Behind The Butter

Virtual Coffee Date

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I’m in the thick of honeymoon planning! We originally planned to go to France, Switzerland and Italy but then decided on France and Spain instead. We have the France portion of the trip pretty planned out {staying in Paris for a few days before heading to Provence and the French Riviera} but have NO IDEA about Spain. Help? Anyone been to Spain, know Spain, can give us tips about where to go in Spain? I’ll gladly take any advice y’all are willing to throw my way! Right now, we are tentatively planning to fly out of Barcelona but we’ll have about six days to explore and we prefer smaller towns over big cities. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that today I get to help throw one of my best friends ever a baby shower! I’m making some treats for the party and can’t wait to spend the day honoring her. Ashley and I met a couple years ago through a small group at church and instantly became inseparable. We both served as leaders last year at The Influence Conference, which leads me to say….

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be speaking this year at Influence! It was a HUGE honor to be asked and I really hope to meet a lot of y’all this September in Indianapolis. Tickets will officially go on sale for the conference on April 1st, so mark your calendars! I still hold firm to what I said last year about it being my favorite conference ever — actually, I think looking back, it was one of my favorite weekends ever. It was at Influence last year that I met some amazing women who now I would call some of my closest friends.

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you I’m currently on a toaster waffle binge. Specifically, Trader Joe’s blueberry waffles. My daily breakfast for the past four weeks has been two waffles with maple syrup, Greek yogurt {2% Fage + peach preserves!} and coffee with a splash of cream. I don’t think I could EVER get sick of it!

If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you I’m just loving everything about this company right now. Gorgeous jewelery is being crafted out of melted down weapons of war in Uganda. That makes my heart swell. I plan to write more about all this soon, but just take a look at their gorgeous things this weekend! So far, I am incredibly impressed.

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  • Sarah
    March 2, 2013 at 4:02 am

    The only time I went to Spain I stayed in Pals, a small town that’s only a couple hours drive away from Barcelona, and near to the slightly bigger town of L’Estartit. It would be a great place to base yourself if you wanted to visit Barcelona but stay in a smaller town, you could easily do a day trip or two! If I remember correctly we flew into Girona airport.

  • Nicole A
    March 2, 2013 at 4:34 am

    Spain is a wonderful choice. I’ve been there twice traveling abroad. Barcelona was my favorite city of them all. Much more to do and see there. Madrid was very nice as well. I’d recommend looking at Valencia and Malaga as well. Lots of beautiful beaches to see. The scenery is just gorgeous where ever you go. You will not be disappointed!

  • Kate
    March 2, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Barcelona is beautiful! Y’all will have so much fun. I’d recommend a trip to visit the Dali Museum in Figueres. It’s about an hour and a half train ride or drive from Barcelona.

  • Sarah H
    March 2, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Seville, Granada and Cordoba in Spain are all beautiful. They are all in the Andalucia region so you could fly to Malaga and then travel to them by train. They are fairly small with beautiful Islamic architecture. The Alhambra in Granada is a must see! there is also the small town of Ronda if you want something smaller.

    • DorisV
      March 5, 2013 at 9:12 am

      I agree with Sarah H, The Alhambra in Granada is a must see (from all Spain, I would add). If you go there, Cordoba is 2.5hrs and is a really nice town. I also like Valencia because is a smaller city compared to Madrid or Barcelona; but then again, a little bias because I live in Valencia :).

  • Jessica
    March 2, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I wish I could recommend fabulous places to see in Spain, but my only recommendation this morning is to try Fage’s orange + cinnamon yogurt = A-mazing!

  • Jess
    March 2, 2013 at 4:56 am

    I studied abroad in Spain my junior year of college – you are going to love it! I would recommend driving (or taking a cheap flight – check for cheap flights, but be warned – the website is in Spanish) to Andalucia and hitting up Sevilla and Granada. They aren’t large cities, but they are among the most famous and beautiful in Spain. Let me know if you have any questions on specifics; I’d be happy to help!

  • Bailey @ Full Flavored Life
    March 2, 2013 at 5:02 am

    Hi Jenna! I am an English teacher in Spain. Last year I was in a town near Madrid, and this year I am living in Sevilla. I would most definitely recommend visiting the south of Spain, whether it be Sevilla or Granada. If you decide to visit Sevilla, I would love to give you a list of restaurants and things to see!!

  • Tara
    March 2, 2013 at 5:09 am

    If you can make it to southern Spain, you should go to Granada. It is an absolutly beautiful, quaint town. I feel in love with it. I would also recommend Seville, Vallalodid, and Salamanca! Spain is so beautiful, you will love anywhere you go! Have a blast!

  • Jenn from Much to My Delight
    March 2, 2013 at 5:09 am

    Barcelona is my favorite place in the world! (So far anyway:). If you go, you absolutely must hit Boqueria–it’s an incredible food market that will blow your mind.

  • Anna
    March 2, 2013 at 5:29 am

    Grenada is not huge, but is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. It’s in the south of Spain and well worth the trip from Barcelona.
    I studied abroad in Spain a couple years ago and can recommend some time in Madrid as well. I know it’s a big city, but it has little nooks and crannies worth exploring that are just beautiful.
    Anywhere is great in Espana though – enjoy!

    • Natalie
      March 6, 2013 at 7:19 am

      I would say the same. I adored Sevilla, Grenada, Córdoba, and there are some adorable little beach towns outside of Málaga and Cádiz. I studied in Toledo, which is a much smaller city about an hour outside of Madrid, and it is really beautiful. Oh! But northern Spain is also just beautiful, but in a very different way. Hendaye and Hondarribia are just gorgeous, right on the western edge of the border between Spain and France, and that whole coastline is amazing. Man, I am excited for you (and a little jealous)!

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More
    March 2, 2013 at 5:45 am

    That influence conference sounds cool! I haven’t heard of it before but I’ll have to look into it. It’s not TOO far from where I am and so it might be an option for me this year. 🙂

  • Cati
    March 2, 2013 at 5:50 am

    The Aragonese and Catalan Pyrenees are an awesome place to check out if you want to avoid the big city scene and stay nearish to Barcelona! Panticosa, Biescas, Jaca, Sabiñánigo; all are smaller mountainy towns, more isolated, rustic, and nestled in the mountains, not far from the border of France as well as the Valle de Ordesa, a huge, beautiful national park, patrimony of Unesco. Beautiful turquoise lakes, majestic green mountainsides…well now I am homesick. If you didn’t know you were in Spain you might think you had accidentally flown into a tiny Swiss or German town. Without a doubt one of the most stunning pieces of scenery I have ever seen first hand.

    Of course if you look for the beach scene then Málaga (large city), Nerja, Salobreña, etc., are some of the more popular costal spots in the south.

  • Mara@ What's For Dinner?
    March 2, 2013 at 5:54 am

    My only experience in Spain is in Madrid and farther south, and it’s pretty easy to explore the whole country and still make it back to Barcelona! I wouldn’t miss Seville and Grenada; Seville is about the size of Carmel and has some of the most beautiful architecture and most delicious churros y chocolate I’ve ever had. Grenada is home to the Alhambra, a Moorish palace with amazing gardens, and hundreds of acres of olive groves that make the most amazing olive oil… the smell of the olive oil factories is the stuff of dreams.
    I’m a total Spain nerd, being a Spanish teacher and all… let me know if you need more suggestions! <3

    • Jessie
      March 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Oh my goodness, Granada, the Alhambra, the olive oil, I’m sold. Maybe I need to plan an anniversary trip. My only experience in Spain was in San Sebastián. I highly recommend it. Great smaller city on the northern coast. Great food, don’t miss the Cideria if you go. I’m inspired!

    • Jessie
      March 2, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Oh my goodness, Granada, the Alhambra, the olive oil, I’m sold. Maybe I need to plan an anniversary trip. My only experience in Spain was in San Sebastián. I highly recommend it. Great smaller city on the northern coast. Ghreat food, don’t miss the Cideria if you go. I’m inspired!

