For all of my honeymoon planners, here is an amazing guest post from Jillian Bracey about some of the most affordable options for your European Honeymoon. I love her tips – they’re definitely off-the-wall and new to me! (PS – check out our outfit ideas for your European honeymoon before you pack!)
Imagine this: it’s your honeymoon, and you and your new husband are laying together in your posh, European hotel room – as much as you want to fully embrace the moment and relax, there is the nagging thought in the back of your mind of “we cannot afford this.” After stressing out over wedding expenses, the last think you will want to do is spend your honeymoon worrying about the costs you’re racking up. Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice your dream European getaway, as many destinations offer the finest the continent has to offer without the prices to match.
Few Americans know much about Bulgaria, which truly makes this country Europe’s true hidden gem! Unsoiled by the crashing waves of heavy tourism, Bulgaria offers a culture and natural majesty that will invigorate the imagination. Honeymooners who crave relaxation will find much delight along the warm Black Sea Coast and its many resorts; those who hanker for adventure can hike deep into the Rila & Pirin mountain ranges to witness lush greenery, dramatic peaks, lively waterfalls and incomparable views of ecological wonder. Nestled within nature are lively and refined metropolitans, like the city of Sofia, Europe’s second oldest capital. Newlyweds can behold remnants of the greatest empires as they stand side-by-side, from Roman ruins to Ottoman design. Strolling through the city, visitors will witness pristine parks, friendly and youthful locals, chic boutiques and divine architecture hailing from across the centuries. Plus, let’ not overlook the fact that the city is perched right alongside beautiful Mount Vitosha, providing world class skiing opportunities. Bulgaria’s mystery and the newness of its entry into the European Union have kept tourism prices low, though we imagine that, soon, more and more travelers are going to be drawn to Europe’s latest rising-star.
Portugal is the perfect crossroads between old-world allure, breathtaking scenery and modern flair, and it is also one of the cheapest Western European countries to visit. With a very reasonable cost-of-living, Portugal’s eateries and lodging is comparably cheaper to many of its neighbors. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that the inexpensiveness is a direct reflection of the quality; honeymooners will find luxury accommodations for affordable rates in antiquated masterpieces like the Pousada de Evora, located within a regal Fifteenth Century convent! Providing a pleasant climate throughout all seasons, Portugal is sprinkled with gorgeous beaches that provide white sands, lapping blue waters and scrumptious seafood against the backdrop of historically rich villages. These coastal communities range from the polished resorts and upscale nightlife of Estoril, to the untamed seaside and mountainous beauty of the archipelago Madeira. The country is equally beautiful inland, a highlight being Peneda-Gerês National Park, a rugged treasure of vibrant plants and endangered animals. Of course, no Portuguese honeymoon would be complete without a visit to the capital, Lisbon. Among the windy cobblestone streets, spectacular cathedrals, elegant gardens and lofty castles beats the heart of a contemporary, forward-thinking population. Honeymooners’ spirits will be moved by the unique modern art, their feet by the sizzling jazz cafes and hot night clubs, and their taste buds by bites of fresh ingredients that hail the nearby countryside and Atlantic Ocean.
The distinct, mythical heritage of Ireland has captivated the world’s curiosity for centuries, and it continues to palpably thrive in a countryside that awakens the senses with vibrant shades of plush greens and blues. Honeymooners can discover the rich legacy with visits to the prehistoric site of Brú na Bóinne, noble stone castles, Viking historical landmarks from which Celtic Christianity sprung. Visitors will also want to travel about Dublin, the vivacious focal point of the island’s thriving culture. There are plenty of museums, art galleries, boutiques, performance and lively neighborhoods to explore; of course, honeymooners will want to toast their fresh nuptials with a pint of famously delicious Irish beer that leaves the rest of the globe envious. Considered the West’s aerial entrance into Europe, flights to Dublin are remarkably cheap. Furthermore, the country is striving to continue building up their tourism and offer many affordable means of transportation and lodging.
For the cheapest luxury accommodations in Europe, you don’t have to look farther than Poland. Honeymooners can dine in deluxe restaurants, stay in fancy hotels and tour the country from the high sand dunes of the Baltic Sea Coast to the lovely Tatra Mountains, and barely dip into their savings to do so. Warsaw and other cities have grown to become bustling with creativity that translates to unique festivals, historically relevant museums, fun performances and bountiful events. Another city deserving of mention is Krakow, a center of Polish gothic, renaissance art and construction, as well as exciting nightlife. The Polish countryside is pure and abundantly green – honeymooners will enjoy hiking trails that loop about dense forests and canoeing through picturesque lakes that flow from one to the next. And let us not forget the grand castles that pepper the countryside!
Where do you plan to go for your honeymoon?