I believe that celebrating love should be done every day, not only on Valentine’s Day. But sometimes we forget it and what I like about 14th of February is that it reminds us of that. And for travel junkies it’s one more reason to pack the bags.
As I love to compare my experiences before and after living in Portugal, I’d like to say that in Bulgaria, we celebrate Trifon Zarezan – the day of the Guardian of vine growers instead, with a lot of wine on the 14th of February. So I’ll recommend excellent wine destinations, too.
1. Santa Cruz and Areas do Seixo
About an hour away from Lisbon, Santa Cruz offers a romantic rocky beach, great seafood and cool bars.
It has also one of the most charming hotels I’ve ever seen – Areias do Seixo. I fell in love with the decoration – shabby chick with a bit of Moroccan touch. Very cosy and welcoming. Staff are also helpful and kind. Most of the rooms have sea or private garden views. The hotel is isolated and not so easy to reach which makes it the perfect getaway for two.
Eating at the hotel restaurant is an experience by itself, but you can also check Cervejaria Restaurante Boca Santa for a typical Portuguese food experience with sea view.
2. Évora and L’AND Vineyards
Évora is an amazing destination offering historical sights as the Diana Temple and Chapel of Bones. Plus some kilometers away you’ll find the Portuguese Stonehenge.
There are certainly great hotels in Évora, but the romantic choice falls on L’AND Vineyards in Montemor-o-Novo, just a few kilometers away. Go there on a clear night and you’ll be able to gaze at the stars and milky way as there is no light pollution near.
Rooms are simple and minimalistic, inspired by Japanese culture. Also the toilets are Japanese style, nice. When you arrive, you’ll be met by the kind bell boy and brought to the reception to try their tea, served in Japanese tea set. You’ll have one free wine tasting. Take advantage of it, because their produce is organic and wines taste distinctly different. I’d say they have some of the best wine I’ve ever tried.
The restaurant is highly recommended, concept is Portuguese gourmet cuisine, but portions are generous.
They also have heated pool and sauna. I even recommend going there in low season to avoid crowds and fully unwind.
Don’t forget to ask for the eggs Benedict for breakfast to complete the romantic and healthy experience.
Sintra is a classic destination when it comes to romantic visits. The town itself is very cute, but don’t forget to visit one of the castles.
My recommendation for something different and less crowded will be Montserrate Palace. You can’t go wrong with it, only its lush gardens are well worth the visit.
Follow it by high tea at Tivoli Palacio de Seteais. So comforting, and romantic…
When I first visited Óbidos, I instantly thought it was the most romantic little town, I’ve ever been to.
Walk on the top of the walls – make the whole round if possible and then descend through the the small streets which are the most charming. On the main street, you’ll find a fabulous chuch, cute little shops and traditional pâtisseries.
No visit of Óbidos is completed without having the famous Ginga of Óbidos – sour cherry liqueur, served in a chocolate cup.
5. Águeda and Agitágueda Arts Festival
If you want to offer your beloved one a trip present for July, include the small town of Águeda in your itinerary. It not very well known, but its Agitágueda Arts Festival makes it well worth the visit.
Music, street art, dancing performance, and much more. And what I believe the most romantic part is – the hanging umbrellas. How beautiful the streets become.
Águeda can also be done as a day trip from Porto, which won the Award of Top 2017 Destination.
Have you been already to Venice, or it just won’t happen this year? Then head to Aveiro, known as the Portuguese Venice. Hop on a Molicerio (the traditional Aveiro’s boat) and enjoy the romantic ride.
Aveiro is also the home of the traditional Ovos Moles pastry that has dough and extremely sweet egg cream inside. The best ovos moles are said to be at Maria da Apresentação.
Douro region has become more popular in the last years, but if well chosen the place and hotel it couldn’t be more far from mass tourism.
For the most romantic experience, I recommend the spectacular Six Senses Douro Valley Hotel. The hotel exterior is a renovated 19th-century manor house overlooking the vine hills of the Douro Valley and the river. There are several restaurants, but whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong because consulting chef is Ljubomir Stanisic, who’s the chef-owner of the famous 100 Maneiras in Lisbon.
If your budget doesn’t allow Six Senses, check Rio Douro Hotel & Spa.
Also adding a private yacht/ boat with a skipper to take you on a cruise on the river will be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll ever have.
8. Flores Island
This is the most remote of the Azores islands archipelago. It’s also the most humid, thus ever-green, offering lush vegetation, Jurassic park style cliffs and waterfalls.
The island is so small that it can and should be explored on foot for the most romantic experience.
Recommended hotel is Casas da Cascata, overlooking a stunning waterfall.
9. Santa Maria Island and Vigia da Areia
Another Azores Island in the top 10 romantic places in Portugal for this year. It’s the beach destination of the Archipelago. With just about 5500 inhabitants, relax and slow life are guaranteed. But if you like adventures, hop on a boat and sail in the open sea to see some marine life. Scuba diving, snorkeling, kayak, fishing and even vising a red desert are just a part of the activities there.
For full relax and spectacular sea views from your private deck with jacuzzi, stay at one of the Vigia da Areia Houses.
10. Madeira and Fajã Dos Padres
While Madeira is very well known, Fajã dos Padres receives very few visitors. This area is accessible only by lift or boat, so it means no cars, just the noise of the sea.
It’s quite isolated, but very beautiful like the rest of the island
You can stay there overnight or just have lunch at the romantic restaurant, overlooking the ocean.
I hope that you liked my suggestions about the most romantic places to visit in Portugal. If so subscribe bellow for more tips.