  • kim@hungryhealthygirl
    March 2, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Baby showers are so much fun! I planned my sister’s a couple of years ago and had a blast. I absolutely love that jewelry company too….thanks for introducing me to it.

  • Caroline
    March 2, 2013 at 5:57 am

    Not sure how far into Spain you want to venture, but In addition to Barcelona I highly recommend Seville and Cordoba. Definitely a fit with your desire to see smaller towns. We saw flamenco and hung out at neighborhood bars and restaurants for tapas and jamon serrano. I was not a meat eater then, but I ate the jamon! Skip Madrid, you will get enough city from Paris and Barcelona. Must see Sagrada Familia, it is like nothing else, stunning.

  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy
    March 2, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I’ve been hooked on toaster waffles lately too. Such an easy breakfast when I’m in a hurry in the morning. I like Van’s!

  • Jamie
    March 2, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I love Spain! Madrid is a wonderful city that feels like you could raise your kids in! You must go there and go out for tapas at night and get churros con chocolate one day! The park in Madrid is great for perching under a tree and taking a siesta! El prado is a great museum as well! But for a honeymoon you have to make it to southern Spain too! Beaches and beauty! I didn’t live Barcelona but I am a Spanish speaker and they speak Catalan in Barcelona so it is more French than Spanish but gaudis park was exquisite!

    Also…. In France….you must do the boat ride around the Eiffel Tower at night and try to go to Milan rouge! I know the girls are topless but it was still a very cool show! Ok enough of my rambling! But I just loved Europe!

  • Julia
    March 2, 2013 at 6:22 am

    I just was in Barcelona and it was awesome… I love Tappas :)my husband gave a taxi driver 200 US dollars to drive us around to the best parts of Barcelona. He took us to a small town called Costa Brava, it is where the locals go to vacation. The beaches are amazing and the drive is gorgeous. The beaches in the tourist part of Barcelona are very nasty 🙁 so this place was a more authentic experience of Barcelona. In Gothic center of Barcelona there is a bar called Travel Bar, they do walking tours all over the historic parts of Barcelona for very low cost ( just tip). There is one of the best restaurants in Spain in Barcelona in the hills by the monastery ( I can’t remember the name but ask a local). Also the las Ramblas is fun to walk at night. Last tip keep your purse close to you or use a cross-body bag because there is a lot of pocket picking. Over all I felt very safe. Have so much fun and can’t wait to see pictures!

    • Lisa
      March 2, 2013 at 6:28 am

      I agree re: the beaches. The beach was so gross at Barcelonetta – they are so much nicer (and cleaner) in Sitges and Costa Brava.

  • Lisa
    March 2, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Barcelona is an awesome city- so much to see, do and eat. We spent 2 weeks there last year and found it surprisingly walkable and so easy to get around on public transportation using a Barcelona Card. The best tip to see the entire city is to take the Bus Turistic tour to get your bearings on the first day then jump off at the sites you really can’t miss. The only negative in Barcelona was the amount of petty crime – there are pickpockets every where and do not leave anything unattended anywhere, not even for a few seconds -it will be stolen.

    Next time I will do some trips to Malaga, Valencia and Madrid – or a even a weekend excursion to Morocco.

  • Joanne @ Fifteen Spatulas
    March 2, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Hi Jenna! I lived in Spain for 4 months, and the various areas of the country are so different from each other. Barcelona is an absolutely amazing city, I highly recommend it. Madrid is incredible as well. There are some smaller cities in the South that I love…Granada and Sevilla to be specific, but you’ll have less to do at those places. Basically in Granada you want to see the Alhambra Palace, which is spectacular, and in Sevilla you’d want to see the cathedral, which is the largest gothic style Catholic cathedral in the world…it is huge and jaw dropping. Anyway, hope that helps a little, have a wonderful honeymoon!!! You can’t go wrong with France and Spain. I’m always itching to go back to Paris.

  • Christine
    March 2, 2013 at 6:34 am

    Forget Barcelona or Madrid- they’re too touristy, dirty, and crowded.

    Northern Spain is where it’s at- my boyfriend and I spent 12 days there over Thanksgiving….San Sebastian, Galicia, Gijon, Orvieto…all beautiful, small, romantic beach towns that have THE best pintxos, wine, and fish you’ll ever eat. Music playing along the cobblestone streets, summer breezes, crystal clear waters, and rioja, it’s amazing!!!

    • Jamie
      March 4, 2013 at 6:40 am

      I agree…loved Galicia, but it RAINS A LOT!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jen
      March 5, 2013 at 9:18 am

      I loved San Sebastian. The pintxos bars were so fun to visit. Actually, all of the restaurants were really great. I had this whole roasted fish in olive oil that was the best fish I’ve ever had. It was November so it was a bit chilly. I hear it’s better in the summer.

      • Lacey
        March 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm

        You MUST go to San Sebastián. MUST. The food is beyond incredible.

        • Kerry
          March 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          San Sebastian is incredible. And Bilbao is not too far where the Guggenheim Museum is. We rented a car and drove from small town to small town in northern Spain. Very nice highways, easy to get around.

  • Alison
    March 2, 2013 at 6:35 am

    I studied abroad in San Sebastian and it’s an amazing (small) city. It has three beautiful beaches, amazing hikes and some of the best food in the whole world. There are also many cidrerias in the surrounding towns which serve unlimited cidre and a fantastic meal. You could take a bus, train or drive from Barcelona and it will take you anywhere from 5 1/2 hours (car or train) to 8 hours (bus). It is worth the trip.

  • Maria
    March 2, 2013 at 6:48 am

    Ha ha! it is funny to hear all of those things about Spain… where I live and where I am from. What can I say’ I love my country, it is beautiful, and like Christine says, some places are very touristy, but not as dirty as Paris.
    Ii is true we are very loud people, some times not very civilized and we love to party, therefore the crowds, but, if you stay away of the very touristic places, Madrid and Barcelona are very charming cities.
    Also the food is amazing everywhere!!! I would love your posts of the Spanish food!

    Maria, the Spaniard

  • Lauren
    March 2, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I lived in Barcelona in college for awhile. You only need a day or so there if you don’t like the big city thing. If you do one thing in Barcelona, go to Parc Guell.

    I really loved Santiago de Compostela–on the west coast of Spain, close to Portugal. It is a beautiful place with fascinating church history and a completely romantic feel. I think it would be a dream to rent a car and go from Santiago to Barcelona, stopping in little towns as you go.

  • Erin @littlesacredspace
    March 2, 2013 at 7:21 am

    We went to Spain on our honeymoon. We flew into Malaga and spent all our time in Andalucia (Southern Spain), rented a little apartment in Canillas de Albaida (30 minutes up the coast and in the mountains) with a jacuzzi on the balcony that looked out over the beautiful hills, and rented a car that we drove out to Cordoba, Granada, and Sevilla for day and overnight trips. It was awesome! But make sure you drive stick because all the cars are stickshift. We used one of the holiday booking companies and the couple we rented from were great- they took us to a big paella party and horseback riding in the mountains. One of the best trips of our lives- have fun!

  • Lauren
    March 2, 2013 at 7:23 am

    We honeymooned in Spain in 2008. Barcelona to Madrid to Cordoba/Granada/Seville/Toledo/Segovia. The Alhambra in Granada is a honeymoon must. I planned everything with obsessive TripAdvisor research. Happy to share hotels/restaurants if you want.

  • Katie
    March 2, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Hi Jenna!
    I am SO excited for you that you chose Spain! I spent a semester abroad in Toledo, Spain and went ALL over (totally recommend Toledo, btw). I have a ton of great recommendations if you’d like. I’m actually heading back there in 4 days for my spring break. I couldn’t stay away! Please e-mail me if you want any advice ( I’ve followed your blog since I was in high school and it’s the highlight of my morning to read your new posts.

  • jan
    March 2, 2013 at 7:30 am

    Honeymoon planning, what fun!! I love planning trips almost more than taking them. Enjoy!

  • Katy
    March 2, 2013 at 7:59 am


    The only city I’ve been to in Spain is San Sebastian, which is a small city very close to France. It was really cute and had nice beaches and shopping. The tappas were really yummy too. San Sebastian is fun because it is in the basque country. Have fun!

