How to spend a perfect day in Bilbao, the beautiful Basque city?
Bilbao is a stunning city located in the Basque Country in northern Spain. This small city is well-known for its impressive world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, modernist architecture, and proximity to natural sites as well as vibrant social life. It’s one of Spain’s most visited tourist destinations, yet its small size and fascinating history make it a perfect place for a day trip.
Visitors flock to the city year round to enjoy art, culture, and breathtaking sights. Here are some suggestions for those seeking the perfect day in Bilbao:
Start with a traditional Basque breakfast
What better way to start your perfect Basque day than with a traditional Basque breakfast? In Bilbao, enjoy the local favorite of orange juice, freshly baked local pastries, and café con leche. This classic breakfast is sure to give you the boost of energy you need to embark on a full day of activities in Bilbao.
Explore the Guggenheim Museum
The Guggenheim Museum is one of the most iconic buildings in Bilbao. Designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, this contemporary art museum is not only a beautiful sight to see, but it’s also a great way to explore the cultural side of Bilbao. The museum features a variety of exhibitions, many of which are devoted to local and international contemporary works.
Take an afternoon boat cruise
A boat cruise is the best way to get a true feel for the city. The cruise offers amazing views of Bilbao as well as Casco Viejo (Old Town) and its surrounding areas. The boat cruise usually also visits some of the nearby islands and beaches. Sit back in your seat and enjoy the views!
Taste local pintxos
After the cruise, it’s time to dig into some local cuisine! Pintxos are small Basque-style dishes typically served as snacks in bars. These delicious treats accompany drinks like a Savanna or Txakoli. Pintxos can range from croquettes filled with cod or octopus; a fried egg over ratatouille; or mushrooms with ham and garlic – there are many different flavors to try! For an even more hands-on experience, consider taking part in a guided pintxos tour in Bilbao: it will show you where locals love to eat and what they consider their must-have dishes!
Watch a sunset over the river
End your perfect day with a sunset stroll along the river. A walk through Bilbao’s oldest quarter, Casco Viejo, offers great views of the Rio Nervión and its surrounding areas. If you’d like to take your experience up a notch, you can even book an evening cruise on the river to watch the sunset from the water.
Bilbao is an amazing city that offers something for every visitor. Exploring its streets and engaging in its social life will provide memorable experiences full of beauty and history. Spending a perfect day in Bilbao should be on everybody’s bucket list! Make sure you don’t miss out on the amazing activities we’ve outlined here and book a guided pintxos tour to really immerse yourself in the local culture. Enjoy your time in Bilbao!
An Insider’s Guide to Spending a Perfect Day in Bilbao, the Beautiful Basque City
Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country in northern Spain, is a vibrant and culturally rich city, known for its art, architecture, and gastronomy. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s history, taking in its modern art scene, or simply enjoying delicious local cuisine, Bilbao has something for everyone. In this insider’s guide, we’ll share some of our favorite spots to help you spend a perfect day in Bilbao.
Must-See Local Attractions
Start your day in Bilbao by visiting the Guggenheim Museum, one of the most famous cultural landmarks in the world. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the museum’s striking titanium-clad exterior resembles a giant ship, making it an architectural masterpiece in its own right. Inside, you’ll find an impressive collection of contemporary art from around the world.
After the museum, don’t miss the Old Town, also known as Casco Viejo, where you can stroll along the historic streets and take in the culture and charm of the Basque Country. Explore the Gothic Cathedral of Santiago, the Neo-Baroque Teatro Arriaga, and the Mercado de la Ribera, one of the largest indoor markets in Europe. You can also visit the Basque Museum, which showcases the area’s rich history and culture.
Local Dining Spots
Bilbao is a foodie’s paradise, with a rich culinary history and an impressive range of traditional Basque dishes and innovative modern cuisine. For a traditional Basque pintxos experience, head to Plaza Nueva, where you’ll find dozens of bars and restaurants serving up small bites of local specialties. We recommend trying the grilled octopus, Iberian ham, and cod served in a variety of styles.
If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, check out Etxanobe, a Michelin-starred restaurant known for its avant-garde cuisine. Or head to Azurmendi, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant located just outside the city, where you can enjoy a tasting menu of contemporary Basque dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients.
Bilbao is a hub for contemporary art, and there are plenty of galleries and exhibitions to explore. You can’t miss Artium, one of the most important contemporary art centres in Spain. Here you’ll find exhibitions from Basque and international artists as well as regular events and workshops. Other must-visit art galleries in the city include the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and the Sala Rekalde, which focuses on contemporary art.
Music is also an integral part of Bilbao’s cultural scene. Visit the Bilbao Opera House, Euskalduna Palace or the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra to experience the best classical music in the city. The city’s jazz festival, Jazzaldia, is one of the most popular summer events in Bilbao, featuring an array of international jazz artists and local talent from around the Basque Country.
Local History and Off-the-Beaten-Path Suggestions
Explore the history of the Basque Country by visiting the ancient caves of Santimamiñe, located around an hour’s drive from the city. These caves, which date back to the Upper Paleolithic era, are home to some of the most impressive prehistoric paintings in the world.
For a more modern take on Basque history, head to the Azkuna Zentroa, a cultural center that once served as the Alhóndiga Bilbao wine warehouse. Now transformed into a vibrant and modern space, this center contains a library, cinema, shops, and restaurants. It’s a great place to enjoy a glass of wine, browse the latest fashion trends, or relax with a good book.
Finally, for a truly unique experience, visit the Artxanda Funicular, which takes you from downtown Bilbao to the top of Mount Artxanda in just a few minutes. Here you’ll enjoy some of the best panoramic views of the city and surrounding countryside. Be sure to stop at the lookout tower for some breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings.
Bilbao is a charming city filled with history, culture, art, and amazing food. Whether you spend a day, a week, or a month here, there is always something new to explore. Hopefully, this insider’s guide will help you plan the perfect day in Bilbao and inspire you to come back and experience more!
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