Business trips to Barcelona: information, hotels, transport and leisure activities
Article updated 28 August, 2019.
Planning a business trip to Barcelona? Here's a quick guide to help you get organised and make the most of your free time in the city.
Barcelona is a popular destination for business travel. Between the professional opportunities on offer and the exceptional surroundings, you may never want to leave!
Barcelona: a popular destination for business travel
Barcelona attracts millions of visitors each year, with around 40% coming for business reasons. The Catalan capital is one of the preferred locations for meetings organised by international organisations, regularly featuring in the top 3 host cities.
Every February, for example, Barcelona plays host to the Mobile World Congress, the largest international event in the sector. This is the biggest commercial event held in the city, with thousands of participants occupying most of the city’s hotels. Room rates during the congress reach the same levels as in peak tourist season.
Barcelona’s business districts
International conference centres
Barcelona is home to four international conference centres:
- Barcelona International Convention Centre (Fòrum, Poblenou)
- Fira Montjuïc (Plaça Espanya)
- Fira Gran Via (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat)
- Palau de Congressos de Catalunya (Zona Universitaria, Les Corts)
These are located in different areas of the city. The Fira Gran Via is closest to the airport, whilst the furthest away is the Barcelona International Convention Centre, which is on the seafront. The building is spectacular – for more details, see our article on contemporary architecture in Barcelona.
Barcelona’s financial districts
Barcelona has two main financial districts:
- Avinguda Diagonal, around the María Cristina. Here, you’ll find the Palau de Congressos de Catalunya, the headquarters of CaixaBank, various companies from the service sector, and prestigious hotels.
- Around the Diagonal Mar shopping centre, on the seafront. This is where you’ll find the International Convention Centre.
These areas are home to a large number of hotels tailored to respond to the needs of business travellers.
Choosing a hotel for a business trip to Barcelona
If you’re responsible for booking your hotel room, take account of the type of activities you have planned. Will you need access to a meeting room? If so, choose one of the bigger hotels, such as the Hilton Diagonal Mar or the Juan Carlos I. This third option has 35 meeting rooms, a giant auditorium, over 4000 m2 of exhibition space and a banqueting hall with a capacity of up to 3000.
Getting around Barcelona for business
Taxis are the fastest and most comfortable means of getting around the city. However, be aware of the possibility of traffic jams on Avinguda Diagonal at rush hour, and plan accordingly.
During the Mobile World Congress, access to Plaça Espanya becomes very difficult. That said, it should be relatively easy to get a taxi, as many companies take on extra drivers for the period.
Note that taxis in Barcelona are relatively cheap – good to know!
Barcelona has an excellent, extensive metro, bus and train network, meaning that public transport is another easy option.
- Metro, buses and trams in Barcelona: prices and top tips to save money
- Barcelona Metro: map, timetable and useful information
- Bus: Info, timetables, prices and advice for getting around the city
Make the most of your free time during a business trip to Barcelona
If your schedule permits, make the most of your time in Barcelona and visit some of the city’s iconic sights!
- A private tour of the city’s architectural masterpieces is a great way of getting straight to the heart of things. A made-to-measure tour to make the most of your trip! Sagrada Familia is absolutely unmissable!
- For football fans, a guided tour of Camp Nou with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable journalist is another great option.
For more ideas, take a look at our article Barcelona in a few hours: tips for short stops and time between meetings.
Finally, why not download our app? It’s packed with ideas for things to see and do and addresses of the best bars and restaurants. Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure?
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