What to see in Spain

10 best things to see in & around Bilbao

10 of the best things to see and experience in Bilbao, Spain

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Spain
Kasper Christiansen
Text & photos: Kasper Christiansen
November 19th, 2020 (revised version)

Bilbao is the capital of the Basque Country Region and situated within the 5 biggest cities in Spain. Bilbao’s exciting facts are related to its strong and unique cultural character, very quickly distinguished by the rest of Spain. We should not miss that Bilbao’s rhythms of development throughout the last years have been extremely fast paced, forming an amazing destination for every guest.

The Basque gastronomy, the innovative architecture, its history, the nature that surrounds the city and its lifestyle are welcoming visitors of every taste. We have collected a short list of the things that you shouldn’t miss once you’re visiting this amazing city.

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Guggenheim museum
Detail from the fascinating Guggenheim-museum in Bilbao. The exterior has around 33.000 titinium plates!

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The Guggenheim Museum

The famous Guggenheim Museum was designed by the American architect Frank Gehry. It is undoubtedly Bilbao’s most famous landmark and a must see for all visits. It is considered by critics as one of the most innovative and enchanting edifice of contemporary art. Thanks to the titanium panels that cover the building, it captures and mirrors the light meaning that it changes during all day and has a different appearance at night when the city lights reflect on the facade. The museum was described as "the greatest building of our time" by the architect Phillip Johnson.

In its interior, guests can admire contemporary and abstract art as well as the interior design that opens up to the visit of the amazing monument. We offer guided tours to the modern architecture of Bilbao and guided visits to the museum (including tickets).

Bellas Artes Bilbao
The Fine Arts Museum in Bilbao

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Bibao's Fine Arts Museum

The Fine Arts Museum is a must-see in Bilbao. The second largest museum in the Basque Country (after the Guggenheim Museum), and located centrally in the city, right next to the Casilda Iturrizar parkea. The Museum's collection was established in 1908.

The musuem is nested in a neoclassical building. Today, it hosts an extended collection of Basque, Spanish and European art, dating from from the Middle Ages to contemporary art. The collection includes paintings by masters like El Greco, Cranach, Murillo, Goya, Van Dyck, Ruisdael and Bellotto.

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The Basque Museum of Bilbao


Visitors can find the Basque Museum of Bilbao right in the Old Town of the city in a building dating back to the 17th century, which used to be the a church and a school. The exhibits of the museum focus on the archaeological background of the Basque Country but also gives a broad view over Bilbao’s ethnography throughout the ages.

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Guided Visit to San Sebastian and Biarritz


Do not miss the chance to visit marvellous San Sebastian/ Donostia in Basque and discover a mini version of Paris mixed with the Basque Style. San Sebastian’s prestigious architecture really famous during the Belle Époque, but also its really long beach 'La Concha', translated as The Pearl leave every guest extremely satisfied. You can trust the city's 15 Michelin Stars spread in 7 restaurants to take care of your culinary experience in this beautiful city.

At the city of Biarritz you could have an amazing 1-day tour and experience the lifestyle within the French part of the Basque coast. As a summer resort it is considered the perfect destination for those who want to relax by the ocean, sea and surf lovers, but also culture and gastronomy fans.

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San Sebastian
San Sebastian - view of the beautiful city of San Sebastian

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The Wineries of Rioja

One of our favourite experiences from Bilbao are the excursions to beautiful Rioja. Rioja is one of the most important wine regions in Spain with more than 600 wineries. The wineries are spread out on more than 80.000 hectares of ground, but many of the best wineries are located in Haro and Laguardia, around 1 hour's drive from Bilbao.

Among our favourite wineries are Rioja Alta, Muga, Contador and Marques de Murrieta, but there are many more interesting bodegas in the region. We can organize a full-day tour for your group that includes two of the best wineries of the area with cellar visits and a nice lunch before we drive you home to your hotel.

Marquez de Riscal Winery
Marquez de Riscal Winery
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6

Guided visit to Guernica-Lumo

Take a guided visit to Guernica, the famous village from Pablo Picasso's world known paiting for the World Exhibition in 1937. The village is interesting in itself and it is connected to Basque history. You will be able to visit the 'Guernica Tree', the Monday Market or its museums. Guernica is an absolutely must-see if you want to know more about Spain's recent history.

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

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Viewpoint of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a famous rock in the Cantabrian Sea connected to the island by a meandering path. On the top, there is a small hermitage devoted to Saint John (San Juan). To reach the hermitage you have to walk up to 231 stairs that climb over the rocky side untill you arrive at the point of around 80 m above sea level. The viewpoint of San Juan de Gatelugatxe has beautiful views and gained international fame when it was used as a location in the Netflix series Game of Thrones.

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Walk from Santurzi to Portugalete

We highly recommend this beautiful walk from the picturesque Santurzi to Portugalete, a small medieval town. The tour makes it possible to enjoy beautiful views. You will walk close to the sea and enjoy fantastic views of the beautiful Spanish coastline. Admire the famous Biscay Hanging Bridge (Puente Colgante) – a World Heritage sight.

Tapas
Tapas in one of the tables of a tapas bar in Bilbao

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Bilbao's Maritime Museum

Bilbao’s Maritime Museum opened in 2003 is found next to the Euskalduna Bridge and the Euskalduna Palace. Its exhibitions aim to promote the extensive maritime heritage that is linked to Bilbao, its history and surroundings.

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The Old Town of Bilbao with Pintxos and Wine tasting


Explore and wander the medieval small streets of Bilbao's historic quarter (Casco Viejo), the old Town of Bilbao. We offer you a guided tour through the heart of the city where you will learn about the history and culture of Bilbao and combine it with delicious tapas and local wine. Ir de pintxos is a local expression for eating tapas. Walk from restaurant to restaurant and try the specilties of each place.

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We organize company tours and incentives to Barcelona, Madrid, Andalucía, The Balearic Islands and the Basque Country for corporate groups of minimum 8 people .