With its network of canals, humpbacked bridges and colourful boats, Aveiro is one of Portugal’s most unique cities. Occasionally dubbed the Venice of Portugal, it’s a picturesque city best explored on foot or by boat. Many of these colourful vessels were once used for the slightly unglamorous job of seaweed harvesting, but these days they adorn the waterways and ferry visitors around.
The city hugs the edge of a coastal lagoon, rich in wildlife and birdlife, with many thinking the name of the town comes from the Latin word ‘aviarium’, meaning ‘place of birds’.
Aveiro has a youthful vibe, with a buzzing city centre but remains largely undiscovered by the hordes of tourists you might find in Porto a little to the north. And although the canals are beautiful, much of the city’s charm lies in its diverse architecture and unique natural location.
Outside of the city, the stunning silver coast stretches out in both directions. Porto is just 40 minutes away, making it very convenient to get to by plane, with good rail links too. Aveiro might not yet be on the wedding destination map, but we think it’s a beautiful and charming place that still remains one of Portugal’s best kept secrets.
Stunning backdrops, clean air, quaint villages – getting married in the mountains has a lot of advantages. Especially here in Portugal where we’re blessed with a huge choice of unique mountain top destinations. Built for defending this ancient country against invading hordes and as remote farming communities, today these incredible mountaintop settlements make stunning wedding venues. Here’s why:
Gazing out over the granite-dominated landscape, the line of Knights Templar villages that dot Portugal’s borders with Spain were built to protect it from Moorish invaders. These days, the views from Monsanto, Monsarraz and Marvao can rival anything else you can find in Europe. Don’t believe us? Just check out the pictures below.
Walled mountaintop villages complete with centuries old castles. Houses hewn from the rock or made using gigantic boulders as walls. Schist stone villages that have remained unchanged for generations. It’s all here in Portugal, and with a choice of wedding venues across the country, you can choose an incredible and unique wedding destination.
As a catholic country, no village or town is complete without a church. And with many dating back centuries, these are often incredible places to make your vows. Teetering on the edge of vast rocky cliffs, gazing out at the land below, these are some of the most special churches in the world. For a church wedding straight from your dreams, the mountains of Portugal are hard to beat.
You probably don’t necessarily associate livestock and wedding ceremonies. But in recent years, farms and barns have become very popular wedding destinations. And when you think about it, there are a number of good reasons why.
The natural world
There’s been a definite shift back towards nature, with the organic food and modern back to the land movements. And a farm is the wedding equivalent. This is a place where nature is all around, in the landscape, the purpose and more. So what better way to get in touch with your natural side?
A barn is a large space, perfect for parties and one you can dress in any way you like. Go for a rustic inspired design or surprise your guests with a futuristic disco. The barn is a blank canvas that you can use as and how you want.
Barns and farms tend to be out in the country. Which means they’re away from neighbours, giving you the privacy and freedom to party all night long.
These are also spaces that are perfect for all the family, especially children. While the formality of a palace might not be ideal for the curious minds of kids, on a farm they are free to lay without the risk of breaking anything priceless.
There are some settings that just seem to fit perfectly with weddings. There are churches, for obvious reasons. Stately homes, for the glamour and elegance. And then beaches. But just what is it about the beach that makes you want to say ‘I do’?
Beautiful beaches are a destination in themselves, which means you can combine wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon all in one. Especially if you choose to get married on one of the hundreds of beautiful beaches in Portugal. The sun, sea and sand add an element of holiday escape to any wedding.
The sound of the ocean crashing onto the shore, the birds in the air, the gentle breeze – it all helps to create a calming and relaxing atmosphere, which is perfect for romantic occasions.
The beach is an ideal place for small, informal and intimate weddings. Just you, a few of your most loved and cherished friends and family – it’s stripping a wedding back to its basics. And the beach seems to make sense as a perfect simple location.
The beach is associated with sunshine. Of course, that’s not always the reality but that’s how we imagine it. And in Portugal, you stand a good chance of the sun shining, especially in the summer months.
The beach brings an aesthetic that you can use to build your wedding around. Washed out colours, driftwood, nautical themes – it can all be tied together in your wedding design. And it’s all right there on the beach.
Apart from choosing your dress and probably your future life partner, picking the right wedding venue is the biggest decision you will make about your wedding day (some people might even argue that it even trumps the other two). So why settle for anything less than spectacular?
