View of the Houses in the old town called Casco Viejo of Bilbao.


Casco Viejo


The compact Casco Viejo, Bilbao’s atmospheric old quarter, is full of charming streets, boisterous bars and plenty of quirky and independent shops. At the heart of the Casco are Bilbao’s original seven streets, Las Siete Calles, which date from the 1400s.

The 14th-century Gothic Catedral de Santiago has a splendid Renaissance portico and pretty little cloister. Further north, the 19th-century arcaded Plaza Nueva is a rewarding pintxo haunt. There’s a small Sunday-morning flea market here, which is full of secondhand book and record stalls. Street performers and waiters with trays piled high weave in between, although the market is much more subdued in winter. A sweeter-smelling flower market takes place on Sunday mornings in the nearby Plaza del Arenal.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Bilbao attractions

1. Fuente del Perro

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Designed by Juan Bautista de Oureta and Miguel de Maruri in 1800, this neoclassical fountain is located at a natural spring where market animals used to…

2. Catedral de Santiago

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Towering above all in the Casco Viejo (although strangely invisible in the narrow streets) is the Catedral de Santiago, which has a vaulted cloister and…

3. Plaza Nueva


The main square of the old town, Plaza Nueva is lined with pintxos bars tucked inside the arch-lined colonnades. The neoclassical square opened in 1851…

4. Euskal Museoa

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One of Spain's best museums devoted to Basque culture takes visitors on a journey from Palaeolithic days to the 21st century, giving an overview of life…

5. Arkeologi Museo

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This two-storey museum takes you deep into the past, beginning with 430,000-year-old fossils found in the Sierra de Atapuerca. On the 2nd floor, along the…

6. Las Siete Calles

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Forming the heart of Bilbao's Casco Viejo are seven streets known as the Siete Calles (Zazpi Kaleak in Basque). These dark, atmospheric lanes – Barrenkale…

7. Iglesia San Nicolás de Bari

0.15 MILES

This landmark church by the northern entrance to the Casco Viejo was consecrated in 1756. Dedicated to St Nicholas of Bari, the patron saint of sailors,…

8. Plaza del Arenal

0.17 MILES

The morphing ground between the Casco Viejo and the newer parts of Bilbao, the Plaza del Arenal is a large open space that frequently plays host to…