Bilbao, the Basque Country's capital city, is becoming more popular for tourism. It is a fantastic weekend or prolonged holiday destination due to its gorgeous Old Town, superb food, and world-class museums. In this post, you will find the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a well-known metropolitan attraction that displays current and modern artwork worldwide. Yet Bilbao is more than just the Guggenheim Museum. The city provides several other attractions and activities. So whether you're interested in culture, cuisine, or outdoor activities, you'll discover something intriguing in this magnificent city.
This article is the ideal resource for first-timers wishing to maximize their trip to Bilbao. From must-see sights to lesser-known jewels, we've prepared a list of the city's top 10 things to do. Also, we have provided pertinent details about the venue's hours, price, and personal suggestions and advice from the author. You can organize a memorable vacation to Bilbao using the information in this article.
- Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
- Casco Viejo (Old Town)
- Ribera Market
- Funicular de Artxanda
- Calle del Arenal
- Pasaje de Uribitarte
- Estuary Walk
- Alhóndiga Bilbao
- Zubizuri Bridge
- Euskal Museoa
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a must-see attraction for first-time visitors to the city. The museum's striking, curved titanium and glass exterior is a sight designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry. The collection inside is equally impressive, featuring contemporary and modern artworks worldwide. Highlights include pieces by Jeff Koons, Richard Serra, and Louise Bourgeois, as well as special exhibitions and installations.
The city's Abandoibarra neighbourhood is home to the museum, open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm and closed on Monday. 12–15 euros per adult are charged as an entrance.
The museum also boasts a pleasant rooftop patio with city views. El Arenal Park, located close by, is a lovely place for a picnic and some riverside relaxation. Purchasing your tickets in advance, especially during the busiest travel season, is advised to prevent long lineups.
This was the first of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
2. Casco Viejo (Old Town)
The Casco Viejo, or Old Town of Bilbao, is a must-visit location for anybody hoping to experience the city's alluring atmosphere and intriguing history. The Gothic-style Cathedral of Santiago, the bustling Ribera Market, and the beautifully constructed Arriaga Theater are magnificent architectural treasures and sites to discover in this delightful neighbourhood.
Visitors may find stores, pubs, and restaurants offering traditional Basque cuisine by strolling through the Old Town's narrow lanes. Examples include conventional small meals frequently served with a drink of wine or beer and pintxos bars. The ancient town is also an excellent place to find mementoes.
The Old Town is easily accessible by foot or public transit and is conveniently near Bilbao's centre. There are no set hours because the market, bars, and restaurants operate on a timetable, which makes it a great place to stroll and discover.
Visiting Casco Viejo is an excellent choice to sample authentic regional food and discover the area's fascinating cultural history. It's a perfect chance to discover the city's fascinating history, distinctive cultural attractions, and delectable local cuisine. This was the second among the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
3. Ribera Market
One of Bilbao's most recognizable marketplaces is Ribera Market. It is situated in the centre of the city and is a gathering place for several neighbourhood sellers who provide a variety of goods, including fresh meat, fish, and fruit. The market is located in a stunning modernist structure that Francisco de Paula del Villar created in 1900. The market is renowned for its goods' excellence and its bustling atmosphere. Visitors may also enjoy a variety of regional specialities, like the Basque pintxos (tapas), which are a must-try for tourists.
For anybody curious about the local way of life and cuisine, the Ribera Market is a great place to visit. It gives tourists a rare chance to try traditional Basque cuisine and sample some of the greatest regional goods. Also, it's a terrific spot to socialize with locals and take in the market's bustle.
Monday through Friday, from early morning until late afternoon. To avoid crowds and to see the market at its busiest, go early in the morning. The market may get crowded, especially on weekends, so if feasible, go during the week. Some merchants may need to learn English, but most are delighted to explain their products and the best cooking methods. Because some sellers may not accept credit cards, bringing cash and small change is a good idea. This was the third of The top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
4. Funicular de Artxanda
For a stunning panoramic view of Bilbao, head to the Funicular de Artxanda. This historic cable car takes visitors from the city centre to the top of Artxanda Hill, where you can admire the city from a bird's-eye view.
The trip is brief but fun and an excellent way to gain your bearings. Once at the top, there are many treks to explore and a restaurant and café. Landmarks, including the Guggenheim Museum and the city's estuary, the Ra del Nervión, are visible from the peak.
The funicular station is operational daily and is close to the city centre. The city's public transportation card includes the funicular ride, or you may purchase a one-way or round-trip ticket.
To experience Bilbao from a new perspective and gain a sense of its layout, head over to the Funicular de Artxanda. It's a popular site for people to unwind and take in the views, making it a perfect place to interact with locals and learn about their way of life. This was the fourth of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
5. Calle del Arenal
For those unfamiliar with Bilbao, Calle del Arenal is the city's most well-known and beautiful boulevard. It is strategically positioned and close to all restaurants and shops. The street is surrounded by traditional Basque buildings, making it one of the city's most scenic spots. There are several shops where you may purchase unique presents from local artisans. There are also various restaurants and pubs where visitors may enjoy some of the Basque Country's traditional delights.
Anybody interested in Bilbao's traditional culture and environment should go to Calle del Arenal. On this street, visitors may buy local products, share local cuisine and drink, and view the city's ancient architecture. It's also a great place to walk around and see the city, making it an ideal choice for gaining a sense of the area.
