Architecture

Bilbao's spectacular architecture spans the ages, from Gothic masterpieces to photogenic art nouveau jewels – not to mention one very recognizable building perched along the riverside by Frank Gehry.

Museo Guggenheim Bilbao The city's great icon is dazzling from any angle, and offers a perspective of Bilbao that is both futuristic and deeply connected to its past.

Zubizuri A photogenic bridge spanning the Nervión designed by one of Spain's most famous contemporary architects.

Catedral de Santiago Bilbao's most majestic church, a Gothic masterpiece soaring above the old town.

Concordia Train Station A lovely art nouveau building, with fine workmanship in ceramic, glass and wrought iron.

Basílica de Santa Maria Take the metro to Portugalete to see this towering 16th-century basilica.

Iglesia San Nicolás de Bari An 18th-century church in the old town with a fine baroque facade.

Estadio San Mamés Even more loved locally than the Gugg, the eye-catching arena of Althetic Bilbao is hallowed ground.

Universidad de Deusto This Bilbao landmark was designed by architect Francisco de Cubas in 1886 to house the Jesuit university.

Azkuna Zentroa (Alhóndiga) Multi-tasking Philippe Starck creation with cinemas, a rooftop swimming pool, cafes and restaurants.

Las Siete Calles Stepping back a few centuries in these atmospheric lanes lined with striking buildings of the past.

Scenic Views

Framed by lush hills, with a meandering estuary curving through the heart of town, Bilbao has some lovely places to take in the scenery. Beyond the city, you'll find dramatic cliffs and enticing beaches that often alluring escapes on clear days.

Punta Galea Gaze out over the rugged coastline just northwest of the city from this jaw-dropping seaside promontory.

Playa de Ereaga Dip your toes in the sand while taking in the lapping waves – and the grand mansions along the shore.

Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturrizar Take a stroll amid the lush surrounds of Bilbao's loveliest green space.

Funicular de Artxanda Ride this old-fashioned funicular to a hilltop peak offering mesmerising views over Bilbao.

Puente Colgante Ascend to the top of this 19th-century bridge in Portugalete for a high-up stroll over the Nervión.

La Terraza del Yandiola Head to the third-floor terrace of Azkuna Zentroa for cocktails with a memorable view over Bilbao.

Bilboats Enjoy the Guggenheim and the city skyline gliding past on a photo-filled river cruise.

Mercado de la Ribera Bilboa's waterfront market offers fine views (and excellent pintxos) from its terrace tables.

Plaza Nueva One of the most picturesque spots in the old town, with great food to accompany the view.

Museums

As the gateway to the Basque region, Bilbao has a superb collection of artistic treasures that span the ages. The city's galleries also provide a fine introduction to Basque culture, from its seafaring roots to the visionary design of today.

Museo de Bellas Artes A treasure trove of Spanish and Basque art, plus first-rate temporary shows.

Museo Guggenheim Bilbao Hosts top international exhibitions, as well as thought-provoking works like Richard Serra's monumental creations.

Euskal Museoa A window into the rich traditions of the Basques, with collections that cover everything from ancient rituals to 20th-century life on the docks.

Arkeologi Museo Spin back through the ages amid Celt-Iberian carvings, Roman fragments and Middle Age statuary.

Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao Learn about Bilbao's deep maritime connections at this high-tech museum near the waterfront.

Azkuna Zentroa (Alhóndiga) An architecturally stunning cultural centre that often stages cutting-edge exhibitions.

Museo Taurino de Bilbao Checking out a few vintage costumes and old posters from the city's bullfighting ring.

Outdoor Adventures

Although better known for its cuisine and architecture, Bilbao has much more on offer than just great food and architecture. You can go sailing out in the bay, kayak along the Nervión or bike to scenic spots all along the coast.

River Cheer DIY adventures extraordinaire: take charge and pilot a small motorboat along the Nervión.

Bilbobentura Join an evening sunset paddling excursion with this well-located kayaking outfitter.

Nàutica Galea Feel the breeze on a memorable sailing trip along the Bay of Biscay.

Bicis Txofi Hire a bike in Getxo for a gorgeous ride along the coast.

Bilbao Kayak Grab a paddle and set off in a kayak or atop a SUP board for some waterside exploring in Bilbao.

Tourné Discover Bilbao's love for the bicycle on a pedal around town on the city's many bike lanes.