    Also, I LOVE toaster waffles and eat them every day. Glad I’m not the only one!!

  • Elizabeth
    March 2, 2013 at 8:04 am

    Hi! I highly recommend renting a car so you can get to some of the places locals go to, that are off the train system. My absolute favorite place in Spain (so far) is a very small town on the coast (Costa Brava) called Calella de Palafrugell.
    If you go, there is a path that borders the coast that is a breathtaking hike. Going South, you can walk to the botanical gardens at Cap Roig and beyond. Going north you go up to Llafranc,Tamariu and Begur etc. Wear your swimsuit under your hiking clothes, and take a swim along the way. This is, without question, an absolutely beautiful area of Spain. Enjoy, and post pictures if you go, please!

  • JB
    March 2, 2013 at 8:24 am

    San Sebastián is my top suggestion for Spain. Amazing food, nice hikes and beaches. We spent 3 weeks in Spain and it was our favorite place.

  • Denise
    March 2, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Northern Spain is a must, especially Asturias- a hidden gem- mountains and beaches, gorgeous!

  • Joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    March 2, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Love these posts! So exciting about the honeymoon and baby shower!

  • Aileen
    March 2, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Barcelona is amazing!! Monserrat is an incredible day trip, monastery in the mountains… Not to be missed!

  • Aly
    March 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

    I used to live in Barcelona, and my favorite city by far was Cadaques, a small town on the sea on the Costa Brava. It is where Picasso and Dali went for inspiration, and it is so very quaint and secluded- very romantic:). It’s good if you want to do some hiking on the Cap de Creus as well!!

  • Caris Malone
    March 2, 2013 at 8:59 am

    San Sebastian!! It’s small, energetic, tasty and beautiful! Its right across the French border. We stayed in Biarritz (also a must!! Small little French seaside town with a beautiful ocean, yummy cafes and amazing fresh market that is open everyday). a couple of nights then took the 20 min train ride over to SS. We only Planned on staying 1 night but ended up being there for 3! The food and drink were amazing! The beach is huge and beautiful! And there s also a mOuntain with great hiking. Both Places make you feel as though you are in a Hemingway novel. So excited for you guys! Can’t wait to read all about your adventures!!

  • Gina
    March 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Seville was one of my favorite cities in Spain because it was very quaint. I traveled to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville a couple winters ago. I think Barcelona is better in the warmer months since it is a coastal city so definitely go there. There is obviously tons to do in Madrid. Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia are staple art museums to hit up in you’re into that and definitely get chocolate y churros on your trip – it’s heavenly. Have fun!! I know you’ll get a ton more suggestions.

  • Emily@2:DESIGN:CENTS
    March 2, 2013 at 9:07 am

    You could try walking part of the El Camino for a couple days in Spain…I’m pretty sure Barcelona may be near the starting point(not 100% though). One of my friends walked the entire length last year and had a really good experience, it passes through many small towns. It is a bit rustic though, not sure if it’s honey moon material, depends on the person:)

    • Sandy T
      March 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

      El Camino is a very spiritual experience for many who walk it. There’s a good little movie about an individual journey on The Road starring Martin Sheen. It was directed by his son, Emilio Estevez.

  • Jessica
    March 2, 2013 at 9:21 am

    I love Spain – lived there for two years! Mallorca is a 30 minute plane ride from Barcelona – I actually went back and forth in one day! If you just want to hang out on an island beach, Mallorca is a fun choice.
    Barcelona is not really near the start of the Camino de Santiago, but I agree that northern Spain is beautiful and less touristy. Barcelona is a great city, but I lived in Madrid and liked it better as a friendlier city. I’ve been to Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada, and loved them all — Cordoba was the easiest to manage, plus the former mosque/current church had beautiful architecture. Sevilla is the biggest and most touristy. The Alhambra in Granada is gorgeous, and they have the best free tapas – just order a drink and you’ll get one!
    For smaller towns, Avila is an hour north of Madrid and I love it (one of the few towns in the world still fully surrounded by its medieval wall), and Segovia is lovely as well.

    I think the most important thing when traveling to Spain is to adjust to their eating schedule: a light breakfast (coffee & pastry), maybe a midmorning snack/coffee to tide you over until the big, 2-course lunch at 2 pm. A lot of things will be closed from 2-5, so don’t try to fight the system – have a delicious meal, then go take a nap for a little while if you need it. Head out again at 5 to enjoy the beautiful weather or see some more museums and then have a light supper of tapas & drinks at 9ish.
    For me, the midmorning snack was crucial! 🙂 Once I figured that out, I really enjoyed having my big meal in the middle of the day.

  • Karen
    March 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

    We loved La Bobadilla outside of Grenada. It is not a far drive from Barcelona… Very romantic!

  • Ashley H.
    March 2, 2013 at 9:38 am

    We just took a trip to Spain a few months ago; we went to Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, and Bilbao, and also drove through La Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Spain is a beautiful country and such a good choice!

    I agree with what a lot of the ladies above have said: Barcelona is an incredible city, and while I liked Madrid as well, I think you could skip it this trip (particularly since you’ll be coming from Paris). The food in Barcelona is amazing; a couple of our favorites were Tapac 24 ( and El Xampanyet (you must go if you can: If you can get a reservation and can swing the price, you should also try to go to Tickets, which is Albert Adria’s (brother to Ferran, who is a co-owner) restaurant (

    I agree with several of the other comments about trying Sitges or Costa Brava for lovely beaches near(ish) Barcelona; I haven’t been south in Spain, so I can’t comment on those cities. For my two cents, given your love of food and your culinary background, you MUST go to San Sebastian. Other than the former El Bulli (which was on the Costa Brava), San Sebastian is home not only to the best food in Spain, but to some of the best in the world. When you combine the staggering number of incredible pintxos bars in the old city (the largest concentration of bars in Europe, approx. 500 in a tiny little area!) with the sheer number of incredible chefs in one small town, it’s a can’t-miss destination. I absolutely loved the pintxos scene, and would go back again and again for that alone. If you go, two that are not to be missed are Bar La Cepa (the classic; get txakoli, jamon, and the ultimate San Sebby pintxo, which is a green olive, anchovy, and pickled [local] guindilla peppers on a toothpick: and La Cuchara de San Telmo (modern, re-worked versions of the old favorites: With respect to fine dining, we ate at Arzak (, which was incredible and I would highly recommend. We also thought about going to Akelarre, which looks equally outstanding (

    Other than that, it’s worth a short trip from San Sebastian into the Basque Country to eat at Asador Etxebarri ( Chef Arguinzoniz is world-renowned for his innovative use of grilling in haute cuisine, and our meal there was one of the most unique and delicious I’ve ever had. Plus Axpe is an adorable little mountain town. You will have an incredible time on your honeymoon! (P.S. for Paris I know you probably don’t need recs, but nonetheless, I suggest: L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon (, L’Ami Jean (, and Chez Marcel (

  • Katie
    March 2, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Sitges, Spain is a small, beautiful coastal town about an hour or so south of Barcelona. You should check it out!

  • Shelly
    March 2, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I spent 2.5 weeks in Spain for my honeymoon- it was awesome. Madrid and Barcelona are both amazing, and I also went to Cordoba, Sevilla, Granda, Alicante, and Valencia. I loved them all. Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada had amazing arcitecture, Alicante was a relaxing British tourist town on the coast, Valencia is a total foodie destination, and Madrid and Barcelona are full of great food, history, art, and architecture.
    My biggest tip would be to really not underestimate the fact that you will be having dinner at 10pm at night unless you want to eat deep fried tapas every night (which is wonderful initially, but quickly wears on the stomach). So if you are planning to get around by bus, learn from my mistake and don’t buy tickets for the 8am bus. 🙂
    Also bocadillo are amazing, cheap sandwiches that are everywhere. Be sure to eat a ton of them in Spain. 🙂
    If you have to go to just one place, I’d suggest Barcelona. We stayed in the Born area of Barcelona, which is packed with cool, offbeat shops and restaurants and had a wonderful time. Our hotel was the Chic and Basic Born- it was affordable and very funky.
    La Boqueria (a huge food market) on La Rambla is a must see. So is the Sagrada Familia.
    But you’ll have fun wherever you go.

