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Things To Do In Bilbao
Bilbao’s reputation as tourist hotspot continues to develop every year. The hillside city offers visitors some of the finest museums, cafes and architectural wonders in Spain. It is still not as commercial as some of the bigger cities like Madrid or Barcelona and that works in its favour. The Guggenheim Museum is undoubtedly the star attraction here and exploring this space is the best thing to do in the city. Additionally, the Basque culture offers visitors an opportunity to sample some of the finest Pintxos Bars in the country. La Ribera market is a great place to pick up delicious local produce. Lastly, the panoramic views from Mount Artxanda are also not to be missed. There are unique activities here to suit all visitors’ preferences, explained in this list of things to do in Bilbao.
Visit the Guggenheim Museum
A creation by legendary architect Frank Gehry a visit to this masterpiece is a must-do activity when in Bilbao. Inaugurated in 1997, this museum is one of the start attractions in Bilbao drawing thousands of visitors on a yearly basis. A modern, futuristic design from the outside, the space holds works from some of the world’s premier artists including Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Eduardo Chillida and Yves Klein. This is great place to visit for art and design lovers.
Explore the Pintxos Bars
The Pintxos bars are famous all over Bilbao and are an important part of the Basque culture. The dish is primarily small pieces of bread with either meat, cheese, seafood or vegetables on them, making for delectable treats. San Sebastián and Vitoria-Gasteiz are home to some of the most famous Pintxos Bars in the country and are great to visit on a night out for young couples and families alike.
Wander Around Casco Viejo
Casco Viejo is referred to as Bilbao’s Old Town and exploring this area is one of the best things to do in the city. It is full of narrow lanes, charming boutique stores, cafes and bars. Some of the highlights of this area include the Archaeological Museum, Plaza Nueva and cathedrals dedicated to Saint Nicholas and Saint Anton respectively. Exploring this part of town is a great way to spend the day.
Explore La Ribera Market
Located in the fabled Casco Viejo area, exploring this riverside market place is one of the best things to do in the city. It is a fantastic area for visitors to learn about Bilbao’s exciting food scene and to shop for some of the finest local produce. The marketplace is located in a historically significant structure designed by Pedro Ispizua way back in 1929. Additionally, there are cafes and bars also located in this area.
Visit the Museo Bellas Artes
A trip to the Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao is another one of the most popular activities here. Having opened its doors to the public since 1914, the area boasts a collection from as early as the 12th century to the modern generation of celebrated artists including Francisco de Goya, El Greco, Paul Gauguin and Francis Bacon. This place is an art historians dream and forms for an educative experience for visitors unfamiliar with their works.
Boat Ride Through Ria de Bilbao
A rather unique activity that has become increasingly popular is to explore Bilbao via boat. Sailing down the banks of the Ria del Nervion or de Bilbao is a fun-filled activity as there are several tourist hotspots located along the riverside. Also known as Bilboats, visitors can observe structures like the Ribera Marketplace, Guggenheim Museum and even the Bilbao Town Hall. This is a great activity for families with young children.
Visit Mount Artxanda
For visitors keen on enjoying panoramic views of Bilbao as well as a nice meal, a highly recommended activity is to take a cable car up to the top of Mount Artxanda in Bilbao. Constructed back in 1915, the views from the top of the mountain are extremely picturesque and there are additionally a number of lovely restaurants and bars here making it a great place to enjoy a fun afternoon with family and friends.
Observe the Cathedral de Bilbao
Located in the heart of the Old Town, this 15th century structure involves a combination of gothic influenced design, with 2 entryways designed in the Renaissance and Neoclassical styles respectively. The cathedral was built in dedication to Saint James and is a wonderful place to enjoy some peace and solitude in the city.