Known for its lush landscapes, sundrenched shores and winding cobblestone streets, Lisbon is not surprisingly one of Europe's most popular destinations for business and leisure travelers alike. Centrally located between one to three hours away from most European cities, and just five to eight hours from the Americas, Lisbon offers easy access from points around the globe. Even more convenient, Portugal's largest airport, Lisbon Airport, is uniquely situated within the city limits just four miles north of the city center. Seeing more than 13 million passengers each year, the airport offers regular flights to major European destinations including Barcelona, Lisbon and London as well as North American hubs Boston and Toronto.
In addition to being a convenient destination, Lisbon is also an affordable one. The city is one of the region's most budget-friendly locales, and its endless hotel accommodations have some of the most competitive prices in all of Europe. But in Lisbon, inexpensive does not mean inferior. In fact, the city offers a host of award-winning properties, many of which offer top-notch meeting space. The Art Deco Hotel Britania features seven private event rooms in its historic space, ranging in size from 50 to 150 square meters, while the 140-room Hotel Eduardo VII offers elegant meeting rooms, a full-service business center and state-of-the-art technology.
When it comes to hosting large-scale events in Lisbon, planners can set their sights on the phenomenal International Fair of Lisboa (FIL) Meeting Centre. Founded in 1957, this 40,800-square-meter venue is comprised of three auditoriums, four meeting rooms, an exhibition area, a registration area and a restaurant. One of Europe's most well-equipped facilities, the International Fair of Lisboa has been revitalized several times and features the latest in information technology as well as wireless Internet access.
Not to be overlooked, the Lisbon Congress Centre is also one of Lisbon's most dazzling convention destinations. Situated on the banks of the Tagus River, it features 9,000 square meters of space including eight auditoriums, five halls and 25 conference rooms. Meanwhile, the conference rooms, auditoriums, halls and foyers of the striking Centro Cultural de Belém make for versatile event spaces for parties as large as 2,000 guests.
Planners looking for a unique taste of Portugal's capital will have no trouble finding a host of alternative venues for events large and small. Known for its vast array of museums, Lisbon's cultural and educational attractions are the perfect backdrop for cocktail receptions, seminars, formal dinners and more. Host a meeting in the light-filled Trio of Windows at the delightful Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga. Enjoy a reception surrounded by Portugal's nautical history at the Museu de Marinha. Or, bask in the majestic atmosphere at the lavish Ogival Hall at the Castelo de São Jorge.
Considered the second most important financial and economic center in the Iberian Peninsula, Lisbon enjoys a thriving economy. In fact, the city produces 45 percent of the nation's GDP per capita. Lisbon's economy is based primarily on the service industry, with most of the headquarters of multinational companies concentrated in the greater Lisbon area. In addition, several colleges and universities are located in the city including the Technical University of Lisbon, the New University of Lisbon, the Portuguese Catholic University, and, Lisbon's oldest university, the University of Lisbon.