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    March 2, 2013 at 10:29 am

    everyone has given fabulous recommendations for spain travels! i also lived/studied there for 6 months in college, and fell in love with it. sevilla is a big city that feels small, i lived there and adore it. “knowing” you and your fiance ;), i would say that you’ll like barcelona, but it may be too big-city. one of the places that most people don’t visit is the region of galicia. it’s in the northwest of the country, and is so green and hilly and beautiful. i think you guys would like it there. if you go one place in galicia, i recommend spending a day or two in santiago de compostela, the end point of the camino de santiago (look it up, it’s the coolest! but it is not a walk for a honeymoon). i can send you photos if you want too (can you tell i get excited when talking about this stuff?)

  • Coreen
    March 2, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I loved Madrid, Grenada, and Malaga. Rick Steves doesn’t like Malaga, and while I am a huge fan of his, he is way off base on that one. Malaga is divine. It’s a gorgeous small resort town, and it’s Picasso’s birthplace so there are some amazing museums to see.

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    March 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I can’t give you any recommendations but I can say….congrats on having such a fun, amazing, and once-in-a-lifetime trip on your horizons, that just happens to be your honeymoon. So fabulous & I wish you two the absolute best!

  • Lara
    March 2, 2013 at 11:27 am

    Definitely visit Sevilla!

  • jb
    March 2, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Spain is the best! The Costa Brava north of Barcelona is beautiful and has some lovely little towns. Check out S’agaró in particular — gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

  • Kat
    March 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    You must must must go to San Sebastian. The food is amazing! And the town is a gorgeous beach town. It actually has the most michelin stars per capita, but also has just a million restaurants.

    Look on New York Times – 36 Hours in San Sebastian – it has wonderful recommendations. You’re going to have such a great time!

  • Kim
    March 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I have been to several cities in Spain, and Valencia is my absolute favorite! “The city of flowers” is gorgeous. You absolutely cannot miss it!

  • Lotte
    March 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    You definatelly should visit Madrid. Dont forget to go to El Rastro in La latina on sundays, to visit Retiro Parc and to go to the small tapas bars and drink sangria and tinto de Verano in El Tigre ( a tipical spanish bar full of students)
    Furthermore, Barcelona, Sevilla & Valencia are beautiful!

  • Ruth Crumplar
    March 2, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Jenna – so fun that y’all are going to Spain! I haven’t been in forever but I studied abroad there in college. I lived in Valencia which at the time wasn’t much of a tourist attraction but apparently it is gaining a lot more interest these days! Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. While you are there you need to take the cable over to Monsterrat – this incredible monastery on the side of a mountain. I never made it to San Sebastián because there was some politcial unrest there at the time but it’s supposed to be gorgeous. I also loved Grenanda and Sevilla. And I had several friends that studied in Salamanca and loved it. Hope that helps!

    Also, so glad you are discovering noonday! I have a few friends here in Austin that work for them and one is about to move to Rwanda to work with women there who make some of their products!

  • Janna
    March 2, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I love Spain. Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. Seville, Granada and Cordoba are also wonderful places to visit.

    I also recommend taking a day trip to Morocco. You won’t regret it!

  • Andrea
    March 2, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I honeymooned for two weeks in Spain. Barcelona is very cool but if you want small and only have six days I would highly suggest Sevilla and/or Granada to see the Alhambra. Those two were by far my fave cities of the whole trip.

  • Claire
    March 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Hi, i live in England and have to say that France and Spain are great choices. Please visit Madrid over Barcelona- Madrid is quirkier, more relaxed and has a more relaxed feel than Barcelona. Barcelona is touristy and not as ‘cool’ for want of a better word. I imagine in the same way San Fransisco is quirkier than LA.

    I’ve been to Barcelona once and Madrid four times, twice as an au pair so lived in the suburbs of Madrid for a time. It’s easy to get round and you can visit the gorgeous historical city of Toledo on the RENFE trains very easily and cheaply. Seville is a great place too and RENFE as super quick trains to get around on.
    Likewise in France, check out Nice and Canne over St Tropez. Again, visited all numerous times. I’d be happy to recommend more if you need!

  • Pamela
    March 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I studied abroad in Granada so that to me is a must for all that travel to Spain. It’s beautiful and has one of the seven wonder of the world, the Alhambra. Also Sevilla is amazing and full of young people. Delicious tapas and wine. Madrid is beautiful and also please go to Alicante. The beaches are insane.

  • Jennifer
    March 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    I went to Spain and Portugal alone, meeting up with girlfriends in Madrid. We booked a cheap (<$10) flight from Madrid to Palma De Mallorca with RyanAir that was my highlight! Lots of cruise ships port in Palma, and the beach is amazing. We rented a little Fiat Panda and roamed around the island stopping at small fishing and surfing villages for photos, a picnic, and sightseeing the cliffs. I would highly recommend it if you have time! It's mostly German inhabitants even though it's Spanish territory (it's jokingly referred to as Germany's 17th state!), so there's a whole different fusion of culture than anywhere else in Europe. GO TO PALMA! 🙂

  • Erin
    March 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Have a blast in Spain and Paris! We are going there next year and I can’t wait to see all of your recommendations!
    I am planning on attending Influence Conference this year an I’m so excited about the ticket sales! Thanks for letting me know the date! I can’t wait to but them!

  • Elisabeth
    March 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Franc & Spain! Fabulous! I’ve never been to Europe so I have no suggestions other than to have an amazing time 😉

  • Makenzie Ann
    March 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Are you kidding me?? Jewelry made from melted weapons….that is too good to be true. 🙂

  • Cate
    March 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I will always and forever love Toledo, which is this amazing walled city that is wonderful to get lost in. Get away from the main thoroughfares, and you will feel as if you have fallen backwards in time. I wandered the tiny, crooked lanes and climbed the tower of a church I stumbled upon for a better view.

    In terms of sheer jaw-dropping history, I know that the once mosque and now cathedral at Cordoba is one of my top three spots in the world. Be sure to climb atop another structure to get a view of the cathedral from above so that you can get another look at its form and scope.

    I also second the votes for Sevilla and Granada. Avoid the touristy flamenco shows in Sevilla, and find one of the smaller venues in the Jewish quarters. And Granada – the Moorish design of the Alhambra – enough said.

  • Caitlin F.
    March 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Sevilla & Granada are two of the most charming places I’ve ever been to & Toledo is magnificent, but my heart belongs to Barcelona. My favorite city in the world.

  • Live Love Yum
    March 2, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    I live never been to either (dream of it!) but I completely agree with your desires to find smaller towns – that’s where you’ll really see the countryside and get to know the people. Too often the larger cities are overpopulated and become just another city.

  • Mary
    March 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Ten years ago I went to Spain. Of all the places I visited, Salamanca and Segovia were my favorites. Salamanca has a double cathedral, old and new cathedrals. The old cathedral is over 1000 years old, totally amazing!!! Segovia still has ruins from when the ancient Romans built aqueducts. The history is awesome, the food is great and everyone was really friendly. I dream of the day when my husband and I can return to visit. Have fun!!!

  • Emily
    March 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Spain sounds beautiful! I’ve only been abroad once, and it was for our “babymoon” a couple years ago. We went to London because I wanted to go overseas but didn’t want to be all pregnant in a country where I couldn’t understand anyone. I’m a little chicken that way.

  • Julia
    March 3, 2013 at 3:49 am

    Hi congrats on your wedding!! I lived in Spain, and my husband is from Toledo, Spain where we also got married in 2009. Go to the Basque region because the food is hands down the best, as well as the beaches, culture, arts (guggenheim museum in bilboa), but do make sure to do a few days in Barcelona and Madrid, easy to get around Spain with high speed rail as well. Other food related destinations in Spain- suckling pig in Toledo (Hostal del Cardenal), churros in Madrid, pinxos in San Sebastian, Barcelona (paella, fideua, cava). Anyhow Spain is my second home, so go go go!

