Having undergone something of a transformation in recent years, Bilbao is now one of the most important cultural centres in northern Spain and a hub of the European art world. Located in the Basque country, Bilbao is a city with a rich culture, impressive architecture and fantastic cuisine. Contemporary attractions sit side by side with traditional apartment blocks and ornate churches, giving the Bilbao a unique cityscape and distinctive character. Visit the city to indulge your love of art, sample culinary delicacies and experience a very different side of Spanish life.
Areas & Neighbourhoods in Bilbao
Casco Viejo – The Old Town of Bilbao, Casco Viejo is home to many of the city’s bars, restaurants and independent shops. Pick up a bargain at the district’s Sunday morning flea market, wander its atmospheric streets or head to Casco Viejo once the sun’s gone down to enjoy some of the best nightlife in Bilbao.
Indautxu – Another fantastic destination for an action packed night out, Indautxu is full of lively bars and clubs. The streets can get very busy with friendly revellers in the evenings, especially when Athletic Bilbao are playing a match.
Getxo – Once an independent town, Getxo has now been swallowed up into greater Bilbao. Head to this affluent area to explore its elegant waterfront, explore its pretty churches or to attend one of the many music and cultural festivals held in the district throughout the year.
Abando – An upscale neighbourhood that runs along the river towards Bilbao’s famous Guggenheim Museum, Abando is home to a number of architecturally important buildings as well as a great choice of art galleries.
Things to See in Bilbao
The city’s main sight is its spectacular Guggenheim Museum. Designed by Frank Gehry and opened in 1997, the shimmering metallic building is one of the most famous in Europe and has played an integral part in transforming the image of Bilbao. Other important sights in the city include the Plaza Nueva, a colossal neoclassical square built in 1821, the Teatro Arriaga, a Neo-Baroque theatre designed by architect Joaquin Rucoba, and the cathedral of St James, a 14th century Gothic-style cathedral named for the city’s patron saint. If you didn’t get your fill of art and architecture at the Guggenheim, the Museo de Bellas Artes is also well worth a visit during your stay in the city.
Things to Do in Bilbao
The main reason most visitors come to Bilbao is to visit the city’s iconic Guggenheim Museum. Home to a permanent collection as well as special temporary shows, the Guggenheim is known throughout the world for its elegant curves, innovative design and show stopping looks. As one of the biggest cities in the Basque country, Bilbao is a fantastic place to sample authentic Basque food and culture. Once you’ve seen the museum from every angle, head down to the old town to walk its atmospheric streets sample some regional tapas and enjoy a few drinks with the locals.