by Leo Jakobson | October 02, 2018
One of the great bucket-list destinations in Europe, Madrid is an ancient city whose architecture dates to medieval times, whose museums rank among the best in the world, and whose gastronomy is rich and as varied as the city itself.
With 743 hotels and plenty of conference centers, most notably the Feria de Madrid, there is a reason that Spain's capital city was No. 7 in the International Congress and Convention Association's annual ranking of the Top 10 cities for international association meetings in 2017 (Barcelona was No. 1 and Spain was fourth overall in the top 10 cities). That jibes with data from destination management company Pacific World, which ranked Madrid sixth of the top 10 cities for meetings and events in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

"Madrid is an ideal city for the MICE market," says Richelle Taylor, vice president of strategic marketing at One10. "With the more than 55 meeting venues and easy access for flights from multiple gateways, it provides something for everyone."

A major European business center, Madrid is also "an inspiring destination," says Jennifer Mazza, director of travel operations for incentive house Next Level Performance, who praises its thriving cultural scene. "We have come to expect the highest level of service from local partners, including both DMCs and hotels."

If you only step outside of your meeting hotel once while you're in Madrid, make it to see Museo del Prado. One of the world's great art museums, its thousands of masterpieces include some of the great Spanish painters', including Goya and Velázquez.

Like all Spanish cities, nightlife starts late in Madrid, with the high dinner hour beginning at 10 p.m. Before that, bar hop among the city's many tascas, or tapas bars, trying small bites that range from the famous Spanish ham to anchovies to cheese. "Spain has been at the absolute forefront of cuisine for the last decade and Madrid is no exception, with many exciting restaurants and unique gala event venues," says Mazza.

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This article appears in the October 2018 issue of Successful Meetings.