Beautiful & Unique Wedding Locations: the Pousadas of Northern Portugal

Are you seeking a truly unique and beautiful location for your wedding? Do you want a location that will contain a distinctly old-world feel with all the modern comforts for you and your guests? Do you want to be married in a former palace or castle? Do you want an all-in-one location where you, your family and your guests can all stay, celebrate and party? If you keep saying yes to my questions than the Pousadas of Portugal are your answer.

The concept of the Pousada is a unique one in Portugal. Decades ago a Portuguese government official, António Ferro, had the idea to create hotels that looked nothing like hotels, focusing on a connection to the location, its culture and its food. Ferro was a poet and a playwright, which may explain his romantic ways. Nevertheless, the government passed law 31.259 on the 1st of May 1941 and the first pousada was inaugurated the following year. While these hotels did flourish, it was only in the next decade that they came closer to what we know and love today.

In the 1950s the designation of Historical Pousada was created. These historical hotels began appearing in historical buildings, including former castles, monasteries, convents, and palaces. In 2003, the right to run the hotels was won by the Pestena Group and now the Pousada are run as luxury accommodations across the whole of Portugal.

Two of my personal favorite locations for weddings are both pousadas. The first located in Porto is Hotel Palacio do Freixo. The Palace was built in the mid 19th century and is a stunning example of Portuguese Baroque architecture. In 1910 the facade of the palace was declared a National Monument. To stay in one of the 87 rooms or 11 suites is a privilege with an interior that has been beautifully restored. The restoration work has maintained many of the original features of the Palace including frescos on the ceilings of some of the common space rooms. With gardens over looking the Douro River, it makes for an unforgettable wedding backdrop.

But don’t be fooled, the Palace is just minutes from the heart of Porto. Enabling you and your guests the ability to visit, enjoy and dine in the heart of the city all in the lead up to your big day. Or if you prefer a lazier day, sun yourself at the riverside pool or enjoy a massage while you take in the beauty of the location.

The garden over looking the Douro River from Hotel Palacio do Freixo.

The second location that I truly adore to attend weddings at is the Pousada Moesteiro de Amares, housed in the former monastery of the city of Amares. Built in the 12th century as a Cistercian monastery, the monastery underwent an award-winning restoration, that was completed in 1997, under the direction of the famous Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Its internal courtyard provides the ideal setting for an afternoon wedding. Whether in late spring or early autumn, the trees of the courtyard provide an idyllic background for any ceremony.

Every modern convenience has been added to the location so that the entire wedding party is catered to, from the outdoor swimming pool to a pool table to the close proximity to Gerês National Park to fine dining. Along with the option to reserve the entire hotel, this Pousada gives couples the chance to create their dream wedding in the heart of Portuguese countryside.


So what are you waiting for?

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