City breaks make a perfect pick for incentives, providing dozens of restaurant choices, top hotels and attractions to fill a packed programme. But as well as the timeless capital classics, there are plenty of unique choices that your delegates will have less-likely visited. Here are some of our favourite unusual city breaks in upcoming destinations for an alternative incentive…
Poland’s larger cities such as Warsaw and Krakow are becoming a more common pick among incentive destinations however the coastline town of Gdańsk is a unique choice for the warmer months. A colourful main street of delicately decorated facades leads the way to the riverfront where restaurants, a giant wheel and a handful of museums line the water. As well as activities in the city, groups can travel the short journey to nearby Sopot, a beach town whose long pier and white sands give a French Riviera vibe during the summer. Here a number of luxury hotels offer beautiful views and interiors including the Sofitel Grand Sopot, whilst the Hilton Gdańsk looks out across the river from its rooftop bar and spa.
For a taste of Italy without the crowds of tourists, head north of Florence to Bologna. The lively capital of the hilly Emilia-Romagna region is as beautiful as any classic Italian city and is perfect for a foodie incentive. Within 30km of the medieval city you’ll find the producers of some of Italy’s best products including prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Among the Renaissance streets are dozens of food stalls, authentic restaurants and ancient monuments, as well as the luxurious Grand Hotel Majestic già Baglioni with 109 opulent royal rooms.
Germany’s home of maritime heritage and musical theatre is a fantastic fun getaway for groups with a diverse culinary scene and abundance of luxury hotels for all sizes. Guests can make the most of the Baltic Sea, which flows through Hamburg’s network of rivers. Sailing, seafood and waterfront venues are to be enjoyed as well as glorious architectural gems that make for stunning backdrops. The recognisable concert hall, Elbphilharmonie, dominates the riverside with backstage tours and VIP tickets for some of Germany’s best performances.
A year round destination, Sweden’s second biggest city has reinvented itself from a once grungy home of heavy metal to a swanky hub of art, culture, restaurants and music. The picturesque port has exploded in sophistication with Michelin stars and designer shops found among its charming streets. Groups can stay in an assortment of boutique hotels that exemplify Sweden’s classic style whilst green parks and immaculate gardens offer elegant space for outdoor gatherings.
Portugal’s second biggest city is known for more than port wine. Along the Northern coast, Porto oozes charisma from its woven streets, where modern day street art combines with traditional azulejos tiles. History and contemporary style continues to the city’s venues where ancient castles, luxury hotels and beautiful backdrops can host groups of all sizes. An exclusive evening at one of Porto’s wine cellars is an unmissable addition to any programme, whilst river cruises, water sports and vineyard tours are also an option.
Recognised as one of Europe’s greenest capitals, Ljubljana is fast becoming a popular destination for city breaks. Acres of stunning countryside surround the centre; warm in the summer and strikingly beautiful during a white winter, the most famous being the waters of Lake Bled. This Instagrammable spot is a short 45 minute journey from the city and perhaps one of Europe’s prettiest sights. Here groups can visit local farms, indulge in schnapps, hike to panoramic viewpoints and fly high on helicopter rides. Back in the city it’s all about Slovenian beer, culinary feasts and cobbled streets that lead to a plentiful of architectural gems.
Washington DC, America
Adding only a few more hours than some of Europe’s popular destinations, America is packed with cities that make for a memorable incentive. One of its most fascinating is Washington DC, an alternative choice to the classic New York skyline. Not short on activities and historic buildings for remarkable dinners, the capital can’t fail to impress. A particularly exclusive evening can be held at the National Archives Building where groups can not only dine within its prestigious walls but can also be seated before the displayed Declaration of Independence.
Swap the heaving souks of Marrakech for a sea breeze in Essaouria, Morocco’s peaceful coastal town famous for its surfer winds. The UNESCO-listed medina stands outs for its whitewashed and blue exteriors which have attracted many famous faces as well as a cultural mix of visitors that influence its relaxed atmosphere. Cosy farmhouses, colourful Riads and ocean-view rooms make up a collection of 5* boutique hotels, easily reached from the nearby airport.
St Petersburg, Russia
Brimming in equal portions of history, art and culture, St Petersburg is an inspiring choice for an elegant incentive. No trip is complete without a morning tour of the world famous Hermitage museum to see the likes of Picasso and Da Vinci, whilst an evening should be spent at the renowned Russian ballet. You won’t be short of spectacular buildings to host a gala dinner, nor opulent hotels such as the stately Belmond Grand which dates back to 1875. Visit in the colder months for a true Russian winter or in summer to witness the White Nights, where the sun barely sets.
The Hague, The Netherlands
Following this year’s direct route to Amsterdam on the Eurostar, The Netherlands is an even more popular choice for city breaks. But away from the capital, various Dutch cities offer an alternative base for experiencing the country’s beloved culture. Located above a stretch of white sand, The Hague is a destination packed with ideas for an incentive programme. Known as the Royal City by the Sea, it embodies the art, culture, culinary scene and relaxed atmosphere of Holland. Spot famous paintings, explore royal residence or eat world-class seafood on the beach in The Hague.
Just two hours north of Niagara Falls, Toronto is jam-packed with activities to fill an incentive programme. As well as seeing one of the world’s great wonders, groups can dine 1,815 foot in the air at the famous CN Tower, discover some of Canada’s best chefs’ cooking and explore a variety of food markets, quirky museums and homebrewed distilleries. Toronto is also brimming with luxury hotels including the flagship Four Seasons and urban Shangri-La.
A melting pot of culture, Sofia mixes influences from Russia, Europe and Asia. Surrounded by snow topped mountains, the capital doesn’t just boast beautiful architecture – although the National Theatre is worth the visit alone. Throughout the seasons, groups can hike, ski or simply ride the cable car up to the hills where they’ll be rewarded with spectacular views and a treasure of wildlife including bears, wild boar and wolves. Two hours from the city, groups can also visit Bulgaria’s most famous religious site, the 10th century Rila Monastery, a remote atmospheric centre in the mountains.
For more inspiration regarding incentives, check out the top 10 destinations of 2018 and top bucket list experiences. If you’re looking to reward your top performers with an unforgettable trip, get in touch today on +44 (020) 7 424 3333