaurants during our stay in Cordoba and loved them both. The first, La Furgo, was a fusion restaurant that included Asian and French influences. We loved the dumplings, which were filled with traditional Japanese flavors but topped with Spanish ham and saffron threads. Our second night, we dined at Garum 2.1, a modern Spanish tapas restaurant. We had a ton of great dishes here, but our favorite was an oxtail churro with a bitter chocolate dipping sauce—yum! Both of these restaurants are near the river in a really nice area that’s less touristy than the streets right around La Mesquita and La Alcazar.

La Furgo restaurant, Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Day 2

Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos

The Alcazar is a medieval fortress that was one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. It’s well known for its stunning formal gardens, including sculpted topiaries and fountains. We visited the Alcazar on a Sunday, when they unfortunately close the doors at 3pm…and we got there at like 2pm, so we didn’t have much time to explore more than just the gardens. Whoops!

Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! Fish at Alcazar de Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Festival de los Patios

I specifically planned our visit to Cordoba to coincide with the Festival of the Patios. This festival is held in early May each year and residents around the city open their courtyards to the public and decorate them with gorgeous displays of flowers and plants. I’m a little bit of a voyeur when it comes to other people’s homes—I’m all about an open house—so being able to wander into people’s gardens around the city is like a perfect festival for me. You can grab a map to see which homes are participating, and there is also a pretty great website that alerts you to which patios are experiencing heavy traffic. Really helpful!

We decided to head to an area of the city away from the main tourist center to explore the Festival of the Patios, which was a great idea because we got to see more of the character of the city and the gardens we visited were a little less crowded.

The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain! The Festival of the Patios in Cordoba, Spain. Click for our travel guide to two days in Cordoba, and our full 10-day trip to Spain!

Next up: Two days in Ronda!

Our Honeymoon in Spain: Barcelona

Andrew and I took a two-part honeymoon: We traveled to Scotland right after our wedding in October of 2016 (you can read about our trip to Scotland here) and then saved up our vacation days to travel to Spain for 10 days in May of 2017, starting with three days in Barcelona.

I have been wanting to visit Spain for over a decade. It all started with a missed flight. In college, I studied abroad in London and my girlfriends and I would often take long-weekend trips around Europe. We had planned to visit a friend who was studying in Salamanca, Spain, and booked a flight on the low-cost air carrier Ryanair, departing from London’s Stansted airport, which I lovingly referred to as the seventh circle of hell. Well, let’s just say we did not budget enough time to fight through London’s rush-hour traffic to Stansted and we missed our flight. Since Ryanair only had one flight to our destination a day (this was almost a decade ago, so I have no idea what their flight schedules are like now), we had to scrap the trip since by the time we got to Spain we would have had less than 24 hours before we had to turn around and come right back. We consoled ourselves at the only Spanish restaurant we could find in London with paella and sangria.

Fast forward to 2017 and my dream of traveling to Spain finally became a reality. I spent a lot of time trying to decide which cities and regions we should visit in Spain. It is a huge country, and we really could not see everything we wanted to in 10 days. Conclusion: We will have to go back! Barcelona was at the top of my wish list because I’ve long been obsessed with Gaudí’s art and architecture, and I knew I wanted to visit the Andalusia region in the south of Spain for its unique Moorish influence. Here is our 10-day Spain itinerary:

Three days in Barcelona
Two days in Córdoba
Two days in Ronda
Two days in Granada
One day in Gavà

Since we did so much, I’m going to write separate posts about each destination and I’ll link them all above. First up, our three days in Barcelona!

Travel guide for three days in Barcelona. This was the first stop on our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 1

Our Hotel

We stayed at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l’Angel and I would give the hotel 3.5 out of 5 stars. Pros: A very central location within easy walking distance of both the Gothic Quarter and the Eixample neighborhoods, as well as a subway line. We also had a room with a large private balcony overlooking the back courtyard, which was the best feature of the hotel. We enjoyed sitting out on our patio in the evenings and sharing a glass of wine together before heading out for dinner. Cons: Though the location is very centralized, it is on a very busy shopping street with stores like Zara and H&M next door—not exactly a neighborhood with character. Also, I felt the service at the hotel was a little sub par for the price. As an example, when I asked for a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine, I was told that the hotel only had one, so I’d have to bring my bottle down to the bar to get the wine opened. I’m sorry, but it’s impossible that they only have one bottle opener… Overall, the hotel was a serviceable and comfortable base of operations for our stay in Barcelona.

