If you are planning a vacation to Northern Spain, you might be tempted to visit somewhere like San Sebastián and Guernica, however, where you really want to go in just an hour away from Guernica; Bilbao. Here is the why and how!
A city of duality
Bilbao almost has a split personality, catering to most desires and tastes with its contrasts. For example, you can explore the urban landscape but marvel at the country elements. Between the futuristic trams and old architecture, you will feel as though you are time traveling without moving. In the fish markets, you can buy local handmade wares and then pop into a hidden high-end boutique for a designer Wang piece. Afterward, you could check out the stunning silver Guggenheim Museum Bilbao that’s set on a background of beautiful green mountains. This place really is something.
Feel like a local
Bilbao is mostly untouched by tourists and even the more commercialized places of the city, such as the Guggenheim are certainly not overrun with crowds, as one might expect, even during peak times! The locals speak Basque, and you can jump on the Euskotren Tranbia to explore the whole city for just 1.5 euros, via a single line, running in two directions – nothing is unnecessarily flashy here.
Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Who would have thought that one of the richest Spanish museums (outside of Madrid of course!) could be found in Bilbao! The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is a fantastically curated collection, spanning across several art styles and periods and is a must-see for anyone interested in art.
Casco Viejo is the perfect neighborhood for a walk (and a subsequent glass of wine or two in one of the bars!). The river is a lovely feature, and there is plenty of architecture to enjoy as you walk. Visit one of the open-air food markets to stock up on delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables while you are here.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Rated the number one thing to do in Bilbao, you cannot miss the architectural masterpiece that is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao! Even from the chrome and metal building, you will be blown away, but venture inside to explore the collection of modern and contemporary pieces too.
This beautiful square is perfect for people watching as you settle down at one of the cafes outside. Plenty of choices for food and on match days the square has a fantastic atmosphere as many of the bars show soccer!
Dona Casilda Park
The most extensive park in Bilbao, Dona Casilda Park is worth a visit to enjoy the trees, wildlife, and fountains. Grab some food from one of the markets and head here with a picnic one afternoon – bliss!
Playa de Plentzia
When in Spain…! This stunning beach is just half an hour from Bilbao and worth the metro journey it takes to get there. The water is clean (and warm!) and some people enjoy surfing in the water. If you prefer to be a little more laid back, there are some fantastic bars and restaurants to enjoy the views from.
So when you are looking to book a vacation to Northern Spain, give Bilbao a chance, and we are sure you won’t regret it!