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Europe Honeymoon Travel Guide
Europe. The uncrowned centre of the world; and not just because the Prime Meridian passes through it. It is a continent that has defined ethereal beauty and culture that is rooted in history, dating back millenniums. There is romance in almost everything that Europe has to offer, be it the white snow glaciers of Finland that are canopied by Northern Lights skies, or the cliffs of Ireland that run like emerald carpets. If there is the Eiffel Tower and the cobbled streets of Paris that define romance for some, then there is also Venice with its chaos and gondola-men calling out ride prices that becomes swoony for others. If you are here looking for European honeymooning ideas then you’ve landed on the right planet!
Here’s a little travel guide, describing honeymoon tourism in Europe.
How to Reach
Europe is one of the most forward continents in the world in terms of its countries and cities and airports. Flying to Europe is one of the best options to reach there, but then it depends on which part of Europe you want to visit.
To sum up Europe’s most coveted honeymoon destinations and their airports, you have the option of flying from India to places like Paris (Charles de Gaulle International Airport), London (Heathrow Airport and others), Rome, Zurich, Stockholm, Berlin among others. Actually, you have the option of direct flights to some of these cities, while to others there are connecting flights. It will depend on which part of Europe you are flying to first, but most honeymooners usually start their holiday from Paris or Rome.
‘All roads lead to Rome’ could easily be altered to ‘All roads lead to Europe,’ and it would still be just as true. You can travel to European cities from India by road but that is a very tedious journey, going through some not so palatable countries and volatile regions of the Middle East; and unless you are an adventurer couple, not really fun for a honeymoon. But of course, taking a road trip through European countries is very romantic, and quite a recommended itinerary once you’ve landed in one of the main cities like London or Paris or Zurich. Cars are readily hired from rental companies and there are also buses you can book seats on if you are on a budget.
DDLJ fans gather around, Eurail is about to board! Yes, if you are one of those lovers of 90s Bollywood romance and have always dreamed about a honeymoon aboard Eurail and travelling across the heart of Europe, then this is just the thing for you. Once you have landed in Europe, you can take one of these Eurail trains that come with various itineraries and routes, basically connecting every corner, from Edinburgh to Spain and Brussels to Athens.
Waterways in and around Europe are pretty well developed. While the Nordic countries can only be reached by air or water (ferries, ships, boats), others also have cross-travel routes that use river cruises, ferries, sea travel and more. For example, you can take the boat across the Chanel from France to United Kingdom, go for cruises that dock at all major shores, or choose to enjoy Eastern Europe’s water travel down River Danube. The south coasts of Italy, Spain, Madrid, Croatia also make for great sea travel and cruise stops.
One little clue to make a romantic honeymoon, choose getting around options wisely in Europe; like gondolas in Venice, bicycles in France and Netherlands, Segways in Belgium, and the two humble feet in Greece. Of course, wherever you go, you will encounter great local transport facilities like metro trains, buses and even trams. Taxis, Ubers and other app-based cabs will be at your beck and call. But there is something special about doing city travel like locals, with your spouse in tow.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Europe is best visited through its springs and summers, although some places also do great in winters. It really depends on where you are going and what you want to do for you honeymoon to determine the best time to visit.
Spring (March to May):
Spring temperatures in Europe can vary from anywhere between 10-18°C, depending on which part of the continent you are taking about. While the upper western reaches like the UK, France and Belgium are cooler, the Nordic countries are quite cold. But the southern part, viz a viz Spain, Italy, Madrid, Greece etc are quite warm and dry. So these become inevitably beautiful for a spring honeymoon with your beloved.
Summer (June to August):
Summer is stupendous anywhere in Europe, the temperatures depending on the geographic part; i.e. Nordic countries are in the 20s, while the central and western regions may touch upto 30°C. Southern Europe is warmer than all, going to mid-thirties; while the coasts of these countries are amazing with all the warm water bodies, sunlit sands and rocks and great holiday crowd. Honeymooning couples here in summer get to flaunt their bodies in bikinis and board shorts, enjoy PDA, bask in the sun and drink loads of cocktails.
Autumn (September to November):
Autumn is a beautiful time in Europe, all crisp cool air and dry leaves, auburn red trees and the holiday season looming large in the air. October is usually a prelude to the celebratory season of November-December. Some of the best destinations at this time to honeymoon at include central Europe (Germany, Austria, Hungary) for their christmas markets and the Oktober Fest, along with a few northernmost Nordic regions like Finland and Norway for the beginnings of Northern Lights. Most of Western and Southern Europe will see mild rainfall and gloomy early evenings in autumn.
Winter (December to February):
Most European destinations are too cold to enjoy in winter. But some of them do good with the Christmas festivities, inviting crowds for the celebrations. Most of the Northern, Western and Central European countries see a lot of snowfall between December and February. The Southern region may see some snowfall and some sunshine but their coasts and beaches are not much use to have fun. So for a winter honeymoon in Europe, you could plan for places like Switzerland, Germany, Austria-Hungary-Czech Republic, Greece or the South of France (French Riviera).
