Bordering Spain in southern Europe is the gorgeous country of Portugal – with pastel villages, golden beaches, scenic vineyards, vibrant cities, and plenty of adventure! If you’re dreaming of a wedding day that breaks the rules and allows you to get married exactly the way you want to, a Portugal elopement might be the perfect way to tie the knot.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know to elope in Portugal – how to elope, the best elopement locations, marriage laws, and more!
Portugal Elopement Locations
Choosing that perfect spot to exchange vows, marry your best friend, and promise to spend the rest of your lives together is such an unbelievably exciting step in the planning process. But, with so many gorgeous places, how do you narrow it down?!
Part of my job as a Portugal elopement photographer is to help you find that perfect spot – the one you’ll remember forever as the place where you married the love of your life. I’ll create a personalized list of recommendations that fit your vibe, whether you want a big hike or no hike at all, a place for the whole family or just the two of you, and that’s a little off the beaten path so you can have some privacy as you exchange vows! To get you inspired, here are a few of the best Portugal elopement locations.
Sintra is an adorable, charming town in the hills, and it truly looks like a fairytale! There are castles in the area, as well as several scenic beaches that make a great place for an elopement ceremony. Sintra is a short train ride away from the capital of Lisbon, making it a convenient Portugal elopement location!
Praia Ursa is one of the best beaches – it’s secluded, with a steep pathway down to the beach, where the rocks create a really scenic landscape.
The Algarve is known for being one of the most beautiful stretches of Portugal’s coastline – so while it is popular, there are several beaches that are a little off the beaten path, with more secluded views! The natural sea bridges and rock formations over the ocean create a unique backdrop for any Portugal elopement.
Azores is a region off the coast of Portugal, made up of nine islands. Because they’re off the mainland, the islands tend to be a little less traveled! Each one offers a stunning natural landscape, with lakes, craters, plunging waterfalls, vibrant greenery, and mountain ridges. This is one of the best Portugal elopement locations for couples who love hiking or getting outside, and you can also whale watch, snorkel, or canoe.
Serra da Estrela Natural Park
Away from the beaches, you’ll find incredible mountain views! This park is home to the highest peak in Portugal, along with glacier carved valleys, rolling green meadows, and rocky outcrops. There are tons of hiking trails to choose from, whether you want to trek into the mountains or take an easy stroll!
Peneda Gêres National Park
This park is in the more secluded, northern part of the country. With rugged hills, turquoise blue lakes, and nearby villages, it’s the perfect Portugal elopement location for couples who want to explore somewhere totally serene!
The Best Time for a Portugal Elopement
Portugal has a Mediterranean climate, which means summers are typically warm and dry, while winters are mild but rainy! To decide on the best time to elope in Portugal, here’s what you need to know about each season.
Summers are very hot, especially in central Portugal. This can be a great time to hike in the north, and to visit higher elevation, mountainous areas! It’s also perfect for couples who want to get in the water, but you can expect to find a lot of people at the beach – summer is the most popular time to visit Portugal.
Fall is one of the best times for a Portugal elopement, because as the summer crowds go home, it’s a lot more empty. The sun is usually still shining, and the weather is warm! Northern Portugal tends to be a little cooler than the south, but temperatures typically stay pretty mild.
Winters are colder, and the mountains get some snow! Lower elevation regions stay pretty mild, though, especially in the south, where it’s warm and sunny for most of the year. The northern part of the country is cooler, and it sees a lot more rain.
Spring is another great time to elope in Portugal for good weather and fewer crowds! Tourism starts to pick up again after the winter, and you can see some flowers in bloom. Northern parts of the country, as well as the inland mountain range, can be rainy and unpredictable, while the south is pretty sunny, warming up quickly!
Getting Legally Married When You Elope in Portugal
You don’t need to live in the country to elope in Portugal, but the process for foreigners to legally tie the knot here can be tricky.
Many couples who plan a destination elopement choose to do the paperwork at home instead – this can make things simpler, allowing you to have a symbolic ceremony and focus on the fun stuff instead of the legal stuff. Don’t worry – this won’t make your elopement any less meaningful or special! Your marriage begins when you exchange vows and commit to one another, not when you sign a piece of paper.
If you decide to get legally married during your Portugal elopement, here’s what you’ll need.
You’ll need to get a marriage license from the Civil Registry Office, which takes about a month to process – but you need to start at least 6 weeks before your elopement date, and no more than 6 months ahead of time. You need to be there in person, or to assign a representative with power of attorney who can handle this for you.
Once you get the marriage license, you will need a registrar to marry you – they can do this at the Civil Registry Office, or pay an extra travel fee to have them go to your elopement location.
After your ceremony, you’ll get a wedding certificate, and you’ll be legally married!
Things to Do During Your Portugal Elopement
Eloping is all about the adventure, and the experience you have. It’s about slowing down, being intentional in how you spend your day, and being able to truly connect with your partner. Along with your ceremony, plan something amazing for your day!
Here are a few ideas for things to do when you elope in England – and for more inspiration, check out some more things to do on your elopement day.
What better way to celebrate getting married than to explore the underwater world so few people get to see?! If you like snorkeling, Portugal has plenty of beaches where you can hop in the water, or boats you can take further out, to snorkel in the clear blue waters. If you want to see the marine life but aren’t sure about snorkeling, you can also visit the aquarium in Lisbon!
Visit the Castles
Portugal has historic castles all over, nestled on hills and mountains, along rivers, and in the towns and cities. There’s so much history to explore, and seeing the old stone castles is a really fun thing to do during your Portugal elopement!
If you love nature, you can go hiking in Portugal! You can hike to the perfect ceremony spot, or tie the knot somewhere easy to reach before taking off for an amazing adventure. Whether you hike on coastal bluffs or head to the mountains, there’s endless scenery!
Portugal Elopement Packages
Once you decide to elope, I’ve got your back! My Portugal elopement packages have everything you need to personalize your day – from recommending elopement locations, helping with permits and marriage laws, making a timeline, and being your personal hype person throughout the whole thing, I’ll help you plan a day that’s perfect for the two of you.
Contact me if you’re ready to elope, and to learn more about Portugal elopement packages!
Hello, I have clients wanting to elope in Portugal and I see that you have a great blog about this. Do you only offer the photographs are a complete package?
Hey Kristal! Wonderful, Portugal is the best. Thank you. My packages include so much more than just photography but also location scouting, timelines, recommendations, and more. Feel free to reach out through my contact form or email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org Looking forward to connecting!