As one of the International Congress & Convention Association's top 5 most popular congress cities, Barcelona hosts over 2,400 meetings and nearly 700,000 attendees each year. Its popularity starts with its accessibility. Though Spain's 2nd largest city is hemmed by mountains and the sea, Barcelona is far from unreachable. El Prat, the 2nd largest airport in Spain, welcomes over 30 million passengers to Barcelona each year, while Renfe's high-speed passenger trains link the city to major metropolitans across the country. Planners will find that Barcelona meeting planning is almost more of a joy than a task.
Upon arrival, visitors are happy to find a compact city that's easily explored by foot or aboard bus, tram or metro. In addition to serving top attractions and hotels, Barcelona's affordable public transportation network ferries guest to the city's key meeting venues, such as the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya and the Barcelona International Convention Center.
Located in Barcelona's key business district, the Palau's 35 meeting rooms range from intimate lounges to large banquet halls for up to 3,000 diners. Opened in 2004, the Barcelona International Convention Center is ideal for tradeshows, conferences and more. This state-of-the-art venue is ideal for Barcelona meeting planning as it offers modern technology and a convention area for over 10,000 guests.
Also welcoming conventions and conferences of all kinds is Fira de Barcelona, one of the most important meeting organizers in the country. Fira's exhibition space at Gran Via encompasses nearly 200,000 square meters spread among eight halls, making it one of the largest and most popular facilities in Europe. Meanwhile, the Montjuic fairgrounds host over 60 fairs and conventions each year. Its spaces range from a multi-use auditorium to conference rooms to an outdoor pavilion.
In addition to its traditional venues, Barcelona event planning options offer an unbeatable range of unique meeting facilities. The light-filled, spacious interior of the Richard Meier-designed Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, home to the city's most prized contemporary works, can host receptions of up to 700 people. The Casa Llotja de Mar, the historic seat of Catalan commerce, offers rooms that range from the state-of-the-art Salo del Ple lecture hall to the stunning Gothic Salo de Contractacions. Or, plan an event in one of famed architect Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces, Casa Batllo. Here, planners find over 3,000 square meters of flexible meeting space.
To really liven up Barcelona events and Barcelona meeting planning, nothing beats dinner and a show. Treat event guests to a night of authentic Spanish dance and cuisine at the Palacio del Flamenco. Its auditorium-dining hall is a great setting for up to 450 guests to enjoy some of best flamenco in Barcelona and a menu of regional favorites. Meanwhile, restaurants such as 7 Portes, El Chipirón and El Cangrejo Loco make it easy to keep the conversation flowing while guests dine on authentic tapas and Spanish wine.
A hub for finance, commerce, entertainment and international trade, Barcelona was one of the first in continental Europe to begin industrialization. Today, its leading industries include textiles, pharmaceutical, electronic, and information technology. Barcelona has a number of public universities, including the University of Barcelona, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Pompeu Fabra University.