Top Tips for Visiting Barcelona during Mobile World Congress 2015

Did you know that Barcelona is the Mobile World Capital? Yes, when it comes to mobile technologies like smartphones, apps, and various other technologies that have become an essential part of our daily lives, Barcelona is the city that hosts one of the biggest events in the world; Mobile World Congress. The event runs from the 2nd until the 5th of March and has the potential to affect your holiday plans, so savvy travellers coming to Barcelona will want to read on...

What is Mobile World Congress? 

Mobile World Capital Barcelona Display


In terms of the mobile technology industry, the Mobile World Congress is the biggest event in the world. Businesses from all over the world gather to network, attend keynote speeches, conferences, and visit the exhibitions. All in all, it's a massive event that pushes the entire industry forward. It's not just relevant for professionals but also consumers, because huge companies flock to the event in order to make big announcements and launch their newest products. Companies rumoured to have something big to announce include Nokia, Sony, HTC, LG, and Google.

It used to take place solely at Fira de Barcelona - Montjuïc, but it grew so much that it has moved to the larger Fira de Barcelona - Gran Via. For 2015 though, it's defied the impossible and grown yet more, for this year a part of the congress actually returns to Fira de Barcelona - Montjuïc called '4 Years From Now'.

Also called 4YFN, 4 Years From Now has the aim of showcasing the best start-ups in the mobile industry, and giving them powerful contacts in investors and venture capitalists, as well as big corporations and incubators. It's unmissable then if you're looking to invest or get invested in.

What does it mean for me?

Mobile World Congress at Fira de Barcelona

I'm attending Mobile World Congress

If you are attending the event, then you will want to stay in the Montjuïc / L'Hospitalet de Llobregat area where the Congress is located. It's not in the city centre, so if you're staying nearby, then you can get in early, maximize your time, and avoid the crowds. If you haven't booked your accommodation yet then you'll need to do so straight away because it's peak booking season in Barcelona and places are going quickly, especially for the MWC dates. You can still find accommodation, and this year the best way to stay is probably in one of the apartments in Montjuïc, but the location is right next to Fira de Montjuïc where 4YFN is located, and only a stop or two away from Fira de Gran Via by overground train. for instance, ake a look at this stunning apartment nearby the event.

As pickpockets are on the loose in the area during the event, that's why a special phone line has been set up by the organizers for any attendees who become victims of theft. The free support line is  (+34) 900 772 015 and it doesn't matter what part of the city you were in, they will send someone to personally help you sort any police reports and replacing documentation. Of course the best course of action is to prevent it from happening by always being aware of your belongings.

Be aware that almost everyone will be using their mobiles at once at the event! This means there will be a massive strain on the phone networks and you'll be lucky to get even a 3G signal in the local area! In your free time, you might want to check out the local attractions in the area around Montjuïc, like the National Art Museum of Catalona, the Joan Miro Foundation, The Magic Fountains of Montjuïc, and the Castle of Montjuïc. You can also go shopping at Las Arenas Shopping Centre, a fully converted mall that used to be a bull fighting ring that offers 360° views of Barcelona from the roof.

Travelling between Fira Gran Via (Mobile World Congress) and Fira Montjuic

Getting between the two venues is simple. The main station to remember is Espanya, because you can hop onto the metro (Line 1 and Line 3) and arrive here from any part of the city. At Espanya, you'll either want to get off to attend 4YFN, or change to the FGC station and head 3 stops for Europa | Fira for the main Mobile World Congress venue. The lines between these two stations are plenty - R5, R6, R50, R60, S4, S8, S33, and L8, with a journey time of only 5 minutes.

I'm not attending Mobile World Congress

If you plan on visiting Barcelona during Mobile World Congress, then it won't be a major disruption to your holiday. However, the event is expected to populate the city with 75,000 more people. This means that public transport will be more crowded at certain points throughout the day, restaurants in the area get packed, traffic is more congested, and as mentioned before there is a strain on the local phone networks. This is of course, much more notable in the western part of the city where the event is held, so if you can't avoid the dates then you should try to stay in quieter areas, like in one of the apartments in Gràcia, a residential area that's well connected with the city centre. Also note that even outside of the event area, pickpockets will be more active all over the city during Mobile World Congress, so always be on the lookout.

Whether you're attending the congress or not, now you'll be more prepared in terms of what to expect and how to get the most out of your holiday during these few days. So plan ahead and have a great time!