Bilbao is located in the far north of Spain, in the core of the Basque Country. It’s safe to say it’s a wildly fascinating, diversified, and exciting city. There are many interesting museums, lush parks, and winding streets just waiting to be discovered.
Many of its iconic structures most likely predate the city’s official establishment from the 1300s, such as the spectacular Bilbao Cathedral, as well as modern treasures like the renowned Guggenheim Museum. The appeal of Bilbao is endless, with much to keep visitors engaged for a weekend or even longer!
The 7 Best Things To Do In Bilbao, Spain
Visit The Guggenheim Museum
Not only is the Guggenheim Museum among the top things to do in Bilbao, but it is also unquestionably one of the most recognizable structures in the Basque Country.
Along with housing one of Europe’s best modern art collections, the Guggenheim is also considered to be a focal point of the city itself. Thanks to the designer Frank Gehry, the museum’s curving metal facade catches everyone’s attention and drives many intrigued individuals inside. Some of the exhibited art pieces include the famous Puppy by Jeff Koons, The Matter Of Time by Richard Serra, and Maman by Louise Bourgeois. The Guggenheim Museum also features amazing art by local Basque artists.
Location: Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
Shop At Mercado De La Ribera
The largest indoor market in Europe, Mercado de la Ribera spans 10,000 square meters in Casco Viejo by the Nervión River. Although the market has existed here since the fourteenth century, the current structure was only created in 1929.
Today, there are more than 60 vendors selling their goods. Inside, you’ll discover a variety of regional goods such as shellfish, cheese, and mushrooms, lively bars, music venues, and restaurants.
Location: Erribera Kalea, s/n, 48005 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
Stop By The Vizcaya Bridge
When you’re already in Bilbao, it’d be a shame not to take a quick 15-minute taxi ride to Getxo and experience the stunning Puente de Vizcaya. Built in 1893 during the industrial revolution and designed by Alberto Palacio, the Vizcaya Bridge has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006. Being the first bridge to be constructed with a mix of steel cables and iron, it is admired by engineers and history buffs all over the world.
Even a century later, it continues to carry pedestrians, cars, motorcycles, and bikes via a hanging gondola. To learn more about the mechanisms of this unique bridge, you can take a tour on the walkway that’s 45 meters above the sea.
Location: Puente de Vizcaya Zubia, Getxo, Bizkaia, Spain
Enjoy The View Of The Bilbao Cathedral
The Cathedral de Bilbao is located in the heart of Casco Viejo and is often referred to by many different names like Santiago Cathedral or St. James Cathedral. What makes it special is the fact that it’s Bilbao’s oldest monument, dating back to the 14th and 15th centuries. It’s also considered to be the most important gothic building in the area. For a small fee, you can enter the gorgeous interiors and receive a guided audio tour.
Location: Done Jakue Plazatxoa, 1, 48005 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
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Relax At Casilda Iturrizar Park
The lovely Casilda Iturrizar Park is dotted with lush palm trees, a magnificent range of plants, and vibrant flowers. It makes a convenient escape from the bustling city of Bilbao and it’s frequently visited by the locals on Sunday mornings. This vast green landscape has been exquisitely cultivated and embellished with Neoclassical fountains and statues. Take a break from walking around and relax in this oasis while seeing the city’s buildings from afar!
Location: 48009 Bilbao, Biscay, Spain
Explore The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Also called the Museo de Bellas Artes, the Fine Arts Museum has housed one of the Basque Country’s most prominent collections of fine art since 1914. It’s nestled inside the Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park and boasts an extensive collection of Basque, Spanish, and European art.
Francisco de Goya, El Greco, and Paul Gauguin are some of the famous artists represented in this significant collection. More than 10,000 items exhibited in the museum are organized into five categories: work on paper, applied art, Basque art, modern and contemporary art, and ancient art. Every fan of art will feel at home here!
Location: Museo Plaza, 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
Take The Funicular De Artxanda
The Funi cableway, which has been operating since 1915, is an amazing way to experience Bilbao’s scenery. A short three-minute ride on the Funicular de Artxanda will take you to the top of Mount Artxanda, through the hills of the Arangoiti district. The rides depart every 15 minutes from the Plaza del Funicular.
A recreational area with gardens and multiple restaurants is located at the top, which means there are plenty of chances to relish some Pincho – a typical Basque-style small snack.
Location: Carretera Artxanda-Santo Domingo Errepidea, 27, 48015 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
How many days do you need in Bilbao, Spain?
Since Bilbao is a very small city, two nights are more than enough to see everything. Since tourism is probably the city’s main industry, numerous accommodation alternatives are available. We suggest you explore Casco Viejo (Old Town), which is the main tourist spot offering access to the market and Cathedral.
What other tourist spots are in Bilbao, Spain?
- Calatrava Bridge, San Antón Bridge
- Zubizuri Bridge (also called The White Bridge)
- Basilica de Begoña
- Plaza Nueva
- Seven Streets
- Gran Vía shopping street
What attractions are near Bilbao, Spain?
- The coastline around San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
- Vizcaya Bridge
What is the cathedral in Bilbao called?
Visitors are often surprised by the many different names the Bilbao Cathedral carries: Santiago Cathedral, Donejakue Katedrala, and James Cathedral. This actually makes sense because the Roman Catholic church was dedicated to the apostle Saint James the Great (Spanish: Santiago).
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