Lisbon, Portugal

The City of Explorers Built on Hills for Business

Lisbon, Portugal

The City of Explorers Built on Hills for Business

When you think of world capitals for business travel and event planning, Lisbon, Portugal, may not be the first to come to mind, but it certainly has an allure that can compete with other major cities.

Lisbon offers modern convention facilities, unique venues housed in centuries-old buildings to modern spaces or the sea – not to mention St. George Castle. It also has excellent business and luxury hotels. Those organizations that haven’t given Lisbon some thought should give it a look.

Business Travel Video: Lisbon

Approximately 600,000 people live in Lisbon, but more than 3.7 million live in the Lisbon Region, which extends to Estoril/Cascais, an area that’s appropriately described as the Portuguese Riviera. With its location near the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon experiences a pleasant climate throughout the year with temperatures averaging 71 – 79 degrees F between April and September.

It’s helpful if international planners view the city of Lisbon into four different sections: the city center (which includes Baixa, Chiado, Barro Alto and downtown), Nations Park (which is located in the eastern part of Lisbon), Belém, and Estoril/Cascais (which is more of a resort area on the Atlantic coast).

The city center retains Lisbon’s character from its past, while adding modern conveniences. Nations Park is Lisbon’s contemporary region, a riverside area that was established for the World Expo ’98 and has since developed into its own business and leisure destination. The Belém quarter is located opposite from Nations Park within Lisbon along the riverside, and is where the largest number of historical sites that are connected to the Portuguese people – and where pastéis de Belém were created, the famous Portuguese custard pastries. Estoril/Cascais is a charming and picturesque destination of its own.

The Coach Museum is a popular venue where private receptions and other special events are held in Lisbon.

And each of these areas within Lisbon is prepared to achieve any meeting objective, but they have moved into the 21st century while retaining an authentic Portuguese character. You’ll find that tourists aren’t lining the streets the way they may be in other cities; instead, walking through Bairro Alto or Chiado (both in the city center) and other parts of Lisbon you’ll encounter the friendly demeanor of local Portuguese who are living their daily routines, whether they’re shopping or simply enjoying their coffee (the Portuguese love their coffee) at a café.

By the way, Rua Augusta is the main street in Baixa (also the city center) which serves as a pedestrian shopping street where you’ll find dozens of shops and street artists – a great spot to find event gifts for your guests.

Lisbon offers meeting and event planners the opportunity to experience the authenticity of the Portuguese people — in a European city that has somehow retains its own character. It’s the warmth of its people and Portuguese cuisine that will help contribute to a memorable meeting or event in Lisbon.

Popular Business Travel Hotels in Lisbon (Region)

Bairro Alto Hotel, Dom Pedro Palace, Grande Real Villa Italia Hotel & Spa, Hotel Cascais Miragem, Hotel Olissippo Oriente, Lapa Palace Lisbon, Palacio Estoril Hotel & Golf.

Popular Event Venues & Restaurants in Lisbon (Region)

Casa do Leao, Casino Estoril, Casino Lisboa, Coach Museum, FIL Meeting Center, Fortalezo do Guincho, Hard Rock Cafe, Jeronimos Monastery, Lisboa Congress Centre, Nations Park, Quinta da Regaleira, St. George Castle, The Cultural Center of Belem,

Other restaurant suggestions from the Lisbon Convention Bureau include Elevan (Michelin star), Bica do Sapato, Kais, Taveres, Clube de Fado, Travessa, Estufa Real, and Restaurant Valle Flor. The Lisboa Convention Bureau offers several group activities.

Lisbon Statistics (2007)*

  • Lisbon Business Travel: 34.3%
  • Lisbon Leisure Travel: 55.1%
  • Total Lisbon Hotel Rooms: 14,582
  • Total Lisbon 4 and 5 Star Hotels: 66
  • Total Lisbon 4 and 5 Star Hotel Rooms: 10,975
  • Lisbon Average Room Occupancy: 66.1% (2008)
  • Average Visitor’s Trip (nights): 2.17 (2008)

*Source: Lisboa Convention Bureau

Convention Centers (2008 data unless noted)

  • FIL Meeting Center (Nations Park)
    – Auditoriums: 3
    – Meeting Rooms: 4
    – Foyer: 2 (500 m2)
    – Restaurant: International Fair Lisbon Facilities (400)
    – Total Meeting Area: 1000 m2
  • FIL – International Fair of Lisbon (Nations Park)
    – Pavilions: 4 with more than 10,000 m2
    – Multi-Purpose Pavilion: 1,200 m2
    – Meeting Rooms: 10 in each pavilion (15-35 capacity)
    – Total Area: 100,000 m2
    – Loading Bay: More than 300 vehicles
    – Cafeterias: 4
    – Snack Bars: 4
    – Grand Hall: 1,900 m2
    – Restaurant Capacity: 400
    – Total Trade Shows: 16 (2008)
    – Total Guest Events at FIL: 9 (2008)
  • Lisboa Congress Centre (Belém)
    – Auditoriums: 8
    – Halls: 5
    – Meeting Rooms: 28
    – Foyers: 6
    – Exhibition Space: 10,000 m2
    – Total area: 30,000 m2
    – Cafeterias: 2
    – Restaurant Capacity: 400
    – Events at Lisboa Congress Centre and FIL Meeting Centre: 277 (2008)
    – Total Attendees at Lisboa Congress Centre and FIL Meeting Centre: 198,011
  • Cultural Centre of Belém
    – Comprised of three buildings
    – 3.990 m2 feet of exhibit space
    – Total Trade Shows and Conventions: 75
    – Trade Shows and Conventions Delegates: 12.904
    – Total Meetings: 266
    – Meeting Delegates: 42.377
    – Total Public Events: 259
    – Public Events Attendance: 41.747

Top Lisbon Meetings Venues and Activities

Five Different Lisbon Business Hotels

Additional Lisbon Event Planning Resources:

(c) 2008

Photo: Coach Museum Courtesy of VisitLisboa.com.

Rob is editor of Business Travel Destinations. He reviews international destinations for meetings and events -- where business travelers go, the hotels where they stay and their lifestyle preferences on the road. Rob was previously the event planning guide for About.com (owned by The New York Times Company) from 2007 - 2011. His articles also appear in business travel publications and travel sites internationally.