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BilbaoSpain

This former industrial city is now a major European arts center, home to cultural attractions including the famous Guggenheim Museum.

Bilbao, in northern Spain, was once an industrial center, but today is better known for its thriving arts and cultural scene. Come to visit world-class museums, dine at sophisticated restaurants or head out into the surrounding countryside.

Start your visit by climbing the Mallona stairs from Plaza Unamuno to Parque Etxebarria or take the Artxanda funicular railway to enjoy some of the best views in the city.

Many travelers come to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, one of the most renowned art institutions in Europe. The remarkable modern building, with its curved glass and titanium walls, houses art from the mid 20th century to today. Other art attractions include the Fine Arts Museum and the Basque Museum. Bilbao also has a full annual program of cultural events featuring many important exhibitions and performances. See some of these events at the Palacio Euskalduna, a striking modernist building in the city center.

The city is revered not just for its modern architecture, but also for its buildings dating back to the 14th century. Visit the Gothic-style Cathedral of St. James and the Alhondiga, a complex containing a library, several bars and restaurants, a cinema and a rooftop pool with a glass floor.

Bilbao is known for its sophisticated dining scene, with a host of Michelin-starred restaurants. Try local cuisine such as baby squid and lamb stew.

As well as art and food, Bilbao is a city keen on sport. In town there are 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) of cycling lanes, as well as many swimming pools, gyms and parks. Around Bilbao there are nature reserves and hiking trails, as well as several nearby golf courses.

Rent a car and drive out of town to enjoy the countryside or coast surrounding the city. There are traditional fishing villages along the nearby bay. Further down the coast you’ll find picturesque and quiet beaches. An inland route will take you to hiking trails through mountainous scenery. Check the weather forecast before planning your beach day, as the mild climate brings more rain than in other parts of the peninsula.

Where to stay in Bilbao

Ribera Market featuring food, interior views and a bar

Bilbao Old Town

4.5/5Wonderful!(49 area reviews)

Museums, shopping and theatres highlight some notable features of Bilbao Old Town. Make a stop by Santiago Cathedral or Plaza Nueva while you're visiting, and jump aboard the metro at Arriga Tram Stop or Casco Viejo Station to get around town.

Bilbao Old Town
San Mames Stadium featuring modern architecture and a river or creek

Bilbao City Centre

4.5/5Wonderful!(33 area reviews)

Bilbao City Centre is highly notable for its fascinating museums, and you might want to visit top sights like Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and San Mames Stadium. See more of Ibaiondo by jumping on the metro at Moyua Station or Indautxu Station.

Bilbao City Centre
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao showing outdoor art, street scenes and modern architecture

Abando

4.5/5Wonderful!(118 area reviews)

Ample dining options, fascinating museums, and beautiful river views are just a few top things to explore in Abando. A visit to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao or Plaza Moyua might round out your trip, and you can jump aboard the metro at Moyua Station or Indautxu Station to get around town.

Abando
Algorta, Getxo, Basque Country, Spain

Algorta

4.5/5Wonderful!(3 area reviews)

Algorta is a destination travellers like for its beaches, and you might hop aboard the metro at Algorta Station or Bidezabal Station to explore sights like Estuary of Bilbao.

Algorta
Plaza Nueva showing outdoor eating as well as a small group of people

Casco Viejo

Museums, theatres and historical sites highlight some notable features of Casco Viejo. Make a stop by Plaza Nueva or Arriaga Theater while you're visiting, and jump aboard the metro at Casco Viejo Station or Arriga Tram Stop to get around town.

Casco Viejo
Deusto, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

Deusto

3.5/5Good!(3 area reviews)

The river views and museums are a few things visitors like about Deusto. Check out Estuary of Bilbao while you're visiting, and jump aboard the metro at Sarriko Station or Deusto Station to get around town.

