Destination Weddings in Planicies
For many people the Planicies, or the Plains of Portugal, invoke much the same romantic feeling as the wide open plains of the American wild west. The Plains cover a fairly large area of Portugalís southeast, from Nisa and Castelo de Vide in the north to Castro Verde and Almodovar in the south. The region has a little bit of everything, from wide open grasslands in the northwest, to dry, desert-like conditions further south, to beautiful Atlantic Ocean beaches to the west.
In the northwest part of the Plain region of Portugal are wide, green stretches of flat grasslands as far as the eye can see. It is here that some of the finest horses and bulls are raised and are allowed to roam freely. As you drive south the weather becomes warmer and the land dryer. Here you will find an almost endless sea of gold known as Alentejo wheat. Continue south and you will find still dryer plains filled with grazing sheep.
Starting in the regionís north, in the ancient town of Castelo de Vide, is what is known as the Rota dos Castelos, or the Route of the Castles. In this mountainous region are many of the oldest castles in all of Portugal, some dating back to the very founding of Portugal as a nation. The ancient castle of Castelo de Vide can only be reached by passing through one of the most impressive 16th century villages still in existence, walking through narrow and winding cobble stone streets and passing through several unique Gothic entrances and archways. The castle itself was completed in 1327 and is one of the most complete examples of 11th and 12th century architecture that youíll find anywhere.
Another marvel you wonít want to miss is the 13th century chapel of Salvador do Mundo which houses the famous painting ďThe Flight Into Egypt.Ē
Just a little south and east of Castelo de Vide is the fortified town of Elvas, very near the Spanish border. In ancient times Elvas was attacked many times, and its three antique gates show signs of each conquest. There are many romantic and ancient sights to visit in Elvas, including an almost 2000-year-old Aqueduct which still towers over many outlying parts of the town, and you will most certainly want to visit Elvas Castle, with its Roman and well as Moorish designs.
No visit to Elvas would be complete without visiting the famed octagonal church of Nossa Senhora dos Aflitos, with its jaw-dropping columns and its unbelievable blue and yellow tiles, added to the church in the 17th century.
Traveling further south, almost in the very center of the Plains region is the incredibly beautiful city of Evora. For anyone interested in ancient history and some of the most beautiful architecture imaginable, Evora is like a dream come true. In fact, Evorís historic center, with its ancient Roman temple and tall Doric columns is part of UNESCOíS International Heritage List. The city was controlled by the Moors until a flamboyant knight named Gerald the Fearless recaptured it in 1166. Following the defeat of the Moors Evora became one of the most popular cities for most of the Kings of Portugal.
Plan to spend at least one full day (if not more) in Evora as it is impossible to see everything this incredible city has to offer in less than a day. You will not want to miss the almost 2,000-year-old Roman temple which still stands in the ancient part of the city. Thousands of tourists a year come to marvel at this work of both art as well as architecture. Nearby is the ancient Roman Cathedral in which you will find housed one of the most complete collections of Sacred Art that you will find anywhere.
There are several ancient churches in Evora that display both Gothic as well as Moorish design: Saint Bras Chapel, the Saint Francisco Church and the St. John the Baptist Church are but a few. Evora is also home to several imposing palaces, some with marvelous medieval arches and many other notable architectural features.
A little south and west of Evora, closer to the coast, is the ancient city of Alcacer do Sal. Here, on a hill overlooking the town, is the very ancient town castle, often referred to as the Pousada Dom Afonso II Castle, although it is actually much older than King Afonso II. It is said that the castle actually protected the town from a Viking invasion in the year 966 A.D. Even today this is a beautiful castle and well worth the visit.
If you are looking for true romance try the tiny village of Serpa in the south eastern part of the Plains region. This is truly one of the oldest towns in Portugal, founded in 400 B.C. by one of the original peoples of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the things which makes this village so romantic is that couples are often serenaded by roving groups of traditional singers who are the actual descendants of troubadours from the middle ages!
The Plains Region of Portugal is one of the least populated regions of Portugal and one of the most geographically varied. Its people are warm and friendly and it is filled with a definite sense of history and of purpose. If you are looking for a relaxed and romantic atmosphere, there may be no better place than the soft rolling hills and wide open spaces of the Plains Region of Portugal.