Discovering the Azores and Lisbon for Meetings and Incentives
Flipping the script on conventional destination Famtrips our in-house destination expert Carmo Geraldes Barba takes on a fully new approach and creates an immersive program with a local touch; allowing our group from the UK to see the charming city of Lisbon through a new lens and discover the amazing Azores for unique, nature-based incentive programs.
The Destination Showcase took place from the 8-12 October 2022 and welcomed 6 high-profile event planners from the UK to discover the Azores and Lisbon for meetings, incentives and corporate events. The visit was hosted by Carmo Geraldes Barba of ECMeetings Malta & Portugal, Wayne Redman of Mundus Representation, TAP Air Portugal, Octant Ponta Delgada and the newly opened Hyatt Regency Lisbon.
Referred to as the Hawaiian Islands of the Atlantic Ocean, The Azores provides a hidden gem for MICE groups. Boating, whale watching, hiking, biking and unique indigenous experiences, the list of what’s on offer in this outstanding area of natural beauty is endless. The location is ideally suited for groups of 30 to 50 clients.
The Octant Ponta Delgada
Upon arrival to São Miguel, Azores we were welcomed by the friendly team of the 5-star property Octant Ponta Delgada. Right in the heart of the city, the hotel offers 123 rooms and suites overlooking the sea, a restaurant serving local, reinvented dishes, a new, fully equipped spa and gym, meeting rooms and a panoramic bar & outdoor pool.
Discovering Sao Miguel
Day 1: Canyoning, Thermal Hot Springs, 4×4 Jeep Adventure & Tea Plantation
We started the day with an adrenaline rush donning wetsuits to go ‘canyoning’, exploring the crystal clear streams and diving over the fast flowing waterfalls, crisscrossing the volcanic island of São Miguel.
Inside the Terra Nostra Park, we dipped into the famous Thermal Water Pool. Built in 1780, water bubbles at a temperature of around 35 degrees, providing us with the perfect location to relax before lunch.
Lunch was served at Terra Nosta in Furnas, a perfect place to taste the famous Furnas stew. This classic restaurant has strong ties to local traditions, customs and products, transporting the guests to the Azorean lifestyle.
In the afternoon we were picked up in 4×4 jeeps for some off-road adventuring! Our group had the chance to explore areas and sights hidden to most visitors, revealing the lush beauty of the island. We made a quick stop at the Gorreana Tea Factory to understand the origins, and sample the most unique tea produced on the European continent.
A special gastronomic dinner was served at the eco resort of Santa Barbara. Its 30 beautifully presented suites provide an alluring mix of characteristic décor and sustainability.
Day 2: Whale Watching, Volcanic Quadbike Adventure & Picnic Lunch
Directly from the hotel we went on board a comfortable speedboat (bigger boats are also available) along with our skipper and local marine biologist, to take our group on a life-time experience. Whale watching is a ‘must do’ experience in the Azores. Considered one of the best places in the world for the activity with an incredible 27 cetaceans’ species that splash around in these waters, and sighting success rate of around 99%, no one is disappointed! Several groups of different species of dolphins and Sperm whales were spotted by our guests, very close to the boat!
In the afternoon we explored the 7 Cidades volcanic crater with quad bikes and buggies, driving along the top of it while admiring the unique scenic views. Midway we stopped for a picnic lunch near the crater lake, with time to relax a little before continuing our tour.
In the evening we said goodbye to the Azores and headed to Lisbon for the second part of our destination showcase.
Lisbon literally surprises at every turn. Basking all year round in a mild Mediterranean climate, Portugal’s capital city offers a variety of world-renowned MICE venues and superior hotels, not to mention 7 Michelin starred restaurants. Easy access to the beaches at Cascais, and the UNESCO world heritage site of Sintra top the location off as one of Europe’s premier event destinations.
The New Hyatt Regency Lisboa
Upon arrival to Lisbon we were welcomed by the fabulous team of the brand new Hyatt Regency Lisboa. The hotel is located in Belém in a prime location on the banks of the Tejo River and surrounded by the most important museums and historical monuments of the city. The hotel offers groups 204 upscale suites, studios, one, two and three-bedroom, each with a large balcony overlooking the Tejo River. Clients can indulge in Europe’s Best Wellness and Luxury brand Serenity – The Art of Well Being, fitness centre, shops, and parking facilities with 11 electric charging points.
Day 3: Lisbon Street Art, Rib Boats & Portuguese Gastronomy
We started the day on Eco-Tuks, 100% electric and super comfortable vehicles, and set off to explore the lesser-known neighbourhoods of Lisbon, taking in the famous street art with a local street artist to explain some of the most eye-catching urban pieces. We wrapped up this activity with a street art workshop, where our group had the chance to show their own painting prowess, by completing a tailor made piece, specifically made for our group!
Next we jumped into fun ribs, to see Lisbon from a unique perspective floating on the Tagus River. After which we stopped on the riverbank at Seixal fishing village to experience a delicious selection of mouth-watering tapas in a unique family-style restaurant.
The afternoon was spent in Lisbon’s most elegant neighbourhood, with its charming retro and design shops. From Linens to porcelain, unique jewellery full of history, handmade gloves and local gourmet products, it offers a huge assortment of genuine Portuguese products to take home. We also visited unique local jewellery workshops, which are not open to the public, to learn all about this fine art.
Dinner was served at a special palace in the city centre. The enchanting location is the story of an unexpected romance between gastronomy and art fused within the 18th century palace. The unique restaurant is in a location lived through its stunning rooms and halls, providing a true tribute to Portuguese and international cuisine; a perfect location for our farewell dinner celebration.
Day 4: Countryside Experience, Wine Tasting & Farewell Lunch
In the morning we headed to a beautiful countryside, historic, family-run wine estate, that produces unique gastronomic wines and enjoyed a visit of the property, followed by an exquisite wine tasting and a special farewell lunch, sampling the best of Portuguese cuisine.
In the afternoon it was time to pack up all those special memories and say ‘see you soon in the amazing Azores and in the vibrant city of Lisbon’!
For more information on unique experiences for meeting and incentive groups please get in touch with your DMC partner and event management team in Portugal on firstname.lastname@example.org