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Bilbao What to visit

Bilbao – What to Visit: 2 days itinerary (map included)

Bilbao – What to Visit: 2 days itinerary (map included)

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Located in the heart of the Basque Country, Bilbao is another excellent Spanish city for a weekend getaway. This city combines a very vanguardist style with a more “classic” and very cosy style. I invite you, then, to continue reading this post to find out what you can visit in Bilbao.

What is the best time of the year to visit Bilbao?

The climate in Bilbao is known to be cooler, even in the usual hot periods in Spain. So, in order to try to increase the chances of getting better weather, you should try to visit Bilbao between May and September.

How many days do you need to visit Bilbao?

Two days is the perfect amount of time to get to know Bilbao’s main points of interest. We can easily walk around the city as the main attractions are not too far from each other and the city is quite flat.

In my case, I was in the city for two days, and on the second day, I had my flight home. And it was the ideal duration for this trip! Of course, the itinerary of the second day was shorter due to the return flight, but even so, I was able to enjoy the city a lot.

How to get to Bilbao?

The city of Bilbao has an airport with direct connections to several airports in European cities, such as:

  • Portugal (Porto, Lisbon, Faro, Funchal)
  • Spain (Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Malaga, …)
  • Italy (Milan, Naples, Florence, Cagliari, Venice)
  • Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich)
  • United Kingdom (London, Manchester, Bristol)
  • France (Paris)

How to get from Bilbao’s airport to the city centre?

The transportation between the airport and the city centre is quite simple. There is an Aiport – Bilbao A3247 bus every 15 minutes from 6h15 to midnight every day. The trip costs only 3€ and the stop in the city centre is this one: Alameda de Recalde, 14, 48009, Bilbao.

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Accommodation in Bilbao

When I visited Bilbao, I stayed at Hotel Lopez de Haro. Although older, this is a beautiful hotel inside and that has a very attentive service. The rooms, although small, were quite comfortable and perfect for resting at the end of the day.

Anyway, I take this opportunity to share with you other accommodation options in Bilbao:

Activities & tours in Bilbao

What to visit in Bilbao – 2 Days Itinerary

Before starting the list of what to visit in Bilbao, I’ll share with you a map version of the main points of interest in the city.

Bilbao – What to Visit: Day 1

» La Salve Bridge

Built in 1970, the red arch of the La Salve bridge stands out as soon as we approach the Guggenheim Museum. However, the visit to the museum will take place the following day 😊

» Artxanda Funicular

Operating since 1915, the Artxanda funicular will take you to the best views over the city of Bilbao. In addition to the city’s emblematic buildings, this is a good place to enjoy the green mountains surrounding Bilbao. You can also take a walk in the garden at the top of the funicular.

Useful information:

  • There are trips every 15 minutes every day
  • Opening hours vary depending on the time of year
  • The journey takes about 3 minutes
  • Price: 2,5€ single trip or 4,3€ return trip
  • Where to take the funicular: N 43° 16′ 8″ W 2° 55′ 34″
  • More information here
Bilbao Funicular Artxanda

» Zubizuri Bridge

Another avant-garde element of this city! Take advantage of the visit to this bridge to also take a walk along Bilbao estuary.

» Bilbao Town Hall

Like many other Spanish cities, Bilbao is also easy to get lost in its streets and be enchanted by its imposing buildings. Bilbao City Hall is one of the buildings worth stopping by!

» Basilica of Begoña

Presenting a Gothic style, the Basilica of Begoña is dedicated to Biscay’s patron saint. The visit to its interior is free, so take a peek!

Then follows our visit to Casco Viejo, one of the most emblematic areas in Bilbao. Today it is one of the most historic areas of the city. However, this area was protected by walls until the 19th century. Here you will easily get lost in the streets, admire incredible building facades or even observe imposing monuments.

» Plaza Unamuno

From the Basilica of Begoña, you can head to one of the busiest squares in the city and a must-visit place in Bilbao – Plaza Unamuno. 

On the way, enjoy the beautiful facades of the buildings as well as the staircase that leads to Plaza Unamuno.

» Plaza Berria or Plaza Nueva

This square is surrounded by a number of buildings and is accessible through the arches of these same buildings. Here you can also find several restaurants to snack on some of the typical dishes as well as some shops.

Additionally, if you visit on a Sunday, you will also find a small market here.

» Arriaga Theatre

Continuing our visit to the various emblematic buildings of the city, the Arriaga Theatre follows. Built in 1890, the name of this building comes from the Basque composer Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga, who was considered the Spanish Mozart of his time.

» Santiago Cathedral

Santiago Cathedral is a cathedral smaller compared with others in Spain, but still beautiful.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: It costs 6€ to visit the Cathedral, and this ticket also includes an audio guide and entrance to San Antón Church. You can check out the most up-to-date information here.

