Real Honeymoon: Italy

I’m always excited to share Real Honeymoon posts about Italy because it is such a popular destination and every couple’s itinerary is different. This week we have Laura and Ryan’s Italian honeymoon from earlier this summer, and it sure is a good one. Rather than spending too much time in the major cities, they decided to mostly relax in wine country and on the beach. A pretty good strategy for a honeymoon if you ask me! Read all about their amazing honeymoon in Italy below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We spent our honeymoon in Italy in June [2015].  We flew into Rome, spent a few nights at a resort in Porto Ercole, then traveled to Tuscany and ended with a few nights in Praiano and Capri.

Italy honeymoon

Italy honeymoon


How long was your trip?

Two weeks (2 days total in Rome, 2 nights in Porto Ercole, 3 nights in Tuscany, 3 nights in Praiano, and 2 nights in Capri).

Italy honeymoon

Italy honeymoon


How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We had both been to Rome before but hadn’t traveled elsewhere in Italy.  We both love Italian food (and wine!) and thought spending some time in wine country and on the beach would be the perfect relaxing mix for us.

Italy honeymoon


The best part about our honeymoon was…

Il Pelicano, the resort we stayed at in Porto Ercole.  It has amazing old world charm and the service, food, views, everything is excellent.  It is just such a special place!  I recommend it to everyone!

Italy honeymoon

We also did a boat day in Capri that I really loved.  We rented a small wooden boat with our guide Tonino who took us around the island.  We drank his family’s wine and ate small snacks from his wife’s restaurant while he showed us the island’s grottos and beaches.  It was so much fun and great to see the views from someone who had lived on Capri his whole life and was so passionate about it!

Italy honeymoon


If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Our time in Tuscany — we didn’t plan our time there as much as elsewhere and it was more difficult to fit in everything we wanted to do.  I would love to go back and do more wine tasting, pizza making and general touring!  I also wish we could’ve planned time for Cinque Terra.  It looks so beautiful but we just didn’t have the chance to visit.

Italy honeymoon Continue reading

Advertisements

Real Honeymoon: Italy

Nearly one year after their beautiful Los Angeles wedding, my friends Grace and Victor recently went on an incredible honeymoon in Italy. I absolutely love everything about their trip! Hope you like Italian food because they have tons of great restaurant recommendations below.

When and where did you honeymoon?

Italy in April/May 2015. We started in Venice and worked our way down to Southern Italy. From Venice, we took a train to Bologna and from there, we rented a car! Victor drove us to Portofino, Florence, Tuscany (Montalcino), the Amalfi Coast (Ravello, Positano, and Capri), and Rome. He did great, especially driving through the windy roads in Portofino and Ravello.

Italy Honeymoon

How long was your trip?

Three weeks.

IMG_1818

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Italy is known as one of the most romantic places in the world and we had never been! Plus, Italy offers picturesque villages, rich history and art, and amazing food and wine. Victor and I picked cities to satisfy both of our needs. I enjoy exploring cities while Victor appreciates a slow paced way of life to relax. Florence and Rome allowed me to marvel at inspiring art and architecture, while Tuscany allowed Victor to relax on the countryside after visiting bustling cities.

Italy Honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Portofino and Hotel Splendido are almost synonymous. Portofino is a pretty fishing village with pastel shaded villas on the coast of Liguria. The hotel is perched on a hillside overlooking the harbor below. From the moment we entered the reception area, we knew we were in for a treat. The views are incredible and you are surrounded by lush greens, hydrangeas, and pots of lemon trees. From the reception area, you walk past the Piano Bar and onto La Terrazza, where I had my favorite meal, Spaghetti alla Elizabeth Taylor, made with fresh tomatoes.

Italy Honeymoon

We also enjoyed breakfast each morning on the Terrace, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We spent a lot of time on our balcony, enjoying mystic views of the Portofino bay beneath and dancing to distant music from the piano bar. We also took a day trip to Cinque Terre, which was unforgettable. We both hope to return to Portofino one day.

Italy Honeymoon

IMG_1663 Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Greece

This week’s post comes from Jaclyn and Chris who recently traveled to Greece for their honeymoon. Despite the country’s major financial crisis, tourists have been reporting that their travels have not been majorly affected in a negative way. (Blogger Adventurous Kate wrote a great post about this a few weeks ago, and I highly recommend checking it out if you plan on visiting Greece soon.)

