Best 20 things to do in Bilbao, Spain
1. Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park
Venture into Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park in Bilbao, a delightful oasis that will make you question the need for reality TV. Stroll among lush greenery and charming flower beds, where you can pretend to be Lord or Lady of the manor, except you don't have to worry about staff or a creepy butler. Don't miss the duck pond - the only place where you can observe feathery creatures conspiring behind the innocent facade of quacking and waddling.Learn more
2. Maritime Museum Ría de Bilbao
Welcome to the maritime wonderland of Bilbao, where landlubbers and sea enthusiasts unite at the captivating Maritime Museum Ría de Bilbao. Prepare to be shipshape as you navigate through the museum's engrossing exhibits featuring everything from ancient seafaring artifacts to mind-boggling modern navigation technologies. Don't forget to keep an eye out for the museum's famous talking parrot, who may just solve the mystery of why sailors can't help but blabber like a bunch of squawking seagulls!Learn more
3. Iberdrola Tower
Nestled amidst the bustling streets of Bilbao, the Iberdrola Tower proudly stands tall like a disciplined giraffe trying to fit in with a herd of shorter buildings. Its sleek and modern design, akin to a colossal glass chess rook, is a testament to the city's architectural prowess. Get ready for a delightful dose of "neck-ercise" as you crane your neck to observe this beacon of energy on the waterfront.Learn more
4. Casco Viejo
Nestled within Bilbao's lively embrace, Casco Viejo stands as the mischievous older sibling, tossing long-forgotten tales at unsuspecting visitors. Its narrow streets weave like a tightly knotted labyrinth, daring you to untangle its secrets. As you wander in search of a pintxos haven, don't be surprised if you stumble upon a quirky shop selling vintage trinkets or spot a flamenco-loving street performer serenading an indifferent cat. Casco Viejo is where history struts with impeccable swagger, humorously whispering, "You thought you knew me? Well, think again, dear traveler!"Learn more
5. Alhóndiga Bilbao
Nestled amidst the vibrant streets of Bilbao, you'll stumble upon the Alhóndiga Bilbao, a building that's oh-so-hard to pronounce, but easy on the eyes. Once an ancient wine warehouse, this marvelous architectural mishmash now stands as a cultural hub, luring art enthusiasts and clueless travelers alike. Inside, you'll find a treasure trove of artistic wonders, hipster cafes serving questionable avocado toast, and maybe even a few locals practicing their interpretive dance moves. Keep your wits about you, for this cultural kaleidoscope might just leave you feeling bewildered, yet inspired.Learn more
6. Plaza Nueva
Welcome to Plaza Nueva, a charming square in the heart of Bilbao where time and pigeons abound. Stroll upon its delightful cobblestones suitable for wearing both high heels and flip-flops – versatility at its finest! Watch as locals passionately debate the best pintxos in town, creating a symphony of finger foods that would surely make even Michelangelo jealous. And fear not, dear traveler, for if you forget to bring your own pigeon, fear not - the square is generously populated with a vibrant avian community ready to steal your snacks and hearts.Learn more
7. Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Welcome to the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, also known as the "Cultural Delight Extravaganza"! This artistic haven is a mind-boggling playground for cultured folks and selfie-enthusiasts alike. Take a quirky journey through mesmerizing art pieces, ranging from thought-provoking masterpieces to the ever-relatable "What the heck is this?" It's a museum that guarantees to broaden your horizons and leave you either inspired or scratching your head - an experience you won't soon forget!Learn more
8. Arriaga Theatre
Get ready to have your socks blown off at the Arriaga Theatre in Bilbao! This architectural marvel will make your jaw drop and your eyes pop out of their sockets. With its ornate facade resembling a wedding cake on steroids, the theatre proudly stands as a testament to Bilbao's flamboyant taste in cultural hotspots. Inside, prepare to be transported to a world of enchantment as you admire the stunning interiors complete with splendid chandeliers and velvet seats fit for royalty.Learn more
9. Santiago Cathedral
Welcome to the Santiago Cathedral in Bilbao, where you'll find a healthy dose of history mingling with an impressive amount of "wow"! Get ready to be blown away by its stunning Gothic architectural style, as if the builders were competing in a contest for who could build the tallest tower. Inside, you'll discover intricately carved details that clearly prove that medieval craftsmen had way too much time on their hands.Learn more
10. Puente Zubizuri
Welcome to Bilbao, where you'll find the quirky yet charming Puente Zubizuri—the "White Bridge" that perfectly fits the city's aura of modern art and architectural oddities. This pedestrian bridge, designed by a playful architect on their "rainbow and marble madness" phase, gleams like a majestic swan freshly caught in a snowstorm. Strolling across this whimsical structure feels like participating in a surreal game of hopscotch, as you navigate its bouncy deck and hope to avoid a surprise water balloon attack from mischievous passing seagulls.Learn more
11. Jardines de Albia
Welcome to Jardines de Albia, a delightful urban oasis in the heart of Bilbao! Here, you will find yourself amidst a botanic wonderland that seems to have been meticulously curated by Mother Nature's personal interior decorator. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and absorb the intoxicating amalgamation of colorful flowerbeds, gracefully pruned trees, and strategically placed benches that somehow manage to always stay in the shade, saving you from any potential sunburn mishaps. So, kick off your shoes and relax amidst the enchanting medley of scents, sights, and the occasional overconfident pigeon.Learn more
12. Museum of Reproductions of Bilbao
