*Review best according to redakciey. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective in nature, is not an advertisement, and does not serve as a guide to purchase. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Bilbao is a large city in the Basque Country, located in the North of Spain. He became known to the General public thanks to the Guggenheim Museum. Many guides include this place in the list of must-see attractions to visit. And avid travelers call Bilbao the pearl of Spain. In addition, there are many architectural, cultural and religious monuments. Our experts have compiled a rating of the 25 best attractions in Bilbao.
Rating of the best attractions in Bilbao
|Best museums in Bilbao||1||The Guggenheim Museum||5.0|
|2||Museum of fine arts||4.9|
|6||The bullfighting Museum||4.5|
|7||Alondiga cultural center||4.4|
|8||Athletic football club Museum»||4.3|
|The best architectural attractions in Bilbao||1||CASCO Viejo old quarter||5.0|
|3||The Park Doña Casilda de Iturrizar||4.8|
|4||Plaza De La Nueva)||4.7|
|7||San Mames Stadium||4.4|
|8||Concordia train station||4.3|
|Best cultural attractions in Bilbao||1||Federico Square-Mouya||5.0|
|2||The Arriaga Theatre||4.9|
|4||University Of Deusto||4.7|
|Best religious attractions in Bilbao||1||Basilica Of Our Lady Of Begonia||5.0|
|2||Church of San Nicolas de Bari||4.9|
|3||The Cathedral Of Bilbao||4.8|
|4||Church Of St. Anthony The Great||4.7|
Best museums in Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum
The first position of the rating of the best sights of Bilbao is occupied by the Museum of modern art, which has long become a symbol of this city. This is a recognized architectural and cultural monument in the Basque Country, which was built in 1997. In just over 20 years, the center has become very popular not only in Spain, but also in the world. The project was designed by one of the most famous and talented architects.
The structure is covered with thin plates that form fish scales, occasionally intersecting with a real stone surface. The lines are smooth and plastic, and the total height of the ensemble reaches 50 meters. At the entrance to the Museum there are several figures: a metal spider, as well as a large Terrier. This is a must-see destination in Bilbao for all tourists.
Museum of fine arts
The silver medal in the ranking of attractions in Bilbao is awarded to the Museum, which contains almost all the artistic heritage of Spain for the entire period of active development. Here you can find paintings by many famous artists: from the middle Ages to the pop art style. Among those, there are paintings by El Greco, Bartolome Esteban Murillo and many others.
The Museum administration is constantly holding new exhibitions to showcase modern and classic paintings. In addition, canvases from other countries are often displayed in this place. This is one of the main tourist centers throughout the country, where there is a huge number of artistic attractions, and you can also get acquainted with the Basque culture that prevails in Bilbao.
The third place in the rating of attractions is occupied by the Museum, which was opened in 1921 by local authorities. The main reason for the discovery was to preserve the Basque culture, which is very common in this region. Initially, the Museum received most of the exhibits from collectors, who transferred traditional items for this place to the property of the administration.
Currently, there are tens of thousands of exhibits in the exhibition halls, each of which will help everyone to get acquainted with the culture of the local population, traditional rituals, beliefs and much more. In fact, this place is an extremely important center of Bilbao, where everyone can get acquainted with traditional things for the local population. You can visit it at the lowest price, and it is located almost in the city center, so it is difficult to miss it.
Spain is largely known as a country of seafarers. Agree, the Invincible Armada is still very popular. Therefore, the locals could not help but organize a really interesting place to visit and explore the sights of Bilbao in this region. This was the Maritime Museum, which is located at the docks of the shipyard Euskalduna, most of which is under the open sky.
The Museum contains a whole collection of expositions dedicated to the terrain, flora and fauna of the ocean depths. And the most interesting thing is a lot of objects about the shipbuilding of a country that ruled over the seas and conquered almost an entire continent. For visitors, there will be objects related to shipbuilding. So everyone will be taught how to tie a sea knot, and will also be allowed on one of the ships, fishing or patrol.
For those tourists who want to learn more about the country, a similar Museum is also presented in the ranking of the best attractions of Bilbao. Although it is far from the most visited place in the city, but for those who want to explore the long and rich history of the region and the Basque Country, it is almost an ideal place. Exhibits are presented from prehistoric times: stone tools, vessels made of bronze, as well as seals of Maritime guilds.
For those tourists who want to learn about everyday life and decorative arts, there is a rich collection of ceramics and wood carvings that date back to a huge period of time, starting with the Romanesque rule. The Museum is also located in one of the most beautiful buildings in Bilbao, in the heart of the old quarter. It was opened in 2008 for tourists. At the moment, the collection has more than 2000 exhibits.
