Chosen the destination of the year by Travel and Leisure in 2016 and referred as having one of the most “cool capitals” in Europe by CNN, Portugal is still a well-kept secret in terms of (mass) tourism. Combining southern European charm with a peaceful, romantic, and authentic lifestyle, Portugal has bounced back from an economic crisis thanks to the tourism and real estate sectors gaining positive interest from well-known celebrities such as Madonna, who fell in love with the country and bought herself an 18th-century mansion.
Here are nine reasons why a honeymoon in Portugal can make every couple's dreams come true:
Political Stability & Tranquility
Portugal is the 3rd most peaceful country in the world right after Iceland and New Zeeland according to the Global Peace Index. And with some of the most stunning vistas in all of Europe, the tranquility and natural beauty of a honeymoon in Portugal is unrivaled.
International airports can be found in Lisbon, Faro, Porto and Islands with regular connections to major cities in the world. Once you're in, getting around is easy with domestic flights, convenient rail, plenty taxis for local travel, and more.
Throughout the year, Portugal has clean and fresh air and plenty hours of sunshine. It makes for an excellent combination of ideal weather for outdoor activities, the perfect starry nights that every honeymooner deserves, and enough sunshine to give you plenty of Vitamin D to boot.
Rich History & Culture
One of the oldest countries in Europe, Portugal has had the same defined borders since 1249. The country's unique cultural heritage has lead it to the honor of boasting several Unesco World Heritage sites noted for their historical significance as much as their breathtaking beauty.
Friendly & Relaxed Atmosphere
English is widely spoken, making Portugal more relaxing for English-speaking couples than other parts of Europe. According to Wikitravel, approximately 32% of Portuguese people can speak and understand English, while 24% can speak and understand French. These numbers are even higher in the hospitality industry. The ocean views, seemingly endless coastal cliffs, tranquil beaches, and verdant countryside give Portugal one of the most chill and relaxed vibes of any country in Europe.
Affordable European Honeymoon Luxury
Top-notch hotels and resorts with world class service and value for money make Portugal one of the top places in the world to live or retire, according to the Huffington Post. And we think they're spot-on. Combining natural beauty and beaches with surprising affordability by European standards, Portgual is a place where the pace of life slows down.
Sumptuous Local Cuisine & Wines
Portugal's rich land and coastal location offers a uniquely delectable cuisine, whether you savor it in a down to earth beachfront terrace or an intimate, candlelit Michelin star restaurant. Many restaurants use local fish, fruits and veggies, herbs, cheeses, and meats, making for a gastronomic culture where farm-to-table freshness is more standard fare than rare luxury. Lastly, with a robust wine country hosting a whole array of vineyards, abundant local wines mean that honeymoon perfection is just a few sips away.
Hot, Mineral-Rich Thermal Springs
Found mostly in northern and central Portugal and set in beautiful and romantic parks, the local hot springs and thermal spas are an ideal way to experience the ancient benefits of mineral-rich thermal waters. There's nothing more revitalizing than cozying up with the love of your life in a natural therapeutic hot spring canopied by green trees and bright sunshine.
Artisan Spa Treatments with Local Herbs, Oils, & Extracts
Last but definitely not least, Portugal's world-class spas use unique local ingredients for artisan-inspired treatments: think organic grown herbs, local honey, farm-fresh grapes, and organic olive oil that will make you and your other half's skin more radiant and healthy than ever. Portuguese spas are also know for using heated seawater directly from the Atlantic Ocean, along with marine extracts like algae, sand, and mud.
With vital trace elements such as magnesium, iodine, lithium, zinc, copper, selenium and calcium, these locally-sourced and nutrient-rich essential elements are drawn straight from Mother Earth to tone and detoxify your body, making Portugal's rich land a perfect spa paradise. Why start your honeymoon off with a couple's treatment so you both look and feel your best for all those romantic moments? As an added bonus, you'll be even more photogenic for those jealousy-inducing honeymoon Instagram shots.
Sara Ismail runs a boutique travel agency in Portugal specialized in hand-picked Spa & Wellness vacation packages offering the tailor-made, rejuvenating honeymoons. Check her out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.