Visiting Bilbao - What to See and Do
(Bilbao Airport BIO, Spain)
is one of the most majestic cities in Spain
. Resting on the banks of the Nervion River, this city is sprinkled with attractions from ancient, medieval and contemporary backgrounds. Its diversity adds an unparalleled feature to the city, creating a desirable culture for tourism.
Churches, museums, theatres, plazas and parks provide most of the attractions within Bilbao, offering an envious sightseeing menu for tourists. From the stunning modernity of the Guggenheim Museum's elaborate exterior, to the 14th-century Cathedral of St. James, the city is awash with architectural marvels. Tourists should not miss the Basilica de Begona, which sits high above the city centre. Worth noting, excellent panoramic sights of the city are available from the basilica.
The museums found throughout this Basque Country city are wonderful bastions of historic detail. Whether they hold relics, sculptures, paintings or artefacts, museums of Bilbao boast incredible collections. If travelling to the city in August, tourists should experience the remarkable Semana Grande festival. Be wary though, as more than 100,000 visitors frequent the city during this festival. Room reservations are therefore recommended.
Ten things you must do in Bilbao
- The Guggenheim Museum is more than just a structure to house contemporary art. The building itself has become a popular landmark within Bilbao too. The strangely designed facade is full of twists, grooves and crevices, making it one of Spain's top modern architectural designs. Visit the temporary collections, as well as the permanent ones.
- An afternoon in the Museum of Fine Arts may not be enough to appreciate the beauty housed within. Stretching all the way back to the 12th century, the exhibits within the museum cover a vast history of art in this region of Spain. More than 6,000 items are on display, making it one of the largest museums in western Spain.
- Everything related to the history of the Basque Country can be found in the Basque Museum. Visitors don't have to be interested in Basque history or culture to enjoy this attraction. With displays dating back to prehistoric times, the museum has become a frontrunner for Bilbao's top tourist attractions.
- The quintessential European Cathedral of St. James is a majestic spot for tourist sightseeing groups. The edifice was first built in Gothic style during the 14th century. There is a neo-Gothic tower that can be climbed, and tourists are more than welcome to explore the vast interior of this intricately designed church.
- For tourists spending time in Bilbao and in need of modern entertainment, the multi-purpose Alhondiga complex is the ideal place to explore. Bars and restaurants dot the area inside the building, and the swimming pool on the roof is unlike anything seen elsewhere. The floor is glass-bottomed, so swimmers have an eerie sense of flying while doing laps.
- Originally built in 1890, the Arriaga Theatre (Teatro Arriaga) is renowned for its delicately furnished facade, which rivals the beauty of the famous Opera House in Paris. The interior of the theatre is just as spectacular as the exterior. Despite being burned down in 1914, the structure was rebuilt and still stands proudly today.
- Tourists can gather their thoughts or simply enjoy the beauty of nature at the Dona Casilda Iturrizar Park. This superb green space is found next to the Fine Arts Museum and provides walkways for relaxing with a stroll. The gardens and ponds make for tranquil landscapes throughout this bastion of serenity.
- For tourists, bullfighting may seem a little intense. However, the Bullfighting Museum is still well worth a look. Known locally as the Museo Taurino, this fascinating museum identifies the history and importance of bullfighting in Bilbao and the surrounding Euskalduna region.
- Take some time out of a busy day to explore La Ria Maritime Museum. This sizeable cultural site is home to a large number of maritime exhibitions, including both indoor and outdoor displays. Bilbao is rich in sea-faring history, and visitors can catch a great glimpse of this here.
- The Basilica de Begona is the most significant religious structure in the city of Bilbao. It rests on a hill and overlooks the city, providing beautiful views for its visitors. The original facade of the church was built during the 1500s, although war later destroyed much of the exterior. This led to the reconstruction of the edifice in the early 20th century.