Unless you’re really into historical sightseeing, most tourists prefer to spend the majority of their time in Greece on the islands rather on the mainland. In fact, you can pack in a lot of the major Athens sites in just one day. Read all about Jaclyn and Chris’ Greek island hopping honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

June 25th, 2015 – July 6th, 2015 in Greece (specifically, Athens, Mykonos & Santorini).

greek honeymoon

How long was your trip?

11 days/10 nights – we stayed in Athens for one night on each end and the two island for 4 nights each.

greece honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

I love to relax by the pool/beach and my husband can’t sit still. We were looking for a place where we would have ample relaxation time but would have the latitude to be active when we wanted.

Additionally, we did not want to feel trapped at our hotel with nothing to do. Greece appeared to fit the bill as it has it all: pools, beaches, activities and nightlife.

greece honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Kayaking in Mykonos. We found a family-owned business called “Mykonos Kayak Tours & Trails.” They took us into the Aegean on two person kayaks in a group of about 16. They were so knowledgeable and helpful and we got a great workout while having fun. Also, at the end of the trip, they provided a lunch which was made of all locally sourced products: bread from a local bakery, feta from a local cheese shop, produce grown on the island and olive oil from Greece. It made for a simple sandwich, but my husband and I both called it the “best sandwich we’ve ever had.” Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Italy

That’s right, two weeks of new Real Honeymoon posts in a row! This week’s post comes from Caroline and Jeff who honeymooned in Italy earlier this summer. It’s no wonder that Italy is the most popular honeymoon destination on this blog — it has something for everyone! Whether you want your honeymoon to be all about great food and wine, sightseeing, shopping, or just soaking up some sun, you can do it all in Italy. Read all about Caroline and Jeff’s amazing trip below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to Italy from June 30-July 17 [2015]. We flew non-stop from Los Angeles to Rome and spent our first few days there. Then we took a train to Florence, where we also did a day trip to Tuscany to visit some wineries. From Florence, we traveled to Venice, where we took a day trip to the Murano and Burano islands. From Venice, we travelled to Bologna. After Bologna, we spent 5 days and nights in Positano, which included a day trip to Capri. We then returned to Rome for another day and night before flying home.

italy honeymoon

italy honeymoon

How long was your trip?

2.5 weeks

italy honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

Neither of us had ever been to Italy and wanted to experience something new together so we picked Italy! Plus, there is so much history there and we wanted to see it all in person.

italy honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Relaxing with my new hubby, eating and drinking our way through Italy, and not having to think about wedding planning or work for almost 3 weeks! We also received some proofs of our wedding photos while on the trip and it was so much fun reliving our wedding day while sharing a bottle of delicious wine.

italy honeymoon

Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Ireland, France & Italy

Get excited because this week we finally have a great new Real Honeymoon post to share! This week’s post was sent from Caitlyn and Jason who recently honeymooned across three countries in Europe. Read all about their wonderful trip below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Jason and I adventured through Europe for our two-week honeymoon, visiting Dublin, Bordeaux, Paris, and Venice and taking many day trips from each city. We left June 19 and returned July 4. Small piece of advice: avoid the middle of the summer. It. Was. HOT.

How long was your trip?

Two weeks – Saturday to Saturday. We highly recommend returning on a Saturday – everyone can use a Sunday to unpack, do laundry, and brace yourself for Monday morning work emails.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

Jason and I took a long time to decide where to spend our honeymoon – when else do you get to take two weeks off work?! We definitely don’t consider ourselves “beach people” so a tropical location was quickly ruled out. Other places we considered were Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, but ultimately decided that we wanted our honeymoon to be a little more romantic than how we envisioned those destinations. What can I say? We’re newlyweds! Jason had never been to Europe and I knew the atmosphere was perfect for a romantic, semi-adventurous (but also relaxing!) trip. So, off to Europe we went.

We chose Dublin because Jason is a huge whiskey and beer enthusiast. From the Irish Whiskey Museum and the Jameson Factory to the endless amounts of ice cold Guinness (please note, my husband would like to specify the Guinness was not actually ice cold – I disagree…#marriage), we definitely had our fair share of cocktails. We stayed at The Arlington – located the perfect distance from pretty much anything you’d want to do – just a short walk to pubs, museums and everything else. If you don’t mind a slightly older hotel, we highly recommend The Arlington.

Ireland honeymoon

IMG_0212

While we were there, we took a day trip to the other side of the country to experience the insane beauty that is the Cliffs of Moher – and I mean INSANE. The most breathtaking scenery you can imagine. From the moment we hopped on the bus, we were hooked. Every nook and cranny of that country is a shade of green you’ve never seen … and never want to unsee.

