Introduction

Bilbao’s elegant new town has an impressive spread of attractions, and it’s likely you’ll spend a lot of time here. The neighbourhood is home to several world-class museums, beautiful river views and walks, some of the best restaurants and bars in Spain, and plenty of interesting, quirky diversions.

Explore

Start at the building that made the city famous: the Museo Guggenheim. Don’t forget to devote plenty of time to exploring the exterior and surrounding riverbanks. The Guggenheim will likely take up much of your morning, so afterwards head straight to lunch either at the in-house Nerua or over to Calle de Ledesma for its bountiful array of pintxos bars.

After lunch, unwind with a walk through the peaceful Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturrizar before re-engaging with more art – this time the works of Spanish masters in the Museo de Bellas Artes. If you’re not suffering museum overload, double back and sail on over to the Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao, for a glimpse of Bilbao's maritime lore.

The new town is also loaded with designer shops and boutiques. The storefronts along Calle Lopez de Haro and surrounding streets are good places to start. Evenings, meanwhile, should be spent taking in some of the outstanding pintxos bars and Basque restaurants in the area, along with a bit of alternative Basque culture at the Kafe Antzokia.

Highlights

  • Museo Guggenheim Bilbao Spending the day exploring the iconic vantage points and hidden facets of this astonishing architectural wonder.
  • Museo de Bellas Artes Wandering through galleries lined with sculptures and paintings by renowned artists from the Basque Country and beyond.
  • Estadio San Mamés Joining thousands of frenzied fans as they cheer on Athletic Bilbao, a symbol of much pride throughout the Basque Country.
  • Azkuna Zentroa (Alhóndiga) Checking out contemporary art or catching an indie film, followed by drinks or dinner inside this imaginatively designed cultural centre.
  • Funicular de Artxanda Taking a ride aboard this funicular to a the top of Artxanda for a mesmerising view over the city.

Top Tips

Take advantage of the free visiting times at the Museo de Bellas Artes. On Wednesday mornings and Sunday afternoons, you won't have to pay a single centavo to visit one of Bilbao's best art collections.