Discover the Hidden Gem of Bilbao, Spain
If you love hidden gems, you will love Bilbao. Located in northern Spain, this old seaport city offers a blend of historic and modern surprises, making it an ideal travel destination. From world famous museums to exciting festivals, you don’t want to miss Bilbao.
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Whether you are interested in art and culture or not, you don’t want to miss Bilbao’s star attraction, the Guggenheim Museum. Built in the 1990s, this modern complex is devoted to contemporary arts, but it is the museum’s marvelous architecture that draws the crowds. At first, it appears like a colossal work of abstract art, but the more you admire it, the more you can see the outline of a ship and a fish with fins and shimmering scales, hinting at the city’s maritime industry.
Located in the Old Town district, Bilbao’s historic attractions are every bit as stunning. Some of the beautiful buildings deserving a visit include the 14th century Gothic Cathedral of St. James and the Basilica of Begoña.
The Alhondiga is a historic building constructed in 1909 but now refurbished as a multipurpose complex where you can dine in restaurants, socialize in bars, watch a movie in the cinemaplex, work out in the fitness center and swim in the rooftop pool.
Arts, Culture and Nightlife
However, Bilbao is not only about architecture. You will also discover a vibrant art and culture scene in this city with a variety of museums, theaters and concert halls. Some of the most prominent museums are the Museum of Fine Arts, the Basque Museum, La Ría Maritime Museum and the Bullfighting Museum.
Teatro Arriaga and Palacio Euskalduna are prime choices for live performances of theater and opera.
Among its annual events, Semana Grande, or Big Week, is the city’s largest festival, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors. Celebrated in August for nine days, this festival involves live music, fireworks, street entertainment, strongman competitions, bullfighting, food and more.
You don’t have to wait until the festivals to enjoy lively nightlife in Bilbao. This city is buzzing in pintxo bars, pubs, clubs, dance halls and casinos.
Shops and Markets
If you want to shop, the Gran Via street is where you will find many upscale stores and fashion boutiques. If you are a bargain hunter, you don’t want to miss out on Europe’s largest covered market, the Mercado de la Rivera. Or, if your visit is during the first of the month, you may want to check out the First Saturday Flea Market.
Outdoors and Sports
For fresh air and outdoor recreation, Bilbao offers several beautiful parks with gardens, duck ponds and musical fountains while hiking, cycling and mountain climbing are nearby.
If you enjoy sports, the Bilbao Athletic Club hosts football and basketball games.
Because of Bilbao’s location on the Bay of Biscay, the city has a mild climate with warm summers and mild winters. Rain occurs throughout the year but more so in the winter.
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