Portugal is home to numerous places perfect for igniting (or reigniting) the flames of love.
One such site is in the cool hills of Sintra, Portugal’s capital of romance. The town is set on a large square flanked by a medieval palace, fountains, cafés, and antiques shops. Rising overhead is a green mountain, crowned by a 10th century castle and the whimsical 19th century royal Pena Palace. And, there is no shortage of romantic B&B’s, palaces, and noble houses to stay in.
In the enchanted Buçaco Forest, set on a mountain above the Spa town of Luso, an ancient monastery was converted to a royal palace a century ago, - then into a hotel. The surrounding forests are magical, and have been protected for four centuries.
One of Europe’s most famous love stories is that of Pedro and Inês de Castro. Prince Pedro fell for Inês, a lady in waiting. When Pedro’s wife died, he declared his love for Inês – and she was promptly killed by his father, the king. Pedro had her corpse exhumed and crowned as Queen of Portugal in the Abbey of Alcobaça. Today, the ruin of the palace where Inês and Pedro lived and the gardens where she was murder is called "Garden of the Tears"- visitors today can trace the ancient paths that the two ill-fated lovers walked. In the Abbey of Alcobaça the ornate tombs of Pedro and Inês are foot to foot, so that on the day of judgment the first thing they will see is each other.
On the Azores island of São Miguel, the famed Sete Cidades (Seven Cities) Lake fills a giant crater where Verde (Green) and Azul (Blue) lakes coexist, twinned by an arched bridge. According to legend they were formed from the tears of a princess and a shepherd joined by an impossible love.
Love is always an inspiration for Portuguese crafts. Gold hearts from Viana do Castelo are a symbol of love. This golden filigree jewelry is from the same region as the“lenços de namorados”- embroidered linen handkerchiefs with love poems. It was customary for the girl in love to embroider her handkerchief and give it to her lover.