Bilbao is the largest city in Basque Country and is really its own unique place. While it’s a pretty alternative city, there is so much beauty from the architecture and surrounding hills, you could really get lost there happily for hours. If you’re looking for a different kind of experience outside your normal Spanish mentality, you have to check out Bilbao.
What to Do
If you’re in Bilbao on a Sunday, the best thing to do is to go to the local flea market housed in a massive warehouse called Espacio Open. It’s a little bit away from the center, but it’s great because it’s a really local place and it only happens once a week! There you can find awesome stalls with clothes, trinkets, furniture, and there are two cafes where you can get pintxos and drinks!
The Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao is the perfect place to go if you want to see a lot of famous, yet local artists displayed in a very aesthetically pleasing way. It’s great to see how much artists from the city and Basque Country are celebrated, but the best part is that it’s free between 6-8 pm every day for the public, and for people 25 and under, admission is free all day long!
Known to some as Frank Gehry’s “titanium monster”, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is definitely worth at least checking out from outside. The massive steel building is a work of art in and of itself, and from circling the building, you will see famous sculptures like “Puppy” and “Tulips”, both by Jeff Koons. The Guggenheim is definitely a little bit of an investment since it costs 17 euros for adults and 9.50 for students 26 and under, but it’s large enough that you can really spend a whole day there.
The Ria Bilbao, or Estuary of Bilbao, runs throughout the city and is so beautiful to walk alongside. Follow it and appreciate all the stunning, colorful buildings on the shores, and the interesting bridges you’ll pass by.
Bilbao is most famous for pintxos, which is another way to say tapas. These little bites are way more over the top than regular tapas though, with crazy combinations, lots of different types of cod and other seafood, and more! One of the best places to get pintxos is a place called El Huevo Frito where they are famous for topping their pintxos with quail eggs!
Another place to visit for traditional, local food is a restaurant called Cafe Iruña. Although it can be a bit pricey for dinner, if you go during the week they have a great menu del dia for only 15 euros! You can get a starter, main course, and dessert that all have a Basque country flair.
If you have a sweet tooth, there are two treats you have to try. One is called a pastel de arroz, which means rice cake, and it’s a pastry shell filled with a rice pudding like filling! The other one is called a carolina, and it’s a pastry base that is topped with meringue and coated with chocolate! The