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Regions Title

Serra da Estrela
Vila Real

Destination Weddings in Montanhas

The Montanhas, or Mountain region of Portugal, in the countryís northwest corner, has some of the most awe-inspiring scenery that youíll find anywhere in Portugal.  Here you will find towns clinging to impossible granite cliff faces on the sides of mountains, seeming at times to defy gravity.

This is an area of self-sufficiency.  The people here make their own wines, cure their own meats, and make their own handicrafts.  There are few places left in the world where a visitor can sample genuine hearth-cured hams and sausage, or purchases a bottle of wine made from grapes harvested in the backyard.  The people of the Montanhas region of Portugal are hearty and extremely friendly. 

Many people choose to begin their exploration of the Montanhas in the fascinating medieval town of Braganca, just outside one of the regionís largest nature preserves.  Braganca was once a walled city and even today much of the original wall still stands.  Here you will find one of the best-preserved 12th century medieval castles in Europe with a five-sided town hall, the Domus Municipalis, built into it!

Braganca is also known for its many ancient and magnificent churches: the Santa Maria Church, Casa de Misericordia Chapel and Santa Clara Covenant and Church were all built in the 16th century and each has a distinctive look and feel.

In the center of the region lies the ancient town of Vila Real, known for its beautiful mix of architectural styles.  While here youíll want to visit the Cathedral and Sao Bras Chapel, which was built in the Gothic style, and see the 16th century churches of Sao Pedro and Misericordia and you wonít want to miss the Baroque Capela Nova and Clerigos Church.  Also on your ďdonít missĒ list should be the unique Baroque Mateus Palace with its awe-inspiring reflecting pool and its unique architectural style.

An hour or so to the west of Vila Real is the spa town of Chaves.  Here you will find natural hot springs that will wash your cares away.  People from all over the world come to the Chaves natural hot springs every year where they can also relax and enjoy the natural waters of other nearby towns, such as Vidago and Pedras Salgadas.

A large part of the Serra da Estrela Mountain range, where Vila Real is located, is a nature preserve.  Here you will find a rugged landscape of boulders and chestnut forests and no end to the staggering scenery.  It is also here, 3,000 feet above sea level, that you will discover the town of Guarda.  Itís here in Guarda that you will find one of the most amazing-looking churches you have ever seen.  The church in Guarda has been built from blocks of granite.  From a distance the exterior of the church presents an image of graceful, tall, thin spires, but upon closer examination you discover dozens of carved gargoyles staring down at you.  Your amazement continues inside the church where you will find huge natural stones in which has been carved the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary.  This is definitely something you donít want to miss!

If you are into architecture and history, you simply must visit the town of Monsanto.  The castle of Monsanto is one of the most unique castles you will find anywhere.  The entire castle has been carved out of the mountainside and built around the mountainside in such as way that it almost appears to have evolved naturally from the face of the mountain.

Couples looking for romance and adventure, coupled with awe-inspiring scenery as well as warm and friendly people who genuinely love weddings would do well to look into tying-the-knot in one of the most remote, intimate and romantic areas in all of Portugal, the Montanhas!