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Bilbao is a vibrant city nestled in the heart of Spain's beautiful Basque Country. Renowned for its incredible architecture, rich history, its own language and a thriving cultural scene, Bilbao has something to offer every visitor. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 things to see and do in Bilbao, including both popular tourist attractions and hidden gems. So, let's dive right in!
The Guggenheim Museum is not only a masterpiece of modern architecture but also a treasure trove of contemporary art. Inside the museum, you'll discover a diverse collection of artworks, including installations, sculptures, and paintings. From the mesmerising "Puppy" by Jeff Koons to the thought-provoking exhibitions, the Guggenheim will ignite your artistic senses and leave you in awe.
Casco Viejo is a charming neighbourhood with a rich history that dates back centuries. As you wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, you'll come across delightful surprises at every turn. Explore the boutique shops, traditional Basque eateries called "sidrerías," and pintxo bars that serve delectable bite-sized snacks. Don't forget to visit the magnificent Santiago Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic masterpiece.
For a breathtaking bird's-eye view of Bilbao, hop aboard the Artxanda Funicular. The journey takes you up to Mount Artxanda, where you'll be rewarded with panoramic vistas of the city's iconic landmarks, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Nervión River and the surrounding lush green hills. Pack a picnic and relax in the park while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
Indulge your senses at the lively Ribera Market, where vibrant colours, enticing aromas, and bustling activity create an unforgettable experience. This market offers an incredible selection of fresh produce, local cheeses and mouth watering pastries. Engage with the passionate vendors, sample some Basque delicacies, and soak up the lively atmosphere that embodies the culinary soul of Bilbao.
Football enthusiasts shouldn't miss the opportunity to explore the Athletic Bilbao Museum and tour the iconic San Mamés Stadium. Immerse yourself in the history of this historic club, known for its fierce loyalty and passionate fan base. The museum showcases the team's triumphs and legendary players, while the stadium tour provides an intimate glimpse into the electrifying atmosphere that surrounds Bilbao's football culture.
Formerly a wine warehouse, Azkuna Zentroa has been transformed into a modern cultural centre that seamlessly blends contemporary architecture with history. Marvel at its unique interior design and discovered art exhibitions, film screenings and live performances. Don't miss the rooftop terrace, offering panoramic views of the city, or the ground floor swimming pool, adorned with superb glass panels on the ceiling.
If you want a change of pace, then escape the urban hustle and find tranquillity in Plaza Nueva, a picturesque square nestled in the heart of Bilbao's Old Town. Surrounded by stunning buildings with traditional architecture, the square invites you to relax on a terrace, enjoy a refreshing drink and soak up the ambiance. On Sundays, the square comes alive with a vibrant flea market, where you can browse for antiques, crafts, and unique souvenirs.
Crossing the Nervión River, the Zubizuri Bridge is a true architectural gem. Designed by the renowned Santiago Calatrava, this pedestrian bridge features a striking white curved structure that contrasts beautifully with the river and its surroundings. Take a leisurely stroll across the bridge, capturing picturesque views of the river and the cityscape. Don't forget your camera!
For a magical experience, head to La Salve Bridge at sunset. As the day draws to a close, the cityscape begins to illuminate, casting a captivating glow on the Nervión River. Stand on the bridge and witness the transformation of Bilbao into a tapestry of twinkling lights. The combination of the illuminated buildings, the shimmering waters and the dusky sky creates a truly enchanting view that will leave you breathless. It's the perfect moment to capture picture-perfect photographs and create lasting memories.
The Mercado de la Ribera is a food lover's paradise that will leave your taste buds tingling with delight. This bustling market offers an array of gastronomic treasures that cater to a variety of dietary preferences including plenty of plant-based deliciousness. Explore the vibrant stalls and indulge in a diverse range of flavours, from traditional Basque delicacies to international culinary delights. As you wander through the market, take the time to engage with the passionate vendors, who are eager to share their culinary expertise and recommendations. Whether you're a seasoned foodie or simply looking to explore new flavours, the Mercado de la Ribera promises an unforgettable culinary experience that celebrates the vibrant and diverse food scene of Bilbao.
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