CCW 2021: a visitor’s guide, part one


In this blog, Critical Communications Portfolio editor Philip Mason offers some first impressions of Madrid and the IFEMA, as well an overview of the event lay-out.

The journey to CCW 2021 began in earnest in the summer, with the team’s first official site visit to the venue - the IFEMA in Madrid. Purpose-built in the early 1980s, the 200,000 square metre IFEMA describes itself as “at the core of Madrid's business scene, acting as a clear benchmark in the international show and conference sector.” The site - which since it opened has welcomed over 80 million visitors - is situated a stone’s throw from Adolfo Suarez airport.
Just as impressive meanwhile is the Spanish capital in which the venue is situated. Located in the centre of the country, Madrid is one of the most historic cities in Europe as well as an economic and cultural powerhouse. It has also been the location of a number of recent high-profile critical communication roll-outs such as on the Metro, with its TETRA equipment provided by Teltronic.
Arriving at the IFEMA
There are a variety of ways to get to the IFEMA, which is located in the north east of Madrid in the Barajas district. For those staying in the city itself, the most popular options will most likely be a 15 to 20-minute ride in one of the city’s 17,000 taxis, or half an hour on the aforementioned Metro system. There is also a bus stop outside the venue for those inclined to take a more circuitous - and potentially more scenic - route.
Everything related to CCW will be situated on the left of the IFEMA as visitors go in. So, those arriving by taxi should take the left-hand covered walkway in order to approach the building from the front. Those riding the Metro – get off at station Feria de Madrid – should turn left at the top of the escalators and then left again, before emerging into the daylight and taking the same route. Needless to say, everything will be thoroughly signposted over the course of the three days.
Once inside, visitors will need to register at the large desk on the left side of the main entrance hall, with the process being very similar to CCW 2018 in Berlin. They will then proceed – once again filtering on the left side of the building - towards the area where the masterclasses are taking place.
The CCW 2021 masterclasses will be delivered in their own designated portion of the IFEMA, situated within very easy reach of the main conference and exhibition area. There will be a total of six spacious rooms for the classes themselves, as well as central networking area located right next door, in a large adjacent space.
With the masterclasses completed by the end of the first day, the area will subsequently become the location for pre-arranged meetings, available for use by exhibitors and sponsors. Each room is completely secure, locking via the use of a key card.
Conference and exhibition
The main conference and exhibition area is located 90 seconds from the masterclasses, with access via the use of a moving walkway, again keeping to the left side of the IFEMA complex. 
Critical Communications World 2021 will take up the entirety of IFEMA’s massive Hall 3. Everything within the hall will be linked by a single walkway, running from the entrance doors on one side, to a large café directly opposite.
Features for visitors on the exhibition floor will include a networking lounge situated in the centre of the hall, as well as well as live video content in the form of Critical Communications TV (aka CCTV). There will also be large, partitioned, conference spaces set entirely within the exhibition, alongside other ‘learning’ areas such as the Showcase Theatre.
Refreshment areas will include the aforementioned cafe as well as two other, smaller concessions located to the right of the hall.
As might be imagined, there are numerous options when it comes to accommodation in a city the size of Madrid. That could be in the city centre, or indeed near the IFEMA itself, which will also give easy access to the airport. (We chose the Pullman next to the IFEMA, which made things incredibly straightforward, with no wait at all for a taxi once we’d landed).
We’ll publish more on Madrid’s hotel offer in the coming weeks. For now, those wanting to book hotels early to avoid any potential rush – something we strenuously advise – should click here
Just the beginning…
This is just the first of many blogs that we’ll be publishing between now and November, providing details on every aspect of CCW 2021.
Topics will include tips on where to stay while in Madrid, what to eat, where to visit, as well as providing details around the conference programme, and the locations for the 2021 ICCAs and networking evening. We will also be exploring in detail some of the most interesting critical communications projects taking place in the region and across the whole of Spain.
For editorial/content enquiries, contact Critical Communications Portfolio editor Philip Mason (
To book space for a stand, contact sales manager Jonathan McGuinness (