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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Essie Communications Manager Anna’s Trip to Portugal, France, and Spain - Love Stories TV

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Honeymoon Travel Guide: Essie Communications Manager Anna’s Trip to Portugal, France, and Spain

Our friend Anna recently returned from her gorgeous honeymoon so, naturally, we asked her for all of her recs! Anna and Michael hit up five European cities: Lisbon, Porto, San Sebastian, Bordeaux, and Barcelona. Their trip outline is PERF for couples who want a honeymoon that is equal parts relaxing and adventurous. Read on for Anna’s favorite tapas, wine, beaches, spas, and more.

Lisbon, Portugal


Miradouro de Santa Luzia

Two days after our wedding day, we took a redeye flight from Newark to Lisbon. This gave us enough time to open gifts, unpack and repack without feeling rushed.

We stayed at Memmo Alfama, the first boutique hotel in the city’s historic district. The hotel’s authentic-yet- contemporary style and friendly staff made a great first impression!

Our first stop was a casual lunch at Cantina Ze Avillez. The cod croquettes, green egg dish and octopus were incredibly fresh and satisfying after a long travel day.

After lunch, we explored the narrow streets of Lisbon, toured the Castelo de Sao Jorge (the views from the castle are breathtaking) and had a quick photo moment at Miradouro de Santa Luzia.


Lisbon

The second day we had breakfast at the hotel (the Pasteis de Nata, Portuguese custard-filled tarts, were to die for!) before venturing to World Cup Plaza and a huge Time Out food market called Mercado da Ribeira. The market was filled with stalls from all of the best restaurants in the city.


Mercado da Ribeira

Highlights for us were the suckling pig sandwich from Henrique Sá Pessoa (same chef from Alma), a local cheese and charcuterie board from Manteigaria da Silva and sparkling sangria from O Bar da Odete. We were glad we visited the market hungry!

After the market, we explored the Bairro Alto district followed by drinks at Museu de Farmacia and Park Rooftop. Both spots felt authentic to Lisbon and offered stunning views of the city. We ended our day with an amazing dinner at A Cevicheria.

For our last day, we booked a day trip to Sintra and Cascais through Viator. The tour was perfect because it was a small group of eight, and our guide, Rui, took us off the beaten path. The weather was dreary, but we saw incredible sites throughout Praia da Conceicao, Palacio da Pena and Cascais!

We ended the tour with dinner at Mar do Inferno in Cascais with the freshest lobster and local fish.


Cabo da Roca

 


Palacio da Pena

Porto, Portugal

Next up: Porto, the second largest city in Portugal. We rented a car in order to see the Duoro Valley.

We checked in our Airbnb in Porto District 4000 before zigzagging through the streets to the Douro River. This area is best for eating, drinking, people-watching and eating some more. In order to see more of the city, we hopped on the Six Bridges Boat Tour.

Our favorite meal was dinner at O Paparico. The tasting menu and wine pairing was unforgettable and set the bar high for the rest of our trip!

Other highlights:

Guided tour and port tasting at Ferreira Cellars


Igreja do Carmo

 


Clerigos Tower

Porto was the ultimate city for wine and food. Unless you plan a day at the beach (approximately 30-minutes by car or bike), do not expect much relaxing!

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian lived up to its reputation for the best beaches, pintxos, wine and Michelin-starred restaurants. It was a quick travel-day by plane with a connection through Madrid.

Upon arriving to our HomeAway apartment, we walked five minutes to Zurriola Beach and booked a pintxo tour through Mimo, a top culinary school in Spain. We tasted the most amazing food, wine and cocktails at five restaurants and met two other awesome couples.


Local meats at Gandarias Jatetxea

A coastal hike is always a good idea for gorgeous views. This blog post from Spain-Holday.com offered helpful tips for finding the path behind the mountain Ulia, which overlooks Zurriola Beach.


