50 things to do in Barcelona in 2014: fairs and congresses
Highlights of Barcelona's fairs and congresses in 2014
Among the 50 great things to do in Barcelona in 2014 are congresses and fairs, including the GSMA Mobile World Congress, the world's largest and the most important in the industry; major food and drinks industry fairs; fashion fairs; the European Society of Cardiology Congress, and a giant fair for fanatics of comics.
Running over five days, 080 gives the Barcelona fashion scene a biannual shot in the arm, thanks to the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya. It primarily showcases local designers, from up-and-coming ateliers such as Natalie Capell to globally big-hitting brands such as Mango. The fashion-focused fair also tries to be a living reflection of all of the bubbling creativity that exists in the city – a creative vivacity that finds expression in the designers from all over the world who have made their home and set up their businesses in trend-setting neighbourhoods like the Born, the Raval and the Barri Gotic. As well as providing an unbeatable showcase for new and upcoming trends in the city, 080 Barcelona Fashion also aims to transform the show into a benchmark event in terms of the design, production, distribution and commercialisation of the products emerging from the sector, as well as building closer ties with industry and with NGOs and Barcelona’s social fabric.
The world’s largest and most important event in the mobile industry has taken place right here in Barcelona every February since its inception in 2009, and attracts up to 70,000 people, who take part in literally thousands of industry meetings. The main exhibition and conferences take place out at the Fira Gran Via, a short train ride from the centre. And while the city’s hotels and restaurants are kept buzzing in the evening with hi-tech executives the action at the Gran Via trade fair complex is equally intense, with 1,700 exhibitors keen to show off their cutting edge products and technology, among whom are numbered industry giants like Samsung Electronics, Nokia and Sony, battling it out to present the newest and most exciting smartphone models. It’s also an unmissable event for service providers and software developers, while applications developers even have their own App Planet to catch up on the latest developments in their field and network away to their heart’s content.
Alimentaria is one of the biggest food and drink fairs in the world. Aimed at professionals, it brings together almost 150,000 people over a four-day period. Visitors from over 140 countries include importers, distributors and those who work in catering or the hotel and restaurant industries, and attend exhibitions, seminars and conferences. Its mission is basically to be a business hub and creative think tank for all of the professionals involved in the food industry. To this end it’s one event that offers a number of different specialized trade shows based on the category of products – organic food, meat, frozen goods, dairy products, olive oil, fish, water, soft drinks and beer are just some examples – featuring a comprehensive programme of exhibitions, talks, workshops, seminars and meetings revolving around the themes of innovation, nutrition, internationalization, distribution, marketing and corporate social responsibility.
The Fira Barcelona trade fair zone hosts everything for the comic enthusiast, from videos to conferences and, of course, collectibles. So, it’s a dream come true every May for the thousands of comic fans, many dressed as their favourite comic book characters, who descend on the trade fair complex to mingle with other enthusiasts and professionals and immerse themselves in the countless exhibitions, conferences and workshops centred on the world of graphic novels and comics.
Europe’s major event for medical professionals in the cardiovascular field takes place every summer in the trade fair zone in L’Hospitalet, on the outskirts of Barcelona. The event brings together thousands of visitors, who can choose from among more than 500 talks and conferences, looking at all the latest research. The 2014 edition is putting the spotlight on the theme of ‘Innovation and the Heart’ and offers Clinical Practice, Experts and Abstract Sessions on guidelines, the most challenging cases faced by leaders in the field, and controversial topics in the discipline. Attendees will also have the opportunity to find out about the latest developments in scientific research and even to ‘Meet the Legends’ in a programme designed to provide younger practitioners with a unique opportunity to interact with some of the key figures who have shaped cardiology as we know it today.
Two major fairs in the Spanish catering and food sectors, the Gastronomic Forum and Hostelco (International equipment for restaurants, hotels and catering), are teaming up to hold the 2014 edition of the forum at Barcelona’s Gran Via trade fair complex from the 20th to the 23rd of October. This is the first time that the Gastronomic Forum will be held in the Catalan capital (until now the host cities have always been Girona and Santiago de Compostela in Galicia). The aim of this collaboration is, while preserving the essence and identity of both events, to make the biennial Barcelona fair a major platform for the exchange of knowledge and networking among professionals in the sector and a showcase and benchmark for the industry at the international level, thereby promoting exports by enhancing and harnessing the image of Catalan and Spanish cuisine abroad.
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Enjoy the best culture, fun and festivals the Catalan capital has to offer in 2014
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Barcelona by area
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A stroll through the medieval alleyways and secluded squares of the Old City is the best possible introduction to Barcelona and the starting point for most visitors upon arrival in the city.
The pedestrianised Passeig del Born, the Born's main artery, is one of Barcelona's prettiest thoroughfares, bookended by a magnificent 19th-century market building and a glorious 14th-century church.
Once a no-go area for tourists, the Raval is being transformed. Some of its gems have been around for years - Gaudí's medievalist Palau Güell was an early attempt at gentrification - but others are newer.
It's often left off visitors' itineraries, but the hill of Montjuïc merits a wander. In summer, the hill is a few degrees cooler than the city below, and its many parks and gardens are excellent places for a shady picnic.
The Eixample is a Modernista showcase: its buildings include the Sagrada Família, La Pedrera and the Hospital de Sant Pau.
Gràcia was an independent town that was swallowed up as the city spread, but it retains its own identity and is one of the most popular and vibrant districts in the city.
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