We all know that there's no shortage of beautiful European cities to choose from for holding events, but when it comes to picture-perfect seaside locations, Porto is a strong contender.
A dreamy coastal city jam-packed with colourful narrow streets, Instagram-worthy gardens and magnificent bridges, Portugal's second-largest city is steeped in fascinating history and contemporary art, presenting as a stellar location for whatever event you're planning, be it a conference, meeting or even a private dinner. A firm Hire Space favourite!
Porto At A Glance
Region: Northwest Portugal
Population: 2.4m people
Climate: In winter, temperatures usually hover around 14°, before soaring up to a balmy 25° in summer.
Fun Fact: Port wine originates from the nearby Douro Valley region, which happens to be the oldest wine region in the world, dating back to 1756!
How To Get There
Simply jump on a 2.5 hour flight from London to Porto with TAP Airlines and enjoy their premium economy service, boasting the most comfortable seats of any short-haul airline in Europe! TAP offer many flights a week from the UK, Europe and the US, so dig out your shades and don't miss out on this gorgeous destination!
Once you've touched down in Porto, you can grab a half an hour train into the centre.
Things To See and Do
If you want to give your delegates the day off, there's no shortage of things to see and do in Porto. Here's a snapshot of some of our favourites!
1. Port tasting
Testing out some of the many wine cellars across the city is a fun activity to get people talking. If you want to make a day of it, transport your delegates to the Douro Valley vineyards (an hour and a half coach trip from Porto) for a lazy afternoon tasting some delicious vino.
2. Prance around the Palácio da Bolsa
The neoclassical Stock Exchange Palace isn't just a pretty face - it offers fascinating insights to the history of Porto. Our favourite part is the Pátio das Nações, a courtyard enclosed by a stunning glass dome, or the ridiculously decadent Arab Room.
3. Igreja de São Francisco
You're in for a treat with this one. Staggeringly beautiful gold-leaf adorns the innovative architecture and Baroque influences inside this decadent Gothic Church. You could spend hours in the cool refuge of the Church wandering around the decadent nave and eery catacombs. Simply not to be missed.
4. Ribeira district
This UNESCO World Heritage-listed district is beautiful to get lost in. Wander the narrow cobbled streets framed by tall, pastel coloured houses and find yourself in a buzzy cafe filled with chattering locals. Reminiscent of the mystical winding streets of Venice, we could spend all day here.
Where to Stay
If you're looking for a lavish hotel for your top clients, The Yeatman is an uber-luxurious venue with private suites, each sponsored and themed by a different port producer. The hotel boasts striking outdoor infinity pools overlooking Porto, a Michelin star restaurant, which can be privatised, and a spa.
For slightly lower budgets but certainly no compromise on luxury, try the InterContinental Porto. Offering spacious high-ceilinged bedrooms and unbeatable city views, this marble masterpiece is positively palatial.
Planning A Conference?
Still with us? If you're sold on Porto and now need a charismatic conference venue, allow us to propose the culture-rich Alfandega do Porto, formerly the customs house. This stunning venue is right next to the Douro River, meaning your delegates will be treated to some really stunning aquatic views.
The venue has super-modern conference facilities, including translation booths for delegates from different countries. The venue also offers rustic warehouse-style spaces, which will add a unique spin on your conference and would also suit more creative event briefs too.
Planning A Meeting?
If you're planning a whistle-stop tour of Porto for an action-packed meeting, Crowne Plaza Porto is a great option. An IHG property in the business district, the hotel offers 11 spacious meeting rooms with natural daylight, all fully equipped with AV such as screens, LCD projectors, wireless microphones and even a portable dance floor if you want shake it up a little!
Private Dining In Porto
Not only is Porto an eclectic city offering great event facilities and endless activities, it is also famous for its food! If you're looking for a private dining room for your top clients or an intimate team dinner, Vinum is one of our favourites. Located in a fully-functioning wine cellar dating back to 1890, they offer a beautiful conservatory space which can be privatised for you to enjoy Portugal's finest delicacies in peace, with great views to boot.
Don't leave without trying the extremely rare VacaVelha beef from Trás-os-Montes!
For When The Night Rolls In...
So, the conference is over for the day, and now you want to let your hair down a little. Choose Sandeman Porto for a drinks reception with a difference - treat your delegates to a glass (or three) in the Port Cellar of this magnificent museum dating back to 1797.
Another great option is the aforementioned Arab Room at the Palacio da Bolsa - an ornate paradise perfect for a seriously impressive evening reception. Your guests will feel like royalty as soon as they step into this opulent ballroom.
"Porto is the perfect mix of history, colour and art, whilst also offering some of the best event facilities in Europe. So good you'll want to make your event an annual one!" - Ben Parker, Account Manager, Hire Space
Whatever event you're planning, you can be rest assured that historical Porto can welcome you and your delegates with open arms and deliver an unforgettable event in the sunshine.
If you love the look of picture-perfect Porto for your next event, get in touch via our website, or directly at email@example.com so we can get to work on creating you a bespoke proposal.
Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.