Bilbao is, without a doubt, one of the best cities in Spain for a getaway. Thanks to the major architectural and infrastructure projects in recent years, the city has regenerated urbanistically and economically. Located in Vizcaya, it is surrounded by a fertile landscape with mountains, forests, beaches and rugged coastlines. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that thanks to its modern transport and the road network, from Bilbao we can quickly reach other places in the Basque Country that are worthwhile, such as Vitoria and San Sebastián.
If you dare to visit the city, we recommend that you do not miss anything that we tell you below, since we are going to talk to you about some of the corners that are worth discovering. Would you like to join us?
How could it be otherwise, let’s start by talking about the Guggenheim Museum, a contemporary art museum designed by the famous Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry. Its construction has had a great impact on the Basque economy and society, promoting tourism in the region. It surprises with its innovative curvilinear and twisted shapes covered in limestone, glass and titanium.
If you have the opportunity to visit Bilbao you will have to discover its Casco Viejo, the oldest neighborhood and the original nucleus of the city, which is also known as “The 7 streets”. It houses the Cathedral of Santiago and the churches of San Antón, San Nicolás and Santos Juanes, as well as numerous bars.
In the Old Quarter of Bilbao there is also the Plaza Nueva, also known as Plaza Barria, an architectural proposal in the neoclassical style. Here you can enjoy cafes, bars, restaurants and candy stores. Of course, it is a great place to try the famous pintxos.
Ensanche and Gran Vía
It is also worth visiting the Ensanche, the neighborhood that is located on the other side of the river from Casco Viejo. It is the business center of Bilbao and houses many shops, bars and restaurants. Special mention should be made of Gran Vía Don Diego López Haro, a wide boulevard that crosses the Ensanche.
Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña
We also want to talk about the Basilica of Our Lady of Begoña, the sanctuary of the patron saint of Vizcaya. Built between the 16th and 17th centuries, it is located on one of the hills that surround the center of Bilbao.
Another place you should visit is the Alhóndiga, currently known as Azkuna Zentroa (Azkuna Center). It is an old wine warehouse that has been converted into a leisure and culture center. The reform counted on the intervention of the designer Philippe Starck.
Of course, you should also visit the Arriaga Theater, a late 19th century neo-baroque building that is dedicated to the Bilbao composer Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga, known as the “Spanish Mozart”. It is one of the most remarkable buildings in the town.
La Ribera Market
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful markets in Spain, Bilbao’s La Ribera Market is located on the right bank of the Nervión estuary, next to the Old Town. It is the largest covered market in Europe.
It is also worth discovering some of the city’s bridges, such as the Hanging Bridge, the only monument in the Basque Country declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO . Also striking is the Zubizuri Bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, which has been involved in various controversies.
Finally, we want to recommend that you go up to the Artxanda viewpoint to enjoy one of the best views of Bilbao. You can reach it by car or via the funicular located in the Plaza del Funicular.
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