6 months ago, I shared with you the venues we visited in Ireland for our wedding planning. I know it took forever but I promised to share with you the venues we visited in Portugal and so here it goes!

Portugal was nothing short of amazing! It is so beautiful and perhaps underrated that I couldn’t imagine it took me this long to visit this wonderful country. We were there in November and the weather was so nice. It was cool yet everyday was a sunny day. The food is amazing and the ambiance is simply laid back.

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On our first day in Lisbon after coming from Dublin, I really thought “Wow, Portugal might be it (for our wedding)”. We didn’t waste any time and started the ocular on Day 1. The first venue we saw was Pestana Palace, just 15-20 minutes by car from the city centre. Built in the early 19th century, the Palace was fully restored and turned into a hotel by the Pestana group.

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Aside from the exterior, I really liked how the “Valle Flor” restaurant looked like. The only problem is that the restaurant can only seat 48 people. Though there is another room adjacent, it is separated by a walkway in the middle with a huge centrepiece.

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Photo taken from http://www.lisbonne-idee.pt/soc1707-411-restaurante-valle-flor.html

One thing that was pretty cool about this palace is that at the time of our visit, Madonna (Yes, THE one and only queen Madge) was occupying the whole second floor. Apparently, she has been living in Portugal for a few years already and was staying at Pestana Palace for about a year. However, that became a bit of a downside for us because it meant that we were not allowed to see the Royal Suites of the palace and should we choose Pestana Palace as our wedding venue, we will only be allowed to sleep in the hotel side (which is in another building beside the Palace). Nevertheless, it was a really nice venue to visit.

After Pestana Palace, the second venue we visited was not so far away. It’s a family home, built also in the 19th century by an Italian architect Cesar Fanz, called Virtvs Palace. We were told that the current owner of the house is an Albanian or was it Algerian (could not remember anymore) Millionaire, and while they are not around, they have it rented out for parties and events.

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The house, or should I say mansion, was really nice and cozy. You can totally imagine having a cool party in here. It’s intimate and private, perfect for a pre wedding party or a very small wedding, I’d say.

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The next day, we traveled to Sintra. It took us about an hour from Lisbon by train. Sintra is a beautiful town with its forested terrain and pastel-colored villas. We visited the Monserrate Palace, a beautiful architectural place with a romantic landscape and garden surrounding it.

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Would have been perfect but the Music Room could only seat around 60 people. It was a nice trip to Sintra though.

After a few days, we flew to Porto and rented a car, drove all the way to Luso and visited the Buçaco Palace. The façade of the “Bussaco Palace” boasted the Manuelino style of architectural ornamentation, which is so intricate and lavish.

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The restaurant was very nice, with a balcony overlooking the garden. The Salāo Nobre, their wedding venue, was quite spacious. It had nice french doors that lead towards the garden. The restaurant can seat a maximum of 90 guests while the Salāo Nobre can seat 190 guests.

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In photos, everything here is so breathtaking. Sadly, we felt that the whole palace was not maintained very well. You can really see and feel how old the Palace is, and it would have been nice if they fully restored everything and made the rooms clean and crisp. Great venue nonetheless. Truly old world and historical.

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Our next stop was back in Porto. Palácio da Bolsa, a historical building built in the 19th century in Neoclassical style. Cristina, the event organiser, was so nice and charming. She showed us the different rooms inside the building, which was truly remarkable. However, we felt that our wedding was too small for a huge events place like this.

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They have a number of rooms inside but the most impressive one was the Arab room. The interior design is just amazing, it leaves you breathless.

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Last but not the least, we drove all the way past Amares, an hour and a half away from Porto. Pousada Mosteiro Amares used to be a Cistercian Monastery from the 12th century, and was restored by architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The venue was quite far but the area surrounding it is so peaceful. What’s nice about this place is that it’s right beside a church.

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The monastery was built in stone. So it’s pretty cool inside. The venue has 32 rooms (all modern and very cozy). There’s an orange courtyard and a swimming pool outside.

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The Pousada was pretty cool, although different from what we wanted as our ideal wedding venue, which is more “palace-y”.

We really enjoyed our trip to Portugal. Seeing all these historical venues made our trip even more special. It was such a hard task narrowing down our choices. But we had to think about a lot of things, aside from our budget. Like location of the venue, how accessible is the place especially for old family members traveling from abroad, are the rooms nice and clean, can the venue accommodate our number of guests and everything else logistics wise.

Remembering all these things puts a smile on my face. It made my wedding planning a very memorable and fun experience. 😍

 

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