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10 day Honeymoon

Hello all, my name is Zach and this is my first time asking a question on this forum. So, please forgive me if I’m not asking the right questions. Next year, my fiancé and I are getting married end of June. We have decided we would like to take a 10 day trip to Europe for our honeymoon. As of right now, that’s all we know.

I’ve travelled a little there, (military) but my experience is next to none. We know we don’t want to do the traditional “backpack” method, (As much as I would like to), but instead stay 2 nights in several countries, while utilizing air bnb or similar methods, and travelling via the euro rail pass to get from A to B.

My question for all you explorers is, locations....we need suggestions, life changing experiences? We are thinking South-South East. She’s mentioned Greece, I’ve mentioned Southern France and Austria. But I’m aware there are many more.

Also I should mention, this is all dependent on how COVID is developing, I’m aware of possible travel restrictions. So please, inform me as you would under normal circumstances.

Anyways, please help! Don’t hold back.

Posted by
4421 posts

Congratulations to you and good job starting your planning this far ahead. People on this forum will tell you that staying only two nights in a location is really only one day there, because the logistics of changing locations will take at least half a day each time. Greece is lovely and would be less expensive than France and Austria, if that's a consideration.

Posted by
2475 posts

Hi, Zach,
Congratulations! I think the first thing you need to do is to narrow it down to two countries, max - otherwise, you will be spending almost all of your time in transit. Greece sounds like a definite. A good website to check out is Rome2rio, to give you an idea of transportation options and transit times.

Posted by
8586 posts

zach, its time to start learning the expression "happy wife, happy life". She said Greece - go to Greece. Ten days is too short to try and do more. At most you could add on a few days in Venice or Rome.

Posted by
27351 posts

It is highly unlikely that a Eurail Pass will pay off financially for you. It absolutely will not be worthwhile for a trip to Greece, which has very, very few trains at all. No matter how good a sale you think you see on Eurail Passes, do not buy one without checking in with folks here first.

Posted by
10292 posts

The Eurail pass is no longer the most convenient nor economical method unless you were to stick to your highly unadvisable plan of 2 nights per country and travel the length of Europe. Tickets bought in advance on the national railroad websites are better priced. Don’t buy on Rail Europe, an overpriced reseller.

Airbnb would be time consuming waiting to check in and out, inconvenient learning how appliances worked and where to buy basic foods every stop, and expensive once you paid cleaning fees, for two nights per country. Would you be hauling your food stock with you from country to country? It would be okay for five or more, if you got a base and made day trips around. Otherwise, if you are moving around, hotels would be easier.

I agree with the others to limit to two counties maximum. You could pair Greece with Italy, or Spain and Portugal, or France and Germany. This is a first taste and you can plan to return.

Finally, end of June means beginning of July—hot and tourist season. But you can look at boat trips (not cruises) around the Greek Islands and stay in areas/villages away from the ports to avoids crowds.

Posted by
1080 posts

Greece would be the perfect place for a honeymoon! Remember that a "10 day" trip narrows down to only a 8 day trip because it takes a day to travel to and from Greece. If I had 8 days in Greece I would spend 2-3 days in Athens then spend 4 days traveling to maybe Olympia, Delphi and swinging back toward Nafoli and spending 2 nights on Hydra then back to Athens for your flight home. The food in Greece is amazing and the people are friendly and engaging. Hope you have a great honeymoon!!!!!!!

Posted by
15980 posts

Hi there, Zach, and welcome to the forum!

Could you tell us a bit more about you and your fiancé? Things like where will you be traveling from, if your 10 days includes travel to and from Europe and the sorts of things you two are interested in seeing/doing will be helpful. Also, count the time you have to work with in nights on the ground in Europe versus days.

We know we don’t want to do the traditional “backpack” method, (As
much as I would like to), but instead stay 2 nights in several
countries, while utilizing air bnb or similar methods, and travelling
via the euro rail pass to get from A to B.

There's no issue not traveling backpacker style - most posters on this forum don't - but I can pretty much promise that you'll be advised by all to narrow your focus to one country. At most, maybe two, although I wouldn't recommend it. See, two nights = just one full day of sightseeing. If your 10 days includes travel from and back to the U.S. (just guessing you live in the States), you're left with about 7.5 days to work with. If you're thinking of moving every other day, you'll spend more time (and money) in transit and settled in/acclimated to new surroundings than much of any sightseeing at all.

Yes, rail is a good way to get around in Europe but Eurail passes are not necessarily good buys, depending on the country. A great resource for reading up on all things rail-related in Europe, once you have a plan for where you're going:

https://www.seat61.com

Flying open jaw - meaning into one city and out of another - eliminates backtracking and so helps to maximize your sightseeing time/$.