IMG_0460

IMG_0476

Our next stop was Bordeaux, a small town in the south of France known for its red wine and gorgeous châteaux. Jason and I love wine and absolutely couldn’t wait to get here. Every day we took a trip to a different region to learn about (read: drink) Bordeaux wines. While visiting château after château is definitely recommended during the day (our favorite regions were Saint-Émilion and Médoc), take some time to walk along the river and enjoy the view. The river walk was renovated from parking spots to beautiful gardens and bike paths – a great spot to enjoy an after dinner treat. This was my favorite hotel of the trip – La Maison du Lierre – a small bed and breakfast that was straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog. If you stay here, make sure to have breakfast on the patio – it’s so quaint you almost forget you’re in the middle of a city.

IMG_0954 IMG_0876 IMG_0952

Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Paris & The Maldives

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of multi-moons (i.e. combining two or more honeymoon destinations in one awesome trip), so it’s no surprise that I’m very excited about Cari and Chris’ honeymoon in Paris and the Maldives. Read all about their incredible honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

Paris, France & the Maldives. Our wedding was on December 7, 2013 so we left for our honeymoon on December 9th and returned on the 22nd.

paris honeymoon

Chris and Cari in Paris

How long was your trip?

It was 13 days: 4 days in Paris, 7 days in Maldives, 2 days of travel.

Maldives 2     Eiffel Tower day

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations? 

Maldives: Chris and I lived in Malaysia and always wanted to go to the Maldives while we lived on that side of the world. We never made it there before we moved back to the States, so it stayed on our travel bucket list. We have traveled a lot separately and together, and wanted to go somewhere new to both of us and unique. Also, it is far away and a place we wouldn’t be likely to travel to at a later date.

maldives honeymoon

Paris: Chris travelled to Paris when we first started dating, and we traded emails throughout his trip where he shared how wonderful of a place it was. We got to know each other better throughout these emails and it was always a fond memory in our relationship. When he returned he brought me a souvenir Eiffel Tower and promised to be bring me back there someday. There was even a time during our wedding planning that we talked about getting married in Paris.

Paris love lock bridge

For the honeymoon, our initial plan was to go to Maldives, but when we realized the routes to Maldives required a layover in Paris, we seized the opportunity to have a two continent honeymoon. It was a wonderful way to visit two places that we had always wanted to go together. And it was fun to be in a cold city first and then end in a tropical place!

The best part about our honeymoon was… 

Paris: Finally exploring and experiencing the City of Love together.

Maldives: Relaxing on our private beautiful beach and doing absolutely nothing!

Paris 4     Maldives - private beach

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Spend the extra money and upgrade for first class tickets!

Maldives - sea plane airport

Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Italy & Spain

I’m so excited to share this week’s Real Honeymoon blog post written by my good friends Ashley and Tom. After their beautiful wedding weekend in Pebble Beach, they spend the first part of their honeymoon Italy and ended their trip with a few days in Barcelona. Read all about their honeymoon in Italy and Spain below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

We went to Italy and Spain from May 26-June 7 [2014]. (Sestri Levante, Cinque Terre, Rome, Venice, and Barcelona)

italy honeymoon

How long was your trip?

Just about two weeks.

barcelona honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

We wanted to take the opportunity to go somewhere far away since we both took off a full two weeks from work. We had both been to Europe but to different places and back when we were in college. We wanted to have a combination of relaxing beach time and sightseeing, and obviously with good food and wine! I also really wanted to see Venice so we spent one day/night there in between Sestri Levante and Rome.

honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

We absolutely loved out time in Sestri Levante and Cinque Terra. We spent one afternoon hiking between Vernazza and Monterosso. It was about two hours, with lots of stairs and uneven paths through the mountains but it had absolutely breathtaking views of the coast. We both agree that if we could go back to one part of our honeymoon it would be to that day! I also have to mention the food, Italian pasta and the fixed course meals we had in Spain were among the best meals we’ve ever had.

italian food

italian food   italian food

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

… how much time we gave ourselves in Spain. We had Wednesday night through Saturday morning, but we would have liked another couple of days to explore other beaches and small towns. We really only had enough time to do one full beach day and one touristy day (the hop on hop off bus was great).

italy honeymoon

Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Italy

Yep, it’s time for some more Italy honeymoon posts! This week we have Kristina and Sean, who got married in beautiful Napa Valley earlier this summer. Read all about their amazing Italian honeymoon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

On May 27th [2014] we left to begin our honeymoon in Positano, off the Amalfi Coast in Italy. We spent 5 relaxing days there, and then took a train up to Florence for the remaining 5 days. While staying in Florence, we wound up taking two spontaneous day trips to the Cinque Terre and a tour of Tuscany that included Siena, San Gimegnano, and Pisa.

florence honeymoon

How long was your trip?