The bullfighting Museum
Traditional Spanish entertainment, which has been practiced for many years,could not fail to enter the rating. Although Bilbao is famous for its bullfights, the majority of the court believes that the best audiences are here. Therefore, a large arena was built, the appearance of which is reminiscent of the industrial past of the city. There is also a Museum on the territory, which presents exhibits with the basic rules and history of bullfighting.
Inside the large Museum complex, the main events that occurred with matadors during the holidays during the entire period of the festivals are presented. In addition, the collection includes whimsical outfits of matadors, a lot of posters and photos depicting the most popular scenes of bullfights. Every Bilbao tourist will find something interesting on the territory of the bullfighting Museum.
Alondiga cultural center
A large entertainment center was also ranked among the best attractions in Bilbao. Everyone here can find a lot of activities that will allow you to quickly relax and get acquainted with the paintings in the gallery. In addition, the center has several auditoriums, libraries, and swimming pools.
The building that houses the cultural center was designed in 1909, when the city needed a large number of wine warehouses. As a result, Ricardo Bastido designed an impressive architectural complex. After 60 years, the building was empty, and then in 1994 it was transformed into an interesting entertainment complex, which was opened to everyone in 1999. The work was carried out by Philippe Starck, who tried to decorate the building as much as possible.
Athletic football club Museum»
The rating also included attractions for football fans. On the territory of the city there is a Museum of a large and famous athletic club. It is open to all comers, which makes this place one of the best in the city for fans of modern games. A huge number of exhibitions and exhibits dedicated to various memorable events will allow you to learn more about the history of the club.
It was opened in 1905. The main feature of the football club Museum is that it is very modern, most of the objects are presented on large touch screens, which display many historical objects. A 45-minute guided tour of the stadium is available.
The best architectural attractions in Bilbao
CASCO Viejo old quarter
The first place in the category of architectural attractions is occupied by a large quarter with a long history. Most of the buildings on the territory of 7 streets appeared in the city in the XV century, which makes them one of the oldest in all of Bilbao. It was from this place that the city was built almost 700 years ago. Currently, the small stone-paved streets are an international attraction.
There are a large number of different historical buildings that are of great importance to the Spanish people: the Masarredo mansion, the Exchange Palace, and the famous railway station. This is one of the two parts of the city that can be called historical. The quarter has always been a place of habitation for sea traders and fishermen.
The city of Bilbao is one of the largest in the Autonomous community of the Basque Country. It was founded in the 15th century and is divided by the Nerwon river into several parts. The Central part originally consisted of 3 streets. To them, 4 more were later completed, which were located perpendicular to the river. This area is the historical center of the city.
Since 1979, the movement of vehicles has been strictly prohibited on these streets. Seven streets turned into a huge commercial center, where dozens of shops, bars and restaurants are located. However, they are located in historical buildings, including Arenal Park, Arriaga theater, St. Nicholas Church and many other structures. Just by walking through the narrow alleys in the historical center, you can find a huge number of attractions.
The Park Doña Casilda de Iturrizar
The most beautiful attraction in the city is one of the largest parks in Spain. It is quite difficult to miss it, as it is located right behind the Museum of fine arts. This is a great place for long walks on the territory of 9 hectares. Here you can easily relax after a long and eventful day.
There are many well-groomed flower beds and lawns, as well as a large number of benches. In short, everything has been done so that tourists and locals can take a break in the green zone. There are many peacocks walking around the Park, and there are also many cafes offering both traditional and modern drinks. The Park was named after the famous citizen Casilda de Iturrisar, who donated a huge plot of land to turn it into a Park.
Plaza De La Nueva)
The rating also includes one of the largest courtyards in the city. This square is actually surrounded by buildings on all sides. It was built in 1821, in the popular neoclassical style at that time. Extremely elegant buildings, as well as many historical buildings, make this place one of the best places to visit during a short tour of Bilbao. The name is derived from the Old Square or Plaza VEGA, which became the site for the Ribera market.
The main seat in this part of the city is the government of Biscay, but in 1890 the largest Palace was built. Currently, this location is the residence for the Royal Basque language Academy. It is especially interesting to come to this place on New Year’s eve or All Saints ‘ Day, when local authorities organize bazaars and fairs for local residents and guests of the capital.
A huge suspension bridge, which has the second name Sibisuri (white), becomes the next participant in the rating. It is a link between the Eastern and Western parts of the city. The architect was Santiago Calatrava, who led the construction of Bilbao airport. Compared to traditional suspension bridges, the Campo Volantine looks really unusual.
The main part is a tilted arch made of strong steel, which connects the platforms that include ramps. To give a more attractive appearance, the main part was paved with glass tiles. The design has a white color, which is a traditional creative approach of the architect. The famous Guggenheim Museum can be reached from the bridge. Every tourist in Bilbao will pass through the ferry sooner or later.
