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Top 10 things to do in Bilbao

Bilbao is a city of contrasts: home to one of Spain´s top universities (Deusto), and an industrial hub, Small but proud. Bilbao is a city where food is serious business and where art has become part of the city: it is nearly everywhere, the city needs it, it is in the air now. Bilbao, Bilbo or the Botxo, has a rich history. The city is proud of its past, but it is even prouder of its vibrant rich present. Let us share with you the best things to do in Bilbao during one day, two or even more!

Bilbao is the the largest city in the Basque Country, located in northern Spain. Bilbao is a tough, gritty, sensitive, creative, and beautiful city. It is filled with amazing things to discover: from the museums and art scene to the amazing food, to the bubbling nightlife and bar scene. Bilbao is a magical place.  Our team of local experts has put together a collection of the top things to do in Bilbao for every type of traveler, whether you just want to sit back and relax or if you are looking to let loose and have an adventure, you will find what you are looking for.  

You can also have a look at our Bilbao visitors guide  or at the Bilbao tourist map. Enjoy planning your trip to Bilbao! 

Table of Contents

The top 10 things to do in Bilbao

Pay a visit to the amazing Guggenheim museum

Let’s start with the top attraction of Bilbao. Despite this art museum has a few detractors, we believe the building is simply impressive. Its contemporary art collection is eclectic and despite it may not please everyone, the Guggenheim Museum is, without doubt, not to be missed! The museum is located on the left bank of the estuary and its shape attracts all gazes. You can find ideas and things to do near the museum following this link. 

Guggenheim musem

The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao  The Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao is the city’s most emblematic monument. A visit to Bilbao wouldn’t be complete without at least strolling by and admiring it from the outside. This spectacular shimmering building on the bank of the Nervión river is itself a piece of art. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, the museum is considered one of the premier examples of contemporary architecture, and has been hailed as a “signal moment in the

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Learn about the history of soccer in Spain at San Mames

A piece of land in Lamaico, an area near Getxo and the docks, hosted in 1893 the first soccer match in Vizcaya. The match had English workers play against a group of soccer pioneers. In 1898 seven pioneers from the Zamacois sports center founded the Athletic Club. Its name speaks about the British influence of the team and of its history. The Athletic is something very important in the daily life of Bilbao. Locals talk about it, argue about it and share their passion for the club.

san mames stadium

San Mames – Athletic Bilbao stadium   San Mamés stadium is located in Bilbao, the capital city of the Basque Country. The stadium opened its doors to the public on September 16, 2013. The stadium serves primarily as Athletic Club de Bilbao soccer team’s home pitch but is also home to the Bilbao center for sports innovation and a sports medicine center, an underground running track, and a municipal sports center. The stadium also hoasts a great

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Relax in a park and enjoy heritage

Bilbao is built next to the river. One of our favorite walks in Bilbao takes you from the Guggenheim museum to the Arriaga Theatre, next to the old district. We love the architecture of this iconic theatre, and we do also love another green area in Bilbao: the Doña Casilda Park. It is located on the way from the Guggenheim to the San Mames stadium. This is one of the lungs of the city and a stroll in it is an ideal plan after a visit to the Guggenheim museum. A third idea to enjoy a green area in Bilbao is the Artaxanda viewpoint. You could walk all the way to this fantastic park and viewpoint, though we strongly recommend you to get the famous funicular of Artaxanda. It is inexpensive and the children love it! A romantic and fun plan to enjoy almost for free in Bilbao.

Parque de Doña Casilda de

Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturriza Parque de Doña Casilda is Bilbao´s largest park, it has been enlarged with the transformation of Bilbao around the Guggenheim museum. Its extension of close to 10 acres is home to up to 1,500 of different botanical species. Basketball courts, children’s playground areas, and a pond make of the Doña Casilda park one of Bilbao´s favorite places to enjoy with children. It was designed following the idea of large parks in

The Doña Casilda Park »

Pintxos and wine and more pintxos…

Bilbao is one of the best places to enjoy pintxos in Spain. The Casco Viejo area offers the most traditional bars, and at Plaza Nueva you will be able to enjoy bars and taverns that offer more modern pintxos. There are seven streets you can get lost at Casco Viejo: Somera, Artecalle, Tendería, Belosticalle, Carnicería, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena. In the Plaza Nueva we recommend you Gure Toki or the Sorginzulo. Don´t forget to try bacalao al pil pil (a traditional cod recipe made up with just cod, garlic, olive oil, and peppers. Simple and Delicious when the ingredients are Good! You can end any meal with a Carolina, a typical pastry. Our favorite place to enjoy them is Don Manuel

Enjoy a short excursion and visit the Portugalete bridge

Also known as the Vizcaya Bridge, this suspended bridge is located at the end of the estuary between the towns of Getxo and Portugalete, 15 minutes drive to the north of Bilbao, and very close to the ferry port. The bridge was built to connect the two banks of the estuary without the need to interrupt the traffic of ships.

Bridge of Vizcaya

Bridge of Vizcaya The Bridge of Vizcaya also known as Portugalete Bridge is the amazing feat of engineering that spans the width of the Ibaizabal estuary, just west of Bilbao. Designed by the Basque architect Alberto de Palacio and completed in 1893, stands 45-m-high and 160m wide. It features a mix of 19th-century iron working traditions with the then-new lightweight techniques of twisted steel ropes. It was the first such bridge to carry both people and traffic

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Connect with local history and with Games of Thrones

In case you stay in Bilbao for more than two days and if you have already visited the top attractions of Bilbao, we recommend you take a day trip to enjoy San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. The small abbey of Gaztelugatxe is located at an amazing place. The area has been a place for local pilgrims for a long time. Tourists from all over the world have now joined the local pilgrims after San Juan was shown in Games of Thrones. This is one of the many amazing places where films have been shot in Spain. It is worth a day trip from Bilbao and we would also recommend you to combine it with a beach day in Bakio (a few miles from San Juan de Gaztelugatxe) or with a gastronomic and cultural visit to the beautiful fishing town of Bermeo. A truly Basque experience!

Pathway to san juan de gaztelugatxe or dragonstone from game of thrones

Table of Contents What is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe? San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a tiny island off the northern coast of Spain, in the Basque Country. The island is connected to the mainland by a thin, winding, manmade pathway. The chapel at the top of the small island has been a place for pilgrims for a long time.  San Juan de Gaztelugatxe has traditionally also been a very easy day trip to enjoy from Bilbao, a

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