In the world of travel, Portugal is one of the hottest vacation destinations right now and for good reason. From its rich history to its unparalleled wine and food scene, picturesque beaches, and lush mountain regions, Portugal has the makings of a truly unforgettable honeymoon. Check out the five reasons you need to pick Portugal for the most magical trip of your lifetime below and get planning before the secret's out.
As a country, Portugal is an extremely diverse place from region to region, almost like a miniature continent of its own. From the Douro region in the north, full of lush eucalyptus, vineyards and the majestic city of Porto (home of port wine); to the idyllic mountain town of Sintra, favored for its fairytale like forest scenery by poets like Lord Byron; Lisbon with its unique mixture of modern city and old world feel; Alentejo with its fields of olive and cork trees and ruins of antiquity; and the most southern tip of the Algarve, with white sand, turquoise water, sangria and unparalleled seafood, there is quite literally, something for every honeymooner.
If the two of you want to spend time in more than one place and do a little exploring without having to fly to another country, Portugal is the perfect place to visit for a road trip honeymoon. Regional dialects, food, scenery, architectural style, flora and fauna change quickly throughout this small country, often an hours driving leaving you feeling like you're in a completely different place if it weren't for the language. To drive from the very top to the very bottom of the country takes about 6 hours, so you can quite literally spend the morning in beautiful northern Braga visiting a castle and end your day in the heart of the Alentejo wine region's white washed city of Evora exploring the famed chapel of bones, or laying out on the beach in the Algarve. Plus if you want some island time, Portugal's Madeira Islands are less than a 2-hour flight away.
The Rich History
While most of Europe didn't unify its states and regions into countries until hundreds of years later, Portugal has maintained its original boarders since its unification in 1153, giving it the stability to flourish and create a unique culture that was able to maintain its traditions and many iconic buildings, castles, and landmarks. Portugal is also unique in its historic brush with the Moors who came up from Africa, leaving behind beautifully colorful painted tiled Moorish castles and architecture that you can now see everyone integrated everywhere from the colorful tile covered row buildings within the cities to the walls of Pena Palace. Portugal is also home to some of the oldest standing castles in Europe, oldest vineyards, and even the world's oldest book store, Bertrand bookshop.
If you love good food, then you're going to love Portugal. Whether it's Portuguese tapas of olives, acorn fed presunto (cured ham), bacalhau (salted cod) and a bottle of Douro wine you found down a winding cobblestone alleyway in Porto or a Michelin starred fine dining experience at Lisbon's Belcanto (or any of chef Jose Avillez's brilliant restaurants), there is arguably no better, or more underrated food, in all of Europe. Perhaps Portugal's best offering is its seafood, which is unparalleled in freshness and diversity. From succulent super large tiger shrimp, tender octopus, and beautiful fresh sole, the Portuguese are the masters of seafood. And for true foodie couples out there, test your palate with a Portuguese delicacy: gooseneck barnacles. Called Percebes in Portugal, these gnarled looking things are actually immensely delicious, with the briny subtlety of a delicious oyster and definitely not to be passed up.
While Portugal may be revered for Port, Portuguese wine is far more diverse then the fortified after dinner drink. As one of the hottest emerging wine regions in the world, Portugal is a great place for the oenophile couple to kick back together. From the light and crisp white wines of the vinho verde region, to the big reds and sophisticated sparkling wines of the Douro all the way to the warm weather wines of the Alentejo, you can enjoy some of Europe's most interesting grapes and wine styles right now in Portugal. Even better? There is almost no better wine out there for your money, a 20 Euro bottle of delicious wine is seen as a splurge here.