The view from our balcony at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l'Angel in Barcelona. We stayed here for three days in Barcelona during our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The view from our balcony at the Hotel Catalonia Portal de l'Angel in Barcelona. We stayed here for three days in Barcelona during our 10-day honeymoon in Spain. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Dinner in the Gothic Quarter (+ My Gin Tonic Love Affair)

After a little rest to recover from our jet lag, we headed to the Gothic Quarter for dinner. It is true that most restaurants do not open until 7 or 8 o’clock at night. Andrew and I really didn’t have a problem adapting to this though. We just kind of moved all our meals back, and we also didn’t mind being the first people in a restaurant when it opened at 8pm. We had a very traditional tapas meal our first night at La Alcoba Azul, and it was one of my favorite restaurants that we stopped at in Barcelona. Highly recommended! We split jamón Ibérico (a must-have in Spain), manchego cheese and a few other tapas. I was also introduced to my new obsession: Spanish gin tonics.

You guys, gin and tonics in Spain are like nothing you have ever experienced. First of all, they are served in humongous glasses that look like a cross between a margarita glass and a red wine glass. Insane! Second, they are garnished with all kinds of fun extras, like pink peppercorns, thyme sprigs, star anise, orange peel, apple slices…it’s heaven! I had sooooo many gin tonics on this trip (lose the “and” when ordering in Spain).

  • Tip: Spain is a very cash-centric country! We stopped at a lot of cash-only restaurants and shops, so make sure you always have some on hand or you’ll miss out on great locations.

Tapas at La Alcoba Azul in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 2

La Sagrada Familia

Our first stop on day two was La Sagrada Família, the basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí that is still under construction to this day—they have been working on it over 150 years!

  • Tip: Buy your tickets online ahead of time! Entrance to La Sagrada Família is timed. If you buy your tickets online, you can show up at your appointed entry time and get right in. If you wait to buy at the basilica, you will have to stand in a ticket line and then wait around for your entrance time, which could be an hour or more of waiting time before you even get to enter. Also, make sure to book a separate ticket to visit one of the two towers! This entrance is not included with the general ticket. You need a second ticket (also with a timed entry) to go up into the towers. We got the Top Views ticket package to see everything, and visited the tower on the Passion facade.

Each side of the basilica has its own character. The Nativity facade is intricately carved with elaborate animals, flowers and figures representing the holy family. It is perhaps the most traditional of the facades, with soft, flowing lines. Once you step inside, you enter a forest of white columns that soar up to a starburst ceiling above. The stained glass windows paint the eastern side of the interior in warm sunrise hues of red and orange, while the western side is bathed in twilight colors of blue and violet. The Passion facade was perhaps my favorite because of the modern, almost surreal style of the figures. They had the feeling of chess pieces come to life—incredibly striking and eerie.

The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Light streaming through the stained glass at La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The interior of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Detail on the Passion facade of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The view from the Passion tower of La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Gaudi Houses: La Pedrera and Casa Batllo

After our visit to La Sagrada Família, we walked into the stylish Eixample neighborhood to visit La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, both located on the busy Passeig de Gràcia. The road is a nice stroll, akin to walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City, past designer shop windows and beautiful apartment facades. We visited the interior of Le Pedrera, but were feeling a bit tired after all our walking in the hot sun, so we opted to skip the interior of Casa Batlló. My favorite part of Le Pedrera was the rooftop, which is dotted with tiled sculptures that look like giant rooks, and an undulating layout that reminds you of shifting sands.

La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The rooftop of La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! The rooftop of La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Visiting La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! La Pedrera in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

The exterior of Casa Batllo was absolutely gorgeous. It is studded with a rainbow-colored mosaic that shimmers in the sun like dragon scales.

Casa Batllo in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Detail of the exterior of Casa Batllo in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Pintxos on Calle Blai

For the evening, we headed to the Poble Sec neighborhood to do a tapas bar crawl on Calle Blai. All of the restaurants on this road specialize in a type of tapa called pintxos or pinchos, which is a bite-sized tapa typically served on a slice of bread and speared with a toothpick. You help yourself from a bar lined with jewel-like pintxos, then the waitress counts up your toothpicks at the end of your meal to know how much to charge you. Our favorite was La Tasqueta de Blai, but we also liked Blai 9. It’s fun to stroll down the street, grab a caña (small beer) or vino blanco and a few pintxos at each bar.

Pintxos at La Tasqueta de Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Pintxos on Calle Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood of Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Day 3

Park Guell

For our last day in Barcelona, we took the subway up to Park Güell, another Gaudí must-see spot. This sprawling park was originally designed as a planned community, and highlights include some of Gaudi’s best mosaic work and whimsical slanted avenues.

  • Tip: Just like for Sagrada Familia, you should purchase your tickets in advance online for Park Güell. There are two sections of the park: the free-access area, which you can explore anytime at your leisure, and the Monumental Zone, which requires a timed entry ticket. All of Gaudí’s best architectural works are in the Monumental Zone, so you definitely want to make the effort to visit this section. I recommend arriving 30 minutes to an hour before your timed entry time to explore the free-access zone before entering the Monumental Zone.

Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations! Park Guell in Barcelona. We started our 10-day honeymoon in Spain with three days in Barcelona. Click for our full itinerary and recommendations!

Still to come: Two days in Cordoba, two days in Ronda, two days in Granada and one day in Gava.