Experience-based travel for honeymoons might not be a term you’ve thought about plugging into Google. But if you are planning your wedding, then you are most certainly thinking about your honeymoon. It’s likely too that you are looking for a honeymoon that’s different. In our post-pandemic era, everything is different. If that’s the case, then it’s probably experience-based travel for honeymoons that you are looking for.
Before we get to some of our preferred experience-based travel locations for honeymoons in Portugal, it’s worth explaining what experiential travel is.
What Is Experience-Based Travel?
You might not have heard the term experience-based or experiential travel and you won’t be alone. There are changes afoot in the travel industry. Travel trends are shifting and it’s a shift that’s moving more quickly due to the global pandemic. In essence, experiential travel is a departure from mindless travel. It isn’t travel where you reach a destination, see the sights, take far too many selfies and possibly leave a negative impact on the local community.
Keep It local
Experience-based travel is about seeing a country through the eyes of the local people. It means having a local experience to enhance your travel adventure. By diving into the local culture you’ll get authentic experiences that you wouldn’t get with a traditional tour operator or travel agency. This is the furthest away you can get from being ON the beaten path.
Be Present and Engaged
Leaving a positive impact on a community is very much part of what experience-based travel is. Most of all, experiential travel is about being fully present, taking part, being fully engaged with the locals and the local environment. It’s not about taking endless selfies for social media that distract you from really immersing yourself in the experience. Experience-based travel is the furthest thing from a “mindless trip”.
Portugal’s Departure From Traditional Spots
Tourism to Portugal has traditionally been focused around three main destinations – Lisbon, Porto and The Algarve. These locations have attracted throngs of travellers in the past. Whilst all have their own charm, there are significant concerns over the impact of mass tourism on these areas while other regions are not benefiting from tourism at all.
Rather than stick to these popular spots, why not combine them with places offering an authentic Portuguese experience? Boutique hotels have emerged giving you a base to explore the wild Atlantic coast and interior mountainous valleys.
An hour north of Lisbon, Santa Cruz, a little known coastal area of Costa De Prata has emerged as the perfect antidote to the hectic pace of the capital city. Deserted beaches, Atlantic rollers that sweep onto the shore and endless amounts of clifftop trails will give you a glimpse into what life is like here. Once a summer-only destination for Lisbonites, the arrival of a world-class hotel and a burgeoning surf scene opened up this sleepy region.
This region gives you the chance to see the laidback side of Portugal. A place where time almost slows down, giving you the opportunity to truly take in your own surroundings. There are hardly any people here, the vast coastline peppered with rugged but expansive beaches are ripe for exploration. The waters here aren’t suitable for swimming. However, there are plenty of experiential activities to take part in such as stand up paddleboarding, skateboarding, and kayaking.
Opportunities to explore picturesque hamlets nearby are endless. Don’t forget to try the local bacalau, a salted cod dish famous in Portugal. When the sun goes down, restaurants such as Noah’s Beach House offer a romantic and gastronomic experience a stone’s throw from the sands at the quaint Praia da Fisica beach.
Areias do Seixo, Santa Cruz
Areias do Seixo, in Santa Cruz is a boutique hotel, winning awards for its environmental sustainability and for the excellent service and experience it provides. The design of this ten-room property delivers you an “experience”. Set on the edge of stunning sand dunes leading to jaw-dropping beautiful cliffs, Areias feels like it was meant to be in its surroundings. Areias creates a natural home-like feel towards this magical place and the experiences on offer will draw on your sense of grounding to the history and surrounding natural beauty. This hotel certainly delivers if you want experience-based travel for a honeymoon.
What makes the hotel so unique is its design. The owners, Goncalo and Marta Alves, built the hotel around the existing landscape. Some rooms even have olive trees protruding through them. All rooms are generously sized, at ground level, facing the sea and sand dunes in the distance. You really feel part of nature here but within a modern setting. Add in the double rain shower, sunken bath and private terrace and you could feasibly never leave your room and still experience the beauty of Areias.
Goncalo and Marta choose only the best local produce from land and sea. You can enjoy local wines from the region’s vineyards and the organic food grown here will leave you feeling connected to the land. Of course, you’ll be eating fish caught that very same day.
Every night, there is a bonfire where guests can gather around a bonfire to drink the ‘first pressing wine’ otherwise known as Agua Pe in Portuguese whilst Marta plays some local songs on her guitar. Normally this would feel forced. But the atmosphere here gives you a sense of the essence that the owners are trying to create. This is certainly a place you could come back to year after year, with the feeling of returning home.
Grab a bicycle from the front desk and ride along the cliff-edge for miles. When you find your own secluded part of the sweeping beach, you’ll be hard-pressed to see another tourist in sight.
Unique experiences are waiting for you. If you are looking for a sense of experienced-based travel like this in Portugal, contact Many Moons Travel to start planning now.