Klaus Vyhnalek - Wolkenturm, Grafenegg

The Editorial Board of Kongres Magazine has this year – once again and for the second year in the row – prepared a shortlist of the most Special Venues in the Alpe Adria region!

Event organisers want their participants to remember the experience as much as possible and for all the right reasons. The first step is in choosing a venue that is special in itself!

The listed venues are suitable for larger, smaller or boutique events and they all have the potential for implementing a technical programme. In most cases they also offer organisation and catering. Not only from a technical perspective, but also from cultural, historical, technical and architectural standpoints do the venues have outstanding value.

We asked our readers to cast their votes and here are the results!

What is a special venue?

A meeting planner wants participants to remember the experience as much as possible for all the right reasons. So isn’t the first step in achieving this by using a venue that is special in itself, an experience that we cannot have every day?
What are such venues for truly special events? Firstly, they can be any location that has the potential for hosting larger groups of people and also for implementing a technical programme, in most cases also for organising catering for the participants. Limits on the numbers of participants that can be accommodated are usually determined by the latter.
The venue for special events also has to have outstanding cultural, historical, technical and architectural value. A pre-condition for being listed as a special venue are adequate indoor space and basic convention infrastructure with cloakrooms, toilets and technical equipment.

1. Ethno Village Stanišić, Bijelina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Stanišić Ethno Village is a village of some 20 authentic wooden houses, including a milk house, a smithy, an “ambar” (a wooden structure for storing grain), old houses and a large guesthouse, all of them brought there from villages of the Vares Municipality and villages of Mount Zvijezda and Mount Romanija.

2. Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade, Serbia

Kalemegdan Fortress was one of the most powerful military strongholds in Europe. Belgrade Fortress is today a cultural property of great importance, and a venue for frequent cultural, artistic and entertainment events.

3. Event Ship MS Sea Star, Dubrovnik, Croatia

This multipurpose ship with a capacity for up to 400 people adds a mobile dimension to events and fine dining experiences. Based in Dubrovnik the MS Sea Star is available upon request for departure from different ports along the Adriatic and then sailing on for the length of the entire coast.

4. Lady of the Rock Island, Perast, Montenegro

The island was artificially created by scuttling old ships and depositing stones around a small crag. Today the small island is a point for public gatherings.

5. Porto Montenegro, Tivat, Montenegro

The Mediterranean’s leading luxury yacht homeport and marina village, Porto Montenegro welcomes groups of every kind, from large scale business and incentive programmes to smaller VIP groups.

6. Castle Grafenegg, Grafenegg, Austria

With its soaring tower, grandiose façades, stylish staircases, atmospheric arcades and attractive chapel, Grafenegg has become an emblem of Lower Austria. For events you can hire a medieval castle next to a futuristic open-air stage or a 19th century riding arena next to a brand-new concert hall.

7. Postojna Cave, Postojna, Slovenia

The world-renowned Postojna Cave is a natural phenomenon and one of the most unusual locations for organising events. The experiential value of the cave itself is complemented by the quality congress infrastructure of Mansion Jamski dvorec. This makes Postojna Cave one of the most unique and special congress venues in the world.

8. Aman Sveti Stefan, Budva, Montenegro

The island, with its Villa Miločer, is closed to the public, however events can be organised on it directly through the chain. Aman Sveti Stefan offers venues for every occasion and event experts to ensure that every detail is unique.

9. Bled Castle, Bled, Slovenia

Bled Castle is undoubtedly the symbol of both Bled and Slovenia. It is a remarkable venue for protocol events, ceremonial receptions and anniversaries. The image of the castle set above the lake with a romantic island in the middle is one of the most recognised in the world.

10. Hohensalzburg Fortress, Salzburg, Austria

At the largest completely preserved castle in central Europe, beyond its medieval rooms the romantic courtyard and the bastions regularly serve as scenery for events. Comprehensive renovation work has now been completed and the list of great new features includes a multimedia Magic Theatre and ultra-modern media stations.

11. Strmol Castle, Cerklje, Slovenia

Strmol Castle has retained its original form, making it one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Slovenia. Today, Strmol Castle is a hotel offering a unique living experience and a luxurious venue for business meetings and personal occasions.

Dubrovnik new outdoor venue - Park Orsula

12. Park Orsula, Dubrovnik, Croatia

A unique space lifted from oblivion by the enthusiastic association Ambient Croatia. Now equipped and adapted for musical and theatrical events it offers a variety of different concerts featuring local and foreign artists.

