Portugal oozes romance. Everywhere you look there is beauty and history. From the terracotta rooftops of Lisbon to the rolling farmland of the Alentejo and vineyard covered Douro valley, there are perfect romantic getaway destinations all around.
So, if you’re looking for a destination to rekindle the romance, as a first break together or even to pop the big question, here are some top choices.
One of Europe’s oldest and most beautiful capitals, the red rooftops and pastel coloured buildings tower over a labyrinth of cobbled streets, stylish restaurants and boutique hotels. Check out the views from hilltop Graca, stroll the exotic gardens at Estrella or hang out in hip Cais do Sodre.
Portugal’s second city is perched on a steep hill beside the Douro river. The other side of the river is covered with vast port cellars and the city’s tall stone buildings line streets that almost all lead down to the lively Ribeira. Catch a boat up river or cross the towering iron bridge for the best views of the city.
This ancient city and one time capital is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Gown wearing students wander the streets of this most typical of Portuguese cities, with its steep hill side and grid of narrow alleyways. The iconic Quinta das Lagrimas is steeped in romantic tragedy.
This steep valley sides are covered in rows of vines, in one of the world’s most beautiful wine regions. Stay in an estate, sipping stunning wines as you gaze out over the river sparkling below.
OK, it might be in the mid-Atlantic but technically it’s still Portugal. These volcanic islands are simply majestic. Huge sharp peaks rise out of rolling green hills, covered with waterfalls and fringed by rocky coves. Soak in thermal springs or stroll tropical gardens. It’s enough to make you fall in love all over again.
As well as bohemian cities and beautiful beaches, Portugal has a wild side that few people ever really get to see. But with miles of unspoiled countryside, ancient farmland, rugged mountains and traditional culture, if you’re looking for a wild wedding then this might just be the place for you.
But you might have to hurry. As this recent article in The Guardian points out, the secret might just be out of the bag. Get away from the coastal resorts to the north, east and south and you’ll find timeless beauty, rustic mountaintop villages and mysterious standing stones.
Serra da Peneda
North east of Porto, this mountainous region is one of Portugal’s wildest and most beautiful. Discover ancient Roman roads and villages that time forgot. You and your guests can swim in pristine mountain pools, feast on local delicacies including goat or lamb baked in a wood oven, and find incredibly romantic venues.
Located just to the south of Lisbon, the Costa Azul is famous for its wine. But you can also encounter cliff top monasteries, sandy beaches and crystal clear water. It’s rare to find such unspoiled beauty so near to a capital city. But then Portugal is not like other countries.
Vast stretches of rolling farmland, meadows and stone villages dot this sparsely populated landscape. One of Europe’s least densely populated areas, this vast region is timeless and beautiful. With national parks and historic cities like Évora, it makes a majestic setting for any wedding.
What would a wedding be without music? Essentially, a very expensive meal out. Music plays a very important role throughout the day, from selected pieces with special meaning during the service, to filling the floor once the party starts. But the question is: how do you choose a playlist for the biggest day of your life?
You might be into free jazz or death metal. That’s fine. But not all of your guests are going to want to stroke their chins to atonal jazz musings or bang their heads to some thrash classics. Of course, your wedding should reflect you and your passions but it also needs to have some broad appeal too. Otherwise you might find the evening peters out early.
Music with meaning
There are some big songs to choose during the day: from your entrance music at the service to your first dance. You and your partner should think long and hard about which songs mean most to you.
Get your guests involved
Stuck for ideas? On your invitation, ask each guest to select a song when they rsvp, then make your playlist out of this. Everyone will have a stake in the evening and it will be interesting to see what your nearest and dearest choose. Disclaimer: you might have to do a little curating and editing. There’s no accounting for taste sometimes.
Keep it separate
When creating your playlist, think about how different parts of the day have different vibes. You don’t want to be listening to some heavy funk during dinner, and classical pieces don’t go down so well on the dance floor. Work in sections and it will help you keep it appropriate.
As the wedding season really starts to get into its swing, here are some top wedding trends you’re likely to see this summer.
A great way to DIY your wedding. Watercolour your invitations, decorations, table numbers and more. It’s a fun, creative and very affordable way of adding big splashes of colour to your special day.
The forest can be a very romantic place, and a great venue to connect with wildlife. Shady, lush and with abundant natural material, why bother decorating your venue when nature can do it for you – and on a much grander scale.
Brightly coloured flowers (think bold pinks and purples) and palm leaves cam bring a little slice of tropical paradise to any wedding. Think Hawaiian shirts, bold floral prints and patterns – all you need is some sunshine to set it all off. And here in Portugal you stand a pretty good chance of getting it.
If you’re looking for a more casual event, then go for a boho/vintage feel. Think wedding teepees, vintage fabrics, cowboy boots, rugs and anything else you can find inspiration from in junk shops. This is a great way to create a truly unique and individual event.