This week’s real honeymooners are my college friend Mike and his wife Jennifer. I backpacked around Europe with Mike* and a couple of other friends eight years ago, and I think it’s safe to say that this trip was much, much nicer. Read all about their amazing honeymoon in Greece and Turkey below:
When and where did you honeymoon?
We started off with Greece – first in Santorini, then Crete, and Athens. We ended the trip in Istanbul, Turkey.** We began our trip two days after our wedding, in late May .
How long was your trip?
Our trip was two weeks long.
How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?
We had heard that Santorini really had the honeymoon thing down pat so we were very excited about that – we were focused on starting the trip with some rest and relaxation. But we also wanted to mix in some adventure and culture, which is where Athens and Istanbul came in. Crete provided us with another island experience and we chose it over Mykonos because we heard that Mykonos was very similar to Santorini except had more of a party vibe – which we were not looking for on our honeymoon.
The best part about our honeymoon was…
Exploring Santorini on foot and the walking tours of Istanbul.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
We splurged for a private pool in Crete however the weather was too cold in early June for us to use it. The pool water in Santorini and Crete were both too cold to swim in, if unheated, so I would consider that when booking. In hindsight, I should have booked a room with a private jacuzzi instead of pool.
How much planning did you do in advance?
Very little. We honed in on the locations that we thought we wanted to hit, and then consulted with and used a travel agent.
What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?
The room with its own private pool.
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
Groom (Ireland); Bride (Thailand). So, Thailand it is.***
* Funny story from Mike’s and my 2006 Eurotrip: Our other friends had just left us to go back home, and Mike and I were alone on a train in the south of France headed to Spain. We were tired, dressed like typical backpackers, and were holding our noses because someone in our train car was eating the stinkiest cheese known to man. Another traveler smiled at us and asked in French if we were “on the vacation after the wedding.” I looked and Mike and shouted “NON!” I’m so relieved that both of our honeymoons turned out much better than that.
** Below are some extra recommendations from Mike:
- I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVED our hotel, Astra Suites in Santorini. It was in a perfect middle location and the service was the best I have ever received anywhere in the world. There are only 24 rooms so it is quaint and every employee knows who you are; it makes you feel special. If you are on your honeymoon they give you a free, private tour in their spa, so you and your spouse can use the steam room, jacuzzi, etc.
- In Crete we stayed at Blue Palace which is a Starwood resort. It was very nice; however, it’s a big resort nevertheless so you never really felt too special.
- Athens we stayed at Electra Palace. It was in a perfect location near the Acropolis and Plaka (the neighborhood for good shopping). Great guest experience and location – I would recommend it.
- In Istanbul we stayed at the Marti Istanbul Hotel. Excellent hotel and amenities. Very close to Taksim Square which was nice. There are multiple other points in town to stay at and visit which required us to take cabs, but I would stay here again.
- In Istanbul we had a wonderful dinner at the Turkish restaurant within Reina which is a multi-restaurant/club on the Bosphorus. Great for people-watching but very, very expensive. It’s fun to get dolled up and get “Euro” at least once, and I’m glad we did it at this place.
*** Smart move, Mike!