Greece, Austria, Southern France and many more? Yep, there are many more! You two should spend some time with a stack of guidebooks (check them out of the library) to choose which one most appeals. I'm a hopeless fan of Italy so that would be my own reco but it's your trip, not mine, and there's no wrong answer as long as a destination appeals. Summers in the southern European locations are very warm so that's something to consider if heat bothers you? Editing to add: I'll agree with Bets that, for a host of reasons, airBnB's aren't great choices for short stays.

Posted by
33123 posts

Hi Zach,

welcome!!

Have you watched any of the many videos that our host Rick has put up here and on youtube? Great watching, relaxing, and good for both tempting you to more places (kid in a candy store?) and also seeing which ones inspire and move you.

I'd advise you to choose your destinations the way I used to help people choose which house to buy. Both of you go to seperate places with a piece of blank paper each. Write down the places which most inspire you in a list, maybe 10 or 15 max. Then compare number 1 with number 2 and put the one less important to you aside and compare the winner with number 3. Same process all the way down the line. At the end, the place most important will have risen to the top. Then do the same exercise 2 or 3 more times with the rejects and you'll know 2nd and 3rd places.

Then get together with your beloved and compare top 3. Then do what's on her list. A happy wife is a happy life.

But seriously, even if you don't wind up going to exactly any of them (and when people were buying houses they almost never did) the procedure will help you both focus. Add in what is possible and desirable in a very short trip and you should be well on the way.

I agree, in a relaxing honeymoon week, more than 2 or at most 3 locations which are close together in a short trip will not be as rewarding.

Less is more,

Happy planning, and congratulations.

Posted by
2 posts

This is terrific information, thank you all for responding so much!! I’m glad I reached out, as I would have gone with my original plan, and stretched ourselves very thin and wasted not only time, but money as well.

To answer some of your questions, we are both from Northeast Ohio. But we take every opportunity to travel that we can. Which is why I was eager to see numerous countries over a short time-frame, but I see now that is not logical. Essentially, we would like to avoid the touristy areas for obvious reasons, but beaches and some popular architecture cannot be avoided. Absolutely, boating to some southern islands would be a dream. In addition to this trip, I wanted to visit some villages in the mountains of Austria and take a train through. I see now how this may be difficult (as the wife cones first). Therefore, pairing Italy and Greece may be something we have to focus on. Instead of eurail for travel, would ferry be possible to go from Greece to Italy?

Again, thanks for everyone’s help!

Posted by
1542 posts

Ah, so refreshing to have an opportunity to help you plan your FIRST journey together to Europe.
1) keep the "honey" as the focus during this honeymoon.
2) "travel less, journey more."
Which means the following: reduce travel stress by changing locations less (especially for first trip). Create the opportunity to create wonderful memories by slowing the pace of your journey.
Packing/unpacking/time in transit to the train/plane station, worry about being at the right place at the right time, oh no missed the connection! and a variety of other issues, all create the opportunity for creating the wrong type of memories.
3) pack less than you are comfortable carrying. Target one carry on each plus a travel bag. Hauling luggage is a pain in the butt and greatly reduces happiness.
4) Take her clothing shopping, especially at second hand stores, to help find the best souvenir. Imagine the memory recalled when a girl friend says, "Where did you find that beautiful scarf/blouse? This old thing? I picked it up in Venice."
5) 10 days sounds long, goes fast. So strive to fill these buckets:
four days at first destination, three days at second destination and four days at final destination.
Forthrightly I recommend 5 and 5 as so many destinations are worthy of peeling back the layers of experiences by simply remaining in one place. BTW: take deep dives into exploring opportunities on this travel forum as folks here truly desire to help you create wonderful memories. Test a variety of proposals and suggest you dive into Rich Steves videos to get a feel for the locations.
6) Give consideration to deferring the honeymoon until September/October as this timeframe offers less tourists, better rates and less heat.
I am holding off on recommending specific locations while emphasizing use a printed daily calendar to rough draft your itinerary and envision how, where and when you would be spending your time. TIME is your most precious commodity.

Posted by
4421 posts

Greece would be much more enjoyable at the end of Sept or in Oct-early June 2019 was quite warm by my standards-and I've spent my entire life in the deep South. If your fiance really wants to go in June, she should really consider the mountains of Austria, as Vienna is wonderful but will also be hot.

Posted by
15980 posts

Which is why I was eager to see numerous countries over a short
time-frame, but I see now that is not logical.

Nope. Quantity does not equate to quality. :O) Aside from transfers eating up far more time than you think it will, consider having to work around weather, scheduled attraction closures, transport delays and other potential pitfalls. While the high-season sun does shine most days in Southern Europe, that isn't a given. If the only day you planned for ___ is the day it poured rain.... Same with landing into ___ the one day practically all the attractions you most wanted to see are closed.