  • Karina
    March 3, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Spain is my favorite country out of all the places I’ve been to. The Andalucia region is a must-visit, my favorites being Sevilla (AMAZING food! Highly recommend Vineria San Telmo and La Azotea), Granada and Ronda. Segovia was also a highlight. If you visit Madrid, don’t miss Mercado San Miguel – I had the best Jamon Iberico de Bellota there.

  • Laura
    March 3, 2013 at 6:00 am

    6 days in Spain… What would you like for your Spanish experience? Beach and sun? Green landscapes? Small cities full of history? I’m Spanish and there so many places… If you choose the flight to Barcelona, check ‘la Costa Brava’ (Ampurias, Cadaques, Blanes, Tossa de Mar,…) If you flight to Madrid, then you can visit Segovia, Toledo, Salamanca, Ávila, if you go to the south, then Granada, Córdoba, Sevilla, Cabo de Gata maybe. And for a different experience to the ‘known’ Spain go to the north, I would choose Galicia and Asturias, but the Basque Country and Cantabria are beautiful, too.

  • jane
    March 3, 2013 at 7:22 am

    I spent my junior year abroad in Palma de Mallorca. GO THERE!! Yes, there are many germans there, but not in Palma itself. If you stay in the old part of Palma it is all very very old school Spain. and it is unbelievable. I have such fond memories of that great city. and the food. oh my word the food. frit mallorquin, pa amb oli….GO TO PALMA DE MALLORCA!

  • Lindsay
    March 3, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I’ve never been to Spain so make sure to take lots of pictures to share! Thanks for the virtual coffee this morning 🙂

  • Angie
    March 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I went to Southern Spain for 3 weeks last year. I started in Madrid and worked my way South to Tarifa. I can only echo the sentiments about Granada and Sevilla. My favorite cities were Toledo and Tarifa. They are smaller, but so beautiful!

  • Talia
    March 3, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Hi! Spain is amazing, Spanish was one of my majors in college and I studied abroad in Malaga (andalucia region). Depending on how much time you have definitely check out Sevilla, Granada, and Ronda if you are in the south but if you are staying more central/north head to Madrid, Segovia (small town outside of Madrid absolutely gorgeous) and Toledo (where we have the saying ‘holy Toledo’ because it has around twenty churches!), and Barcelona. Shoot me an email if you want any suggestions of places to tour in what cities/towns! You’ll have an amazing trip!!!

  • Shannon D'J
    March 3, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Jenna, you are going to LOVE Spain! I studied abroad there and have visited twice since. Definitely do Sevilla. It’s incredibly quaint, with flowers flowing off all the buildings and the people are so hospitable. Take a guided tour by horse and carriage. It’s romantic and you’ll see so much more than you would see on foot. Have dinner outside, order sangria (it’s so much better than it is in the US), and see a flamenco show. You’ll love it. Have fun and take pictures! We’re all going to want to re-live our visits to Spain through you and Adam!

  • Jenna | The Paleo Project
    March 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

    It could be a glitch – I love your blog – But I literally just had three pop up advertisements while trying to read this post – and was also super distracted by the moving ads on the side! I know bloggerss need to sustain an income to do what you love, etc… but maybe look into these distracting ones? I hope you love Paris as much as I did!

  • Fallon
    March 3, 2013 at 9:51 am

    I echo the San Sebastien recommendation. It is beautiful!!!

  • Esther
    March 3, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Hi Jenna
    please go to the Costa del Sol ie Marbella, Ronda – especially breathtaking views + the way to get there is super beautiful. If you have time take a big walk in Sierra Nieves that is a beautiful nature park on the way to Ronda.
    If you have time drive out to Gibraltar – that is only 1 hour from Marbella, check the Rock and the monkeys 😉
    Next to Marbella there is a tiny village called Benahavis, very nice, amazing view again at the Rock, Gibraltar.
    If you fancy some wolves, there is a very nice park called Lobopark in Antequera, where they give you tours in English + have a fullmoon event every month in the park w/ bbq. Please check their website!
    I was living there for 2 years, honestly recommend these places.
    Cant wait to see what you choose to see when you are there. 🙂
    ps. any more details about your wedding, how the venue looks ? or the menu? im soo excited, hopefully you will share some insights with us. (Btw i am marrying on the same day, in Europe! ;))

    • Elaine
      March 4, 2013 at 10:31 am

      I absolutely AGREE – Costa del Sol is the best! I went during break while studying abroad and flew into Malaga. I stayed at a friend’s house and loved the relaxing mediterranean atmosphere. We went on day trips to Gibraltar, Morocco, Seville, Cordoba, and Granada. So much history and stunning views, you won’t want to miss it!

  • Amy
    March 3, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Hey Jenna, love love love these coffee dates … but I would suggest to do away with the “If we were having coffee this morning, I’d tell you that … “. For some reason it takes away from the intimacy of the post and becomes really repetitive. Maybe just start out with it and then mix it up for the next few paragraphs? I may be the only one who feels this way, but I just thought I’d pass along the suggestion. Anywho, happy planning!

    • Heather
      March 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      I feel the same way! It’s distracting and takes away from the post

  • Rachel
    March 3, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Spain is one of my absolute favorite countries! Barcelona is wonderful and so is Sevilla, although Sevilla may be my favorite. As for smaller towns, Toledo is certainly worth a day trip if you’ll be around Madrid (my least favorite city), and in southern Spain, Ronda is really nice. Bilbao is also worth a visit if you’ll be in the northwest.

  • Dana
    March 3, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Hey Jenna, I was in Spain last year and a wonderful day trip from the city is Girona. You can’t find a more beautiful ancient town. It has the oldest Jewish Quarter in Europe and all the cobblestone, narrow walkways you can imagine. When you think of old Europe this is the place. It is a lovely town to walk around and explore. Viator is a great site to book day trips from. They have so many to choose from and they work with local companies and have tons of reviews from people who have been on the trips including pictures. Also if you want something fun and delicious in Paris, try the Chocolate and Pastry’s tour of the Latin Quarter. It was awesome!

  • Izzie
    March 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

    I’m currently studying abroad in barcelona so don’t hesitate to ask me anything that you might be wondering 🙂

  • cyndi
    March 3, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    You must go to Segovia! It’s an amazing small town – quintessential Europe. The Castle where the Isabella and Ferdinand lived is located there as is the oldest aquaduct. It’s truly amazing. The food is delicious — Segovia is known for its cochino (baby pig).

  • Rebecca
    March 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I hate to be a “Debbie Downer” but I know several people that have gone to Spain and were not thrilled about it. I would reconsider Spain and go to Switzerland or Italy instead. If you must go to Spain, avoid Madrid.

  • Jennifer
    March 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    I am currently living in Madrid for one year working for the public school system as an English language assistant with secondary students. My teachers and students love telling me about about places to visit in Spain. Cordoba, Sevilla, Barcelona, and the Rioja wine region in the north are all big favorites. (Everyone says that northern Spain is absolutely breathtaking.) I just moved here in January so I haven’t had much time to explore outside of Madrid, but I really love my city so far! I can’t wait to see where you choose to go on your honeymoon. 🙂

  • Lindsay Parker
    March 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    I lived in Spain for thirteen months. I was in Granada, but traveled all over. Granada is a great place to visit. It was the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, so it has a ton of Arabic influence. The Alhambra and Generalife are amazing and Granada also has the best schwarmas in Spain. Another one of my favorite spots was Nerja. It’s a tiny pueblo on the beach. If you’re looking for a day or two at the beach, it is more quaint and less touristy than Marbella.

  • Erica
    March 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I’ve been to Spain a few times. We did a lot of the touristy-y, big city stuff, but my absolute favorite place is a coastal town called Nerja. It’s GORGEOUS- right on the Costa del Sol. It’s little, so you can walk to anything you want to get to- plenty of little shops, restaraunts, etc., all on cobblestone streets. I went twice in college but would love to go back with my husband one day- it’s one of the most romantic, pretty towns I’ve seen in Europe. Granada is another small-ish Spanish town that has a lot of charm if you stay in the old city. Wherever you end up going, you’ll love Spain!

