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Costa de Prata

Destination Weddings in Costa de Prata

The Costa de Prata, or the Silver Coast of Portugal is located along the west coast of Portugal from just above Lisbon all the way up to just south of Oporto.  This is an area of endless white sand beaches and almost perfect weather.  If you are looking for a warm and relaxing place, where the people are genuinely friendly and the wine is superb, then there are few choices better than the Silver Coast of Portugal.

If you are looking for romance there is no better place to begin exploring the Silver Coast of Portugal than the scenic Venice-like town of Aveiro in the northern part of the region, along the coast.  While Aveiro is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal at any time, it’s true beauty must be fully appreciated at night.  Once the sun sets the lights of Aveiro twinkle on, reflected majestically in the town’s world-famous lagoon.  To stroll along the banks of the lagoon at night, with the moon and the stars and the thousands of lights from the town rippling in the glass-like surface of the lagoon is to know what true peace and contentment and romance is all about.

And as if that isn’t enough, the town is crisscrossed by a series of beautiful canals, reminiscent of Venice in Italy.  It is impossible to visit this magical city and not take a ride on the colorfully painted sailboats, called moliceiro, which glide up and down the canals all day and most of the night.  Could anything be more romantic?

And while you are in Aveiro you also may want to visit its world-class museums and it’s many 15th to 18th century churches and cathedrals and marvel at their intricate and masterful architecture.

Near the center of the region is the university town of Coimbra.  Coimbra has one of the oldest universities in Europe.  Even today students walk the streets wearing black capes just as they have done for centuries.  The university itself sits on a hilltop overlooking the town, its famous tower a beacon of learning and a reminder of the town’s ancient heritage.  If you make a trip to the university you won’t want to miss its awe-inspiring centuries-old Baroque library.

The town itself is a romantic throw-back to ancient times, with narrow streets lined with genuine medieval walls, graceful arches and  wide, winding stairways.  Here you will find the 10th century Monastery of  Santa Cruz, the 12th century Monastery of Celas and the 12th century Church of Santiago.  To stroll these ancient streets hand in hand is to feel a connection to the past that is hard to find in many places in the world today.

Further to the south is the beautiful and ancient town of Leiria.  What makes Leiria so striking is the ancient royal castle perched on the hillside above the town.  This is one of the greatest photo sites you’ll find anywhere.  In the center of the town is a striking fountain right near the site of a gorgeous 16th century Cathedral which also houses one of the finest archaeological museums in this part of the world.

Just a few miles to the east and just slightly south of Leiria is the world-famous town of Fatima, where, according to three young Shepard girls the Virgin Mary appeared many years ago.  Today the sanctuary of Fatima is a shrine and attracts thousands and thousands of the faithful each year.  For Catholics, especially, the charming village of Fatima is a “must visit” if you are traveling through the Silver Coast of Portugal.

Further south from Fatima is the lush green rolling countryside of Santarem.  Here you will find wide green plains that stretch almost as far as the eye can see.  It is here, around Santarem, where some of the country’s finest bulls and horses are raised.  If you are into bullfighting, the bullfights at Santarem are probably the best-known in Portugal.  It is also here where you will find some of the largest agricultural fairs in the country.  While you are in Santarem you simply must visit the ancient pink church downtown and you also must visit the Jardin das Portas do Sol, one of the most magnificent gardens you will find anywhere, surrounded by ancient medieval walls and with a river view that will make your eyes water.

From its warm white-sand beaches to its lush green hills, the Silver Coast of Portugal offers something for almost everyone, from the seasoned traveler to romantic couples looking for an enchanting place to tie-the-knot.