Lisbon combines the international, cosmopolitan feel of a European capital with a splash of Portuguese culture, making it one of the most popular wedding destinations in Europe. See below for our thoughts on how Lisbon stacks up as a wedding destination.
Plentiful sunshine – in fact, Lisbon is second only to the Maltese capital of Valletta in hours of sunshine per year – nearly year-round means you are almost guaranteed to have sun-filled photos.
Lisbon’s Wedding Venues
Lisbon’s size and cosmopolitan feel means that you can easily find the perfect wedding venue for you. Boutique hotel? Modern art venue? Alternative event space? Rooftop sanctuary overlooking the city? Whichever one is your ideal, Lisbon has it! Here are some of our favorites:
- LX Factory
- Petit Palais
- Estufa Real
- Quinta da Pintoras
- Palácio Marquês da Fronteira
You and your guests won’t need to travel far as Lisbon’s airport is located right in the heart of the city. And if you are worried about your guests making their way around the city, don’t be! Lisbon is one of the friendliest European cities for English speakers. From your AirBnB apartment to the Uber driver to the museum staff, everyone will speak at least a little English, if not be completely fluent.
Lisbon’s High Points
There is no possibility for you nor your guests to be bored or go hungry. Lisbon is a city with enough architecture, street art, museums, lookout points, and cute winding streets to ensure you have plenty to do for days! As for food, the possibilities are extensive. Not only will you be able to enjoy both traditional and modern interpretations of classic Portuguese food, but also cuisine from all of the former Portuguese colonies. Craving food from Goa or Brazil or Mozambique? Lisbon will guarantee you don’t miss out.
The other great thing about being in the capital is that they are comfortable working with international crowds. That means finding a wedding planner and other vendors that speak your language is a snap. Also, they are more likely to have adapted to the ways for foreigners, i.e. the speed of response being a big one, than if you decided to go with a sweet, little quinta in the countryside.
Oh, and did we mention the city is gorgeous? If you have your wedding in Lisbon please do us one favor: book a photo session walking around the city. You won’t regret it!
Lisbon’s Low Points
Now that we have gushed, here are the possible cons, because, what good is our advice if we don’t prepare you for what may be difficult.
Lisbon has become increasingly more popular as a wedding destination, which means highly coveted venues and vendors, book up early. The most desired time of the year has traditionally been from May to September, however, because it is a sunny city, weddings now happen year round. And because it is so desirable it is more expensive than other parts of the country. That said, while it is a very sunny city, rain does happen and when it does watch out! Residents of the city are so unaccustomed to the rain, everything stops, everything slows down, and getting things done becomes a pain.
The taxi drivers. Lisbon taxi drivers are notoriously bad: bad drivers, rude, and unhelpful. Avoid them at all cost. Uber operates in Lisbon and the drivers are plentiful and the rides cheap. So, do yourself and your guests a favor, tell them to skip the taxi queue and hail an Uber or arrange a driver.
Alfacinhas is how the people of Lisbon are known. It translates to mean “lettuce eaters,” but don’t let that worry you, you won’t be going hungry in Lisbon.
A well-known dish from Lisbon that you should be sure to consume is bacalhau à Brás. Have you heard that we have a different recipe for salted and dried codfish for every day of the year? Well its true and while bacalhau is not for everyone, this dish, made with shredded codfish, fried toothpick potatoes, egg, onion, and parsley, is as simple and as good as you can get.
Alfacinhas are also sandwich lovers but don’t expect lettuce on that sandwich. Their favorite is the bifana, a piece of pork cooked in a secret sauce and served in a traditional crusty bread. Simple and traditional at its best.
Another thing that Lisbon is known for, is being the home of an entire way of eating – small portions of food that you can share with friends, they are called petiscos. You will find petiscos all over the country, but Lisbon and the region of Estremadura is its home. So, what are petiscos? The most traditional options include:
- Caracóis: snails. Not your thing you say? Just give it a chance because anything cooked in that delicious butter and garlic broth is sure to taste outstanding
- Ovos verdes: green eggs. No this isn’t “Green Eggs & Ham”, these deviled eggs, with parsley for the green, are battered and fried
- Pipas: literally translates to pipes. This is chicken gizzards cooked with tomatoes, rice, onion, and garlic. Try it before you judge it
- Pataniscas de bacalhau: little pastries of codfish. Mashed up codfish with seasoning is battered and then fried. All of this is heaven in the palm of your hand
Going for the sweets, it would be a crime to have a wedding in Lisbon without sampling the pastel de nata. Roughly translated into custard tart, this eggy goodness wrapped in a flaky base is Portuguese pastries at its best. There is much discussion about where to find the best one. The younger crowd like Manteigaria, a recent chain that has perfected their buttery crust. But if you are a traditionalist, best held to the neighborhood of Belém and eat a pastel de belém. You can thank us later.
While the city may sit outside of any winemaking region, it is surrounded to the north, east, and south by three distinct wine regions. The regions are known as Lisbon, Tejo, and Setúbal, with each offering its own unique flavors to be experienced.
- Alicante Bouschet
- Fernão Pires
- Fernão Pires
- Sauvignon blanc
- Moscatel de Setúabl
If you are considering a destination wedding that combines Old World charm with international vibes, look no further than Lisbon. But remember, it isn’t just the location that will make your wedding day unforgettable. Who you work with also makes a difference. If you are looking for a team of native-English speaking celebrants, based around Portugal, look no further then Your European Wedding Celebrant. We will make sure your wedding ceremony is as memorable as the location you pick.