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Top 5 European Cities for international conferences

By Simon Colley, CT Business Travel.

Europe may be going through some major changes, but it’s still home to some of the most innovative and thriving metropolises in the world. These cities offer excellent networking opportunities as well as being the perfect settings for hosting business conferences.

From modern exhibition centres to traditional tradeshow venues, luxury global hotels to comforting local charm, European business travellers and event planners are spoiled for choice when it comes to the locations on offer.

To narrow down the possibilities, here are 5 of Europe’s best up-and-coming cities for international conferences, each with something unique to offer.

1. Milan

Milan is not only a beautiful city at the height of style and culture, it’s also Italy’s most business-driven city and a magnet for innovative start-ups. It’s considered the head of Italy’s financial scene and has a reputation for being a forward-thinking city, which makes it the perfect location for an international conference.

Milan is well accustomed to hosting large scale exhibitions and trade shows, and offers stunning backdrops in the form of iconic exhibition and conference venues. The most well-known venues include Europe’s largest venue, MiCo (Milano Congressi) and the striking Stella Polare.

Business travellers consider a trek to Milan a real treat and an opportunity to not only take in the start-up spirit, but to experience the finer things in life. From high-fashion retail therapy to museums, art, and fine dining, Milan has something for everyone.

2. Birmingham

Named the best city in the UK for small businesses in 2016, Birmingham is a growing entrepreneurial location that is ideal for business events. As Britain’s second largest city by population, Birmingham has cultivated a reputation in recent years for its steadily growing economy, business support and innovation.

This reputation has earned Birmingham additional titles, including the best city in the UK for investors. The city also boasts a number of well performing universities, which could claim responsibility for the area’s flair for entrepreneurism. Birmingham’s most notable event venues are NEC Birmingham, The Priory Rooms and The ICC.

Birmingham offers business travellers a surprising scene for art, culture and nightlife, including the iconic Library of Birmingham. There are also miles of charming and historically significant canals that offer a beautiful backdrop for networking.

3. Vienna

Known as one of the best cities for quality of life, it’s no surprise that Vienna is also extremely popular with growing businesses. Thanks to its excellent central European location, the city acts as a gateway to the economic growth of Eastern Europe.

With its impressive variety of booming industries, convenient public transportation system and beautiful location, Vienna offers a picturesque and practical backdrop for business events. Its more popular conference and exhibition venues include Austria Centre Vienna and Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Centre, both of which cater for large scale events.

It’s a lively and fast-growing city which offers endless cultural and historical treats for business travellers, from baroque architecture and fine dining, to quirky museums and ancient crypts.

4. Berlin

The German capital is one that has been climbing the ranks of economy and commerce in recent years, playing host to successful start-ups and maintaining a strong economy while other countries in Europe struggle to do so. The city is also environmentally conscious, with hundreds of green companies calling Berlin home.

The city’s more well-known venues include Estrel Convention Centre Berlin, Airport Berlin Tempelhof, and Axica Convention Centre. Berlin is working hard to develop a bright economic future, and is an excellent spot to base events due to the new business talent it attracts.

Berlin also has a buzzing nightlife scene, many interesting museums, remnants of the infamous Cold War-era Berlin Wall, and a wealth of historically significant sites tied to the events of WW2.

5. Barcelona

Barcelona is no stranger to large scale events, and as such, it’s one of the best cities in Europe to hold a business conference or exhibition. Barcelona is rated for its excellent prospects and is certainly a city to watch in terms of growing economic hubs.

The city boasts an excellent infrastructure and offers a dynamic backdrop for hosting exciting and innovative conferences, as well as strong history of high profile congresses. Some of Barcelona’s most notable venues include Fira de Barcelona’s Gran Via and Montjuï, as well as Barcelona International Convention Centre.

With its Mediterranean climate, breath-taking architecture (including the ongoing Gaudi cathedral, which has been under construction for 135 years), Barcelona is another favourite spot for business travellers.



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