The best things to do in Bilbao

por Postcards from IvI

Bilbao is one of the most visited cities in Spain. The most known city in the Basque Country undoubtedly offers many activities for all types of travelers: amazing gastronomy, culture, art, history, and breathtaking landscapes. This list of the best places to see in Bilbao will serve as a guide for your visit

Bilbao is one of my favorite cities in Spain. Based on my experience of having visited this city in the Basque Country several times, I’m going to tell you about the best things to see and do in Bilbao. If you’re planning to explore the Basque Country, make sure you read: What to See in the Basque Country in 4 Days.

Things to do in Bilbao

1. Old Town

The Old Town of Bilbao is the oldest and most picturesque neighborhood in the city, also known as ‘The 7 Streets’. It’s a lovely area for a stroll. A famous spot in this area is the Plaza Nueva.

A great way to start your visit in Bilbao is by taking this free tour that begins at the Arriaga Theater. The tour covers the main sites of the historic center of Bilbao. Book your free tour of Bilbao here.The best things to do in Bilbao

2. Ribera Market

Something you can’t miss if you’re visiting Bilbao and the Basque Country is the famous ‘pinchos’! Pinchos are small slices of bread topped with various types of food; they’re named after the traditional practice of securing the food to the bread with a toothpick (pincho).

The Ribera Market is a great place to try some delicious pinchos. Located on the banks of the Nervión River, this market is the largest in Europe, covering an area of 10,000 m² with shops selling fresh food and many bars offering pinchos and tapas to enjoy on-site

3.Plaza Nueva

The Plaza Nueva, located in the old town of Bilbao, is one of the most beautiful squares in the city. It was built in the mid-19th century, and here you can find some of the best pincho restaurants.

The best things to do in Bilbao

4.Nervión River

One route you can take is to walk along the edge of the Nervión River and explore some of its 13 bridges. The views along this route are very beautiful! Along the way, you’ll see monuments and important buildings of the city such as the Ribera Market, the Concordia train station, the Arriaga Theater, and more

You can also take a boat tour around Bilbao and see the city from a different perspective.The best things to do in Bilbao

5.Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Visiting the famous Guggenheim Museum is undoubtedly one of the most popular activities to do in Bilbao. The museum was inaugurated in 1997 and offers a selection of modern and contemporary art. The building itself is stunning!

Even if you don’t plan to enter the museum, I recommend you pass by the entrance as there are some outdoor exhibitions such as the famous Puppy by Jeff Koons or Maman, the nearly 9-meter-high spider.

You can buy your museum ticket here or book a guided tour to explore the artworks in depth.

The best things to do in Bilbao

6. San Antón Church

The Church of San Antón is the most popular in Bilbao. It’s a late 15th-century Gothic-style church located on the banks of the Bilbao estuary. Undoubtedly, it’s very beautiful.

Qué hacer en Bilbao

7.Arriaga Theater

The Arriaga Theater is one of the most prominent buildings in Bilbao. It’s a late 19th-century neobaroque building that regularly hosts theater and music performances.

Additionally, this theater has a very interesting history involving an unsolved murder.

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8. Artxanda Funicular

If you want to have a view of the entire city, the best option is to go up to Mount Artxanda. To ascend, you can take a funicular from the Plaza del Funicular. From there, you’ll enjoy a spectacular view of Bilbao and its most characteristic buildings.


9. Zubizuri Bridge

Like I mentioned before, the bridges of Bilbao are one of the city’s attractions, and the Zubizuri Bridge is one of the most prominent. It was designed by the Valencian architect Santiago Calatrava and inaugurated in 1997. If you’ve been to Buenos Aires, it will remind you a lot of the Puente de la Mujer, also designed by the same architect.
Qué visitar en Bilbao


10. San Mamés Stadium

If you’re a football fanatic, a visit to the San Mamés Stadium, home of Athletic Bilbao, is a must. You can go to see a match or book a tour of the stadium and its museum.


11. Excursions from Bilbao

One of the best things to do in Bilbao is to explore its surroundings. The Basque Country is full of incredible landscapes and unique places worth visiting. Here are some ideas for excursions you can take from Bilbao:

  • Butrón Castle
  • San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
  • Zumaia Flysch
  • San Sebastián
  • Hondarribia
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Where to stay in Bilbao

Other useful posts about Spain:

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Things to do in Bilbao Things to do in Bilbao

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