  • Ellie
    March 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    If you get the chance, try a trip over to Ibiza, either by plane or ferry. It’s a beautiful island to explore. I lived there for eight years and still miss it!

  • Jessica
    March 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Hi!! I went to Spain this past summer and had an amazing experience! When in Barcelona be sure to explore around the Born area. There are a ton of little restaurants and shops, all unique and wonderful. Paco meralgo was one of the most authentic, fresh and exquisite tapas restaurants in Barcelona. There are a ton of tourist traps, so make sure to research where you eat. I took a day trip via train to the Sitges which is a smaller beachy town which I would recommend.

    I also travelled to Madrid where I did a wine tour through gourmet Madrid ( which was AMAZING and worth every penny. We were taken in a small group through tours of three winery’s in small towns outside of Madrid, and then taken to an authentic restaurant in one of the small villages where the your guide orders for the group, and you are able to try delicious dishes you may not think to order otherwise. If going to Madrid, this trip is a must.

    Good luck!!

  • lindsay
    March 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I would highly recommend the north of Spain! I studied in Barcelona and cannot express my love for the city enough, from the fun nightlife to the gorgeous art and architecture to the culinary traditions (like la Boqueria market in the center of the city). It would make for a lovely honeymoon. A few ideas:
    About a 20 minute train ride outside Barcelona on the Mediterranean is a small town called Sitges. It is absolutely breathtaking! It’s right on the beach, picturesque, cobblestoned, and quite high-end with fine dining. It is also not a huge American tourist destination, which I consider a plus.
    On the other side of the north of Spain in the Basque region is San Sebastian! It’s known for its pinxtos tapas and is a breathtaking mix of cultures. I would highly, highly recommend this as a beautiful, quiet getaway.
    A few nights in Barcelona, one night in Sitges and a couple nights in San Sebastian… can’t imagine anything better!

  • Stacey
    March 3, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Hi Jenna! I spent a semester abroad in Alicante, Spain, and loved it there. I would also recommend Valencia. If you are looking for smaller towns to explore around these areas, I would recommend: Guadalest, Villajoyosa, Javea, Elche, and Orihuela. Really, I don’t think you can go wrong anywhere you choose! I would be happy to pass along any recommendations on restaurants/hotels/must-sees!

  • karla
    March 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    I’m from spain. so if you want any advice just email.
    do you want beaches, cities, mountains, flamenco, museums, arab influence, quaint little towns? being in the north and south are two totally different spains….and catalunya is another different experience.

  • karla
    March 3, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    also being a foodie…you need to go to san sebastian….just sayin’

  • Emily
    March 3, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    If you want to experience Spain, the south of Spain is the best. People always gush about Barcelona, and it’s phenomenal, but it’s not Spanish (they speak Catalán there…). In Seville, Cordoba, Granada you can see the rich mix of Christian/Muslim/Jewish cultures and religion, eat tapas, experience SIESTAS! and the beautiful sunshine. Southern Spain is awesome, and I really hope you make it there…don’t miss out on a Spanish experience by going only to Barcelona.

  • jill
    March 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    We honeymooned for 2 weeks in spain. We went all over the country, and I would have to say a must is Granada & Barcelona !! When in Barcelona get a place somewhere on the Las Ramblas strip, definetly worth it. For the Granada visit, stay at the Granada Palace and make reservations ahead of time to visit Alhambra (otherwise, you will have to wait in a long line and may never get in to see the palace). Also, Granada has the most amazing Indian food EVER (and I am indian, so i know good stuff :). Also, If I may, I would suggest a few nights in either malaga or cabos san lucas prior to diving in deep within Spain. You will be so exhausted from the wedding, traveling across the country and time difference that the first few days/nights in spain will be useless > you will just want to sleep and get renergized ( I mostly wanted to sleep while in barcelona, so sad and still would love to go back to make up for it). I say enjoy some downtime of beach, cocktails and spa – then go to town in Spain. It will be an amazing trip !! Sorry for the long post … if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to shoot me an email.



  • Amanda
    March 3, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    All I gotta say is Corboba in the summer… do you want to die of a heat stroke on your honeymoon? Plus, the sheer distance from Barcelona to Cordoba? Stay on the Costa Brava, there is plenty to do. Girona, Figueres, Montserrat, Cadaques, Barcelona, Tarragona…

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape
    March 3, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I went to Spain with my family a few years ago and it was one of the best trips I have been on. We did not go to Barcelona, but I have heard it is fantastic. Torremolinos is a nice little coastal town. If you like more quaint places that don’t feel as touristy, then that town is a must. Madrid was beautiful and has a lot of really wonderful art museums. To be honest, I don’t really think you can go wrong in Spain!

  • Kelly
    March 3, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Spain is amazing! I was backpacking in europe afew years ago and spent a few weeks touring spain. San Sebastian was amazing – probably my favourite. Gorgeous beach (I think the best I’ve seen actually) , some shops and great waves for trying out surfing! Close to Bilbao if you want to see the gugenheim (sp. awful). Barcelona was fantastic, very lively – gaull park is so surreal. Like a fairy tale land! Zaragoza was a hidden gem, just there for a day but had the best local take me around to see the sights. Spain – def a good choice!

  • Art @ Fit at Fifty
    March 3, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I am envious, sounds like a great trip.
    I do plan to go to Europe at least once in my life.

  • Mary
    March 3, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Went to Spain with my husband in the summer of 2011 = totally AMAAAAAAZiiiing.

    If you’re looking for an off the beaten path route, these are my recommendations:

    Fly from Barcelona to Malaga (v. cool city!)
    Rent a car and head to a few or all of these places:
    El Puerto de Santa Maria and Cadiz (my faves)
    Tarifa (Morocco is a 3 hr and very cheap boat ride across! We did this for a day)

    Also, I would recommend using for cheap and awesome accommodations!! Like you’re literally shacking up in local’s apartments. We’ve used the site for that trip and another trip to Italy, and have never had a bad experience!

  • Kate
    March 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Barcelona is amazing!

    If you are looking for smaller towns I can’t recommend Segovia enough! I studied abroad there for 5 weeks and it is wonderful. Plus it has an astounding Roman aqueduct and the Alcazar de Segovia, which the Disneyland castle was modeled after! It’s also only an hour outside Madrid if you plan to go there.

  • Ellen
    March 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    I lived in Seville, Spain for four months, and I plan to go back to my second home at Christmas! Seville is a gorgeous city, not too big, and it has both amazing history and great places to shop and eat. If you go, definitely go to the Plaza de España for some great photo opportunities, and taking a walk along the Guadalquivir River is always a must. Barcelona and Valencia are also great choices if you want to experience both large cities and areas where traditional Castellano Spanish isn’t spoken as much. Córdoba is also chock full of historical places to visit, and I had the best salmorejo (a cold soup similar to gazpacho) of my life there!

    Make sure to drink lots of water and wear tons of sunscreen since it is often sunny and VERY hot!! Layers are also essential, since nighttime can get a bit chilly and as the day progresses it gets warmer very quickly. Have a wonderful time during your travels!! I hope this helps a bit!

  • Sharon
    March 3, 2013 at 8:07 pm

    If you are doing French Riviera then Spain, and flying out of Barcelona, it might make sense to go through the Costa Brava region for a few days, ending with two or three days in Barcelona. Girona is a beautiful medieval city in that region, there is also Tossa, a small medieval walled city. We stayed with friends who at the time lived in San Felieu de Guixols. Check it out online-theres even an amazing trail system leading from city to city along the coast there. I am sure there must be a Rick Steves article or two detailing the region. Also when in France are you going to Aix en Provence? Avignon? I would highly recommend both. Nimes is quite wonderful too! Will you be going to Pont du Gard? Anyway, very exciting-love that whole region. Barcelona is amazing-Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, etc…

  • Teresa
    March 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    I’ve been all over Spain (Seville, Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, all the main touristy spots..) However, my favorite 2 things over the years have been to see Pamplona- not far from France- a great stopping place for a night. Also, I loved taking a ferry across the water to Tangier, Morocco! You can go for just a couple hours and shop at a bazaar! I thought that was awesome, so I could say I’ve been to Africa. 🙂 Enjoy planning!