12 days total. 10 days of fun, 2 days of travel.

Chianti Countryside

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

I (Kristina) had always dreamed of going to Italy on my honeymoon—even more than I dreamed of my wedding. But my husband had always envisioned a “beachy” honeymoon destination, so we compromised that we would go to Italy but spend a good portion of our time in a coastal town.

positano honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Spending a day by the Mediterranean at Le Sirene restaurant at Spiaggia Laurito in Positano. This beach is known for the restaurant next door, Da Adolfo, but by happy accident we wound up on Le Sirene’s water taxi and were thrilled to lounge on the far less crowded side of the beach. The food was incredibly fresh, I’m talking they brought the live fish to our table before they cooked it fresh. You could rent chairs and towels for 7 Euros, the drinks were reasonably priced, and the service was great.

Le Sirene

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Knowing what we know now, it would have been awesome to spend more time in either the Cinque Terre, or a small village in Tuscany like San Gimegnano, as opposed to staying in Florence for the full 5 days. We did day trips to these places and they were so beautiful and relaxing, we would have loved more time. Though we both loved Florence, 2 days there would have been more than enough for us, as we really didn’t have an interest in spending a lot of time in museums on our honeymoon.

Duomo lunch

Continue reading

Real Honeymoon: Greece & Turkey

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 [2014].

Santorini Honeymoon

How long was your trip?

Our trip was two weeks long.

greece honeymoon

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.

Santorini honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Exploring Santorini on foot and the walking tours of Istanbul.

Santorini honeymoon

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.

santorini honeymoon

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.

Santorini honeymoon

What was your biggest honeymoon splurge?

The room with its own private pool.

santorini sunset

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!

Real Honeymoon: Paris, The Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong & Japan

Yes, you read the title correctly. This week’s real honeymooners went to Paris, the Maldives, Singapore, Hong Kong, AND Tokyo on one of the most amazing honeymoons imaginable. My friend Danny and his husband Graham travel frequently and very well, so of course they had to really step it up even more for their recent honeymoon. Read all about their ultimate multi-moon below:

When and where did you honeymoon?

As a global traveler on a regular basis for work and a huge airline “dork,” I wanted a honeymoon that would allow me to travel on a wide variety of airlines (in first class, of course) and to at least one exotic location that I had never been before. Fortunately, my now husband was on board with my ambitious plans and we settled on a pretty crazy itinerary.

maldives honeymoon

In the end, we went to Paris (Westin Vendome) , the Maldives (Niyama Maldives), Singapore (The Ritz-Carlton Singapore), Hong Kong (The Hotel Icon) and Tokyo (The Peninsula), experiencing Suites class on Singapore Airlines, First Class on Lufthansa and Thai Airways and business class on ANA, including a trip on their new Dreamliner.

maldives

How long was your trip?

To keep the wedding/honeymoon as one celebration, we left on our honeymoon the Sunday after our wedding and spent roughly two weeks traveling (May 2014).

maldives honeymoon   maldives honeymoon

How did you decide on your honeymoon destinations?

For as long as I can remember, my number one criteria for my honeymoon was spending at least part of it on an overwater villa someplace tropical. Since Graham and I have been together (over 6 years), our favorite memories have been our tropical trips, sitting on a beach, drinking something fruity, and gorging ourselves with beach/pool side food. As such, he was more than happy to indulge me once again in this dream, so the focus became finding the best overwater bungalow we could.

maldives honeymoon   maldives honeymoon

We narrowed it down to Tahiti and The Maldives, but ultimately decided on The Maldives, as it was easier to get there for free with my miles and there seemed to be far more options with extra perks, like personal infinity pools and underwater nightclubs, that Tahiti did not seem to offer.

The other destinations were picked more based on getting to and from the Maldives with miles, maximizing our time in First Class, and getting to destinations where we knew the food would be amazing (our other big criteria).

tokyo honeymoon

asia honeymoon
   singapore honeymoon

The best part about our honeymoon was…

We may differ on this, but other than the amazing flights, and beautiful Maldives, I have to say the best part was just spending 2 weeks together, with no one else and no other distractions. It was the longest time we had spent together, just us, and it was pretty amazing. Über emo, I know. Hopefully you aren’t all throwing up now….

first class honeymoon   paris honeymoon

Continue reading