Destination Weddings in Costa Verde
The Costa Verde, or Green Coast of Portugal, on the extreme northern tip of the country, is, as the name implies, a vibrant and verdant area, filled with lush vegetation, thousands of beautiful gardens, and many national parks. This is also considered to be the oldest and most historic part of Portugal.
It was from this region that Portugal’s first king, King Dom Afonso Henriques was born. It was King Henriques who helped to unify the present-day country of Portugal by driving out the Moors. Even today the influence of the Moors can still be seen in much of the ancient architecture and art that still survives.
The charming and ancient town of Porto (also known as Oporto), is one of the southern-most costal cities in the Costa Verde. Porto straddles the beautiful Duroro River and is the capital of the Costa Verde region. Porto boasts an excellent international airport and part of the longest (and best) road system in all of Portugal.
Porto is filled with a wide variety of museums, everything from a Museum of the Romantic to a Tram Museum. If you are into gardens and lovely parks then you’ll simply fall in love with Porto. On the western side of the city you will find the magnificent Serralves Foundation Park and the City Park; to the east is the gorgeous Sao Roque Park, and in the very center of the city you will find the breathtaking Palacio Gardens.
If you are looking for a great shopping experience, the Rua de Santa Catarina runs through the town’s main shopping district where you can not only have a rewarding shopping experience, but you can marvel at some of the best and most varied architecture you will find anywhere. And while you are here, be sure to stop at one of the many romantic cafes and enjoy a cup of cimbalino, the special coffee that Porto is famous for.
Porto is also famous for its wines. If you are into wine tasting then Porto is your kind of town; there are wine tastings somewhere in town almost every evening. And if you would like a leisurely boat excursion, 2 to 8-day cruises up the Duroro River leave port almost daily.
An hour or so north of the capital you’ll find the ancient city of Braga. Braga was first settled by the Celts in 300 B.C and became a major city of the Roman Empire just before the birth of Christ. Visitors today enjoy the many ancient Cathedrals which the city is famous for, many dating as far back as the 7th century.
At the mouth of the River Lima you will find the city of Viana do Castelo. In the 1500s many of the great explorers set out from this town and discovered exotic lands as diverse as the Congo in Africa and the great fishing grounds off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland.
Today the historic and beautiful town square of Viana do Castelo attracts both lovers and tourists from around the world with its ancient monuments. It is here, around the town square, where you will find the exquisite water fountain that was built in 1553 as well as the marvelous Miseriacordia House that was built just a few years later, in 1598. The Gothic-style reliefs of the 15th century Cathedral which also faces the town square gives one the feeling that they are enclosed in an ancient fortress.
In the northeast corner of the region, right on the border with Spain, is the Parque da Penada Geres, one of the country’s premiere nature preserves. Here one may hike over hundreds of miles of wilderness trails and enjoy the unspoiled beauty of nature.
For those interested in great regional dishes, the Costa Verde is famous for several delicacies, most notably a variety of sumptuous dishes made with codfish: codfish and rice, codfish and pork, codfish and octopus and many others, with each village adding its own unique and special touches! For desert you simply must try a variety of the rich pastries baked by the nuns of the area, as well as the sweet rice (arroz doce) and the to-die-for egg yolk and almond pastries. And the entire region is known the world over for its great wines!
The Portuguese people are extremely romantic and love weddings. It is not uncommon for virtually the entire town to turn out for a wedding. Non Portuguese couples who wish to tie the knot in Portugal will need birth certificates, passports, a letter certifying that there is no legal impediment to their marriage in their own country and other documents which vary according to the country of origin. All documents must be translated into Portuguese by a certified translator. At least one member of the couple will need to live in Portugal for 30 days prior to the wedding.
The Green Coast of Portugal is like a beautiful and romantic oasis which has yet to be overrun and spoiled. If you are looking for a place where the people are still genuinely friendly and the scenery goes on forever, then welcome to the garden spot of Portugal, the Costa Verde!