Bilbao is a municipality and the largest city of the Spanish Autonomous Region of the Basque Country, and also the capital of the province of Biscay. Bilbao is located in the north of Spain, on the river Nervión and on one of the Pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostella. Since 1997, Bilbao is one of the three cities in the world with its own Guggenheim museum, the Museo Guggenheim de Bilbao. The city doesn’t have a ‘typical’ Spanish Mediterranean climate but has a temperate and humid maritime climate, which means that Bilbao has soft temperatures throughout the year and that summers are not particularly warm for Spanish standards. The winters are mild and not extremely cold. Bilbao is becoming more and more popular, there are a lot of things to do in Bilbao and that’s why you won’t get bored in this city.
Things to do in Bilbao; the places you must visit
In the 1990’s Bilbao went through an economic crisis. After that the city decided it was time for some innovation and to become a more modern city. The highlights of this urban renewal were the arrival of the metro in 2012 (Euskotran), the Guggenheim museum (Museo Guggenheim Bilbao) and the Palacio Euskalduna (a concert and event hall). Currently they are still working outside the center to continue this urban renewal there as well. They set up pedestrian paths, underground parking lots, parks and new sports halls. In this way, the city wants to convert the industrial of Bilbao into that of a modern city, attractive for tourism and recreation.
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao
Speaking of Bilbao sights, thanks to this museum, tourism in Bilbao has increased significantly. For lovers of modern art and architecture, the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao is an absolute must see. This museum has been in the city since 1997. The construction took about 4 years and costed about 100 million. The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao receives more than 1 million visitors a year and is the most important landmark of Bilbao and the Basque Country. The design is by the American architect Frank Owen Gehry. The chosen style and materials ensure that the building is a work of art itself. The artworks on display vary from modern art (pop art) to works by famous artists such as Picasso. Around the museum there are also a number of artworks that you can admire. Want to know more about the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao? Read our blog Guggenheim Bilbao.
The Abando district is located in the old town of Bilbao. Are you looking for the vibrant nightlife then you should definitely go here. This is where you’ll also find the famous tapas/pinchos of Bilbao. The clubs, bars and restaurants will ensure your perfect night out. And if you’re a lover of live music, then you should go to Kafe Antozokia.
The official name of this oldest district of Bilbao is ‘Las Siete Calle’. You can walk through the narrowest old streets with beautiful old facades and you will find churches such as the Cathedral of Santiago, San Nicolás, Santos Juanes, San Anton etc. You will also find nice and cozy eateries, bars where you can eat the famous delicious tapas and the Arriaga Theater.
Mercado de la Ribera
In this more than ten thousand square meters covered indoor market you can really find everything you want. The Mercado de la Ribera has a very nice location, in the middle of the center and near the water. This market attracts thousands of visitors every day. If you go here, you won’t fail to notice the beautiful stained-glass windows.
Under the arches on the monumental square ‘Plaza Nueva’ there are several restaurants, shops, terraces and bars. The square is also used for flea markets, concerts and festivals. Especially on Sundays it’s very busy on this square. This square can be found north of the cathedral of Santiago de Bilbao between the streets Calle Correo and Calle Askao.
In addition to these things to do in Bilbao with the places that you should definitely visit, Bilbao is a city that is becoming increasingly popular, especially among students. For example, in Bilbao you have a lot of Erasmus students, for which many activities are organized. During your trip or your study time in Bilbao you can certainly enjoy a nice party here and there.
Tip: Bilbao is also a great place to have a nice picnic with all the good food. Get inspired here!