So if you truly have just 10 days including your travel time to and from Europe (8 nights on the ground in Europe/7.5 sightseeing days) and I'd choose just 1 country/ 2 locations, or one location which offers some interesting day trips by public transit. Your locations should have international airports or be very close to them. You could also fly to Athens, explore a couple islands by ship, and return to Athens the day before your flight out: it's OK to backtrack in that scenario but, well, the heat thing... You don't have time for both Greece and Italy.

Essentially, we would like to avoid the touristy areas for obvious
reasons.

"Touristy" is an ambiguous term. A location or attraction may be busy because it's very beautiful, very interesting, very historically important or all three so there's good reason why people flock to them. Easy access to airports and rail connections can be another. Late spring to mid fall is peak travel season in much of Europe so I wouldn't expect a lot of solitude in late June/early July. If you travel by car, away from the urban areas, you're more able to get to places which far fewer visitors go to. Some of those can be well worth seeing, and others offer little at all for the visitor. Beaches? Most will be very busy in summer.

I'll agree with Cala below that Austria would be a more comfortable temperature choice in high summer. LOL, I saw a little of Greece in July many moons ago, in my late teens, and dang near melted away. It was so hot that I have few memories of anything else except the heat!

Posted by
222 posts

Hey Zach!

I would highly suggest Greece as well. We did a 14 day from Athens around the mainland. If your heart is set on the islands, we stumbled across MEDSAILORS CRUISES. You may want to look at that as well. It’s a 5-7 day yacht stay around the Greek Islands that are less explored. This is NOT like a cruise line. Max is 4 couples per boat! You could always do that for the island feel and tag on some time in Athens.

Travel vloggers are also wonderful to get tips from! We follow Endless Adventures, Danger and Stacey. We have found so many neat travel places and stops from them. Obviously they have YouTube channels and then don’t forget RS as well.

Posted by
1229 posts

Hi Zach, Amidst all this useful advice, I would recommend reflecting on what you know of yourselves, your tastes and temperaments. This will help you decide where to go, and then what to do there, and how much time you'll need for each destination.
As an example, we have found the "base, with side-trips" method of traveling to not fit us, and prefer 1 -2 night stays when appropriate (in cities we stay 4-5 nights). We spent 3 weeks in Northern Spain and 2 of them were spent 1 night, 2 nights, 1 night, 2 nights, and that was the perfect pace for us. But that strikes me as a backpackers pace, which you mentioned not wanting, so maybe the "base plus side trips" is a better fit. Also, we are not beach people, but spent a month traveling around Greece (in June to July, by the way, and it was fine for us). We started to get beached-out, despite focusing on historic and archeological sites. My 13yo son said "mom, Im a 13 yo boy and even this is too much beach for me". The funny thing to us now is that we look back at that trip with such nostalgia and talk about going back. So, are you beach people? Mountain? City? We loved Southern France (Dordogne and Provence. Spent two nights in Cassis on the Riviera, as thats not our scene, to hike to the Calanques, and that was perfect).
Upside, you can't go wrong. And you will find a way to go back. If you love to travel, once you learn how easy it is to navigate a trip to Europe, you will figure out how to do it again. Try not to stress about all you'll miss. Figure out what you really love to do and see and decide which is the best fit for this trip

Posted by
3292 posts

Write down the places which most inspire you in a list, maybe 10 or 15 max. Then compare number 1 with number 2 and put the one less important to you aside and compare the winner with number 3. Same process all the way down the line. At the end, the place most important will have risen to the top. Then do the same exercise 2 or 3 more times with the rejects and you'll know 2nd and 3rd places.

Nigel gave you some good advice. For our first non-work related trip to Europe, the top 3 things on our list were the Sistine Chapel, the Cinque Terre, and the Swiss Alps. So we flew to Rome, took the train to Monterosso and Interlaken, and finally took the train to Zurich the night before our flight back to the US.

The only "problem" I see with Greece is that your entire trip will be Greece - you don't have enough time to include another country.

Posted by
3060 posts

Since you are both quite new to Europe, why does it matter where you go? Go to Greece, and maybe add a little time in Turkey.

Day 1-3: Athens
Days 4-6: Nafplio
Days 7-9: Greek Islands or Crete

You will really enjoy this, with lots of time to spend alone doing things that newlyweds enjoy doing.

Posted by
1379 posts

Assuming you have 9 nights you could visit Greece for 6 (Athens 3, one of the islands 3) and then fly to France for 3.

Posted by
4421 posts

I like Paul's suggested itinerary, but if this trip is immediately after your wedding (which can be quite tiring) I would go to the islands first and then Athens.

Posted by
4985 posts

...start learning the expression "happy wife, happy life". She said Greece - go to Greece.

Listen to Stan -- you'll not regret it