Top attractions in Bilbao
Bilbao has all the best parts of urban culture and nightlife, while maintaining a small mountain town feel. What to do in Bilbao isn’t the question—what can’t you do here?
Modern and contemporary art lovers will be thrilled with all the specialized works inside this architectural wonder along the Nervion River.
The Fine Arts Museum has stood since 1908. Its gigantic collection of more than 6,000 objects from the 12th century to the present day should not be overshadowed by the Guggenheim.
This giant Neoclassical square is surrounded by gift shops, restaurants, Sunday flea markets and folk festivals—the perfect place to take in the local culture.
Walking across this curved steel suspension bridge is a must during your visit. Zubizuri means “white bridge” in Basque, the indigenous language to the region.
Check the schedule of this monumental expo center—there’s an auditorium for opera, a theater, four conference rooms, eight meeting rooms, a press room, a gallery, and a restaurant.
This century-old park is the green lung of Bilbao. Pack a lunch or a book and relax by the duck pond in this picturesque English-style park.
This stunning neo-Baroque opera house shows modern and classical works. Seeing a performance in the golden dome of Arriaga’s hall is an absolute treat.
Northern coastal Spain can get pretty rainy. Bring an umbrella and some waterproof shoes.
The regional pub snack, the pintxo, is called such for its ‘spike’ or toothpick through them, and they’re a staple of Basque culture. Unlike tapas, they’re typically served earlier in the evening, so don’t be surprised when Bilbao restaurants stop serving around 9:00PM or 10:00PM.
For a city of its size, Bilbao, Spain, is amazingly well connected. Public transportation is clean, safe and can take you just about anywhere in the city and surrounding countryside—even the beach.
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- Best time to visit
- Late spring or early fall are the best times to go, when the temperatures are still warm but the crowds are dying down.
Things to Do in Bilbao
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What people are saying about Bilbao
We were picked up promptly by the guide and we started out of the city of Bilbao with a total of 14 passengers. Pedro was amazing -- so kind and so knowledgeable about the culture and history of the Basque region. He talked in Spanish and in English throughout the trip. Our first stop was Gaztelugatxe, the site of a 10th century chapel perched high on a rocky inlet. We hiked down to the beach level and then up 241 steps to reach the church. It's a very strenuous hike and not for beginners. We had two hours to complete the hike. Next stop was Bermeo, a cute port and village where we had 25 minutes to enjoy a pinxto at a bar or wander the village. Our last stop was Gernika where we visited the Parliament. Again Pedro was with us the entire trip providing commentary and answering questions. A nearly 6 hr trip. We got back to the city at about 3pm. Excellent value and fascinating excursion.
Well organized tour in a new bus, hotel pick-up and drop-off perfectly in time. First stop in scenic Gaztelugatxe (visit is a must if you are in Bilbao) with enough free time to walk and explore. Brief visit to the important fishing town of Bermeo, then stop in Gernika with visit of the Bizkaian Parliament. The tour brings much information about the history of the Basque country and language, and is highly recommended if you want to learn more about this unique region. Mercifully, the hype about "Game of Thrones" (Gaztelugatxe was used as background in shooting Dragonstone in the TV series) is kept rather low. Special thanks to our guide Stefan who did a really great job and was the perfect guide, explaining everything twice, in Spanish as well as in English! We enjoyed the tour very much!
This is a well organized tour. We went first to the coast, before the crowds arrived so that the walk to Gaztelugatxe was pleasant and we had enough time to enjoy it. The brief Basque language lesson was much appreciated. Stefan did a nice job of explaining things, enough but not too much. The visit to Guernica was also great, surprising to see such a beautiful seat of government. And we thank him for the recommendation for pintxos in the Plaza Nueva, they really were the best.
Various places were visirted with a nice and longer stop in fisherman village Bermeo and a good visit and history explanation in Gernika in the Basque parliament. Some stops wit a castle and a chapel at a sea cliff were mere photostops and would have bene nice for a longer visit and sightseeing, but time was restricted. The guide was nice and gave a lot of background !
This was a great tour because the destinations were remarkable and the tour guide provided so much additional insights/depth. I was disappointed that we could not walk along the stairs at Gaztelugatxe - it would have been good if the description of the tour (upon booking it) made that more clear and identified an option where that aspect was incorporated in the tour.