Up north in the Basque Country lies the biggest city in the region, Bilbao. With over a million inhabitants this city has become a cultural hub filled with amazing art, architecture, food, and music. Here are five fun things you can do while visiting this awesome city.
Check out the enormous contemporary art pieces outside of the Guggenheim
Before you even set foot in the Guggenheim, you’ll be met with large installations right outside of the building. Frank Gehry’s design of the museum is an absolute stand out and can be spotted a mile away with it’s curvy titanium mold gleaming and reflecting off the water surrounding it. Some of the most well known contemporary artist, such as Jeff Koons, were selected as part of the revitalization movement for bringing art to Bilbao. He designed the famous Puppy made out of 20,000 different plants and the colorful tulips which are part of his Celebration collection.
Roam around the Guggenheim Museum
For a museum that is only a little over 20 years old, it’s quite impressive. To me the exterior is a lot more exciting than the interior but nonetheless the exhibits, activities, and restaurant, are worth the 16 euro entrance for adults or 9 euro entrance for students (thankfully this is what I paid). If it happens to be raining in the city, which for me it did for a bit, this is the perfect place to roam in.
Eat your heart out at Mercado De La Riberia
Along the bank of the Nervion River next to the Old Town lies the biggest market in Europe. Inside this 110,000 square foot building is an endless supply of pintxos. As is expected in the Basque Country, culinary excellence exists within the numerous stalls selling traditional and experimental pintxos made up of the freshest produce and ingredients. The food and drinks are reasonably priced and you can’t beat the view of the old town and river from the outdoor seating area. It would be a shame to miss out on this culinary experience.
Explore Casco Viejo
Across the street from the market is the city’s old town. Made up of beautiful colored buildings and narrow streets this quarter brings you back in time. The city’s red, white, and green flag is happily hung everywhere and adds a bit of character while strolling past the unique shops and bars. While roaming this quarter you are bound to run into the beautiful Cathedral of Santiago and even the other churches in the area.
Walk on the Zubizuri, Salve, and Vizcaya Bridges
It’s hard to miss any of the bridges while visiting Bilbao. Walking distance from one another, these bridges will give you a good cardio workout and even better, an awesome view of the city. The Zubizuri’s design is futuristic with it’s steel and glass design while the Salve’s red arc and and green concrete give you a 70’s vibe. The oldest of the bridges, Vizcaya, was built in 1893 and is the worlds oldest transporter bridge.
These are just a few suggestions to keep you entertained during your visit to Bilbao. Comment below if you have any other recommendations. Enjoy!
Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
Published by lyna
Quiet but outgoing, adventurer and daydreamer, California native, former NYC resident, ex Spanish expat, frequent Berlin visitor, spending my time getting lost in new cities. View all posts by lyna