Portugal may have been the runt of the litter when it came to destination weddings in Europe, but it’s fast catching up to the hotspots like Italy, Malta, France and Spain. For the nature-loving, adventurous couple, you are really spoilt for choice for beautiful outdoor locations in this sunny southern European country. If you’re considering a wedding here, here are the first three steps to planning an outdoor wedding in Portugal.
Decide on your landscape
From beaches to mountains, vineyards to valleys, Portugal has it all. Although it is best known fo the sandy beaches and blue seas of the Algarve area, the variety of terrain here means that there is a landscape for everyone. Starting from the North, we have wide, rolling hills and valleys in the famous Douro Valley which spreads across the country eastwards from the glittering city of Porto. In the centre west of Portugal, you have the Silver Coast line with bright sandy beaches and choppy waters. Sitting above the Algarve in the southeast, is the arid Alentejo, which has golden, shimmering cork fields and radiates heat across its flat land. Close to Lisbon you have the stunning town of Sintra which sits on the vast Sintra-Cascais National Park. The lush green mountain stretches all the way out to sea and has a unique, enchanted forest vibe with castles and quintas hidden inside. If you prefer your mountains more snowy, in the northeast of Portugal, you have the aptly named Serra da Estrela (Land of the Star) which is the only location in all of the country where you can ski! Decide on the landscape that most suits your love story and start exploring the options.
Choose your season
As with most destination weddings in Europe, the summertime is the most popular season to get married in Portugal. Our high season is from May to early October because of the scorching sun, long days and little rainfall. What’s not to love? But here’s the secret. The summer often starts in April and ends in October, so depending on the venue, you can have a gorgeous, sunny wedding day in one of these months and take advantage of some juicy low season rates. So my advice would be to aim for spring or autumn to have the warm weather but wider choice. For the daring, a winter wedding is also possible but you’d be taking a huge gamble on the weather. It is typically very wet and windy in the winter here, becoming colder and more miserable the further north you go.
Find your Quinta
When doing your initial research into wedding venues in Portugal, you’ll probably notice alot of places starting with “Quinta de”. You can think of this as “House” e.g Somerset House, Quinta de Somerset. You also have palacios (palaces), castelos (castles) and pousadas (hotels) but for you, a quinta is going to be the best thing as they tend to be set in dreamy surroundings in whichever area of Portugal you choose. Your venue is the crux of everything and it can be quite a nebulous exploration. Here are a few of my favourites to get you started:
Six Senses – Douro Valley
Areias do Seixo – Silver Coast
Monserrate Palace – Sintra
São Lourenço do Barrocal – The Alentejo
Planning an outdoor wedding or elopement in sunshine needn’t be a daunting task. If you aspire to have an outdoor wedding in Portugal, these first three steps will put you in good stead for the wedding of your dreams. I hope you’ve found this little article helpful and feel free to ask any questions – I am an open book. If you’d like any help with choosing the right venue for you, do get in touch!
Nulyweds is a destination wedding planning service dedicated to planning colourful, fun weddings in Portugal for adventurous couples.
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