And they don’t come any more spectacular than a castle. Here in Portugal, there are plenty to choose from. But why choose such an impressive venue for your wedding?
Getting married in a castle adds a touch of elegance and fantasy to your wedding that other venues just can’t match. Turrets, keeps, great halls – they all come straight from a fairytale. And that just seems to fit perfectly with the romance of a wedding.
One of the beauties of a castle wedding is that everything is in the same place. Large dining halls, open spaces for drinks, perfect photo locations, and sometimes even an on-site church or chapel. After all, these castles were in part designed for grand celebrations and banquets.
Your wedding day should be truly unlike any other. And unless you happen to be royalty, or an eccentric billionaire, you probably don’t spend every day in a castle. So choose a grand and historic venue for your wedding can create memories that will last a lifetime.
When you’re planning a wedding, there’s no escaping the traditional. The idea of two people coming together to declare their love for each other in front of their loved ones is as old as time. Plus, the need for the event to be witnessed and certified by a legitimate authority is also pretty clear cut and died in the wool. But there are ways to stray from the formula – ideas that can help to make your wedding day a little more unique.
Why not make the way your transport your guests from ceremony to reception all part of fun? Think antique busses, horse and carts or even taking to the skies.
There are plenty of elements of a wedding that you can encourage your guests to get involved in. From a make-your-own cocktail bar to DIY flower arranging – getting your guests involved is a great idea.
Rather than just letting the party wind down around you, why not plan a memorable exit? Stage a mini parade through the venue, have a band play you out – that kind of thing.
Don’t fancy a DJ? A string quartet a little stuffy? Then how about a mariachi band? Or a German oompah ensemble?
Can’t decide between the meat or the fish? Then why not go left field and try something new. We’re not talking kebab vans but ice cream trucks, posh fish and chips, pizza ovens – these are the kinds of things that people really love.
So, somehow we’re just a few days away from Christmas once again, and 2017 reaches its end. It’s been another fantastic year here at The Wedding Portugal, doing what we love best: planning and delivering stunning weddings in one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
From vineyards to castles to sun-kissed beaches, our happy couples have celebrated in style throughout the year and there’s more to come in 2018.
If you’re thinking about tying the knot in the coming year or even beyond, then have a look at our website to find out more about the comprehensive planning services we offer, our stunning venues or to look at the gallery of the weddings we’ve staged over the last year. Get inspired by our decoration ideas, and start thinking about your own big day. Or you can get in touch to have a chat about your plans.
And in the meantime, have a wonderful festive season full of joy, love and happiness.
Once the home of Portugal’s kings and queens, the village of Sintra is one of the most unique destinations in the country. Nestled at the feet of the Sintra mountains, this forested village is home to some of the most unusual buildings including pastel coloured palaces and ancient Moorish castles.
Sintra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with its palaces, mansions and monasteries, is the perfect destination for a romantic Portuguese wedding. It’s also close to Lisbon as well as the Atlantic coast. Cabo da Roca, the most westerly point in Europe is just a few miles away, with its stunning views of the rugged coast.
Sintra is also well known for its gastronomy, with traditional dishes such as suckling pig, as well as sublime seafood readily available.
With so much architectural heritage, an incredible selection of wedding venues and an enviable location, Sintra is one of the most popular locations for Portuguese weddings. Is it any wonder that Lord Byron referred to the place as a ‘glorious Eden’? When you visit the lush gardens and majestic mansions it’s easy to see why.
One of Portugal’s most historic and sunny cities, Évora is the capital of the vast Alentejo regions. This agricultural area is one of the Europe’s least densely populated areas, so if you’re looking for peace and tranquillity for your big day, this is the place for you.
Évora boasts Roman and Arabic influences, with the walled city surrounded by endless rolling countryside. Stroll around Roman temples and beautiful churches, staying in converted former monasteries and choosing from a range of superb venues.
It also sits in the heart of Portugal’s famed gastronomic regions. The food in the Alentejo is envied all around the country, and as the capital this is the place to come for incredible cuisine.
The city sits on a hill, with beautiful views in every direction. And the historic squares are filled with a lively hum, courtesy of the university students who study here.
With golden sunshine, ancient history, stunning food and incredible views, Évora is a wedding destination that’s got the lot.
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.