Since posting this blog, Portugal has gone back onto the amber list ( Booo! ) but we’re leaving this post here as we still think it contains lots of great wedding planning tips for your Portugal destination wedding
The recent Green List travel announcement signalled a hopeful return of holidays, exploring new cultures and of course, the possibility of a destination wedding.
Following on from our recent blog spotlighting Iceland as an ideal elopement destination, we now turn our attention to Portugal as another viable location for a destination wedding or elopement if guaranteed sunshine is your vibe!
Portugal Destination Wedding: Something for everyone
Portugal offers up many things to the discerning traveller; it’s not just about the albeit beautiful beaches of the Algarve. A history that includes impact from the Romans, Moors and Christians has left behind stunning palaces, woodlands and castles to explore. But if history isn’t your thing, the Portuguese cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean treasure, Moorish influence and exquisite seafood, and we haven’t even started on the Douro Valley wine and port. You probably don’t know that there are 28 Michelin starred restaurants in Portugal, with 7 of them boasting 2 stars, including the incredible The Yeatman, which we can personally recommend.
Sun-kissed wedding ready
With being only 2-3 hours flying time from most European cities, Portugal is a gorgeously sun-kissed destination for a wedding, especially for the couple who wants all the sunshine and glamour of Spain or Italy but like to opt for something a little different from maybe where their friends got married. And right now, if you are fed up of waiting to reschedule your destination wedding in an Amber list country such as Spain or Italy, then maybe Portugal is your answer for this summer. We spoke to wedding planner Daniela Sforna who just so happens to plan weddings in both Italy and Portugal,, to ask what the situation is right now for weddings in Portugal. A negative PCR test is required to board a flight, and one on your return, but regarding a Portugal destination wedding, Daniela told us there are no further restrictions other than those as advertised to travel to the country, and capacity will be dictated by the venue you choose.
We asked Daniela, why might Portugal be a good option for a couple who originally wanted a destination wedding in the traditional european choices such as Spain and Italy to change to, particularly if they’ve been waiting a long time and now want to just go for it?
“Portugal offers lots of different scenarios: old towns, wild beaches, beautiful countryside… It has a wide range of offers for a wedding, and of course, 300 days of sunshine a year!“
Sounds perfect if you don’t want to wait any longer for a wedding in the sun right? So what can a couple expect from choosing to elope/get married in Portugal this year? Daniela is sure you’ll find a “warm welcoming atmosphere and utmost professionalism will result in many unforgettable moments, accompanied by good food and wine.” Ah yes, that amazing food and wine we were telling you about, that we concur with!
Talking of professionalism, the Portuguese tourist board even created a special ‘Clean and Safe’ certification for tourism businesses such as hotels and restaurants to apply for, giving extra confidence to those travelling to Portugal.
So where does Daniela recommend for a wedding location in Portugal? Is it all beaches and countryside palaces or is a chic city wedding possible too?
“There are many city locations to choose from depending on the mood of the wedding or the taste of the couple… You have structures of great charm such as Pousadas, old palaces decorated with Azulejos [Portuguese glazed tiles], river boats, starred restaurants and still the beautiful beaches close by…. The possibilities are endless.“
Having had a wonderful week in the incredible city of Porto in the North, we know that a chic city elopement around that area would give you so much variety in your wedding photography – from the winding cobbled streets, to fun Port tasting by the Douro, and you’re even by the sea in under half an hour via a trip one one of the adorable hundred or so year old trams!
And if luxury is your vibe rather than rustic, Daniela says that Portugal has incredible contemporary architectural ‘gems’ that would make for an unforgettable setting.
Swapping Spain or Italy for a destination wedding in Portugal would in no way give you any less of an amazing backdrop for your wedding photos or limit your ideas, and Daniela leaves us with this; “there is no difference in atmosphere between a wedding in Italy or Portugal if the wedding planner is Italian!”
Locations for your Portugal destination wedding
We asked Daniela for some suggestions of where she recommends for a wedding or elopement in the Portuguese sunshine, and there is an amazing variety for you to choose from.
Quinta Dos Machados
This stunning venue offers itself as a ‘haven of rest, comfort and leisure’ which sounds perfect for wrapping up your Portugal destination wedding and honeymoon in one go. Set amongst 11 hectares of beautiful countryside which a history spanning over four hundred years, Quinta dos Machados has all you’d love from a historical setting but with a real emphasis on the beauty of nature, perfect for those wanting an outdoor wedding in nature. It’s just outside of Lisbon which makes it super easy to get to, and it’s part of a specialised bike network for all you cycling lovers. Chic, contemporary styling gives it a modern feel – a perfect choice.
Talking of Lisbon, this historic vibrant city is perfect for those that want a city wedding but with a more boho vibe than other European capital cities. The capital city, holder of a previous Trip Advisor ‘third most hospitable city’ in the world award, is perfect if you just can’t decide between pounding the cute cobbled streets and sampling all the bars, or being by the beach on your big day! Whatever you fancy, leave the Manolos at home though as those cobbles are not made for a heel!
Penha Longa Resort
If everything-at-your-fingertips is your vibe, then you can’t go wrong at Penha Longa, a Ritz Carlton resort no less. Found in the charming foothills of the Sintra mountains, it actively boasts you can ‘host the destination wedding of your dreams’ there. For your ceremony you can choose between a 14th Century monastery or a more contemporary 16th Century chapel, before partying the night away in a ballroom which used to be the sleeping quarters of the royal family. Can you get any more regal than that?
Bucket List Wedding Venue
From a photographer’s point of view, we’ve been oogling the incredible Estufa Fria in Lisbon. This ‘cold greenhouse’ is an incredible example of bringing the outside in, like you’re in the greenhouses of Kew Gardens but without the insane heat! If you’re looking for a truly unique and luxurious venue, this is it.
So there you have it, Portugal just might be the perfect elopement and destination wedding location for a sunshine wedding this summer or any summer, or even for your postponed honeymoon or escape to the sun this year!