  • Kristin
    March 4, 2013 at 4:13 am

    You have to go to Granada, the most beautiful city in the world! The Alahambra is even more magnificent in person than in pictures!

    I studied abroad in Spain in the city of Salamanca which is a bit north of Madrid. It is good for a day trip but I wouldn’t stay there overnight. My host mom said that Santander was the most beautiful city in Spain it is in the north in the country in Cantabria which borders the famous basque region.

    Also for some small towns Ciudad Rodrigo and Burgos are fun small towns to visit they are close to Salamanca!

  • Kristin
    March 4, 2013 at 4:16 am

    Sorry I meant San Sebastian not Santander!

  • Patty
    March 4, 2013 at 5:23 am

    My only advice for Spain is you must try empanada gallega. It is absolutely delicious. If you happen to be in Biarritz while in France you have to go to Maison Adam, though you may not come out because it is filled with yummy goodness. And when I say yummy goodness I mean their chocolates are to die for :o)

  • Carrie
    March 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

    I studied in Spain in a very small, but beautiful town called Segovia (an hour north of Madrid). It’s home to a Roman aqueduct and at the edge of town there is a castle that the Disney Cinderella castle was modeled after–great views, very romantic. I loved it there.

  • Jennifer
    March 4, 2013 at 6:18 am

    I did a study abroad program in Spain during my junior year of college. You will love it! Madrid is so much fun, but if you’re looking for small cities I would suggest: Malaga and Nerja. Nerja has the balcony of Europe. It’s beautiful and a quaint, fun town. Toledo is really nice too. Lots of history. Barcelona is fun and exciting, but it’s easy to get lost (been there, done that). Good luck on your honeymoon!!!

  • Simply Life
    March 4, 2013 at 6:54 am

    I’ve lived in Madrid and Sevilla- I would HIGHLY recommend going to Sevilla- it’s a smaller city, that is just so romantic and charming!

  • Samantha
    March 4, 2013 at 8:20 am


    I went to Spain for two weeks this past August, I stayed primarily in Barcelona and in Ibiza. My absolute favorite part of Barcelona was the market they have in the center of town every morning, it has thousands of fresh juices, and all the essentials to cook a great meal. In the midst of the market though is a sit down bar style eatery. I had bulls tail Rissoto and boy was it amazing. The eatery is run by a family of boys! You won’t miss the brown overhang with ecclectic pictures and bar style seating smack dab in the center. You also can’t miss having fresh Paella in the cities center with a large pitcher of Sangria. Then its a must to rent bikes and visit the La Sagrada Familia. You will be blown away by the beauty inside this monumental building, I almost fainted in fact. The tappas are also plentiful around the city. If you are really interested in knowing the names of these food places, feel free to email me! My friend I went with was the ultimate foodie from Bangkok and made sure we went to all the best places. Let me know!


  • Brianna
    March 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

    Madrid is hotter than hell during the summer, but there are some interesting places to see in & aroun the city. The Prado, museum of national history, various plazas (worth it just for the people watching and street musicians, Palacio Real, and city park are all worth seeing. Just know that cameras are not allowed in serveral historical landmarks due to preservation efforts of the city. I have to agree with some of the previous posters though in saying the city is dirty (as most old cities are) and don’t be surprised when you can’t get a decent meal before 10 pm. Be sure to brush up on your Spanish before you go!

  • Lizz
    March 4, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Barcelona is amazing!

    Also, you should check out that show that Mario Batali and Gweneth Paltrow did. I’m pretty sure it was all about them eating and road-tripping through Spain! (I think it’s called “Spain – On the Road Again”)

  • Alyssa
    March 4, 2013 at 8:52 am

    I highly recommend Malaga. It’s a coastal city with lots of history and culture. It’s a good size, but super easy to get around and explore. While I was there a few years ago visiting friends we took a day trip to Nerja, a nearby beach town, and it is GORGEOUS. It was a quick bus ride away! You will love the fresh seafood and other local specialties.

  • Liz
    March 4, 2013 at 9:55 am

    When I visited Barcelona we did a day trip to Sitges. It’s about a 30 min train ride from Barcelona. It’s a beautiful town and has a GREAT beach! The city is surrounded by the sea, just amazing!

  • Joyce
    March 4, 2013 at 9:59 am

    the jewelry looks amazing! And such a creative idea, wonderful!

  • Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog
    March 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    After spending a semester abroad, I absolutely adore southern Spain! I lived in Sevilla and often I have to pinch myself when I think about how I lived there. It is quaint, yet lively and full of culture. You can walk along the river, eat tapas and drink sangria until your full and go see a flamenco show. If you are there during bull fighting season, that’s another site to see. Even if you don’t want to go to a show, you can tour the bullfighting area (plaza de toros). The cathedral is gorgeous – Christopher Columbus is buried there. Granada is another wonderful southern city – home to La Alhambra and has a lot of Muslim influence. Cadiz is another cute town by the sea – I believe one of the Bond movies had a scene filmed here. I really could go on and one, so if you’d like to hear more, feel free to email me – 🙂

  • lia
    March 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    I studied abroad in Spain and traveled all over. Beyond recommending that you eat tortilla, drink sangria and tinto and avoid Mahou beer, I rank ordered the best cities:
    1. Toledo: a good day trip from Madrid and so gorgeous! Hike outside the city, wander the cobblestone streets etc. I am biased because I studied there and the beauty and history never ceased to take my breath away!
    2. Sevilla: SO romantic, with most of the must-sees very close together.
    3. Granada: such a melting pot. Try to get into the Roma neighborhood of Sacromonte and Alhambra is worth several hours of your time!
    4. Barcelona: Parc Güell is stunning and the markets even more so. Beaches in the city itself are subpar. Eating pintxos (tapas in Catalán) is a great experience.
    5. Valencia: when we were there it was incredibly cold. We went on a culinary tour of city to keep warm and it was wonderful. Definitely a foodie city.
    6. Madrid: I have been at least a dozen times and it is not my favorite. The Prado and the Reina Sofía are very different, but both noteworthy. I adore el Parque del Buen Retiro, and the palace is worth a tour.
    7. Córdoba: There is nothing to see beyond the mosque-cathedral, not worth going out of your way for.

  • Stephanie
    March 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I lived in Granada for 6 months and absolutely loved it. I’d highly recommend it as a smaller city with lots to see in Spain. So beautiful!

  • The Mrs. @ Kitchen Doesn't Travel
    March 4, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    So this may be a little far-fetched for the Spain travel ideas, but did you ever watch that 10 week PBS special that Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow did called Spain: On the Road Again. Mario and Gwyneth both have ties to Spain and they decided to do a gastronomic road trip across Spain with themselves, Mark Bittman, and one other person. The series was AMAZING and is totally the trip I want to take across Spain one day. It has amazing travel ideas with lots of great places to get fantastic local foods and wines. I think you can purchase episodes through iTunes. They used to have a website up and running that would play some of the videos. They also published a cookbook from the series which is part cookbook, part travel guide. I have it and LOVE it. Even if you don’t get specific travel recommendations from the series, it will totally make you fall in love with Spain and be even more pumped for the trip than you already are. Hope this helps!

  • Cindy
    March 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    You decided to go to SPAIN?! I studied in Valencia one summer, and have been there a couple of other times to various destinations! You should go sea kayaking on the costa brava—one of the highlights of my life! We need to talk lady!!

  • sara
    March 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    wow so many comments for you to sift through! i have been so blessed to travel to spain several times. i have absolute find memories of mallorca. fly into palma and then stay in the most amazing hotel that overlooks the terraced land and the sea. the hotel is smallish but has a lovely pool over-looking the sea and best of all the family cooks from scratch daily. we always are there and rarely ventured out because why?! an amazing chef cooking from her own garden, how can that be topped? it is perfect for a honeymoon. if you want details email me…it’s so perfect really really.

