With its rich history, culture, picturesque architecture, and delicious cuisine, Lisbon, Portugal is a great option for group incentive travel. The city offers a unique blend of traditional and modern elements, making it a perfect destination for those looking for a luxurious experience.
One of the most popular sites in Lisbon is the São Jorge Castle which was built in the 11th century by the Moors. Open for tours where one can learn about the history of the structure and the city, it also offers panoramic views of Lisbon, its surrounding neighborhoods and the Tagus River, spanned by the Ponte 25 de Abril, the sister bridge of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Another popular landmark in Lisbon is the Belem Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage site that was built in the 16th century as a defensive fortification and has now become a symbol of the city.
Visitors will also enjoy exploring the charming neighborhoods of the Alfama district, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods and home to many traditional shops and restaurants. Here shoppers can find keepsakes such as Portuguese tiles and ceramics, textiles, filigree jewelry and an interesting variety of items made of cork. (Portugal is one of the largest cork producers in the world.) Popular souvenirs include wallets, shoes and purses.
Whether wandering on foot or viewing from the city’s famous yellow trams, visitors will have ample opportunity to appreciate the beautiful streets, created with pavement tiles known as “calçada portuguesa” or “Portuguese pavement”. These are the small, colored tiles that are used to create intricate patterns on the sidewalks and streets and are a stunning complement to the architecture of Lisbon.
The cuisine of Portugal incorporates a blend of Mediterranean and Portuguese flavors. Bacalhau (salt cod) is an impressive dish, especially when served tableside, and cozido (a stew made with various meats and vegetables) is another favorite. Pastel de nata (custard tart) is a must-try dessert. Although the wine and port for which Portugal is known are mostly from the Duoro Valley, which is closer to Porto, they are of course readily available in the beautiful restaurants of Lisbon. No trip to the region would be complete without tastings and education on the differences in Ruby, Tawny and vintage port.
Be sure to allow time for the group to explore areas outside of the city as well. Some of the most popular options include Sintra, a picturesque town just a short drive from Lisbon, known for its fairytale palaces and castles; Cascais, a charming coastal town that offers beaches, a marina and a historic town center; and Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site located about an hour and a half from Lisbon. Visitors can explore the town’s Roman Temple, the Cathedral of Évora, and the Chapel of Bones.
European travelers can reach Lisbon easily, and for those coming from the United States, there are non-stop flights from the east coast, with a flight time of about seven hours. Luxury hotels within the city available to groups include the Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon, a number of Leading Hotel of the World properties, including the Tivoli Avenida Liberdade, two Autograph Collection hotels and one each belonging to the InterContinental and Corinthia brands.
A mild climate, accessible location, history and charm make Lisbon a city that is appreciated by virtually everyone who visits. With the hotels and services needed by groups, Lisbon should be considered as in incentive destination sooner rather than later.
Thanks to our partner DMC: Ovation DMC Portugal