Portugal is a country with a very diverse offer, the warmest climate in Europe and what can still be considered the lowest prices. Its luxury offer is vast and excellent, its adventure offer, team building opportunities and leisure capacity immense.
Portugal is also becoming ever more trendy and its shopping opportunities, gastronomic escapes and wine travel are on the rise and are becoming another reason many people travel here.
What types of group travel is Portugal best suited to?
Since the budget airlines have been introduced to Portugal’s main airports the event market has been growing at a fast rate, large groups of bachelors and hens are flooding the cities with lively action.
Due to the softening of the wedding laws and the immense luxury offer, romantic views and cultural character more and more couples are planning their weddings in Portugal and professional wedding planners that cater for the foreign markets are on the rise.
Corporate events often in the form off of-site meetings, congresses or team building events have already established Portugal as a very popular destination.
How to start planning your team building event in Portugal
Your first step to planning your event in Portugal is to get to know a little bit more about the country and how each district differs, as you probably know Portugal is a long skinny country that borders only with Spain and the Atlantic ocean, its length, variations in altitude and location in Iberia creates many scenarios of climate, landscape and cultural differences that seem only short distances apart.
Its landscapes are many and fast changing from mountainous to hilly or flat. It has a large coastline and a high amount of beaches and various internal lakes, streams and rivers. To the North it is more rugged and mountainous and to the south more hilly.
Its a relatively new country with an old heritage that stretches far beyond its history and has remains of Celtic, Phoenicians, Roman and Moorish occupations that can still be seen in many of its city plans,buildings and some of the remote monuments that remained.
Its main tourism exploited areas are the southern coastline – The Algarve, Lisbon its capital city an the surrounding coastline areas such as Cascais and Sesimbra and Porto its second largest city and the home of the famous Port wine.
But other lesser known areas are gaining ground.
The fastest growing in popularity is the Douro region, impressive with its wine building terraces and manor houses.
Another area that is gaining much recognition is the largest of the Portuguese provinces Alentejo mostly known for its wines, gastronomy and rural traditions but also for its gorgeous historical towns, castles and monuments as well as its amazing coastline
and lastly, Central Portugal, starting just above Lisbon, easy to get to and awe inspiring in many aspects sadly somehow its noble background, Unesco world heritage sites and fine Tejo wine became the vicitms of its reputation as the down trodden child of Portuguese tourism before recently regaining some of its status in many of the rehabilitation projects currently ongoing and why not it is one of the most beautiful and interesting areas of Portugal.
The main districts in a nutshell
Adventures: tours, city walks, Tagus cruises, sailing, gastronomy
Characteristics Bustling busy capital, wildly touristic, Unique heritage, Modern innovation, shopping, gastronomy, views, international, multi cultural.
Lisbon beach district Cascais, Estoril, South side Tagus
Adventures: Surfing, boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing
Characteristics: Busy, popular, Riviera of Portugal, 4 and 5 star accommodation, luxurious shopping and dining, slightly more expensive than other areas of Portugal
Adventures: Hiking, Ecotourism, cross country buggy, ballooning, sky dive, parachuting, cycling, wine tasting
Wines: award winning Alentejo wines
Characteristics: Rural, traditional, agriculture, olive and cork production, vast landscapes, vineyards and wine production, historical towns, roman and medieval heritage
Adventures: beach holidays, boating, resort type get aways, touristic fishing towns, modern tourism amenities, water activities, coastering, dolphin watching, diving, horse riding
Characteristics: hot summers, mild winters. Long sandy beaches, accessible landscapes, modern amenities, popular specifically in the summer months.
Adventures: Discovery of the Port wines, Boat tours, city tours, unesco heritage buildings and street plan, trendy new Porto evident in gastronomy and wine bars, beaches on the coast close to Porto
Wines: Fortified Port wines
Characteristics: Old charming center, Port wine warehouses and boats, medieval feel, bustling and popular.
The mountainous inland North
Adventures: canoeing, white water rafting, mountain climbing, canyoning, paragliding
Wines: Vinho verde, Douro, Dao
Characteristics: Unesco world heritage landscapes, vineyard terraces, Manor houses, ancient rural towns, the Douro river
adventures: hiking, horse riding, canoing, kayaking, heritage discoveries. Rural retreats, yoga, river activities, nature adventures
Wines: Tejo wines
Characteristics: Diverse landscapes, good infrastructures, highest density Unesco world heritage sights in Portugal, traditional, nature, agrarian, noble heritage, unique flora and fauna, largely unspoilt.
The west coast
Roughly 500km of coast line with many beaches, cliffs, swimming areas and surfing high waves.
