We were not necessarily looking for a romantic or relaxing getaway for our honeymoon. Instead, we wanted to explore some of the most iconic countries in Western Europe, and thanks to Traveler's Joy, we were able to do so to the fullest extent!
Once we knew we were getting married, we started saving for our honeymoon right away because we knew that it would be a big expense for us to travel to the places we had in mind and do the things we wanted to do there. But we still knew we had to leave some experiences out of our itinerary because they were out of our budget, and we knew that we had to cut costs once we arrived there.
One Saturday afternoon, talking about our honeymoon plans with our family, we were introduced to Traveler's Joy, and we loved the idea, so we set up our honeymoon registry in less than 24 hours! We did not know how it was going to turn out, but in the end, it went much better than expected. The whole process went incredibly smoothly, and we could do much more than we could have imagined. Thanks to Traveler's Joy, our budget went from $2,000 to $5,000+. We could not believe it.
Our honeymoon started in Madrid, Spain. My husband and I love soccer so visiting the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium was at the top of our things to do in Madrid. It was a dream come true to be there, and I remember thinking: "This is just the beginning." Everything felt dreamlike after that moment and until the end of our honeymoon.
On our second day in Madrid, we found out that it was the "Fiesta Nacional de España" or Spain's Fourth of July. The streets were full of life. There was music anywhere you go, people dancing, acting, celebrating, and living the moment. It was a beautiful day. During the following days in Madrid, we wandered around the city, went to many tapas restaurants, had a lovely dinner with a fantastic view of the city, and went to a stunning Flamenco performance.
Next on our list was Paris, France. In Paris, we found out that the Paris Saint-German (PSG) soccer club had a game the next day when we arrived there, and without a doubt, we went ahead and bought tickets to see them play. The stadium was packed, people were chanting, and we saw Kylian Mbappé score a goal. The energy was fascinating and we felt euphoric. We also spent a couple of beautiful days in Paris, watching the sunset from the Eiffel Tower, riding bikes next to the Seine, wandering around, and having a lovely dinner at one high cuisine French restaurant with a splendid view of the Eiffel Tower.
Our next stops were Venice, Florence, and Rome, Italy. Italy exceeded our expectations by far!
To be in Italy felt like a trip back in time. You could just use your imagination to recreate the history of the emblematic places that Italy has to visit. To see art pieces like "The Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli or "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo gave us goosebumps for how beautiful they are.
Additionally, we had the best food and the best gelato there. Sitting at a restaurant enjoying a cup of Italian coffee or a Spritz Veneziano and watching people go by made us appreciate how wonderful the world is and how fortunate we were to live this moment.
Barcelona was our very last destination – and it was undoubtedly the best. We had bought tickets to watch Real Madrid play against the local team, Barcelona, way in advance, and it felt surreal to be finally there.
On our second day, we went to visit Antoni Gaudí's most famous architectural masterpieces like "La Sagrada Familia" and "Casa Batlló.” The colors, the shapes, and the details of these buildings left us in awe. It almost felt like we were inside a work of art.
During the last night of our honeymoon, we went to have an exquisite dinner at a restaurant by the coast. After dinner, we went for a walk on the boardwalk. Seeing the city lights flickering in the ocean and listening to the waves crashing into the coast while holding hands was a great way to close this chapter of our lives.
On the way back to New York City, we remembered all the things we went through in the past 17 days together. We still look at our pictures to this date and they give us such joy. This world is a beautiful place to explore. This is why the best gift someone could have given us was to help us make our honeymoon dreams come true.
And remember, it does not matter the place you go for your honeymoon but what matters the most is to make it memorable!