If we speak about architecture and culture, Bilbao is one of the most reputated cities of the whole country. In fact, Bilbao is considedered to be the third cultural city of Spain. There are lots of buildings, neighborhoods and monuments that make this city special and a referent of what a modern city should be. But Bilbao is not only rich in its urban area, the countryside is also amazing. In this post we are going to show you the most stunning places of Bilbao and its countryside. The places you shouldn’t miss during your stay in Bilbao!
This tower, built between 2007 and 2012, is one of the newest icons of the city. With 165 metres, the Iberdrola Tower has completly changed the skyline of Bilbao and is one of the favourite buildings of the photographers not only because of its locations near the river and Guggenheim Museum, but also because of its triangular glass facade. The tower is the headquarter of one of the most important Spanish companies: Iberdrola, which is at the same time one of the most important electricity providers of western Europe.
Euskalduna Conference Centre
This Conference Centre is probably one of the most symbolic buildings of the transformation that Bilbao has suffered during the last decades. Until the 80’s, this place was a huge shipyard called Euskalduna, but with the industrial crisis, all this area suffered a huge reconvertion. Since1999, an small part of the antiqueshipyard has been converted into a Conference Centre that hosts thousands of conferences, concerts and shows during the year.
Guggenheim Museum is without any doubt the most known building of the city. The museum, designed by the prestigious architect Frank Gehry, was inaugurated in 1997 and since then has developed the tourism of Bilbao and the rest of the Basque Country. The structure of the museum is covered by titanium plates that reflect the and show a different color depending on the weather. In the front of the museum we can find Puppy, a huge dog made of flowers that watches over the museum. One Friday per moth, the museum opens its doors to celebrate a party called Art After Dark. Normally, there are well reputated electronic Djs at the main hall and it is possible to visit the exhibitions.
This bridge, which name means literally “white bridge” in Basque, is one of the most known bridges of the city with La Salve Bridge. Zubizuri was designed by the well known Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and supossed part of the change of this area of the city, because it was inaugurated after Guggenheim Museum.
San Mamés Stadium
Most of the inhabitants of Bilbao say that there are two cathedrals in Bilbao: Cathedral of Santiago and San Mamés Stadium. In Spain, this stadium is also known as “The Cathedral of Football”; due to the philosophy of the club and the way they live this sport. The current stadium was inaugurated in 2013, near the place where the Old San Mamés was located. This new stadium is considered to be one of the most modern stadiums of Europe and is going to host some matches during the Euro2020.
Built during 1890, this building has seen the transformation of the city along 3 different centuries. The Arriaga theatre has survivied different tragedies, such as two fires during the 19th century or the flood of 1983. Besides this, it’s still one of the most reputated Theatres of the north of Spain, hosting international shows during the year. Apart from that, it’s also the place where Aste Nagusia (the local festivity of Bilbao) begins.
Basílica of Begoña
Amatxu de Begoña is, without any doubt, the most loved religious figure of Bilbao. Every 15th of August, thousands of Basques make a pilgrimage from their towns to the Basílica de Begoña in order to show Virgin Begoña devotion. It’s also a tradition for Athletic players to visit the Virgin Begoña once per year in order to get her bendition befores the beggining of the seasson. If the team wins a trophy or a competition, they also need to go to the Basílica in a way to say thank you.
Fine Arts Museum
With more than 100 years of History, The Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao is one of the most important museums of Spain. During the last year, the museum beat its own record with more than 5.600 visits in one day. The museum changes its exhibitions frequently, so you’ll probably visit it more than once during your stay in Bilbao. You can visit this museum for free on Wednesday mornings and Sunday afternoons.
Previously known as La Alhóndiga is a cultural centre where you canfind a library, cinemas, a gym and a multimedia room. In its origin,this building was a wine store, but it was reconverted into a cultural centre in 2010. Since 2014, this building is called Azkuna Zentroa in memoriam of Iñaki Azkuna, former mayor of Bilbao and considered the Best Mayor of the World during 2012. Iñaki Azkuna was the Mayor of the city during 15 years and is considered to be the main responsible of the reconvertion of Bilbao.
La Ribera Market
El Mercado de La Ribera, with more than 10.000m2 is the biggest covered market of Europe. In comparison, the Market of La Boquería is 4 times smaller than La Ribera. In this market you can find lots of local products, such as meat, fish and fruit. This market has a good reputation due to the quality of its products and the good prices.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
The church of San Juan is located in the island of Gaztelugatxe (Bermeo). It’s not easy to reach the church, you’ll need to hike more than 240 steps befores arriving to the top of th island. But don’t worry, once you reach the top, you will enjoy the amazing views of this part of the coast. Apart from that, there is reward for the ones that reach the church: they say that if you ring the bell three times, you can make a wish. This enviroment, due to its particularity and beauty is a protected Biotope.
Located in Gatika, Butroi Castle is one of the most famous buildings of Biscay. The origin of this castle dates from the Middle Age, but the building we can admire now was built during the 19th century from a medieval tower. The Butroi Castle was built by Marqués de Cubas. Besides the beauty of the castle, it doesn’t represent the typical Basque castles, the style is mostly germanic. Apart from that, the castle wasn’t meant as a residence, it’s a very cold building and the communication between rooms is also bad.
Ready for a hiking day? To reach the Oma Forest you’ll need an extra pill of energy! This forest is located in the municipality of Oma, very close to Gernika. The author of this artwork was Agustín Ibarrola, one of the most known Basque artists. He decided to paint this forest in order to show the relationship between the human being and the nature. If you walk around the forest you’ll see that different trees form an unique artwork. The perspective is very important to understand what Ibarrola tried to represent in this amazing landscape.
Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve
Close to the Oma Forest, we can find the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. The estuary is one of the main atractions of this location. Before arriving to the sea, the Oca river forms an unique marsh. This place is also known for having a bird reserve with more than 200 species.