Europe's largest venues

23 Feb 2023

Europe's most attended venues

Attending a leading trade fair within a respective industry can be beneficial. It enables networking with leading companies and studying or providing new solutions. This especially applies when attending one or more of Europe’s largest trade fairs. Yet, it can be disconcerting when considering which location to consider as a potential site with maximum opportunities. This is because Europe has 499 exhibition venues and 15.7 million m2 of event space. The challenge also increases when considering the coronavirus pandemic and its adverse effects. Yet, there are means to reduce confusion. One such method is to study which venues have the highest participation rates. Here are the top eleven most extensive European event sites based on annual participation rates:

Messe Stuttgart

Messe Stuttgart is Germany’s eighth-largest event location, with over 141 000 m2 of event space. It is within 15 minutes of walking from Stuttgart Airport. The location has adaptable conference spaces, exhibition halls and congress spaces. This enables it to host many events, including R + T, Blechexpo, LogiMAT, and Control. As a result, Messe Stuttgart receives annually over 1 000 000 participants. For instance, in 2021, 257 112 958 attendants attended the site.

Image: Caue observatoire

Paris Expo Porte de Versailles

The Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is one of France's most extensive and leading event venues. It features over 215 000 m2, including 85 meeting rooms and seven exhibition pavilions. This allows the site to host around 200 events annually, such as Milipol Paris and SIAL. Because of such capabilities and event calendar, the site receives more than 7,500 000 visitors annually from over 100 countries.

Image: Meet in

Messe Frankfurt

Messe Frankfurt is the event venue managed by the oldest event organiser - Messe Frankfurt GmbH, inaugurated in 1907. It presents over 367 000 m2 of event space, including eleven highly flexible exhibition halls. This enables the site to host events with more than 100 000 participants. Examples include Ambiente, IFFA, Fi Europe, Techtextil, Automechanika, Prolight + Sound, ACHEMA and ISH. This results in an annual attendance of more than 3 000 000 participants. For instance, 3 352 000 attendants attended the site, according to a statement issued by the executive board about the 2022 fiscal year.

Image: Kongres magazine

ExCeL London

ExCeL London is one of the most prominent event venues in the UK and one of the event locales managed by ADNEC. It features 100 000 m2 of space and hosts about 500 events, including IFE, DSEI, and IFSEC. Because of its diverse event schedule, ExCeL London receives more than 1 000 000 participants. For instance, according to a corporate statement from December 2022, 3 000 000 visitors attended the locale.

Image: Businessdestinations

Fira de Barcelona – Gran Vía

Fire de Barcelona is one of Spain’s top-ranking exhibition centres. It is in the country’s capital, Barcelona. It is a versatile and highly sustainable event locale with 240 00 m2 of flexible spaces. It is also the hosting location for over 100 events ranging from compact expos to leading fairs such as MWC, ISE, and Seafood Expo Global. Because of its diverse event space and calendar, the site receives around 2 540 000 participants each year. Such attendants represent over 100 countries from six continents.

Image: Wojtek Gurak

Paris-Nord Villepinte Parc des Expositions

The Paris-Nord Villepinte des Expositions is another of Paris and France’s most extensive and leading venues. It is a site managed by VIPARIS, the organiser group that operates Porte de Versailles. The site features over 240 000 m2 of space and is the hosting location for more than 100 events, including Eurosatory. As a result, the venue accommodates over 2 000 000 visitors annually.

Image: Observatoire

Hannover Fairground

Hannover Fairground is Europe’s most extensive venue because of its more than 500 000 m2 area. It is also one of Germany’s most highly attended exhibition centres. This is because of leading trade fairs such as HANNOVER MESSE, INTERSCHUTZ and IAA Transportation. For instance, according to a statement about the 2022 fiscal year, 1 917 000 participants attended the venue. This included all 27 exhibition halls and 35 meeting rooms being occupied to their maximum.

Image: Eoutlet

Hamburg Messe und Congress

Hamburg Messe und Congress is one of Germany’s most extensive exhibition centres. It is in Hamburg and features over 80 000 m2 of versatile and innovative event space. This enables the site to host trade fairs, such as SMM, with minimal difficulties, resulting in a high attendance rate. For instance, according to the 2021 annual report, 1 683 416 participants have attended the site.

Image: Hamburg messe

Amsterdam RAI

Amsterdam RAI is the most extensive event venue in the Netherlands. It is a 116 200 m2 event site with 70 meeting rooms, twelve exhibition halls and an on-site urban beach complex. It is also the hosting site for various trade shows, including the IBC and TEFAF, resulting in an annual attendance of over 1 000 000 attendants. Examples include 2021, which, according to the annual report, had 1 663 322 participants attend the site.

Image: Terrapinn

Messe Essen

Messe Essen, the ninth-largest exhibition centre in Germany, is an exhibition complex of 110 000 m2. It was modernised between 2016-2019. It features eight exhibition halls with innovative amenities and can host events such as SHK Essen to E-World Energy & Water. Furthermore, it is one of Germany's most-attended event sites, with an annual attendance of over 1 300 000 participants.

Image: Messe essen


Fiera Milano is one of the world’s most extensive exhibition centres. It spans 405 000 m2 of space and is the hosting location of events such as Salone Internazionale del Mobile. It attracts over 900 000 participants due to its diverse event schedule. For instance, over 923 000 participants attended the events available during 2022.

Image: Fiera milano