Bilbao is the largest and most significant city of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. It is also one of Spain's most important ports, but also a significant cultural center in the Iberian Peninsula.
Otherwise, the Basque people live in the Basque Country, respectively Basque, natives of the Iberian Peninsula. Today, tare about three million of them and mostly live in the Basque Country, while about 230,000 live in France. Their language is the only non-Indo-European language in Europe and expert debates are still underway about the origins of the Basque. This people is extremely proud of their own specific culture, tradition and language, which are very different from those in the rest of Spain.
Bilbao is located in the north of the country, about 19km from The Gulf of Basque Country, relatively close to France. It lies on say Nervion and is one of Spain's most important industrial cities. To many tourists, this may sound repulsive, but with many spectacular examples of contemporary architecture and beautiful Old Town, heritage, art and superb gastronomy, Bilbao is one of Spain's most important tourist centers.
From the top the mountains of Artksand visitors will see the unique position of the city, surrounded by mountains and a mighty river. You can climb the funicular to the lookout, then slowly descend down the mountain, with the city panorama in front of you. Make sure to pose next to the big Bilbao sign!
Building for Guggenheim Museum of Contemporary Art Bilbao designed by the famous Frank Gary, put Bilbao on the tourist map of the world. A large silver building was erected in an industrial area of the city. It opened in 1997 and from that moment visitors began to arrive in large numbers in the city. In front of the museum you can see the legendary Spider, respectively Mom, the work of artist Louise Bourgeois and Puppy Jeff Koons. Inside the museum is a permanent exhibit, largely made up of installations and electronic forms by important 20th century artists. Among them is Richard Sera's metal installation. Tare smaller paintings and sculptures, and it is worth inquiring about current exhibitions. The best photos of the museum building will be taken from a nearby bridge.
Old town, Casco Viejo, makes a maze of narrow and steep streets, arches, squares, charming shops and cafes. Among the many churches, it stands out Catedral de Santiago, part of the northern route of the famous Camino de Santiago Pilgrim Road.
The Old Town is well worth a visit the Euskal Museum, which offers interesting archaeological insights into the region and Teatro Arriaga, which is equally spectacular day and night. A tip for those not in top shape is to use the many lifts available in this hilly neighborhood to climb.
Museo De Bellas Artes De Bilbao
Museum of Fine Arts is one of the best Spanish museums outside of Madrid. It features an impressive collection of Basque, Spanish and European art, including works by El Greco, Goya, Van Dyck, Cezanne, Gogen, Frances Bacon and Richard Sera. Morning in the museum garden is a special experience.
Located on the old town shipyard, The Maritime Museum is dedicated to the maritime and history of the city as a major commercial port. The space is interesting outside and inside, with more interesting exhibitions along the river, outside the main building. Here you will learn more about Bilbao in the Middle Ages and during the Industrial Revolution, as well as the different types of ships.
One of the oldest bridges in the city is Biscay, built in 1893 by the Eiffel student project. Today, this bridge is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In the early 20th century, several drawbridges were built across the Nervion River and all represent engineering gems.
White Bridge (in Zubizuri Basque) was built in the late 20th century and features an unusual structure reminiscent of ship sails. It is also specific in that its bottom is made of glass.
Walk along the river
In Bilbao, one of the most beautiful tourist attractions is the Nervion River. You can start the walk with a code Abando Railway Station, across from Old Town. Along the coast you will pass by City Hall, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy a quirky mix of beautifully preserved historic facades and hypermodern architecture. Then follows the White Bridge already mentioned, so Guggenheim and through the park you reach the Maritime Museum. On your way back through town, pass by Bullfighting Museum, through the shopping district, across the square Plaza Moyua.
Food is an attraction in Bilbao for itself. Everyone who comes to town must try the fish and seafood specialties and pinchos. Pinchos is a Basque version of Spanish tapas. They are most often served on toothpicks with a glass of good wine. On the market Plaza Barria in the Old Town tare several restaurants with famous pinchos.
Desserts lovers should not skip in a hurry, dough fried in deep oil, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and most often served with chocolate sauce for dipping. To calm your conscience over this extremely calorie sweet, buy a portion to take at one of the many stalls by the river, and nibble on them as you stroll.
Get to know the Moorish heritage of Cordoba, and read the guides to Seville and Madrid.