Unique Venues in Basque Country: Bilbao and San Sebastian


Located in Northern Spain, Bilbao is a thriving port city and the largest city in Basque Country.

It is Basque’s principal industrial center, with a modern skyscraper-filled downtown. It boasts easy city mobility and high-tech facilities to accommodate congresses, meetings, and incentives of all sizes. Since the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997, Bilbao has been enjoying a tourism and MICE revival, with amazing updates and new additions to the venue, hotel, and culinary scene.

From riverside promenades to the cobblestone streets of Old Town, Bilbao has come into its own as a cultural center and prosperous business center, with intimate spaces in the outer banks and large modern spaces in and around the city center.

In addition to amazing meeting venues, Bilbao boasts some of the top fine dining restaurants in the world, including both the Michelin-starred Azurmendi and Arzak. Being a foodie city, Bilbao also boasts all manner of bars and restaurants, with high praise for the local cuisine. In many of the local bars or restaurants, it is common to snack on delicious pintxos (small, carefully arranged combinations of culinary creations, typically served atop a slice of bread).

The Bilbao Turismo & Convention Bureau offers a plethora of information to assist in finding the perfect venue that fits the requirements for your event.

Near the Bilbao International Airport (IATA: BIO), the Bilbao Exhibition Center consists of the convention center, with 5 levels of rooms, an open-plan and multipurpose space called “Luxua”, and 5 pavilions including the Bizkaia Arena.

A few other notable and unique options in the city include:

ITSamuseum, formerly the Ría de Bilbao Maritime Museum, presents the maritime history and culture that has shaped Bilbao and the surrounding areas. The museum’s exhibition space is based on the left bank of the Bilbao River estuary, and features both indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, against a backdrop of maritime spirit and culture.

Yimby Bilbao offers innovative space for meetings, conventions, conferences, gastronomic experiences, workshops, product presentations, and launch campaigns, right in the center of Bilbao.

Teatro Campos Eliseos, a performing arts theater renovated in 2010, is in the center of Bilbao, close to the Guggenheim Museum and Old Town. They offer state-of-the-art technology and spaces for MICE events of all types and sizes.

The Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, a multi-purpose complex located close to the airport, has a 2,164-seat auditorium, a 61-seat theatre, a gallery, an exhibition hall, and 12 meeting rooms.


San Sebastian 

San Sebastian, which is 1 hour and 15 min away from Bilbao by car, is a cosmopolitan seaside town in Spain’s Basque Country, one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. Some describe it as classic and elegant. It boasts one of the highest numbers of Michelin-starred restaurants, per square mile, in the world.

It is billed as a commercial, service, and conference tourist destination. Voted year after year as the Basque Country’s best congress destination!

In addition to the gastronomic delights throughout the city, San Sebastian is home to the Basque Culinary Center, promoting higher education, research, innovation, and promotion of gastronomy and food.

San Sebastian Turismo, the official site for San Sebastian, offers in-depth information on all things San Sebastian. They can assist with the search for your perfect MICE venue.

Notable unique venues include:

The Kursaal Center, a conference center and auditorium space, hosting and promoting events of all sizes. Easy access to most hotels, restaurants, and shops.

San Telmo Museum: In the heart of the historical center of San Sebastian, the San Telmo Museum can accommodate a banquet of approximately 350 people, in a historic building dating back to the 16th century.

Miramar Palace: Located in front of La Concha Bay, the Miramar Palace, built in 1893, offers banquet space, overlooking the bay and Santa Clara Island, and can accommodate up to 400 guests.

Gu San Sebastian: Located in the Royal Yacht Club, this is a beautiful, exclusive space overlooking La Concha Bay.

Above, are just a few of the many options available for private MICE events in Spain’s Basque Country. Bilbao and San Sebastian offer arts and culture, cutting-edge technology, easy mobility, beautiful scenery, incredible cuisine, and a moderate climate. There is something for everyone.

For further information, please contact the Tourist Office of Spain at www.spain.info.

Photos courtesy of Turespaña


Regina Allen, Corporate Meetings and Events Strategist i-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events.   


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