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Top 10 XL Meeting Destinations in 2022

These are the best XL meeting destinations in New Europe, according to Meetings Star, the annual ranking and award curated by the editorial board of Kongres Magazine and Conventa.

What is the Meeting Experience Index (MTLG)?
An original matrix for evaluating destinations, published every year by Kongres Magazine. It is a reference system that enables a realistic comparison of destinations over time. The Meeting Experience Index is one of the most complex destination evaluations that is not based solely on the number of congresses or events taking place at a destination but also delves into analysis holistically. The methodology addresses all key segments of the industry and MICE products. 75 evaluation criteria are used to determine the final destination score.

What is New Europe?
The answer to this question is something of an unsolved conundrum. A clear definition of New Europe doesn’t exist, the most general definition being that these are the countries of Eastern Europe that were once behind the Iron Curtain. Technically, this means 24 countries of Eastern Europe, adding Greece and Turkey to them. In our Editorial, we include the fresh, energetic and lesser-known European destinations in New Europe.

THE 10 BEST XL – MEETING DESTINATIONS

Destinations that can host more than 2,000 congress attendees

10. PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

Prague is the most attractive tourist and meeting destination in the Czech Republic. The capital city is known for its architectural monuments and living history, and it ranks among the most admired and greenest cities in Europe. Getting around Prague is simple: either walking and enjoying the city’s sights or using the public transportation system, ranked fifth-best in the world. Visitors can enjoy a meal with a pint of beer in a traditional brewery, or in a fine dining restaurant. With its infrastructure, Prague can accommodate the most demanding events. The meeting options combine the historical and modern, cutting-edge technology features of Prague.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms25,470
The number of 4* and 5* hotels313
Destination population1,335,083
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,400
The largest hall in the city10,237 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity13,500
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event59 Mbps

9. ATHENS, GREECE

athens-greece

A historic city with excellent connectivity to the rest of the world and where you will find infrastructure befitting a major European capital, but with better weather and in a more interesting location. The Athens allure includes 300 days of sunshine a year, more than 30,000 hotel rooms in 439 hotels, 95,000 sq.m of conference space, 1,000+ restaurants and 200,000 flights per year. All major hotels in the city underwent refurbishment for the 2004 Olympics. Athens is an attractive destination in its own, very special way. It is a unique combination of the old and the new, set in a spectacular Mediterranean landscape

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms17,656
The number of 4* and 5* hotels176
Destination population3,818,434
Banquet hall maximum capacity9,500
The largest hall in the city13,050 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity15,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event12 Mbps

8. HELSINKI, FINLAND

Nordic countries are recognised worldwide as pioneers in sustainable development. This is a key asset for Finland and Helsinki in the eyes of international meetings and congress organisers. Climate change is one of the biggest drivers of change that is affecting people’s quality of life and the choices they make. Also within the event sector, there is a strong desire to combat climate change. The City of Helsinki is committed to promoting sustainable development in all its activities. The greatest interest in Helsinki is coming from Great Britain, where many agents seeking venues for international meetings are locate

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms9,656
The number of 4* and 5* hotels37
Destination population631,695
Banquet hall maximum capacity4,300
The largest hall in the city17,051 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity4,374
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events25
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps

7. STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Stockholm has a good reputation as a leader at the forefront of environmental and sustainability issues. However, good work is not always reflected in international rankings. Sustainable Meet Stockholm, a new collaboration and marketing project, wants to change that by putting Stockholm on the map as the top destination for sustainable meetings.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms22,800
The number of 4* and 5* hotels178
Destination population975,551
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,000
The largest hall in the city25,900 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity9,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event39 Mbps

7. BARCELONA, SPAIN

Spain’s second-largest city has become an annual stop on the congress pilgrimage to IBTM World. Its extroversion and trendy city architecture and design, in combination with a healthy dose of Mediterranean casualness, are all worthy of serious praise and admiration. Barcelona is a city that comes alive in the evening when it becomes a paradise for lovers of cuisine, cool taverns, and cultural icons. Barcelona’s list-topping luxury and designer hotels and a nearly perfect congress infrastructure have positioned the city at the very peak of Europe’s congress industry. Although it is battling the “OMG, there is so many tourists!” syndrome, we believe it will soon evolve into a city where the meetings industry becomes part of the positive transformation of an otherwise overcrowded destination.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms26,462
The number of 4* and 5* hotels223
Destination population1,636,762
Banquet hall maximum capacity8,096
The largest hall in the city43,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity14,288
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps

6. LISBON, PORTUGAL

Lisbon is a historical city full of stories to tell. A city where the sun shines 290 days a year and where you feel safe wandering around day or night. Lisbon is an authentic city where old customs and ancient history intermix with cultural entertainment and hi-tech innovation. The city’s rich cultural heritage continues to grow every day. Lisbon is a dream destination for foodies, wine lovers, critics and the curious. The famous bacalhau (salted cod), in its various forms, is not to be missed.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms22,643
The number of 4* and 5* hotels196
Destination population2,986,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,500
The largest hall in the city5,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity12,500
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events12
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps

6. BERLIN, GERMANY

Berlin is exciting in every sense of the word and one can only speculate on the range of its different options in this congress land of plenty. The Convention Bureau is known for its ingenuity, creativity and the rich offer it brings together. Moreover, Berlin’s congress offer is jam-packed into a very reasonably priced package. It’s no surprise that the city hosts more than 115,000 events annually and this number is expected to increase once the new Berlin Brandenburg airport finally opens its doors. Fuse Berlin’s excellent congress offer with its urban heartbeat and you get a first-class congress destination. The city is also the capital of fun, dance, creativity, socializing and unforgettable nightlife, which sets it apart from its competitors.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms124,222
The number of 4* and 5* hotels634
Destination population3,671,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,500
The largest hall in the city6,500 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity5,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events15
Average internet speed when organising an event32 Mbps

5. AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

From its earliest days, Amsterdam has been a bustling hub of commerce that welcomed other cultures with open arms. Amsterdam might be famous for its canals and cobblestone streets, but the city and the surrounding area are also home to some of the most treasured works of art in the world, including best-known pieces by Rembrandt, Mondrian, Van Gogh and more. Amsterdam is the ideal conference destination for every occasion. The destination is easily accessible and has more than 500 venues. With world-class museums, quirky festivals, theatre, live music, laid-back bars and delightful restaurants, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Amsterdam.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms17,155
The number of 4* and 5* hotels158
Destination population872,799
Banquet hall maximum capacity6,899
The largest hall in the city112,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity12,900
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events50
Average internet speed when organising an event23 Mbps

4. MADRID, SPAIN

Madrid is a lively, welcoming and cosmopolitan city where congress guests feel at home. Madrid offers a comfortable and safe setting, where indulging in a spot of leisure is just as enjoyable as doing business. Its abundant artistic and natural heritage, State-of-the-art transport network, the quality of its accommodation, excellent gastronomy and the passion with which the people of Madrid enjoy both day and night make the capital of Spain one of the most attractive cities in Europe.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms40,916
The number of 4* and 5* hotels388
Destination population6,669,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity2,000
The largest hall in the city15,200 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity12,422
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events16
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps

3. MUNICH, GERMANY

Unsurprisingly, the city of quality beer, wurst, dirndl skirts and “lederhosen” is also a first-class European congress destination with one of the most developed fair infrastructures in the wider region. There are 31,000 hotel rooms in 395 excellent hotels with conference capacities. Added to the charm and picturesqueness of the Bavarian capital are numerous green open spaces and high quality of living. Munich airport is also one of the key European air-traffic hubs, cementing the city’s position on the world congress map. Its history has always been distinguished by major events, including the 1972 Summer Olympics. In the world’s beer capital with centuries of tradition, beer doesn’t just flow freely in October, but the whole year-round. The city belongs at the very top of our evaluation.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms16,605
The number of 4* and 5* hotels103
Destination population1,561,094
Banquet hall maximum capacity3,150
The largest hall in the city11,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity61,277
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events75
Average internet speed when organising an event29 Mbps

3. COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

The premier capital of Northern Europe is Scandinavia’s most fantastic city and the centre of the most dynamic region in Europe, the Øresund Region. The city is one of Europe’s oldest capitals with an exclusive royal touch – the monarchy in Denmark is the oldest in the world. The town has several large convention centres such as Forum Copenhagen, Bella Center and Øksnehallen which often host international fairs and conferences. The Medical Valley is on the outskirts of the city and has large biomedical centres where many conferences are held. It has large venues, such as Denmark’s national stadium Parken, Brondby Stadium and the Royal Arena. Overall, Copenhagen is a safe city to live in and a destination filled with special venues.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms10,634
The number of 4* and 5* hotels48
Destination population794,128
Banquet hall maximum capacity5,000
The largest hall in the city14,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity7,000
Number of studios for digital and hybrid eventsNA
Average internet speed when organising an event10/10 Mbps

2. ZURICH, SWITZERLAND

Zurich’s public transportation network is one of the most efficient and reliable in the world. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that streetcars and buses are the preferred means of transportation for the city’s population. Switzerland’s biggest city boasts quite a few superlatives and is known as the commercial, cultural and congress centre of Switzerland. It is the hub for train, road and air traffic, which gives it a big advantage over its competitors. It offers great congress infrastructure in the Kongresshaus Zurich and numerous other spaces, accompanied by some amazing special venues.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms7,000
The number of 4* and 5* hotels70
Destination population1,562,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity1,500
The largest hall in the city4,710 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity3,100
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events25
Average internet speed when organising an event33 Mbps

WINNER: 1. VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Vienna is a city that is constantly reinventing itself and evolving – with smart city concepts, new districts and also new meeting locations. Meeting planners can already choose from over 200 impressive and varied venues in the city. One of the crucial initiatives is the intensive inclusion of the city’s residents since there is a desire that innovations help improve living standards for all. It is all this that places Vienna among the smart cities of the future and makes it an excellent meeting destination.

The number of 4* and 5* hotel rooms19,200
The number of 4* and 5* hotels165
Destination population1,935,000
Banquet hall maximum capacity5,500
The largest hall in the city20,000 m2
Theatre style hall maximum capacity6,480
Number of studios for digital and hybrid events20
Average internet speed when organising an event38 Mbps

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