Mount Ulia

For food and drinks, do not miss:


Tasting menu at Kokotxa

Bordeaux, France

Getting to Bordeaux by train is a great option when traveling from San Sebastian. We stayed in the heart of the city at Mama Shelter, known for its lively accommodations, restaurant, and rooftop. While in Bordeaux, do not miss cocktails at Night Beach at Intercontinental and dinner or brunch at Café Mancuso.

Our favorite part of Bordeaux is wine country (no surprise!) which is a 40-minute taxi ride from Mama Shelter. We spent the first half of our day at Les Sources des Caudalie experiencing their indoor and outdoor pools, steam room, vino baths, water therapy and custom facials.


Les Sources des Caudalie

 


Les Sources des Caudalie

Around 1 p.m., we took a taxi to Chateau Biac, the most magical vineyard. The owner gave us the most detailed tour with another couple from New York. They are extremely welcoming, generous, and knowledgeable. Our only regret is not booking a few more tours and tastings in the area.


Chateau Biac

When we returned to the city that evening, we strolled by the Place de la Bourse and Le Miroir d’Eau (“the water mirror”).


The heart of Bordeaux

For our last day in Bordeaux, we took a short train ride to Saint-Emilion, a medieval town with 10 key “sites” and hundreds of vineyards, shops and restaurants. We stumbled on a small creperie and delicious spot for gelato.


Saint-Emilion

Barcelona, Spain

Our last stop was Barcelona. We quickly realized 1) the pros of walking everywhere and 2) the “hot” time for dinner is at 9 p.m.

We checked in at Oasis: Born Bungalow in the old quarter and immediately made Gaudí reservations (Sagrada Familia and Gaudi houses) for the following day. The old quarter is the best neighborhood for local boutiques, delicious restaurants and lively bars.

Sagrada Familia is beyond gorgeous! We booked an audio tour, which was worth it because there are so many details and hidden meanings. We left mesmerized and marked our calendars for the completion date in 2026. Park Guell is one of the other masterpieces of Gaudi. It’s a big park with lots of paths and views over the city from up high.


Sagrada Familia

 


Park Guell

A day-trip to Sitges is also a must for R&R. It is the most amazing beach town about 45-minutes by train from the city.

Other highlights:

  • Mercado de la Boqueria: Every kind of meat imaginable, fresh juice for cheap, and amazing street food. We ate at Kiosk Universal. So good!
  • La Rambla: A big wide boulevard going right through the middle of the city. Go on a weeknight when it isn’t crowded.
  • Barceloneta Beach: This is the neighborhood right by the beach, and walking the boardwalk is the nicest stroll for a break from the city sightseeing. A perfect place to people watch and relax for a while.

We had a long list of restaurants, but prioritized the following:

  • 7 Portes: A must for paella and sangria. The restaurant is over 150 years old. We went for lunch so we could walk it off.
  • Tapas in El Poble Sec: Try one of the many cute tapas places on Carrer de Blai in the Poble Sec neighborhood. Get there by 8:30 to get a table outside. All the places are good, can’t go wrong! Quimet & Quimet was our favorite.
  • Gallito: A delicious beachfront spot near the W Barcelona. Perfect to watch the sunset.
  • Bar del Pla: Great tapas restaurant that was recommended by a local friend. Very authentic with daily specials.
  • La Manual Alpargatera: The oldest espadrilles shop.

Sitges

 


La Manual Alpargatera

Our honeymoon included the perfect mix of food, relaxation and adventure. We will definitely be back in Portugal, France and Spain sooner than later!

Anna’s packing must-haves:

My go-to outfits were a mix of tanks from Outdoor Voices and Teva with Birkenstock sandals, t-shirt dresses from Old Navy, summer dresses from Zara and Top Shop and a handmade straw hat from Lisbon.

Watch Anna and Michael’s rustic outdoor wedding by CinemaCapture here.
Follow Anna on Instagram here.