Here at Douro Weddings, we deal almost exclusively with destination weddings, which is to say for non-Portuguese couples. Many of the wedding guests will be coming for a few days extra to make best use of the time in Portugal (and who wouldn’t want to linger for a few extra days in the Douro Valley and the city of Porto!). This means that we get frequent requests for suggestions for activities for guests to do (either to organise for themselves or for us to organise for larger groups). The sister company to Douro Weddings is Porto Events, a business specialising in corporate events and activities for overseas visitors to Porto, so we can lean on this expertise to put together all manner of fun things for wedding guests to do, beyond The Big Day itself.
The most common activity that we are requested to organise is a cruise on the Douro river, which can be done in various ways. It can be in the form of transport from the city of Porto up the river Douro to the wedding venue, which will generally take around 6 hours to Peso da Régua at the heart of the Douro region or it might be a circular cruise from near the wedding venue.You will then have to decide if you want to be part of a larger cruise that it open to the public or to have a private boat just for your group; there are multiple cruise boats going up and down the river every day, so it is relatively easy to jump on one as long as you reserve in advance and will cost around €65 for example from Porto to Peso da Régua. We can organise a private boat just for your group, which can take the form of a luxury yacht to a more traditional Rebelo boat (the old boats that used to ship the Port wine barrels down the river) or a larger cruise ship. These cruises can be booked for groups of 4 people up to 200 and there is a wide range of extras that you can add to the cruise should you so wish, such as live music, stop-offs for wine tasting at a vineyard, an on-board guide and so on.
Another very popular activity is wine tasting at a vineyard, which of course can also take various different forms – the most popular option that we organise is to transport guests from their hotel to a Port vineyard where they are given a guided tour of the vineyard, wine tasting and then lunch, which can be a fabulous way to spend a day, as guests will get to see more of the Douro valley and get to understand the fascinating history of Port wine and learn how it is made as well as getting to enjoy some local cuisine in beautiful surroundings.
For the more adventurous guests there are also a number of options available, such as white-water rafting, canyoning, parachute jumping, sailing, canoeing, 4×4 trails, horse-riding, historic guided tours and so on. Again for smaller groups is can often be easier for them to organise themselves (we can point them in the right direction), but for larger groups where the logistics can get more complex, we would advise to let us organise it.
We like to think at Douro Weddings, that encouraging your guests to come and stay for a few extra days will make your wedding all the more memorable and can also be a great opportunity for the bride and groom to spend some time with friends and family outside of the hurly-burly of the wedding day itself. So as well as making sure that your wedding day is perfectly planned to be everything you dreamed it could be, we can also help plan a wonderful extra few days for you and your guests to get the very best our of the Douro Valley and Porto.