Bilbao is a city that rewards those who take a closer look. This city has shed its industrial veneer to become a european center of the arts. The ideal place to explore in the KODIAQ – whether you have all the time in the world or time is tight. Let’s discover the best of Bilbao!
There’s not a lot of time for a big adventure, but there’s no skipping a last-minute visit to the airport souvenir shop (1). How about a traditional txikito glass? One of the customs in Basque country is knocking back txikitos (small glasses of wine) while bar-hopping with friends. Why not take the tradition home with you – perfect for a glass of cider, sidra, or a txakoli, a light, fruity white wine, and Basque country’s most popular tipple.
From the Bilbao Exhibition Center (2), it’s only a 15-minute drive to the heart of the city, the Indautxu quarter (3). Make sure you make a trip to Azkuna Zentroa (4) – a former wine store that the French designer Philippe Starck converted into a cultural and recreational center spanning 43,000 square meters. It boasts a library, a swimming pool, restaurants, shops, exhibits, and much more. The entrance hall with its 43 columns representing cultural, architectural, and religious diversity is impressive as well. The Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao (5) is just a ten-minute walk from the center, and houses the second-largest collection of art in Spain.
Just around the corner – around six minutes by foot – is where you’ll find the famous Guggenheim Museum (6). The museum, created by the American architect Frank Gehry, makes a stunning impression with its striking, ship-like architecture. It also makes a good starting point to continue to the city’s number one shopping strip, Gran Vía Don Diego López de Haro (7). Some of the city’s finest restaurants can be found between the Gran Vía and Palacio Euskalduna – for example, the Michelin-star Etxanobe. The restaurant is located in the Palacio Euskalduna (8). The dining room offers a scenic view over the Ria.
Start your day with a visit to the Mercado de la Ribera (9). This indoor market with its colorful glass windows is located right next to the river in the southeast of Bilbao’s old town. Built in 1929, with a floor space extending over 10,000 square meters, the Mercado de la Ribera is the largest covered market in Europe. You’ll find all kinds of fruit, vegetables, and meat to buy on the middle floor. The old city is also referred to as ‘Siete Calles’ (10) after the seven streets that form the heart of the city. This is where you’ll find a large number of taverns serving pintxos – tasty, tapas-like nibbles on wooden skewers.