When picking a honeymoon destination, it is easy to go straight for the obvious. If you want swathes of undisturbed beach, your thoughts might just jump straight to the Maldives islands. If you want a city break, the timeless romance of Paris will probably be beckoning. However, there is plenty to be rewarded with if you are open to think outside of the box a little.
Portugal is a case in point. This summer holiday favourite draws in crowds looking for some downtime on the sand, but it also has an under-appreciated romantic streak that makes it a hot pick for honeymoons this year. Not only is the weather deliciously warm, but the rich tapestry of culture, history and cuisine blends alluringly with the sun-kissed beaches, lush valleys and vibrant cities that make up this wonderfully diverse country, making for an exquisite way to celebrate your newly proclaimed love.
From the city of Porto in the north to the spectacular Algarve coastline in the south, this compact little gem can be traversed from top to bottom within a five-hour drive, meaning you can enjoy as much of it as you like. Both diverse and colourful, here are our reasons why you should strongly consider having your honeymoon in Portugal.
The Algarve, for many, is the golden-glory of Portugal. Its beaches are known far and wide, thanks to their strikingly steep amber coloured cliffs that take on an otherworldly geological appearance. To the west, you will find they get wilder, while if you continue east towards Spain, they become sandier. Either way, their rugged romance makes for a stunning setting that is perfect for honeymoons.
The Algarve is also an emerging wine destination, catching up to the Douro Valley in the north, which is known for its port production. A whole new selection of grapes have been introduced to the region in the past couple of decades, making for an interesting variety of bottles that are proudly served in restaurants across the area.
The seafood is spectacular, too, and is one of the highlights of Portuguese culture – clams, oysters and sea bream are the country’s trump card, with oysters from France being grown in the Algarve’s waters before being exported. Enjoy a dreamy romantic moment under the stars as you savour these ocean delicacies with a bottle of your new favourite wine, or witness the famously beautiful sunset with your toes in the sand and a jug of sangria.
Vila Joya for an intimate boutique experience with a Michelin-starred restaurant. Tip: leave your terrace doors open to fall asleep to the sound of gently rolling waves.
VILA VITA Parc Resort & Spa to enjoy one of Portugal’s most beloved resorts for a luxury escape of a lifetime. The service here is unparalleled and only adds to the enticement of the two Michelin-starred restaurant and exquisite spa.
Porto & the North
If you crave a little more culture, the north of Portugal has much to offer honeymooners. The lush Douro Valley makes a beautiful hideaway, where lovers can immerse themselves in the stunning surroundings of the world’s first demarcated wine region, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With rolling vineyards and the twinkly Douro River winding through its heart, the scene is already set for romance. While here, you can taste wines from some of the oldest vineyards in the world, plus world-famous port that is aged in wooden barrels for up to one-hundred years.
Only about a ninety-minute drive away, is the charming city of Porto. One of the oldest cities in the country, its authentic character, mixed with contemporary shops and bars, makes it a perfect spot for a day trip from Douro Valley, or a twin-centre option. Watch the traditional boats bobbing down the river, stacked with barrels of port, or stroll the sloping streets, where a blend of Baroque, Romanesque and medieval architecture combines for a most picturesque effect.
Six Sense Douro Valley to make the most of the evocative wine region of Douro, with a number of experiences and activities to help you get to know this romantically scenic region.
The Yeatman to be nestled above the city of Porto, with unforgettable views over the Douro River with one of the most comprehensive collections of Portuguese wines in the country – you can even enjoy a ‘Vinotherapy’ spa treatment.
Closer to Africa than the mainland of Portugal, Madeira is as sweet as its name-sake cake would have you think, with plenty of old-world charm and striking scenery to keep romantics happy.
With rich volcanic soil, this sub-tropical island is blessed with beautiful botany, and a stroll around the many immaculate gardens or a hike through the jagged hills will reveal the soul-stirring scenery that this destination is treasured for by many newlyweds.
Belmond Reid’s Palace to enjoy a private, four-course, candlelit moonlight dinner in one of five romantic spots across the resort, accompanied by a guitarist or violinist.
For more information on luxury honeymoons in Portugal, please call our expert Travel Consultants on 01244 897 595.