On the Iberian Peninsula, right at the westernmost tip of Europe, Portugal shares a border with balmy Spain but has its own unique personality and culture.
Exploring its urban and rural areas is the perfect recipe for a memorable honeymoon.
The country is a feast for all the senses. Its pristine beaches, waterfalls, rolling hills and serene riverfronts rival its architectural and historical wonders (it’s the country with the oldest frontiers in Europe). Its people, cuisine and culture are all warm and compelling.
Put Portugal on your honeymoon shortlist because this heady, sensual destination is unparalleled. Let’s start with just 10 incredibly romantic experiences in this alluring country.
1. Port wine tasting in Porto
As Euripides once said, “When there is no wine, there is no love”. In picturesque Porto, you will see the old British warehouses that still store the casks of port wine before they are loaded on merchant ships leaving via the Douro River. Port wine gets its name from this charming little city and Porto is the perfect place to try out different types of this sweet, delicious wine. Try the ‘Lagrima’ (in true wry Portuguese style, literally translated as ‘tears’), a white port that is a local favorite and rare outside of the country.
After a trip here, you’ll be a little light-headed and maybe drunk on love.
2. Sunbathing by the sea
The pristine beaches of Algarve and Alentejo offer the warm sunshine and lazy vibe of the Mediterranean with the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Limestone cliffs, sandy coves and laidback seaside townships will bring adventure and romance into your honeymoon but the beach life in Portugal is evolving. Today you will also find Michelin star restaurants, luxury resorts and elegant nightlife as an added bonus.
Photo Courtesy: Pinterest
3. Manueline Architecture
Unique to Portugal, this architecture is named after King Manuel 1 and is the most sumptuous working of stone and other materials. Whether you’re into architecture or not, you’ll find yourself amazed at the delicate carvings and will go on a voyage of discovery looking for motifs like shells, seaweed, oak leaves and symbols of the cosmos. Interestingly, Portuguese Art was inspired by the empire’s travels around the world so there are also influences, like delicate filigree work, from Indian temples and monuments.
Photo Courtesy: Turismo Cascais
Photo Courtesy: Turismo Lisboa
4. Melodious Fado
Given UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage tag, Fado’s lyrical, love drenched sound is a must-experience with the one you love. There’re several kinds of Fado – you can opt between a melancholic, wistful style or a more upbeat style. You’ll have to experience them to decide which one you like better but all sorts go perfectly with a late evening out and a few glasses of wine at one of the gorgeous Portuguese bars.
5. Snow hiking in Serra Da Estrela
Sun and snow in one place? You can, in Portugal. Climb up the mountain to Torre, the highest point, or go hiking in the snowclad hills of Serra da Estrela. High on adrenaline and adventure, the thrilling trip abundant with natural beauty will leave you breathless. The mountains of Serra Da Estrela are a year-round treat that will never disappoint.
Photo Courtesy: Rove
6. Swimming in waterfalls
You can already imagine how magical this is. In Fontes, Risco (in Madeira island) or Cascata do Laboreiro (in Peneda-Gerês National Park), majestic waterfalls cascade into stunning pools and the combination is truly stirring. Hop into your prettiest swimwear and get ready to bathe like a water nymph or swim in the serene pools. It’s a one of a kind romantic moment.
7. River Paiva Boardwalk
The River Paiva is considered to be one of the most beautiful rivers in the country. Go armed with your camera because you don’t want to miss its natural beauty and keep some memories with you forever. Extending on the left bank, the beautiful boardwalk allows you to meander along the length of this timeless river and just soak in the sounds of nature and the deep green forest that fringes its shores.
8. Douro River Cruises
There may be nothing as romantic as a lazy, luxurious cruise along a river. But when it is the Douro, you get a few extra thrills. The cruise flows past the ancient wine estates of the region and you’ll see hills that are lush with vineyards. It’s the perfect date night experience and this romantic river cruise will remain with you as a fond memory forever.
Portuguese cuisine uses seafood from the Atlantic, fresh ingredients from the farms, a Mediterranean attitude to cooking (think light, crisp, olive oil drizzled) and some hints from their history of colonies. An adventure with your palate, a foodie couple will be spoilt for choice across the delicious soups, salads, types of meats and seafood. As for the desserts – it’s another gastronomic journey on its own. You can buy cherry wine in cups made of chocolate, chocolate ‘salami’, puddings, flans and the famous custard tart, Pastel de Nata which is an ancient, secret recipe.
If the way to the heart is through the stomach, then you have your work cut out for you.
Photo Courtesy: Arapina
10. Visiting the Oceanarium in Lisbon
Oceanário de Lisboa in Lisbon is a place where nature, art, and beauty collide. Home to more than 8,000 marine creatures, this oceanarium is awe-inspiring and how! Hold your partner’s hand as you walk through a larger than life version representing different parts of the ocean featuring sharks, schools of pretty tropical fish and the aquarium’s most famous resident, the Ocean Sunfish or Mola Mola. Outside, you will find a wonderful park, cable car rides, restaurants and plenty of places to just hang out with your new spouse and watch the world go by.
Photo Courtesy: Tiqets
Click here to know more about the surreal escapades you can experience with your partner in Portugal.