  • sara
    March 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    wow so many comments for you to sift through! i have been so blessed to travel to spain several times. i have absolute find memories of mallorca. fly into palma and then stay in the most amazing hotel that overlooks the terraced land and the sea. the hotel is smallish but has a lovely pool over-looking the sea and best of all the family cooks from scratch daily. we always ate there and rarely ventured out because why?! an amazing chef cooking from her own garden, how can that be topped? it is perfect for a honeymoon. if you want details email me…it’s so perfect really really.

  • Kat
    March 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I lived in Germany for many years because I fell in love with the country. And Switzerland is where I fell in love. And Greece (Crete) is where I felt as if I died and went to heaven and had an eternity alone with that said person. Hiking in Crete in April is the most spectacular experience, albeit it helps to be with a Greek speaker.
    So I wouldn’t recommend Spain or France. 🙂 (If you do go to France, try the Haute-Savoie region and Geneva.)

  • Jeanne
    March 5, 2013 at 6:16 am

    If you go to Costa del Sol, the Buddhist Enlightenment Stupa is amazing.

  • Hannah
    March 5, 2013 at 10:16 am


    So excited you are headed to Spain. Barcelona will definitely be a favorite. I lived in Granada (in the south) and it was great! Granada is the last of the Moorish districts and I beg to say the most Spanish part of Spain. Slow and old in their ways, and not a lot of English-and best of all-GREAT FOOD! If you could do a day in Sevilla and then a day in Granada (a few hours bus ride), you would enjoy it so much!
    Please keep us updated on your itinerary! Feel free to email me with questions of Spain-I traveled all over!

  • Molly
    March 5, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    You must go to San Sebastian…the perfect Spanish honeymoon destination spot with beautiful beaches and some of the most amazing restaurants…it is one of the best places to eat in Europe, I believe lots of chef study there. It is located in Northern Spain near the French border!

  • Molly
    March 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    P.S. If you decide to head to Andalucia…Sevilla, Granada, Malaga….GO to Restuarante Sevilla IN Granada! Most romantic quaint place to sit, sip wine, and eat for hours…

  • Carly Pritchard
    March 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    I studied abroad in Spain for 5 months, it was amazing! Sevilla and Granada are a must, especially Sevilla. I also visited the Basque country, which was amazing as well!

  • Hannah
    March 5, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    My boyfriend lived in Spain for a short time. His favorite was Barcelona, as well as Madrid. Interesting culture. Good luck deciding on the honeymoon plans! 🙂 Anywhere you go with your love will be special and memorable, no matter what!

  • cel
    March 5, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    or just go to switzerland! tops them all!

  • Mel
    March 6, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Rick Steves is the best! My friends and I called him ‘Pretty Ricky’ when we studied abroad, literally whatever Rick said to do was genius and amazing. I currently live in Morocco and plan on taking a week trip up to Sevilla this August! That’s my pick.

  • Megan
    March 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I would definitely recommend Barcelona & work your way down the coast through Valencia, Sevilla, Granada, Malaga & Marbella. 🙂

  • serena
    March 8, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    Go to San Sebastian– it’s in northern Spain in the Basque country, not far from the French border and a few hours on the train from Barcelona. There are 3 (!) beaches in the town, one has a great surf break and the others are good for swimming. The food is really good and the best thing to do is go to a “sidreria”– a cider house where they serve a set menu and unlimited apple cider that pours out of a spout from a huge barrel. It is really fun! Most of the cider houses are outside of the city but you can easily get to them. I studied abroad there 5 years ago and would love to go back. The city is really beautiful, not too big, and “La Parte Vieja” (Old Town) is full of bars and restaurants. Do it!!

  • Lauren@LittleYellowKitchen
    March 9, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Chris and I are headed to Spain and Portugal for our honeymoon in September. I’d love to hear about what you guys plan to do in Spain (and steal all your ideas)! Honeymoon planning is hard work but so exciting!

  • Shelley
    March 10, 2013 at 9:05 am

    I agree with all who recommended Andalusia. Granada is a beautiful city and the Alhambra is incredible. Seville was one of my favorite towns and has the most incredible cathedral I’ve seen. The castle there is also very impressive. Malaga and Marbella are lovely beach towns. Cordoba was meh in my opinion. Compared to the rest anyway. There’s a great place in Tarifa called Avenida Ecuestre where you can go horseback riding on the beach. And Gibraltar is 45 min drive from Tarifa. Wild monkeys everywhere and one of the most beautiful views (from the top of the rock) I’ve seen. Restaurants in Spain tend to be hit or miss. Get recommendations from your hotel or a guide book. Tinto verrano (get it with lemon) is like a red wine spritzer and is very refreshing sitting on a patio on a summer day. Spanish beer is pretty much all pilsner. The olives there are amazing, and most restaurants give you some when you order a drink. Chocolate con churros is delicious. Have a great trip!

  • Clara
    March 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I would definitely go to Barcelona! I’ve been there last year and it was amazing. My Spanish teacher (who is Spanish) said Sevilla was her favorite city in Spain (and she’s not from there so not biased!) 😀 From Sevilla you could probably take trips around Andalusia as well. 🙂

  • Lindsey Rix
    March 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

    We just got back from our honeymoon to Spain and we had a perfect time. We went to Barcelona and Sevilla. We loved the high speed renfe train down to Sevilla as the best part of the trip. Sevilla (and Andalusia) in general was so beautiful and friendly. Stayed in Hotel Casa 1800 (perfect location in Sevilla) and even took a wine tour to Ronda w/ A Question of Taste for just my husband and I. Roger Davies (originally from Wales) was a perfect tour guide. Loved learning about the winemaking in Spain and exploring Ronda a bit. He can do other custom excursions as well. Favorite restaurant in Sevilla was La Brunilda. But otherwise, we mostly just walked and walked and explored both Barcelona and Sevilla. La Sagrada Familia is VERY worth seeing in Barcelona but buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to deal with the insanely long line. Also, if you can time it so you’re at the Font Magica on a night when they do the music/light show, it’s romantic and beautiful. In Barcelona, I also recommend the Barcelona Cooking class. Either in morning or afternoon you can cook some Catalan dishes and drink wine. We even did the part where you tour the Boqueria market with them. Wonderful. Also, if FC Barcelona is playing, it’s totally worth the ticket. Easy metro ride out and a fun (and very safe) way to catch a football match. I probably have more suggestions but that’s a good start. Just bring your walking shoes and appetite because that’s all you’ll need for any place in Spain.

  • Lisa
    March 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    One of my most favorite small towns in Spain is Toledo – gorgeous walled city with beautiful churches and the most amazing marzipan. Another great place to go is Montserrat, northwest of Barcelona. You take a cable car up the mountain with amazing views, up to a monastery, with great hikes that will take up further up to the top of the world. An amazing little restaurant exists on the mountain that is built into the mountain side, that had the MOST AMAZING paella I have ever tasted in my life – and I have tried hundreds! The restaurant is called Abat Cisneros. And while you’re near Barcelona, you HAVE to see La Sagrada Familia – it will blow your mind! Enjoy the amazing trip!

  • Katie H
    March 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    Spain is INCREDIBLE! I studied abroad there this past summer and every part of it is unique and beautiful in its own way. If you only have 6 days, I would recommend staying in the North. San Sebastian (in the Pais Vasco) is stunning and one of the best food cities in the entire country. Tapas galore! And the beaches and water just sparkle. That and Barcelona were my favorite places. You honestly could spend 6 days in Barcelona and not see everything. I would definitely recommend getting one of the hop-on/hop-off bus passes. It’s the easiest way to get around the whole city and hit the big sites like all of Gaudí’s work, big markets etc…Let me know if you’d like any more tips/suggestions. I’d be happy to share 🙂

  • Coffee Date |
    April 5, 2013 at 4:43 am

    […] I’d take a break from my vacation recaps to talk to you about life in general. I love the coffee date posts that I’ve seen around the blog world lately, and I thought that it’d be fun […]

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    December 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added”
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