The Douro river runs 210 kms through Portugal from the Spanish border to the city of Porto. To help our clients understand the best location for a wedding in the Douro valley, we like to break the river into 3 sections – the lower Douro from Porto to Resende, which benefits from shorter access to Porto, but has fewer dramatic locations to host a wedding; the mid Douro from Resende up to Pinhão which is where many of the historic vineyards (quintas) are located and is the most popular area for wedding venues; the upper Douro which is much more sparsely populated and harder to get to, but does have some striking scenery.
In recent years the construction of a number of brand new venues and restoration of some old ones has significantly added to the number of Douro wedding venues on offer. There still remains a real shortage of venues with higher capacity and these tend to be located in the middle section of the Douro valley – be prepared for a journey of at least 90 minutes by car from Porto to get there however (although you can take the train or even a boat, both of which are fantastic ways to get to know the Douro valley).
Holding a wedding in the upper Douro can be problematic not just because of a shortage of wedding venues, but because of the inaccessibility, which not only means a long journey to get there, but makes it more difficult to organise the wedding in general in terms of arranging a band, photographer, flowers, celebrant, waiting staff and so on. Meanwhile, venues on the lower Douro do not have the dramatic backdrop that the terraced vineyards provide in the mid and upper Douro – rather the valley sides tend to be more forested with private houses dotted around. So the sweet spot for the Douro valley is between Resende and Pinhão, where you capture the most striking scenery of the valley, all the history associated with the Port wine vineyards, the infrastructure and services you need to run a wedding and it is relatively easy to access from Porto.
With regard to the pricing of venues along the Douro, there is not actually all that much variation, so you will not tend to save money by moving up or down the river. One of the main reasons for this is that the issue of accessibility for all the wedding services can make it more expensive to hold a wedding in a more remote location even though the venue itself may be less sought after, as most of the wedding venues have to contract in catering and other services, which can be very expensive if there are no contractors nearby. Having good access to the main motorway that runs alongside the river from Porto (the A4), is also a key factor in terms of access. For an idea of pricing, you can see a Douro wedding package here.
If you need help choosing your Douro wedding venue, then why not tap into our expertise? We are here to listen to your requirements and find the perfect venue for you that fits your budget and your dreams!