Portugal is a Dream Incentive Travel Destination
When considering your companies next travel incentive destination, Portugal absolutely must be on your list! As far as I am concerned, Portugal is a dream destination. The mainland of Portugal spans just 350 miles north to south, and in that small area, you will be charmed by mountains, oceans, history, seafood, wine, religion, active lifestyles, and friendly locals. There is truly something for everyone.
If you are considering Portugal for your incentive trip, we would recommend a minimum of 4 nights to make it worth the travel time if traveling from the United States. There are plenty of red-eye flights attendees can take that make the trip much less complicated. As the dollar is so strong in Portugal right now, your highest spend will most likely be on air travel to the destination. Once there, everything is relatively inexpensive.
Here are a few of my favorite highlights from a recent incentive trip we planned in Portugal. We kept our program focused within Lisbon, Cascais, and Sintra. These incentive travel activities do not even begin to scratch the surface of all there is to do, but hopefully will give an idea of how exciting this experience can be for you and your attendees!
Portugal Incentive Travel Activities
When selecting incentive travel activities in Portugal, be sure to choose options that include a closer look at Portugal’s rich history.
The Charms of Sintra tour took place throughout Sintra, Portugal, starting at Penha Palace. Designated as one of the seven wonders of Portugal, Penha Palace is known for its Romantic architecture and, on a clear day, can be seen sitting on top of the Sintra Mountains from Lisbon. An incredible photo opportunity, not only for the palace but for the breathtaking views from its perch on the mountain.
Following Penha Palace, your guests will visit Quinta de Regaleira. Built as a residence in the 20th century, Quinta de Regaleira is known for its intricately-designed Gothic architecture and its intriguing gardens. With references throughout the property to the Knights Templar, the Masons, and Dark Alchemy, this historical tour has an illustrious past that your participants won’t forget.
Finish off the day with a locally-sourced lunch in the historical Sintra City Center to add a little authentic flair to the touristy itinerary. This was the perfect activity for the attendee who loves history and architecture. Still, even those less interested can take in the magnificence of the Sintra countryside and culture along the way.
Cascais Bikes & Wine is a tour that is great for the attendee who enjoys an active lifestyle. Historically a small fishing village, today Cascais is known for its 19th-century architecture, its traditional Portuguese charm, and as a destination for the wealthy. After biking along the coast of Cascais, attendees are treated to a wine tasting at Prova Winery, a local hidden gem housing some of the area’s oldest wines.
“DIY Lisbon” was the perfect activity for the adventurous and well-traveled attendees who prefer to set their agenda. Providing a Lisboa card gives travelers access to 23 different museums and city attractions as well as full access to city transportation. Attendees with the Lisboa card were able to fully customize their day and make the most of their time in Lisbon as they saw fit!
Evening Events for Portugal Incentive Travel
Portugal is the perfect destination to create a once in a lifetime event experience. With so many historical venues and so much natural beauty, you are sure to plan an event; your guests will never forget!
We chose to have one of our events at an old, 14th-century monastery. We utilized each room in the monastery, creating a unique experience in each space while trying to stay true to the character of the venue. Guests entered through the chapel where we had a Gregorian Choir chanting; certainly, an unforgettable way to start an event!
In the old monastery kitchen, we hosted a wine tasting that allowed attendees to mingle a bit more before the awards dinner.
In the garden, we had live music and lounge furniture for those looking to relax and take in the Portuguese nature.
Each guest was able to experience the monastery in a way that was comfortable and interesting to them before heading to their formal awards dinner and presentation. This event was unlike any other for our attendees, and we could not have been more pleased with how it turned out!
We chose to have another evening event at Patio da Gale located in the Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square), which is still commonly known as Terreiro do Paco (Palace Yard). Before the great Lisbon earthquake of 1755, this square was the location of the Royal Palace. Located on the Tagus River with its rich history and beautiful views, Praca do Comerico is a lively and bustling area of Lisbon and was a perfect spot to host a fond farewell to attendees.
Upon entering Patio da Gale, guests were treated to a red carpet experience with an emphasis on incorporating a James Bond theme into the event. (Fun Fact: The character of James Bond was initially inspired by a British Naval Intelligence officer living in Portugal during World War II!) Patio da Gale is a wide-open venue with gorgeous cloisters and an open-air glass ceiling that allows for stunning views of the sky.
Planners can be extremely creative in this space. In keeping with our James Bond theme, we had game tables throughout the room, champagne available anywhere you turned, décor, and lighting that was clean and elegant yet bold, a DJ that kept the party going all night long. A photo booth allowed guests to have an immediate take away from the night. And James Bond characters made for an enjoyable photo opportunity!
There are so many ways to “wow” your attendees by taking them to Portugal. If you’re interested in how Brightspot can bring your incentive trip to the next level, head over to our incentive travel page to learn more. We look forward to working with you and your team on planning the perfect incentive trip for your attendees – whether it is in Portugal or whatever destination you desire!