From Barcelona to the Capital of Basque Country!
After a long sightseeing tour through the city of Barcelona, the desire to further discover new possibilities of traveling in Spain may appear. In that case a number of questions come up; To which city can I organize a short term trip? How can I get an overview of the unknown city and combine sightseeing with a good dinner and airport transfer? Where do I spend one or two nights? In the same vein, for everyone who is curious about opening his or her mind for a cultural experiences outside of Barcelona, Bilbao offers the amazing opportunity for a new holiday destination to visit on your trip!
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About the city of Bilbao
Bilbao is considered as one of Europe’s centers of modern art and architecture. Such magnificent places as the Guggenheim Museum, famous bridge Zubizuri made of glass and many other historical places of interest are located in this beautiful city. This city overall is an industrial port city in northern Spain, and is further surrounded by gorgeous green mountains and a skyscraper-filled downtown. It’s commonly known as the capital of Basque Country.
Moreover, after the city’s foundation in the early 14th century by Diego López V de Haro, it was one of the commercial hubs of the Basque Country; that enjoyed significant importance in the Crown of Castile. Overall, this was a result of its thriving port activity based on the export of wool and iron commodities extracted from the Biscayan quarries to all over Europe. In the same vein, throughout the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth; the city experienced heavy industrialization, making it the center of the second-most industrialized region of Spain, behind Barcelona.
What to do during your visit
# 1 Visit the Guggenheim Museum
Being one of the most known and representative places of Bilbao since 1997, the Guggenheim Museum definitely shines a light to this industrial city. The building indeed is an interesting metal ship-like architecture; designed by Frank Gehry. In addition, the museum showcases works by artists such as Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Eduardo Chillida, Yves Klein and Anslem Kiefer. On the other hand, many of the larger artworks are also displayed outside; in what is known as the ‘Art District’.
Address: Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00
# 2 Discover the streets of the Casco Viejo
The district of Casco Viejo forms the medieval old quarter; with narrow alleys lined with modern shops, colorful architecture and traditional taverns. One of the most iconic places that you will stumble upon is La Ribera market; with food stalls in a boat-like waterfront structure and pintxo bars serving Basque tapas on sticks.
This Old Town is an interesting spot to explore; with top sights such as the Archeological Museum, the Plaza Nueva, and the churches of San Nicolás and San Antón. In addition, Santiago Cathedral is also a 14th-century landmark; and Teatro Arriaga draws crowds to, for instance, opera and dance performances.
Address: 48000 Bilbo, Bizkaia
Opening hours: 24-hours
# 3 Enjoy the views from the top of Mount Artxanda
Sometimes just strolling around the streets and alleyways of a city is not enough to truly enjoy its beauty. If you’re a fan of spectacular city landscapes, then take a ride to the top of Mount Artxanda on the old funicular cable railway. At the top of the viewpoint, you’ll find a jaw-dropping view, beautiful walkways and a number of excellent restaurants to enjoy.
Address: Enekuri Artxanda Errepidea, 70, 48015 Bilbo, Bizkaia
Opening hours: 24-hours
# 4 Pay a visit to the incredible Cathedral de Bilbao
The Cathedral of Santiago de Bilbao is in the center of the Casco Viejo district and is one of the city’s most famous sights. Built in dedication to the Apostle St James, during the 15th century, you can enjoy its gothic style architecture. The cathedral also has two porticoes – one renaissance and one neoclassical. Moreover, it was only declared cathedral in 1950 when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bilbao was officially created.
Address: Done Jakue Plazatxoa, 1, 48005 Bilbo, Bizkaia
Opening hours: Every day from 10:00 to 20:00
Ways to plan your holiday
To make your trip well organized and get acquaint with the most interesting places in the city; the agencies suggests various types of journeys to the capital of Basque Country:
- The first option is suitable for those, who want to go on a daily trip to the city. It includes the airport transfer, a ticket to Guggenheim Museum and a tour to Bilbao’s 3 best tapas Bars. You also will get a city map.
- The Travel Package for two days is organized especially for those, who feel ready to spend more time in Bilbao. It includes one night with breakfast in a 4 stars rated-Hotel in downtown. Also, private transfer to and from the airport, ticket to the Guggenheim Museum and auto-guide tour to the best tapas bars and a one day Bilbo-card.
How to get to Bilbao from Barcelona
- Train: take the RENFE train to Bilbao from the Barcelona’s city; the average train time is 6h 54m; and covers a distance of 652 km, with the price from 40 to 50€.
- Bus: if you want to get to Bilbao using the buses in Barcelona, it takes around 8h 25m with a price from 45 to 70€.
- Air: a plane ride from Barcelona to Bilbao is overall the fastest option, with a duration of 3h 21m; prices may vary.
- Car: if you want to enjoy the 610.3 km of scenic route by yourself, the drive to Bilbao takes around 5h 43m.