Cheap Flights to Bilbao
As capital of the Basque Country, Bilbao is unique and lies on the River Nervión, surrounded by green mountains. With industrial roots, the city has become an art lovers' mecca with several galleries -- probably the most famous is the stunning Guggenheim Museum Bilbao with its incredible titanium-clad curves. The river is spanned by seven bridges, including the Zubizuri curved and tied arch footbridge with a walkway constructed from translucent glass bricks. In contrast to these fascinating modern structures, the streets are filled with a variety of architectural styles. The Gothic architecture of the cathedral meets with Art Nouveau and Art Deco interspersed with towering skyscrapers.
The city has many green spaces, including Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, with its English garden, fountains and a duck pond. One of the most popular natural areas in the city is Mount Artxanda, linked from the city by a funicular railway and with views and several attractions at the top. Cuisine in the city ranges from the popular Basque dishes to several international restaurants. Enjoy the famous pintxos or Basque tapas with the local cider or txakoli sparkling wine. The city hosts several annual events and festivals including the traditional religious processions of Easter, the 10-day Aste Nagusia festival in August and a variety of film festivals during October, November and December.
Things to do
Whether interested in art or architecture, or simply looking for fresh air and views, Bilbao has plenty to offer. Among the unique architecture is the fascinating Guggenheim Museum that's interesting not only for the art it contains but also its appearance. A trip up a mountain on a funicular railway also appeals.
- Futuristic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
One of the city's most famous landmarks, the Guggenheim Museum, with its titanium curves, was designed by architect Frank Gehry. The museum houses a collection of Spanish and European art work as well as the Basque Museum exhibiting archaeology, history and ethnography.
- History in the Santiago Cathedral
A mixture of Gothic and Gothic Revival architecture, the cathedral was first built in the 14th and 15th centuries. The cathedral honours the apostle St James the Great (Santiago in Spanish) and is a transit point on the "Camino de Santiag", or "Way of Saint James" pilgrimage route.
A funicular railway takes visitors up to the top of Mount Artxanda, where a balcony offers sweeping views across Bilbao and the countryside. There are several restaurants and walking routes where visitors can take in the San Roke Shrine and sculptures dedicated to the soldiers of the Civil War.
Calendar of Events
Religion, film, art, dance, sports and colour are all part of the vibrant annual program of events in Bilbao.
Traditional Easter celebrations. Easter in the city sees several interesting processions heading through the old quarter to mark the celebration. Traditional and unusual costumes and iconic floats parade through the streets which host monuments to historic figures (such as the statue of Jesus Christ dating from 1590).
Aste Nagusia. Aste Nagusia is the main festival of the city, running from 15th August for ten days. Activities include all the fun of the fairgrounds, processions, a circus, boxing matches, bullfights and Basque dance performances as well as a delightful culinary experience.
Film festivals galore. The city is famed for various film festivals including Fant (a fantasy film festival in October), the Zinebi International Festival of Documentary and Short Film in November and the Mendi Film Festival in December. The latter features films relating to mountain sport and adventure.