An English(wo)man in Madrid


Laura, our sales and marketing manager visited Madrid for the first time recently and has shared the lasting impressions left by her visit.

The ElsieB team visited IFEMA over the weekend of Intergift, Bisutex and Madridjoya and have come back to the UK with some seriously top tips for exhibitors and visitors to the Madrid Trade Fair Centre for any show.

Only a short walk to the Metro from the Adolfo Suàrez Madrid-Barajas Airport and one very clean and efficient metro ride away IFEMA is truly an exhibition centre you should want to visit.

The thing that you notice most when comparing Madrid to London is the space. Everything offers more elbow room.  Those of us used to travelling around London and visiting exhibitions are resigned to crowding onto narrow underground platforms, pushing our way up crowded staircases and forcing our way through narrow exhibition aisles, but in Madrid you never feel this way.

The Metro platforms are wide and even in rush hour there is an element of calm as funny videos are played back over the big screen and people seem to just relax and breathe as they go about their routines.  The same applies within the exhibition halls at IFEMA, the space is just so vast that you can easily navigate your way around the halls without bumping into people or elbowing anyone out of the way.  Conducting business with breathing room was a novel experience!

IFEMA is just marvellous! Even the food on offer doesn’t have the typical exhibition centre greasy feel and you can actually enjoy a rather good meal and even better coffee in all of the halls.  Once you venture outside of the exhibition centre, a short metro, bus or taxi will have you in the heart of this vibrant city where you can eat and drink to your hearts content (and not at London prices either!)

I am often asked about the language barrier and not being a Spanish speaker (beyond effusive hola’s) I was a bit anxious about being understood, however the city is just bilingual, everything in IFEMA is either translated or completely understandable regardless of the language spoken. In the city, the same applies, from wait staff, shop assistants and cab drivers everyone makes the effort to understand and be understood.

Here are a few top tips!

We do recommend that you wait until you get to the Metro before buying your metro card, the machine in terminal one took our money without issuing a card – however the information office was really helpful so we did get that sorted fairly easily.

There are several hotels just outside of the trade fair centre, but the metro links are so great you don’t need to worry about being a bit further away.

Metro lines are all numbered and Google Maps works very well, however for those less technologically inclined, the little metro map is very self explanatory.

The Metro has phone reception!  Yes – you can google map, phone, text and email to your hearts content on your journey.

Slow down a little, change the pace of your walk and enjoy business being done with a smile, a continental cheek kiss and a refreshing lack of sense of urgency.

I hope you enjoy your visit as much as I enjoyed mine.