"Bilbao, Capital of the World" Top 5 Page for this destination Bilbao by timtregenza

Bilbao Travel Guide: 804 reviews and 2,040 photos

It is hard to describe Bilbao. Spanish, but not Spain, Euskadi, but not Basque.

True to its geography, it has always looked north, to the UK and Ireland and the industrial and trading States.

Although in the heart of the Basque Country, the strength of feeling on this issue is not as strong as in Donostia.

Maybe this is because people in Bilbao see themselves as Bilbaoinos rather than Spanish or Basque.

The change in the city over the last decade is marked. The city has gone from decaying industrial landscape to hip, intellectual tourism based on the flagship Guggenheim.

Bilbao repays time spent exploring, from the Casco Viejo to the corners of the Guggenheim, there is much to see.

The food is arguably the best in Spain, and ranges from simple Pintxos (tapas) to high quality dining. For me though, the simpler the better.

And if you can get out and explore the coast, then another treasure trove awaits...

Casco Viejo

The original 7 streets of Bilbao are in the Casco Viejo. The Casco still has the feeling of a city within a city, and is the centre of radicalism in the city.

Transport

Bilbao has an integrated transport system that is the envy of other cities. Trams, Metro, Buses, and Trains all run to form a working network at a reasonable price. Don't drive in Bilbao unless you have to! To see the surrounding countryside however, you may well need a car (e.g. to get around the coast or La Rioja

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great food, drink, nightlife, football, culture
  • Cons:Weather not as good as other parts of Spain
  • In a nutshell:Bilbao is more than Spain
  • Intro Updated Mar 19, 2007
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Reviews (136)

Comments (17)

  • ViajesdelMundo's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    Gracias for all your tips; I have noted a few, as we will be staying near Andorra in a timeshare for first wk of May and definitely will get to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim----(I actually dated Frank a couple times in the mid-'60s!)

  • bnanno's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2008 at 3:07 AM

    You may want to visit the newly restored Mendibile Jaureguia, which houses the HQ of Bizkaia Txakoli (Basque wine). You may ring up to ask as they have wine tasting on certain days and a very decent restaurant (all the time).

  • Jun 25, 2008 at 2:04 AM

    "Azak" was the first Ecological Restaurant in Bilbao. Now Azak offer us the World’s best Wines and Cheeses. The subtle flavours, a pleasure for your senses. Taste it in a very kind and friendly ambience.

  • Mar 3, 2008 at 6:58 AM

    The staff are really friendly, i remember this dark- haired girl serving coffees at the bar, she was so pleasant..! :)

  • edvin_br's Profile Photo
    Nov 9, 2007 at 1:32 PM

    You have a nice homtown.. reminds me a bit of Some places in Israel... so the stadium is also nicknamed "The Cathedral"?? lol

  • Matravel's Profile Photo
    Jun 29, 2007 at 3:51 PM

    Thanks for posting lots of information on Bilbao. I'm sure all I read will be useful in my trip!

  • Nov 6, 2006 at 4:56 AM

    My experience was very different from timtregenza's posted on your page. While the food was fine and the price acceptable, the service in the restaurant section was unfriendly to the point of being unpleasant.

  • Aug 23, 2006 at 12:38 PM

    Thank you again for many helpful tips. Counting down to the week in Bilbao. Will visit the places and restaurants you mentioned in your tips.

  • Superhans's Profile Photo
    Jun 18, 2006 at 12:04 PM

    I was not planning on visiting Spain but i shall make an exception for Bilbao. Good page.

  • garridogal's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2006 at 2:08 PM

    Well.....that poor fountain guy's entitled to a break you know!

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