Bilbao is a shining gem in Spain’s cultural crown. The once industrial city has shaken off its mechanical shackles, and while still hardworking, Bilbao has flourished into an arty, cosmopolitan city. Stunning mountain landscapes and its proximity to the seaside makes Bilbao, and its surrounding Basque Country, a wonderful and varied region to explore. Wander, cycle or bus your way around on tour and you’ll inevitably uncover much beauty and culture.
Don’t miss these Bilbao attractions
- Guggenheim Museum
- Old Town
- BBK Live music festival
- Tour of the Rioja Wine Region
- Transporter Bridge of Bizkaia
Art and culture lovers
You can’t visit Bilbao without taking in the world-class Guggenheim Museum. The complex limestone and titanium building itself is worth seeing alone, then there’s the quality modern art inside to enjoy. Don't miss the gigantic colourful Jeff Koons ‘Puppy’ perched outside the museum too. You don’t have to walk far around the city to appreciate the gothic architecture either, especially in the medieval Old Town of the city.
Festival lovers should consider a tour to Bilbao in the summer. Every July the city hosts the three-day BBK Live music festival with a stellar line-up of international rock and indie acts. Held at Mount Cobetas, the festival grounds offer 360-degree views of the city. Party the Spanish way with over 100,000 festival revellers from around the world.
Bask in Basque
Escape to Basque Country and get a feel for northern Spain’s rural countryside and coastal villages. Visit the medieval town of Hondarribia, one of the few fortified towns in Basque Country or even cross over the border in the same day and glitz it up in Biarritz, the poshest beach in the south of France.
A full host of day trips abound in this region. One day you may find yourself hopping from bar to bar on a pinxtos tour in San Sebastian and the next, discovering rural villages and palaces on a tour through Elorrio, Oionati and Arantzazu.