Bilbao Travel Guide

Bilbao Travel Guide, Best of Bilbao spain


Bilbao, of the northern Biscay Region of Spain, is located on the river Nervión.  It is a cultured and modern, cosmopolitan, University City that offers the visitor much in the way of music, fiestas, sightseeing and adventure.

Bilbao is the capital of the Biscay Province, but it was not always important.  It began as a small fishing village at the mouth of the Nervión river estuary.   There were, apart from the fisherman and farmers a few nobles but nothing was particularly notable about this little village until the beginning of the 14th century when the Lord of Biscay, Diego López de Haro, known as ‘The Intruder’, founded what we now know as Bilbao through a municipal charter, giving it the rights and privileges which were to lay the foundation for its industrial development.  In 1602 it became the capital of the Biscay region and the city began a period of wealth exporting the iron ore mined in the surrounding hills, to England, the Netherlands and the Mediterranean.

Over the centuries Bilbao has had its ups and downs and suffered many incursions and disputes.  In the 17th century came the disputes over the state monopoly of salt. In the 18th century there was an uprising caused by the imposition of customs houses.  Then came the French occupation under Napoleon.  And because of its Industrial importance there was an attempt to take the city by the Carlists and finally, the Spanish Civil War which started in Bilbao.

Today Bilbao is an open and cultured city where proof of its influential and glorious past can be seen in such city attractions as the Teatro Arriaga, the Alhóndiga and the mansions and palaces of Neguri.

Not much is left to remind us of the colourless industrial city of Bilbao as the world crisis in the 80’s caused Bilbao to re-evaluate its situation.  Bilbao turned away from industry and so began it’s time as a city of culture and learning and it has become a city that offers much to the modern day tourist.

In the city today the old exists side by side with the new.  There is the famed Guggenheim museum of contemporary art with its avant-garde architecture, a modern metro system and many new bridges built over the now cleaned-up estuary.

The people of Bilbao known as the Bilbaínos are a delightfully happy people who love their football and most especially the gastronomic delights of the area.  They are lovers of festivals and there is much cultural activity throughout the year in Bilbao.  Bilbao is also a city of religious festivals and of course the Carnival of Bilbao held every year just before Lent. The Bilbaínos are renowned for their hospitality and are sure to make every visitor to the city, welcome.

Best Time to visit Bilbao

The climate:  Being a coastal city Bilbao enjoys mild temperatures throughout the year, although the spring and autumn seasons bring frequent rain which means that these seasons can be humid.  But winters are mild and the summers are never excessively...

How to get to Bilbao

Being one of the major cities in Spain, Bilbao has a sound connectivity. You can get here from all possible transports and get in faster than you think! Bilbao By Air: The international airports gets over 600 flights in a...

Top 10 Things to do in Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum (Museo Guggenheim de Bilbao) This amazing avant-garde structure in the centre of Bilbao and on the estuary came about as a result of an architectural competition held as a part of a reconstruction project and was won by...

Getting in and Around Bilbao

Getting around Bilbao enjoys an excellent public transport system that includes a modern subway, trams and buses.  Its metro trains run every two to five minutes and run all night on a Saturday.  The buses are reliable but only run...

Bilbao Festivals and Public Holidays

Carnaval: Is a riotous sequence of events before the more reflective and serious 40 days of Lent.  Beginning on the Saturday before Ashe Wednesday and lasting until Shrove Tuesday, the city is abuzz with festivals, parades, music and all the...

Bilbao in One Day Itinerary

Bilbao in One Day The best walking itinerary in Bilbao is from the historical quarter or Casco Viejo.  And the best place to start your walking tour is at the Arriaga Theatre a monument to the past wealth of Bilbao,...

Top Spanish Foods to Try in Bilbao

 Bilbao's Gastronomy The typical cuisine at Bilbao is the Basque Cuisine, but that too comes with its quirks. If you want the authentic Basque dishes then they’d be inclusive of meats and fishes grilled over coals, lamb stews and marmitako, Tolosa...