Spain is rarely out of the top ten of global meetings and events destinations. It currently holds the second spot of top-performing global destinations for association meetings, according to the latest International Congress and Convention Association report. Here is a summary on the five best Spanish cities for meetings and events.
And it’s for good reason. Colourful and cultural, Spain has excellent transport connections to the rest of the world. The destination has an enviable mix of historic and contemporary culture and 49 UNESCO World Heritage sites. It’s well-known for its sunny climate. Plus, there is a huge range of restaurants ideal for group dining, as well as hotels, meetings and events venues suitable for every group size across the country.
“Due to great access from UK, Europe and further afield, Madrid and Barcelona remain a natural choice for clients who are looking to get their attendees to an event within a timely manner and one that provides a good variety of travel options,” Reed & Mackay Events Head of Group Travel Scott Blondel says. “Many routes have competition, which often leads to lower fares. Secondary cities after Madrid and Barcelona, such as Seville, Valencia and Bilbao, should be considered as they are great alternatives. As we see more airlines open up new routes to these destinations, they’re becoming more accessible than ever before.”
We asked Atlanta Events & Corporate Travel Consultants – part of the Reed & Mackay family in Spain – to highlight five of the best cities for meetings and events.
Here, in Part One, we look at some of the principal conference venues and events spaces in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Bilbao and Valencia, as well as each cities’ transport links. In Part Two, we highlight places to stay and restaurants that work well for group dinners in these cities.
Best cities in Spain for meetings and events include:
The largest city and, of course, Spain’s capital, is home to more than three million people. Situated in the middle of the country, Madrid is renowned for its rich history, cultural heritage and vibrant lifestyle.
Madrid’s public transport networks are both extensive and value for money. Its metro is one of the largest in Europe; the price of a single ticket is €1.50 and you can also purchase transport passes with reduced fares for several days. Plus, there are good links with nearby towns and cities via its bus network, while its tram system is a sustainable transport option.
Where to meet
Espacio MEEU: A unique and modern event centre, it offers meeting capacity for more than 1,000 people. It also has state-of-the-art technology and a wide range of services for events.
Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel & Conference Centre: This four-star hotel has a convention centre with capacity for up to 2,000. Its large common areas and gardens are ideal for breaks, outdoor activities and corporate events.
Novotel Madrid Centre: Another four-star hotel with a convention centre that can accommodate up to 500 across a number of multi-functional spaces. It’s also centrally located, close to Retiro Park.
Located in the north east of Spain, Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city known for its world-famous modernist architecture, beaches, green spaces and gastronomy.
Barcelona’s metro system is a fast and convenient way to get around the city. Operating hours are generally from 5am to midnight, with some lines operating until 2am on weekends. The bus network in Barcelona covers practically the entire city, including areas not served by the metro.
Its tram system also connects different areas of the city, including the coastal area. And a train service connects the city with the metropolitan region.
Where to meet
Centre de Convencions Internacional de Barcelona (CCIB): The CCIB offers a variety of meeting spaces, including the Auditorium Hall, which can host events for up to 15,000.
Crowne Plaza Barcelona – Fira Centre: This four-star hotel has a large capacity for events and congresses, with meeting rooms and halls that can accommodate up to 1,000. It also offers on-site catering and accommodation services.
Hotel W Barcelona: With its modern architecture and beachside location, this luxury hotel offers a sophisticated atmosphere for events and congresses. It has spacious rooms with panoramic sea views, as well as outdoor spaces, such as its famous Eclipse terrace.
The capital of the Andalusia region in southern Spain, Seville is a beautiful city with bucketloads of charm, plus its Mediterranean climate and natural beauty makes it one of Spain’s most popular visitor destinations.
Seville is a compact city. Many of its attractions are located in the historic centre, making it easy to explore on foot.
The city’s metro network can be used to get from city centre to more distant locations. And the bus network in Seville is extensive and covers the entire city. There are also night services called “búhos” that operate during the early morning hours. Plus its tram service is a scenic and comfortable option to get around.
Where to meet
Fibes Sevilla: Also known as the Palacio de Exposiciones y Congresos de Sevilla, this is one of the main venues for events and congresses in the city, offering multiple conference rooms and versatile spaces.
Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento: This hotel and convention centre is another popular venue for congresses and events in Seville. Conference rooms and exhibition spaces are complemented by full catering and accommodation services for delegates.
Hotel Alfonso XIII: A five-star hotel in the heart of Seville, its historic rooms offer an exclusive and sophisticated atmosphere, perfect for high-end events.
Bilbao is a vibrant city located in the north of Spain, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. With its amazing architecture, rich culture, excellent gastronomy and beautiful natural environment it perfectly combines the contemporary with tradition, offering a unique experience to visitors.
Bilbao boasts an efficient and well-connected metro system, while its bus network is extensive and an economical and practical option for getting around the city. In addition, the city runs a night bus system, while its tram network connects several key areas of interest such as the Casco Viejo – the medieval quarter of Bilbao – the Guggenheim and the University of Deusto.
Where to meet
Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC): The BEC is one of the largest convention centres in the region, with ample capacity to host large-scale events.
Bilbao Arena: This multi-purpose pavilion offers capacity for events up to 1,000 people and hosts everything from conferences to concerts.
Palacio Euskalduna: The venue has a variety of different-sized conference rooms and its state-of-the-art facilities and prime location make it a popular venue for large-scale events.
A beautiful city on the east coast of Spain, Valencia is known for its Mediterranean climate, fascinating history, lively culture and delicious cuisine.
The Valencia metro is well connected between the city centre, beaches and main visitor attractions. It too has an extensive bus network, as well as a night bus system and a tram network. Visitors to the city can buy the Valencia Tourist Card, which offers unlimited trips for either 24, 48 or 72 hours across the metro, bus and tram networks.
Where to meet
Valencia Conference Centre: The centre’s versatile spaces can accommodate large-scale events with its main auditorium seating more than 1,400 people, as well as offering additional conference rooms that can be adapted for groups of up to 1,000.
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