Things to Do
Honeymooning couples come to Europe seeking some exotic time, some privacy, and lots of romance. And the continent hands out the latter in spades. Here are some of the things you could do if you plan to honeymoon in Europe.
Go through all the Romance in France:
Well, if there is romance everywhere in Europe, then France is romance brought to life. The lovely streets of Paris with quaint cafes serving delicious French pastries and coffee, the museums that are all art and history, the wines of Bordeaux, the promenades and beaches of Nice… you can feel romance like a pulse beating in the air. So for a honeymooning couple, there is nothing sweeter and more memorable than exploring the sites and cities of this country. And of course, don’t forget the Eiffel Tower, even though it may sound a bit overrated.
Hold hands through Italy’s cobblestone streets:
Italy is a sunny paradise, at least through the months of spring, summer and part-autumn. With its beautiful history and culture, this country invites lovers to its cherished treasures. Like the Trevi Fountain in Rome, the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica etc, or the canals and gondolas of Venice, the art and architecture of Florence and the sweeping scenic beauty of Sicily. An Italian honeymoon is all shades of foodie too, because imagine sharing all that pasta and pizza and gelato with your lover!
Cycle your way through Netherlands:
Netherlands is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with its charming windmills and sunflower farms, tulip gardens going endlessly into the horizon, museums of eccentric artists and canals criss-crossing cute cities. As a couple, this country is a dream to holiday in. You can each hire a bicycle and explore everything here, even go from one town to another on your bikes because that’s how many locals travel too.
Enjoy the Beaches of Southern Europe:
By Southern Europe we mean places like Spain, Portugal, Croatia and their likes; the ones that skim the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Here you will find an endless supply of Vitamin Sea, sand, sunshine like a warm slide of butterscotch on your skin and seafood to go with every meal. From awesome cities like Madrid and Barcelona to the seaside delight that is Lisbon, from Croatia’s walled ancient cities (Dubrovnik) to the delights of tapas, flamencos and paella everywhere… exploring this part of Europe is a cultural treat to your honeymoon.
Sparkle with German Christmas Markets:
If you are honeymooning in Europe around November-December, i.e. the holiday season, then plan a trip to one of these places - Germany, Austria or Hungary. Along the many other countries, these three are widely popular for their Christmas Night Markets, the unbelievable fairytale decorations, delicious Christmas food and some cute holiday shopping. As a couple, there isn’t anything more romantic than Christmas, and you must take your partner here to experience the sheer magic.
Explore Chapels and Ruins in Greece:
Greece is known for many things, its food and its Mediterranean vibes, its whitewashed islands and olive grooves. But what it is most renowned for is the set of ancient monuments and buildings, some of which are in ruin now. The Greek Civilisation was one of the trailblazers for the modern world; the Romans and the Byzantines, the Ottomans and the Turks, they all ruled here at one point in time or another, leaving behind amazing architecture. And each piece is just as steeped in history as it is romantic. So go with your partner exploring places like the Parthenon, Acropolis and Plaka in Athens. Then there is the City of Olympia, Mycenae, Theatre of Dionysus and the legendary Mount Olympus.
Eat your Weight in Cheese and Chocolate in Switzerland:
Be still my beating heart. It’s just chocolates and cheeses. And Switzerland! Couples love this combination, from the Yash Chopra valleys and train routes to snow-capped mountains and cute clean towns, the Alps and Jura Mountains to the lakes at Interlaken and Geneva. Explore this country with your beloved and partake in some of the most delicious (and aphrodisiac) dishes including Rosti and Raclette (all cheese), wines and gourmet chocolates.
What to Eat
Europe is a very globally attuned place in today’s time. And since every sixth person in the world is an Indian, it wouldn’t be difficult for you to find some Indian or vegetarian or even vegan food in Europe. In fact, the latter is a fad in almost all major cities of Europe. However, if you are looking at trying local fare, then here’s the deal - fries, chocolate sprinkled breads, waffles and pancakes in Netherlands and Belgium, coffee, croissants, macaroons, desserts and wine in France, local pastas, pizza and risotto in Italy, Turkish kebabs, hot dogs, open sandwiches and broth curries in Germany, crisp salads, moussaka and greek yogurt breakfast in Greece, and paella, seafood, tapas bites and pails of sangria in Spain/Portugal. Try these locally and you would be savouring the taste even years after your honeymoon.
Where to Shop
Europe, ladies, is the Mecca of shopping. So if you are dedicating a part of your honeymoon to some shopping therapy then here’s where you should go - Paris, Milan, London, Barcelona or Geneva. These are some of the trendiest cities on the continent to shop for those lovely brands you have been vying for. From Gucci to Givenchy, Louis Vuitton to Prada, there is no dearth of luxury brands. Neither is there any lack of highstreet fashion (re: Zara, Bershka, Marks & Spencer, H&M, Mango and so on and so forth). Faubourg Saint-Honoré and Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, Via Montenapoleone in Milan, Bond Street, Primark and Mayfair in London, and Passeig de Gracia of Barcelona are the BEST for shopaholics.