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  • Olivia De Santos

My Wedding Planning Bucket List

I have worked in barns, castles, hotels and backyards. Every wedding I’ve worked on in my career has brought me joy in some way. It lights me up to see you having a good time and enjoying a truly well organised event. However, as a Portugal wedding planner, there are so many wedding wishes I have. Portugal is so beautiful and so full of treasures that, of course, I have favourites.

It may seem selfish, and I agree! As a planner it would be incredibly selfish to steer you to somewhere that I love. This is not what this list is about at all. Rather this list is in case you’ve explored a bit of Portugal or the wedding venues here and also love the places I love.

If you feel like one of these options could be for you, please do get in touch as I offer my full planning and elopement packages at a special rate for making my wedding planning dreams come true!

Obidos castle | Photo by Marni V Photography

Unique Locations for a Wedding in Portugal


I talk about Óbidos often because it is possibly one of the most beautiful towns that you've probably never heard of. It is a charming walled city which is a huge draw for tourists, but in its winding, small cobbled streets is a vibrancy and heart that feels unmatched to me, having explored alot of Portugal. Granted Óbidos is not the most accessible town ever nor does it have a thousand things to do like in Sintra for example. It is about an hour by bus from Lisbon but for this reason is a relaxing place to stay for a couple of days for your wedding before returning to Lisbon for the rest of your holiday. Or you could stay in Óbidos and have a varied, authentically Portuguese experience, visiting the beach towns of Nazaré and Peniche, journeying to Berlengas Island, visiting Alcobaça monastery – whatever piques your interest.


This is a huge bias of mine as this is where I live in Portugal so it has always been a dream of mine to do a wedding close to home. Admittedly it is a very sleepy town with the grand monastery that draws you in, but there are a couple of cute wedding venues here that could serve you and the town is a sweet little place with a chilled vibe. The monastery is a beautiful building to take photos outside of and nearby are some lovely forests which could be nice for elopements too. Again, not the most accessible place to get to as it is about 1.5-2hours journey from Lisbon. This is definitely an out of the box option but or the adventurous this could be a interesting choice for you.


Comporta is a seaside location that is not to be missed. It lies on the West Coast of Portugal, an hour south of Lisbon and is therefore part of the coastal region of The Alentejo. Some have likened this beach to the beauty of Ibiza with the quietness of a desert. The beauty of The Alentejo being Portugal’s best kept secret is that, right now, it is a haven of peace and tranquility. You won’t get the same amount of heaving tourism that you get in Lisbon, The Algarve or even Nazare near where I live. Comporta is a stunning beach area for a beach elopement or a luxurious wedding. It is a commute from Lisbon but so so worth it!

Douro Valley

The Douro Valley is very near and dear to me as it is close to my favourite city of Porto. The Valley is home to some outstanding Quintas who produce and export wine and port as a primary business and rent out their spaces second. Some have even converted their Quintas into high-end hotels that you can hire exclusively for your guests to stay on-site. In terms of accessibility, the Douro Valley is 1-2hours distance from Porto city depending on where your wedding is hosted. This can be a pain for long-haul visitors so I’d only do this if everyone is staying on site for a few days. The Douro Valley also has a quite high price point because of its reputation for unbeatable views, impeccable service and natural beauty. If you want pure luxury, this could be the wedding destination for you.


Aveiro is actually quite a major city and yet whenever I mention it to my English friends, I’m met with blank faces. Aveiro is a very special place. Cited as Portugal’s Venice, it is its own riviera with a network of little canals where brightly coloured boats sail. The city centre itself is full of life. It’s the perfect place to host your colourful wedding as everything about Aveiro is vibrant and bright. I would love to do a wedding right on Aveiro’s lagoon or organise an engagement shoot near the Costa Nova houses (which are actually pictured on my Portugal map!)

Guimarães (Will cross off in July 2020, thanks to Isabel & Diogo. Woop woop!)

This is where Portugal was born. Guimarães sits above Porto in the North West of the country and is where Portugal first started to be called “Portugal”. It is a medieval towns which has retained its traditions and majestic air as if times haven’t changed. The Minho region in general has a country glamour to it that will appeal to couples wanting a historical, regal wedding. Accessibility wise, Guimarães is around 1.5hours away from Porto but it is a nice town to be based in for your stay in Portugal as it is quite a major city. It is easy toget to Braga and Porto for day trips too so it’s a great spot to fully experience Portuguese culture from where it all began!

Estufa Real | Photo by Olivia Santos

Best Portuguese Wedding Venues

Estufa Real (Will cross off in July 2019, thanks to Meghan and Riccardo YAY!)

Probably one of my favourite venues in all of Portugal because of its central location, versatility, stunning outdoor spaces and bags of character. Estufa Real is in the heart of Lisbon making it a great place for your guests to reach whilst also being in the nation’s capital. Because of its natural beauty, you can do so much with this venue or nothing at all and it’ll still wow your guests.

Palácio dos Marqueses de Fronteira

The first thing to say about this gem is that it is more than a historical site. It is a venue with a living, beating heart as the Marquis and his family still live here! As they only host two events per month, this venue is very exclusive about the events they permit, but as you would be my clients, you’ll be in safe hands. The Palace itself is a riot of colourful tiles with wild and ornate garden spaces and a decadent charm. Its central Lisbon location makes it easily accessible and you’ll be sure to fall in love with it as I did when you see it!

São Lourenço do Barrocal

This venue has risen to stardom over the past couple of years as one of the best wedding venues in The Alentejo. This sleepy farmhouse has so much charm, from the luxury interiors to the horses turned out in the fields. It’s the perfect contradiction for a charming country wedding in Portugal.

Areias do Seixo

This bizarre hotel tucked away on the West coast with what feels like it's own private beach nearby is the alternative couple's dream. It's a really odd luxury hotel with amazing chefs on-site and a really unique warehouse feel to it. Huge fan!

Berlengas Island | Photo by Jennifer Santos


Praia da Ursa

This little beach is tucked away beyond the Sintra-Cascais National Park, near Sintra and Lisbon. It is characterised by its big spiky rock that juts out from the sea in the most spectacular way. This is a very popular spot for engagement shoots and elopements on a weekday morning when the beach feels private and serene. You can also find a spot above the beach, on the cliffs which are equally spectacular. Definitely a bucket list item for me!

Berlengas Island

This one is tricky and would probably take an early rise, but if you’re up for it, Berlengas would be such a gorgeous spot for an elopement! It’s an island off the West Coast of Portugal with so much character in its unique rock formation. An elopement here would be postcard perfect and truly one to remember.

Óbidos Castle

You can read my thoughts on Obidos itself above but the castle is of course the main draw. I love this as both a wedding and elopement venue but how incredible would it be to make your promises to each other, towering above the Portuguese countryside, standing on an actual castle! Enough to make your heart sing.

A Rooftop in Porto

Porto at night is my title image for a reason. Imagine eloping with the sunset behind you in this glittering and vibrant city. I would love to craft an elopement for you on a Porto rooftop with the view of the buzzing city and twinkling river below *swoon*.

Porto at night | Photo by Kaptura

This list is by no means exhaustive. As I go about my travels throughout Portugal and discover new venues and locations I love, I’ll be sure to update my bucket list in case you and I have similar tastes.

If anything, I hope this list have given you some inspiration as to what is out there and the possibilities that lie off the beaten track.

If any of these have piqued your interest, please do get in touch via my contact form and be sure to mention what bucket list item sounds good to you to access my special rates 😊

Olivia x