Conference centres are the most popular venues for holding meetings in Spain: statistics show that they are the chosen location in about 40% of cases. Spanish conference centres are certainly at the highest level when it comes to organising professional events and meetings, enjoy the latest technology and some have even received prestigious international awards in recognition of their excellence.Madrid.In the last decades, Madrid has expanded to become a large modern city devoted to service industries, its main attractions being its animated streets and varied arts and leisure programmes.
A tour of Madrid must include itineraries through the medieval section of the city, the Madrid of the Austrias and the Bourbons, the romantic and contemporary quarters, which may not be as interesting from the architectural point of view but compensate for this with their lively atmosphere. Other places not to be missed are the city's three most important art galleries, situated on the so-called golden triangle of art: the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofía National Art Gallery.As well as art however, Madrid also boasts interesting shopping facilities on the streets Serrano and Princesa and specific districts for having a few cocktails or glasses of wine, such as the tabernas in the Los Austrias quarter, the clubs in Chueca, the cafes and pubs in the area between Huertas St. and the Plaza de Santa Ana, and, in the summer, the pavement cafes along the Paseo de la Castellana boulevard. The city's main green areas are the Retiro, the Casa de Campo and the Parque Juan Carlos I, adjacent to the new convention hall and the huge trade fair centres.
This interesting diversity makes of Madrid a perfect meeting point for differente people and differente cultures. Madrid welcomes everyone with open arms as people from Madrid consider that anyone who comes to Madrid is from Madrid. Doesn't matter where you come from, you will feel at home in Madrid.
Barcelona.Barcelona is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city thanks to elements as heterogeneous as the 1992 Olympic Games, art nouveau, immigration, a very active port, disseny (graphic and industrial design), tourism, industrial development, and a wild urban layout, which penetrates the mountain and the sea. The imaginative and peculiar art nouveau designs created by Antonio Gaudí have become emblems of the city, like the houses of Milá, Batlló, and Vicens, the Güell Park, and the church of Sagrada Familia. The splendour of medieval Barcelona can still be seen at the Gothic Quarter, and the Historic Quarter (Ciutat Vella).
The city's administrative and historic centre is Sant Jaume square, which presently houses the City Hall, and the Catalan Generalitat. However, the greatest expansion of the city has taken place in the area where the Olympic facilities were built. This expansion modernised the urban beaches, created a new marina and gave a second chance to the industrial area of Poble Nou.
Valencia.Valencia is a welcoming, mediterranean city in which, on a casual stroll through the area of the Cathedral and the exchange building, it is easy to find historic buildings alongside contemporary designs. Outside the city walls, the urban layout includes two postmodern spaces, the Palacio de la Música y de Congresos music and conventions centre, situated in the Turia gardens, and the futuristic Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, an arts and science complex designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela and built on the city's green area, in the former bed of the river Turia. By way of contrast, Valencia also boasts a medieval quarter, namely the district of El Carmen, which has been chosen by the citizens and visitors of all ages as the focal point for the city's cultural. Its streets now blend new art forms and alternative lifestyles with the peaceful existence of their long-established residents.Not too far away from here are several of the city's most interesting places.
These include the Torres de Quart gardens, which, like the old ramparts, date to the 15th century; the impressive Gothic exchange building, which has Unesco World Heritage status; the so-called Miguelete, the octagonal bell-tower that is one of the city's emblems; and the building that houses the Valencian Institute of Modern Art (IVAM).But these are not the only cities in Spain that can hold international meetings. Spain has some 50 conference centres, located in a wide variety of different places: on the coast and inland, in major cities like the ones above and also in medium-sized and smaller ones. They offer a broad range of infrastructure in continual growth and renewal, in response to the promising future of the sector in Spain.The Conference and Exhibition Centre in Malaga, the Baluarte Centre in Pamplona and the Riojaforum Centre in Logroño are some of the latest additions.
Among them special mention should be made of those opened in 2005: the Magma Arte & Conference Centre in Tenerife, outstanding for its unique architecture; and the Palexco Centre in A Coruña, located right on the port, chosen by Spain's OPC (Professional Congress Organisers) Federation as best Spanish Conference Centre. Not forgetting the Girona Conference Centre, which is due to open in spring 2006.The future is promising, with numerous projects underway which will provide new facilities in cities such as Palma de Mallorca, Alicante and Ibiza..
Fernando Macia is Human Level Communications CEO and a writer for Viva-Spain.com: Spain from a Tourist Perspective.
By: Fernando Macia