» La Ribera Market

La Ribera Market overlooks Bilbao Estuary and is one of the largest markets of its kind in Europe. Inside, you will find everything from fresh produce to a few cafés and restaurants.

Take advantage of this place to rest from walking while enjoying some of the regional flavours… the market also has a balcony with excellent views over Bilbao Estuary.

Moreover, the view outside the market is also very picturesque and worthy of some photos.

» San Antón Church and Bridge

If you visit La Ribera Market, don’t miss San Antón Bridge. After all, it is the oldest bridge in town (the original version of this bridge opened in 1318). Next to it, you can also contemplate the Church of San Antón.

Bilbao Bridge San Antón

And because Bilbao perfectly combines historic and vanguardist styles, the rest of this day will be dedicated to some of the most modern parts of the city.

» Murals across Bilbao

Bilbao has some very interesting murals in the Ibaiondo district. I followed this map looking for all the urban artworks, but it wasn’t always easy to find them. Anyway, for those who appreciate street art, this is a good addition to the itinerary.

» Portugalete

To end the day, we headed to Portugalete. Firstly, I was intrigued by the name of this place… would it be related to Portugal? Secondly, the suspension bridge over the river in Portugalete was leaving me curious.

As for the name of this place, nobody knows for sure its origin, but one thing seems certain… everything indicates that it is not related to Portugal.

I then went to visit the famous bridge of Portugalete – the Vizcaya Bridge. The bridge was inaugurated in 1893 and serves as a connection between the two banks of the Bilbao estuary. 

Why is it so well known? The bridge is totally suspended over the Bilbao estuary. In addition to transporting people, half a dozen cars fit on the platform. The journey is very short (less than 5 minutes) and the value is quite symbolic (0,45€ per person on foot), but it is a pleasant experience. It is also possible to visit the top of the bridge, but in this case, the ticket costs at least 9€ – more info here.

Bilbao – What to Visit: Day 2

» Guggenheim Museum

The Guggenheim Museum is probably Bilbao’s trademark. Opened in 1997 near La Salve bridge, this museum is certainly worth a visit. It was built by the architect Frank Gehry and inside you can visit mostly contemporary works of art. 

The exhibited pieces may not please everyone (I liked them, though!) but one thing is hard to disagree with – the outside of the building is charming!

Bilbao Museum Guggenheim

In addition, it is also on the outside of the museum that you will be able to see some of Jeff Koons’ fantastic works, such as the tulips or the puppy. Besides Koons’ works, you can also find sculptures by other artists.

📝 USEFUL INFORMATION: The adult ticket is 15€ purchased directly from the Museum or 13€ if purchased online. The museum is open from 11 am to 7 pm (except on Mondays).

» Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park

Located in Indautxu, this is one of the best-known parks in the city. So take the opportunity to take a pleasant walk 😊

» Gran Vía de Don Diego López de Haro + Plaza Moyúa

Don’t miss also a visit to one of the best-known streets of the city and take a little stroll in Plaza Moyúa. From here you can see the fantastic old Chavarri palace.

» Azkuna Zentroa

Azkuna Zentroa, also known as Alhóndiga de Bilbao, is an old wine and olive oil warehouse from the 20th century. After some years of being closed, it reopened in 2010, and today it is a contemporary space that serves several purposes.

Bilbao Azkuna Zentroa

Here you can find a cinema, a gym, a restaurant and even some art exhibitions. Moreover, the space is also known for its pillars – all of them different. In reality, there are 43 different pillars that aim to represent the millions of pillars and the infinite cultures, architectures, wars and religions through which man has passed.

Restaurants in Bilbao

In Bilbao, you don’t eat tapas, you eat pintxos! Ok, in fact, you eat both, but pintxos are the truly traditional dish in the Basque Country. What is the difference? Pintxos are usually served together with a piece of bread, and a toothpick is used to gather all the ingredients. I strongly recommend you to try them!

  • Gure Toki: situated in the middle of Plaza Nueva, this is an excellent restaurant to eat tapas. Very tasty food and reasonable prices!
  • El Globo: a small pintxos bar with a clearly Spanish atmosphere. Here you will find a wide variety of traditional pintxos. I especially recommend the “txangurro gratinado”!
  • Copp Bilbao: pizzeria with good value for money!

Disclaimer: this post may contain some affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy something through my links. This doesn’t represent any additional cost to you and you’ll be supporting my work here on the blog😊

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about me

A Ticket To Take Off About Me

I am Mariana from Porto, Portugal. I am truly passionate about traveling and all things travel related. And that’s exactly what led me to create this page: so I can inspire others to travel and help plan all those trips with my tips and itineraries.





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