Bilbao isn’t the first destination that pops into your head when you say “Let’s go to Spain”. It’s architecture and charm will win you over though. The Basque Country would never had been on my radar as a place to visit were it not for the fact that I have a friend that lives there. My life is all the richer for the opportunity to explore a region of the world that I would not have otherwise stumbled upon.
From the the architecture and the landscape of the Bilbao riverbank to the Basque countryside, you can explore some amazing adventures:
- Guggenheim Bilbao – The Guggenheim Bilbao museum boosts modern and contemporary art. Whether you like Andy Warhol or modern wood art, you will find many exhibits that fill your artistic soul.
- Casco Viejo and Gran Via – First, let’s talk about Casco Viejo. This shopping area is located in Bilbao’s old town. This section of the city is densely packed with small boutiques, restaurants and art galleries. It’s not hard to find unique gifts here. If you’re looking for higher end brands, then Gran Via is the street for you.
- San Juan de Gaztelugatxe – OK, so this isn’t technically in Bilbao, but if you’re in Bilbao it would be a travesty if you did not make your way to this adventure! This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Hiking down the trail from the restaurant and then making the climb up the 241 steps to the top was so worth every second!
- Any bar with pintxos – In Bilbao, there are pintxos bars on just about every corner and some in between. A pintxos, by definition, is something you must be able to consume standing up, in a maximum of two mouthfuls. As soon as we arrived in Bilbao, we headed with our friend, Garazi, to a pinxtos bar. The Best Gastronomy Map provides a map and list of the city’s best bars and restaurants. The main Bilbao Turismo office is right in the heart of the city at Plaza Ensanche 11.
- Plaza Neuva – This is a very tranquil spot in Bilbao to relax and hang out with friends. It’s the kind of place I could hang out for hours people watching, journaling, writing, eating, drinking and laughing. This would be an amazing location to throw a party too.
- Cruise the Nervión River – La Salve is an area of Bilbao where sailors would see the Basilica of Begoña as they returned from sea. You can take a cruise from Bilbao on the Nervión River through La Salve and out to the point where sailors would have entered the area on their return trip. This is a great way to see the port area and the changing landscape of the region.
- San Mamés Stadium – Head here to take in a local football game (soccer to us here in the USA). The local team, Athletic Bilbao, quickly grabbed the attention of Mini Me and Joe. They left Bilbao wearing their team spirit.
If you’re ever fortunate enough to find a friend in Bilbao or be invited to join a local for dinner, the best part of traveling anywhere is eating at the table of local friends.
Sole y Alfredo y Garazi,
Muchas gracias a ambos por vuestra cálida y acogedora hospitalidad durante nuestra visita. Una de los mejores recuerdos que nos llevamos de nuestro viaje fue el poder disfrutar de la experiencia de una comida casera en Bilbao. Fue genial veros a los dos de nuevo. Mucho amor!
Have you ever visited Bilbao or the Basque Country? What were your favorite adventures there?
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