Deusto

Top hotels in Bilbao

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hotel Melia Bilbao
Hotel Melia Bilbao
5 out of 5
Lehendakari Leizaola, 29, Bilbao, Vizcaya
The price is £77 per night

Located in Abando, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Dona Casilda Iturrizar Park, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and San Mames Stadium. Euskalduna Conference ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (984 reviews)

"Liked the pool, was lovely to swim and look at the view. Also, the view from my room was particularly lovely of the a little park and people walking their dogs."…"

Reviewed on 7 Mar 2020

Hotel Melia Bilbao
Hotel Tayko Bilbao
Hotel Tayko Bilbao
4 out of 5
Erribera Kalea 13, Bilbao
The price is £94 per night

Located in Bilbao Old Town, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Santiago Cathedral and Arriaga Theater. Ribera Market and Plaza Moyua are also within 1 mi ...

4.7/5Exceptional! (304 reviews)

"Everything about this hotel is great, excellent location by the River in the old town area with all the attractions on your doorstep. We had room 601 with a river view, large, bright and very quiet. The breakfast is epic and the staff very friendly and helpful.I would thoroughly recommend this ..."…"

Reviewed on 20 Mar 2020

Hotel Tayko Bilbao
Barceló Bilbao Nervión
Barceló Bilbao Nervión
4 out of 5
Paseo Campo Volantin 11, Bilbao, Vizcaya
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is £74 per night

Located in Castaños, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Bilbao City Hall and Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. San Mames Stadium is 1.4 mi (2.3 km) away. Pio Baroja ...

4.3/5Excellent! (988 reviews)

"Stylish room with a very comfortable bed. Really happy we were able to open the windows for fresh air, a rarity in a US hotel!"…"

Reviewed on 15 Feb 2020

Barceló Bilbao Nervión

Popular places to visit in Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Image for Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

4.5/5(101 reviews)

Investigate a vast collection of modern and contemporary art both inside and outside one of the most recognizable buildings in Bilbao.

San Mames Stadium
Image for San Mames Stadium

San Mames Stadium

4/5(22 reviews)

Join local soccer fans and shout your support for a well-known European team that calls this spectacular stadium its home.

Sopelana Beach
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Sopelana Beach

4.5/5(8 reviews)

Nothing says holiday like spending a lazy day at Sopelana Beach, a popular beach in Bilbao.

Vizcaya Bridge
Image for Vizcaya Bridge

Vizcaya Bridge

4/5(53 reviews)

You can find out about the history of Bilbao with a trip to Vizcaya Bridge. Visit the shops and charming cafes in this walkable area.

Plaza Moyua
Image for Plaza Moyua

Plaza Moyua

4/5(67 reviews)

Take time out in this attractive city plaza and contemplate the beauty and majesty of the architecture of the surrounding historical buildings.

Santiago Cathedral
Image for Santiago Cathedral

Santiago Cathedral

4/5(52 reviews)

Wander through ancient chapels, admire centuries-old religious art and visit a Gothic cloister at this important Roman Catholic building.

Top things to do in Bilbao

San Sebastian & Biarritz full day tour
Image for San Sebastian & Biarritz full day tour

San Sebastian & Biarritz full day tour

£64
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Vitoria & Rioja Wine Area Full-Day Tour
Image for Vitoria & Rioja Wine Area Full-Day Tour

Vitoria & Rioja Wine Area Full-Day Tour

£68
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
3-Day Bilbao Experience with Bike Tour & Guggenheim Museum
Image for 3-Day Bilbao Experience with Bike Tour & Guggenheim Museum

3-Day Bilbao Experience with Bike Tour & Guggenheim Museum

£220
Per adult
San Sebastian and Basque Coast tour in small groups
Image for San Sebastian and Basque Coast tour in small groups

San Sebastian and Basque Coast tour in small groups

£158
Per adult
7 Day Basque Country Tour
Image for 7 Day Basque Country Tour

7 Day Basque Country Tour

£975
Per adult
Bilbao Night Lights Tour
Image for Bilbao Night Lights Tour

Bilbao Night Lights Tour

£23
Per adult

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Bilbao

Image for Bilbao: Art, style & gastronomy in Northern Spain

Bilbao: Art, style & gastronomy in Northern Spain

Bilbao: Art, style & gastronomy in Northern Spain

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