Adventures: surf, deap sea fishing, flyboard, coastal kayaking, coastering, paddle surf, kite surf
Characteristics: Fresh water, high waves, Atlantic coastline, bays and lagoons with quieter water, salt water spa’s and thermes.
Set of the coast of Morroco, Madeira has a warm climate but its mountainous landscape creates extremes that range from hot beaches to cold inland mountain tops.
Adventures: tours, hiking, canyoning, mountain climbing, boat tours, bird and nature watching
Characteristics: incredible nature, island retreat, warm climate, flowers, unique gastronomy
Other factors that may influence your choice of district
Budget: The Algarve and Lisbon and lisbon beach districts tend to be the most expensive, whereas Central Portugal and rural Alentejo tend to be the cheapest.
Accessibility: Portugal has 3 main airports, Lisbon, Porto and Faro and one of the best road networks of Europe, however in the more rural or mountainous parts of Portugal transit times can be a factor in your choice of location, a rural mountain village may be only 40km from a close by city but due to the nature of the roads and landscape it could take a lengthy drive to reach.
Climate: The North is wetter than the south, The center can get very hot during the summer months but provides the best temperatures during the winter months. The Algarve has the highest summer temperatures but is prone to sea wind.
Lisbon can be very wet during certain days in the winter and very hot during the peak of summer.
Understanding the nature of your event and how to make it possible
Seems like a silly point but we get many requests from corporations or groups planning their team building events without realizing that they will have to execute and that their original plan was maybe not completely realistic.
One example is a group of 300 people that all wanted to spend a day split between 3 activities buggy karts, scuba diving and beach games. They wanted to book 150 karts for the karting part of the day and 300 scuba dive experiences all in the area of Cascais, they only had 3 hours for the entire event. It was a company celebration for 300 people on average 28 years of age so this active day seemed viable.
They left the reservation last moment and it was hard to explain that all of Portugal together cannot provide 150 karts and that Cascais would never allow them to take 150 karts into a nature reserve even if they did exist, 300 first time scuba divers couldn’t possible go to sea as it would mean 300 instructors (each first dive is done on a one to one basis) and at least 10 large boats to take them out the danger level would be much to high. Than when the beach games came into the entire conversation we realized that no beach in Cascais would give a license to allow it. So the original plan presented to us more or less fell in the water In the end we had to split up the group and add extra activities with a lot of transfers from one place to the next all to be done within the 3 hours that they had, the stresslevels for all involved were high.
Had this group chosen something more achievable and realistic it could have become a much more rewarding day.
Team building with active adventure
Active adventure is one of Portugal’s attractive aspects for tourism. There is so much to discover and do in this amazing natural and cultural \ paradise and so many companies providing possibilities for all kinds of team building activities. Ones that built stamina, togetherness and the team spirit that will last well into the future long after you’ve returned back to work. Finding the right adventure is important. But take care not to overfill the day or days!
A day of Canyoning is a perfect experience but possibly to much to mix with a skydive one hour after returning to base.
A long hike is a memory of many adventures best ended with a sauna, thermal bath or lengthy pick-nick rather than a white water rafting session. A cooking workshop, wine tasting or boat tour are great ways to unwind after a lengthy first time mountain climbing session. Safe what you cant do today for the next time there is so much reason to return,
Although the offer is incredible, Don t overdo the active it might possibly leave your crew to exhausted to remember any of it!
Companies are doing it more and more, traveling to Portugal with its key staff to hide away in a retreative location and discuss strategies and new plans away from the office in a more inspiring surrounding. Many hotels provide the perfect conditions for these events. Almost every hotel on Go Discover Portugal has conference and meeting rooms of all sizes, catering and the amenities necessary to conduct these meetings. Portugal luxury offer is excellent and better priced than most other European countries and Private transfers to anywhere are easily arranged on Go Discover Portugal.
Congresses in Portugal
Why organize your congress in Portugal? For one its a cheap country to travel to. 2 its fantastic infrastructures 3 its amazing offer 4 its friendly people 5 its state of the art congress centers 6 its assimilation of cultural heritage with modern innovation and 7 its just simply a great place to be.
Bachelor and hen do’s, private parties and group events
Its the climate, the prices, the beach, the mountain, the villa, the hotel, the food, the wine, the little streets, amazing views and the fun!
Go Discover Portugal is a site full of tips and advice on travel to Portugal and is run by a group of real people specialized in private group travel, event planning, team building and corporate travel, Need our help? We advice free of charge and organize part of your event or the entire event completely customized to your wishes, budget and needs. We work for private vacationers, medium to large organizations, corporations and institutes. We know Portugal and bring you the best.
Go Discover Portugal’s main goal is the active promotion of tourism to Portugal and its main activities consist of the organization and mediation in the planning of events and group travel in Portugal.
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