I recently had the exciting opportunity to spend a few days at a corporate retreat in Cascais, the coastal town located just 40 minutes from Portugal’s capital of Lisbon, aptly named the Portuguese Riveria.

A former fishing village, it became a cosmopolitan resort when the Portuguese King made it his summer retreat in the late 1800’s. The nobility soon followed him, and, as a result elegant 19th century mansions now line the cobbled pedestrian streets of the historic center and the seafront. 

Cascais is also a destination for surfers and windsurfers, who spend their days at the beaches of Carcavelos and Guincho (which has hosted World Surfing Championships). Whilst I was in Cascais, the Iron Man Championships were taking place - a gruelling triathlon starting with a 3.8km swim in the bay, followed by a 180km cycle along the coast; finishing off with running a marathon (42.2km)! It’s safe to say I was happy to be there just visiting and not participating!

Just under a three hour flight from Luton Airport, Lisbon is easily accessible with many flights leaving daily from a number of London airports. When arriving in Lisbon, taxis and connecting transfers are simple to arrange; reaching my hotel in just under 35 minutes. Seeing that our trip was in October, I was pleasantly surprised leaving a rainy London and stepping into the early 20 degree weather of Portugal. 



Cascais boasts several 4* and 5* hotels and luxury restaurants making it a great destination for an overseas incentive trip. I had the pleasure of staying at the Pestana Cidadela Cascais, a 5* hotel located in the Pousada & Art District. This historic hotel is surrounded by studios, galleries and museums with views of the sea and the Cascais Marina. The hotel has 133 bedrooms including 23 suites, and a mixture of large and small meeting rooms with the largest accommodating up to 350 in theatre style making it a perfect location for a midsize conference. The onsite restaurant ‘Teberna Da Praca’ has two private dining rooms seating up to 50. The downstairs private room has direct access to the courtyard where guests can enjoy a pre dinner drink overlooking the rest of the art district; we were lucky enough to dine here the first night. After a three course dinner, it is great to not have to walk too far to your bed! 




A special mention is reserved for the local cuisine, especially the fresh seafood dishes that are served in the many restaurants. Less than a 10 minute walk from the hotel, the award winning restaurant Lota Da Esquina offers a gastronomic experience in Cascais Bay. Living up to their motto “Eat, Drink, Live” the restaurant provides those who visit it with a rich gastronomic, social and cultural offer, in a space where flavours, music and entertainment harmoniously coexist. Lota Da Esquina can be hired exclusively for up to 120 guests, creating the perfect destination for a gala dinner. 

 The second day in Cascais was filled with sightseeing the surrounding towns. The first stop was to the historic city of Sintra where we took part in a team building activity discovering the city. Armed with a map we were split into to teams to complete the question book provided. We were tasked with taking images at specific sights, finding and retrieving certain items, and answering facts about different Portuguese traditions and cultures. Its an engaging way to learn about a new city!  




Departing from Oeiras Marina, we took a speedboat along southern coastline to have lunch in Lisbon. We got to enjoy the magnificent views of ‘Sao Juliao Da Barra’, the historic quarter of Belem, finishing in the docks of Santo Amaro de Alcantara. This was an exciting way to see Lisbon from a new perspective, even if the waves were a bit choppy! Once docked we dined in Restaurante 5 Oceanos located on the marina for a family style seafood lunch and a glass of Cava. 

A convoy of tuk tuks were ready to take us around Lisbon once we were finished with lunch. Split into groups of four we were shown around the city while our local guide taught us all about the buildings and sights. Tuk tuks are an excellent way to visit the city as there are lots of small alleys and streets which are only accessible via this transport. A few stops were made during the tour; one to taste the Portuguese specialities “Pasteis de Nata”, and another to try “Ginjinha”, a Portuguese liquor. After a fabulous few hours zipping around Lisbon, the coach took us back to the hotel for a bit of rest and relaxation! 

From a few short days in Cascais, it is clear to see that this is a fantastic destination for incentive travel and overseas conferences with a huge number of activities which can accommodate a wide range of groups! I can’t wait to visit again! And if you are looking for your next company overseas retreat, conference or incentive then get in touch.