Visit Calle del Arenal to experience Bilbao's historical culture and atmosphere. On this street, tourists may purchase local products, partake in local cuisine, and view the city's ancient architecture. It is also in an excellent position for wandering and visiting the city, making it a perfect option for gaining a sense of the neighbourhood. This was the fifth of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
6. Pasaje de Uribitarte
Pasaje de Uribitarte is a charming pedestrian passage in Bilbao's heart. It connects Calle Uribitarte and Calle RodríguezArias. The course is lined with traditional Basque houses and features a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants. It's a lovely place to stroll and explore and offers visitors a unique glimpse into Bilbao's traditional architecture and atmosphere.
Everyone who wants to experience Bilbao's traditional culture and ambience must visit Pasaje de Uribitarte. It gives tourists a unique chance to see the city's historic architecture and return in time. The taverns and restaurants in the tunnel also serve regional Basque food and beverages to visitors. Also, it's the ideal place to get souvenirs and regional crafts.
Although Pasaje de Uribitarte is a pedestrian-only area, parking your automobile is recommended. As several stores and restaurants close early in the evening, the ideal time to visit is during the day. Bring a pair of comfy walking shoes because it's a terrific spot to wander around and explore. Guests may sample some pintxos (tapas) and a drink of local wine while taking in the ambience. It is advised to carry cash as specific stores and eateries might not accept credit cards. This was the sixth of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
7. Estuary Walk
Walking along the Ra del Nervión estuary is a popular and beautiful pastime in Bilbao. During your stroll, you'll pass through the urban core, enjoying the port's bustle and marvelling at a blend of new and historic buildings.
Many people, both locals and visitors, enjoy strolling along the Estuary. Starting at the Guggenheim Museum, a stroll down the riverfront promenade will take you past many of the city's most recognizable structures, including the Euskalduna Convention Centre, the Isozaki Atea towers, and the renowned Zubizuri Bridge. In addition, several seats and lookout places are scattered throughout the route.
Anytime during the day, anybody can visit the stroll at no cost. It's a terrific opportunity to see the city's contemporary side and take in the bustling energy of the harbour.
The riverside and city's contemporary side may be seen when strolling along the estuary, which offers a lovely view and a tranquil mood. It's a fantastic way to work out and get some fresh air while seeing the city. This was the seventh of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
8. Alhóndiga Bilbao
The stunning modernist edifice Alhondiga Bilbao may be found in the centre of Bilbao. The system was designed as a wine warehouse by architect Francisco de Paula del Villar in 1909, and it was converted into a recreational and cultural centre in 2010. Today, it is one of Bilbao's most iconic structures and hosts various entertainment events for visitors. A modern art museum, a movie theatre, a rooftop terrace with city views, a restaurant, a café, and additional locations for events and exhibitions await visitors.
Visit Alhóndiga Bilbao if you want to see Bilbao's modern and creative side. The rooftop patio offers breathtaking views of the city and is worth a visit only for the aesthetic value of the structure. The museum's collection of contemporary artworks and changing displays make it a top choice for art enthusiasts. The building also has a café and a restaurant where visitors can get something or a cool drink.
Verifying the building's calendar before visiting is advisable because the exhibitions and cultural events are subject to change. The rooftop patio is open to visitors without charge. There are elevators and ramps for guests with impairments in the contemporary, accessible building. Although it may be prohibited within exhibitions or during events, photography is permitted inside the premises. This was the eighth of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
9. Zubizuri Bridge
Zubizuri Bridge, or the "white bridge," is a pedestrian bridge in Bilbao. Crossing the Nervion River, it joins the Deusto and Ibaiondo neighbourhoods. The bridge symbolises modern architecture because it was built in 1997 and designed by the renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. The arching roof is white, and the glass and steel walkway looks pristine. The bridge's lighting makes it pleasant to stroll over after dark.
If you are interested in modern architecture or design, a trip to the Zubizuri Bridge is necessary. The bridge symbolises Calatrava's work and a rare opportunity to witness cutting-edge structures firsthand. Go across the bridge and take in the beautiful panorama of the river and the city below. Especially when illuminated at night, it makes for stunning photography.
The bridge is accessible anytime because it is open around the clock. The bridge is most attractive when it is illuminated at night. The ideal time to go is during the daytime when the vistas are at their finest. Visitors can cross the bridge and snap photographs because it is exclusively for pedestrians. Also, you may enjoy the sights of the illuminated bridge and the area while taking a sunset or nighttime stroll there. This Was the ninth of the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
10. Euskal Museoa
Anyone interested in learning about Basque history and culture might visit Euskal Museoa. Centrally located in Bilbao, the museum presents the heritage and lifestyle of the Basque people via artefacts, pictures, and hands-on displays.
From the region's prehistory to cutting-edge modern art, the museum covers a vast swath of time and culture throughout its many levels. All ages will enjoy the interactive displays and temporary exhibits.
Euskal Museoa is open Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Monday. The admission fee is around 4€ per adult.
Understanding the Basque people, culture, and history is made easy by visiting Euskal Museoa. It's a fascinating location to discover and appreciate more about local customs and culture, which will improve your comprehension of Bilbao and the Basque Country. And the last one from the top 10 things to do in Bilbao for first-time visitors.
In sum, Bilbao is a stunning metropolis steeped in history and culture. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Casco Viejo (Old Town), the Ribera Market, the Funicular de Artxanda for breathtaking views, the lovely Calle del Arenal, the Pasaje de Uribitarte, the Estuary of Bilbao, the Alhóndiga Bilbao, the architecture of the Zubizuri Bridge, and art l are among the top 10 things to do in Bilbao.
The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is a Basque cultural museum that should not be missed, nor should a journey to the summit of adjacent Mount Artxanda, the city's famed monument of Donostia (Saint Sebastián), a promenade along the river Nervión, or the modern architecture. Foodies should go on a "pintxos crawl" when they visit different pubs and sample pintxos from the city's many restaurants.
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