Barcelona! Whether the word gets you singing the iconic operatic Freddie Mercury track, thinking about football or city breaks in the sun, in the world of MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), this Spanish city is a ‘go to’ destination.
In fact, in 2017, Barcelona was awarded the World Travel Award for best meeting and conference destination and, according to the American Express Meetings & Events report, Barcelona was also the second most requested destination for MICE tourism. It hosted 181 meetings that year, only exceeded by Paris (196) and Vienna (186).
Barcelona’s long standing events include Mobile World Congress, IBTM World, Barcelona Smart City Congress, Alimentaria and Sonar Music Festival.
So what makes Barcelona such a great MICE destination?
Easy travel links
Whether you’re travelling by land (road or rail), sea or air, Barcelona isn’t far from anywhere. The international airport, Barcelona-El Prat, has flights from all over the world and is just seven and a half miles from the city centre. The airport welcomes around 37.5 million passengers a year. The Spanish rail network is also a very convenient mode of transport with direct links to Paris and a high speed line to Madrid, Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.
Of course, Barcelona is a city of culture, so aside from purpose built event venues, more unusual venues also lend their space to the events industry; from the famous football stadium to the Casa Batlló designed by Antoni Gaudí, and the The Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall, to the national museum of Catalan visual art (MNAC).
For Barcelona venues over 100,000 square metres (think somewhere toward the NEC in Birmingham) there is the Gran Via Fira. This is one of the most modern venues with eight halls (240,000 square metres in total) and within walking distance of six hotels.
At the other end of the scale, Montjuïc is about half the size and was built in 1929 to house the International Exhibition. Despite its age, its infrastructure can be adapted to all types of events with six halls within walking distance of three hotels.
Two smaller venues include the Barcelona International Convention Centre located by the sea and built in an avant garde style across around 11,000 square metres. Palau de Congressos de Catalunya is located in the financial and business centre of the city and is 2,000 square metres. Both of these smaller venues are still within a short walk of three or four hotels.
Speaking of hotels, Barcelona has an abundance of great accommodation and of course, extensive meeting spaces within them. From large international chains that your delegates will recognise, to small boutique offerings that will create an experience, the choice is huge.
We touched on the culture of Barcelona earlier, but being home to big names in the world of contemporary art, including Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dalí, the inspiration created within the city has produced impressive work in the fields of architecture, design, photography and many other creative disciplines.
Barcelona is also a destination for gastronomy with a number of one and two Michelin Star restaurants in the city.
Good mix of city and beach
Barcelona is a true city and beach destination, offering up plenty of opportunities for entertainment and incentive travel. Just some of the activities include:
● Discovering the numerous Catalonian towns and villages
● Exploring Montserrat, a multi-peaked mountain range
● Wine and Cava tasting
● Team building among vineyards
● Kayak and canoeing in Sau, a reservoir located on the Ter river
● Nautical sports on the beach
● Playing golf on one of the city’s many courses
● Ballooning over Barcelona city
For more information on Barcelona as an events destination, or to explore other destinations, please drop us a line. We’d love to help get your next event off the ground.