Nestled in the heart of Bilbao stands the Museum of Reproductions, showcasing art pieces that were clearly too expensive or not available for purchase. This one-of-a-kind museum takes replication seriously, housing perfectly crafted replicas of famous paintings, statues, and even the occasional antique maze. Prepare to be fooled by the impeccable detail and gleefully ponder if the museum gift shop sells reproduction replicas of their own reproductions.Learn more
13. Bilbao Cathedral
Welcome to Bilbao Cathedral, the grand diva of all architectural heartbreakers! This majestic masterpiece has been standing tall for a whopping 700 years, dishing out pure astonishment to all its visitors. Prepare to be awestruck by its scintillating blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, leaving you wondering if its creators were secretly time-traveling interior designers. As you step inside, be prepared to unleash your imaginary flamenco skills, as the cathedral's soaring ceilings offer ample room for a spontaneous dance-off. Don't forget to admire the resplendent stained glass windows, where saints seem to be whispering "Pssst, don't stand so close to the guy with kaleidoscope eyes!" In a true plot twist, Bilbao Cathedral decided to give its main entrance a trendy makeover, rocking a neoclassical façade that utterly bewilders passersby. So, gear up for a jaw-dropping mix of architectural genres, guaranteed to make you question whether you've entered a cathedral or accidentally stepped into a time-travel portal to a parallel universe. Bon voyage, dear traveler!Learn more
14. Euskalduna Palace
Welcome to the Euskalduna Palace, or as the locals affectionately call it, the "House of Basque Awesomeness." This architectural wonder resembles a giant aluminum spaceship that accidentally crash-landed in the middle of Bilbao. Inside, you'll find a grand auditorium capable of hosting the wildest opera performances or the most intense karaoke battles you've ever witnessed - with perfect acoustics to capture every questionable note. Prepare to be dazzled by the Euskalduna Palace's impressive glass walls, which not only showcase the stunning view of Bilbao, but also allow visitors to play an exciting game of "spot the person who can't figure out how to open the automatic doors." If that's not enough, take a stroll through the expansive halls filled with contemporary art, where you might encounter a sculpture that eerily resembles a confused tourist trying to figure out if it's modern art or just a misplaced umbrella.Learn more
15. San Mamés Stadium
Welcome to San Mamés Stadium, the roaring lion of Bilbao! This majestic sporting arena, affectionately known as the Cathedral, towers over the city with all the grace of a football fanatic on their team's winning streak. With colossal stands that seem to touch the sky and an atmosphere that could give goosebumps to a stone, be prepared to have your inner football-loving self ignite like fireworks against an unusually cloudy Spanish sky. Just don't forget to buckle up and hold onto your seats, as you're in for an exhilarating rollercoaster ride that will have your heart racing faster than Usain Bolt after a triple espresso.Learn more
16. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Welcome to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where art and quirkiness collide like a clumsy penguin on roller skates! This architectural marvel will leave you ogling at its curvaceous exterior, resembling a melting ice cream cone designed by Picasso after a shot of espresso. Step inside the museum and prepare to be awestruck by the collection of contemporary art that will make you go "huh?" and "whoa!" in equal measure, leaving you questioning the very definition of art itself.Learn more
17. Bilbao City Hall
Welcome to the quirky masterpiece known as Bilbao City Hall, located in the heart of Bilbao! Prepare to be awestruck by its charm, as this honey-colored architectural wonder stands tall, exuding the confidence of a peacock in a suit. With its intricate carvings and magnificent bell tower, it's like a cross between Hogwarts and a Spanish fiesta – simply delightful!Learn more
18. Basilica of Begoña
Welcome to the Basilica of Begoña in Bilbao, where history meets quirky charm in one architectural masterpiece! Get ready to gaze up at the magnificent structure that makes you say, "Wow, I'm glad my neck has had its fair share of exercise!" Inside, marvel at the stunning stained glass windows that even the most amateur photographer will struggle to capture in a single frame.Learn more
19. Funicular de Artxanda
Welcome to the Funicular de Artxanda in Bilbao, where a magical journey awaits atop the charming hills! Prepare to indulge in a blend of adventure and laziness as you ascend effortlessly to breathtaking views. Leave your hiking boots at home, as this ingenious contraption whisks you away to a place where tired legs are just a distant memory.
20. Museum of Sacred Art
Welcome to the Museum of Sacred Art in Bilbao, where heaven meets fine art! Prepare to have your spiritual senses tickled as you wander through this holy haven of creativity. Immerse yourself in the heavenly glow of religious artifacts, all while marveling at the divine craftsmanship that will have even the most skeptical tourist genuflecting in awe.Learn more
How to get there
The best way to get to Bilbao by plane is to fly to Bilbao Airport, which is located approximately 12 kilometers north of the city center. Many major airlines offer direct flights to Bilbao from cities across Europe and beyond.
Traveling by car is a convenient way to explore the Basque Country, including Bilbao. Visitors can rent a car from major cities such as San Sebastian or explore the area on a self-guided road trip.
While there are no direct train services to Bilbao from other parts of Europe, travelers can take a high-speed train to nearby cities such as San Sebastian or Vitoria-Gasteiz and then transfer to a local train or bus bound for Bilbao.
While there are no direct boat services to Bilbao, travelers can take a ferry from the UK or France to Santander or other port cities in northern Spain and then travel to Bilbao by train or bus.
Buses are a popular and affordable way to travel to Bilbao from other cities in Spain and beyond. Major bus companies such as ALSA and Eurolines offer services to Bilbao from cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, and Paris.