13. Mikser House, Belgrade, Serbia

Mikser House is a hybrid concept space for educational, cultural and commercial activities, nestled in an inspiring converted industrial facility of 1000m2. It offers the complete infrastructure for organising events.

14. Ethno village Sirogojno, Serbia

The “Old village” Museum of Folk Architecture in Sirogojno is the only open-air museum in Serbia. One of its houses serves as a gallery for the exhibitions, promotions, seminars and the summer schools, for which it has different interiors.

15. Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

The Kunsthaus floats like a mysterious blue balloon between the roofs of the historic city centre. Kunsthaus Graz functions as a multifunctional exhibition and events space for contemporary art, new media and photography. It has no depot or permanent collection of its own.

16. Roman amphitheatre – Arena Pula, Pula, Croatia

Elliptic in shape, the largest ancient building in Istria is open for sightseeing during the day, after which it becomes the perfect place for pop rock concerts, operas and ballets at night-time, as well as its own film festival with a 50-year tradition.

17. St. Michael's Fortress, Šibenik, Croatia

The fortress of St. Michael rises above the city as a particularly attractive monument and a unique stage with a perfect atmosphere for concerts and many other staged events. The fortress has become an indispensable historical, cultural and geographical landmark of the town of Šibenik and a venue of top cultural events.

18. Morića Han, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Morića Han is the only surviving hotel of the Ottoman era and has been turned into restaurants with various culinary offerings. Its beautiful cobbled courtyard is surrounded by old stables and storehouses with lodging rooms upstairs resting on large wooden pillars.

19. Blue train, Belgrade, Serbia

‘Blue Train’ is a popular name for the special train used for the needs of Josip Broz Tito, ex-President of the previous Socialistic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The train will take you back in time to the era of Marshall Tito’s incredible life.

20. Viječnica, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Vijećnica is the most extravagant building constructed in Sarajevo. Since it first opened on April 20, 1896, the building has become the most important symbol of Sarajevo and is featured as an iconic motif in many photographs of the city.

More ideas from Austria:

1. IceQ, Solden
2. Graz Opera House, Graz
3. Rein Abbey, Gratwein
4. Skybar, Graz
5. Schleppe Brewery Events Hall, Klagenfurt
6. Soap factory Graz, Graz
7. Old Unviersity, Graz
8. Brewery Gösser, Leoben

More ideas from Croatia:

1. Meneghetti Estate, Bale
2. The Mimara Museum, Zagreb
3. The Golden Hall, Zagreb
4. Revelin and Lovrijenac Fortress, Dubrovnik
5. Vila Polesini, Poreč
6. Arsenal, Zadar
7. Museum of Arts and Crafts, Zagreb
8. Kozlović Winery, Buje

More ideas from Bosnia and Herzegovina:

1. Sarajevo’s National Theatre, Sarajevo
2. Garden of Hotel Europe, Sarajevo
3. Cultural center Banski Dvori, Banja Luka
4. Muslibegović House, Mostar
5. Andrićgrad, Višegrad
6. Vjetrnica Cave, Ravno
7. Dom maldih, Centar Skenderij, Sarajevo
8. Monastery Tvrdoš wine cellars, Trebinje

More ideas from Montenegro:

1. Fortress Citadela, Budva
2. Tavern Čatovići Mlini, Morinj
3. Šipčanik Wine Cellar, Podgorica
4. Plavnica Eco Resort
5. Eco Village Vranjak
6. Mamula Island and Fortress
7. Kanli Tower, Herceg Novi
8. Almara Beach Club, Tivat

More ideas from Serbia:

1. Wooden Town, Drvengrad
2. Yugoslav Film Archive, Belgrade
3. Zvonko Bogdan Winery, Subotica
4. Lorenzo & Kakalamba Restaurant, Belgrade
5. Royal Compound, Belgrade
6. Serbian National Theatre, Belgrade
7. Madlenianum Opera & Theatre, Belgrade
8. Top of the Hub, Belgrade

More ideas from Slovenia:

1. Vila Vipolže, Goriška Brda
2. Brdo Estate, Brdo pri Kranju
3. Otočec Castle, Otočec
4. Nebotičnik Skyscraper, Ljubljana
5. Zemono Mansion, Vipaca
6. Herbal Glamping Resort, Ljubno
7. Vila Bled and Belvedere, Bled
8. Ljubljana Castle, Ljubljana