The flying ferry across the largest river in the region is a unique architectural structure. It was built at the end of the XIX century and for its colorfulness and monumentality was included in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. At the time of construction, it was the first bridge-ferry, which is completely made of metal. During operation, vehicles and pedestrians are transported across the river using a suspended gondola.
The architect of the unusual structure was Alberto de Palacio, a student of Gustave Eiffel, who built one of the largest and most famous buildings in Paris. The Biscay bridge-ferry was built using all modern technologies at the time of construction. Thanks to its careful attitude and regular maintenance, it still operates and is able to transport up to 6 cars and a large number of passengers in 90 seconds between the banks.
San Mames Stadium
The rating also includes one of the most impressive stadiums in Spain, where the local athletic Bilbao football club trains. Construction was completed in 2013 as a replacement for the stadium of the same name, which has served as the club’s arena since 1913. They decided to rebuild the almost century-old building in early 2006, and in December they began to demolish the exhibition center, which stood on the construction site.
In early March 2007, a major project created by Cesar Azkarate was presented. In fact, the new stadium is a scaly structure made of glass that is attached to metal structures. The lighting is organized similarly to the Munich scheme. At night, it looks like a real lighthouse. This place is a must-see for all tourists who appreciate real Spanish football.
Concordia train station
An excellent monument of architecture, which was built in 1902, meets many tourists of the Basque Country who prefer railway vehicles. In addition, the area has a huge number of hotels for tourists, as well as other buildings that were built up in the XIX century. The whole area began to be built in a quiet time, and later a railway was built here, which made the area very developed.
The Concordia train station is built in an unusual art Nouveau style, which is quite rare for this area. Many different decorative decorations, as well as a combination of colors, make Bilbao station a truly unique attraction in this region. Moreover, every tourist can visit the station, admiring the non-standard architectural solution in this area.
Best cultural attractions in Bilbao
This small square is the heart of one of the city’s districts. Ensanche is currently a tourist and business center of Bilbao, which has cultural significance. This square is home to one of the most important buildings in the city, the Carlton hotel, which at various times was a holiday destination for famous people who came to Spain for diplomatic or commercial purposes.
The square is surrounded on all sides by buildings, the history of which you will definitely be told by an experienced guide. In the Central part of the square there is an original fountain, and a large number of flowerbeds and alleys are laid out around it. Flowers in this region grow almost the whole year, and a large number of employees try to maintain them in normal condition.
The Arriaga Theatre
The impressive monument of history and architecture was officially opened in 1880 and named after the extremely popular composer known as”Mozart originally from Spain”. The theater was built in a non-standard neo-Baroque style, which makes it the most beautiful and most pretentious in the region. During operation, the building burned several times, but timely reconstruction allowed to preserve its original appearance.
Currently, the theater’s repertoire includes a large number of plays, comedies and tragedies, musicals and concerts. The most famous is the dance performance “Beauty and the beast”, which became extremely famous due to the wide range of props. Modern plays are also often shown. A huge, decorated building, as well as a large number of other cultural monuments make this place extremely interesting to visit.
This large complex is located slightly West of the Guggenheim Museum. The construction was started in 1994, the Main leaders of the project were well-known architects of Spanish origin. The use of modern construction techniques allowed the building to be completed in 1999. At the moment, it is both a concert hall and a meeting place of the Parliament, which is reminiscent of the role of Bilbao in Spain – a commercial landmark.
In 2003, this place was declared the best Palace of the highest representative bodies in the world. Like the Arriaga theater, it is one of the main places for cultural activities in the city. The area of the Palace exceeds 25 square kilometers at a height of 53 meters. It consists of a huge hall, as well as several smaller halls. The building has many cafeterias and restaurants.
University Of Deusto
The educational institution, located in the Central part of Bilbao, is a recognized tourist attraction in the region. The Museum of modern art, which is located on the territory of Bilbao, opens to the University library. The main purpose of the construction was the cultural education of the region.
The educational buildings have a well-developed infrastructure that is accessible to everyone, including city residents and tourists. There are a large number of shops, as well as small towns, sports clubs and cinemas, beauty salons, and language centers. In fact, this University is one of the best in Europe. Especially large is the library, a ten-story building that was completed in 2008. There are great discounts on housing for students, as well as many other perks.
The last place in this rating category was occupied by a large open space between the CASCO Viejo area and the new parts of the city, called Arenal Square. This is a relatively modern part of Bilbao, where you can find a lot of entertainment for every taste. Hospitable Spaniards have placed many hotels, restaurants and shops around.
On the area of Arenal are regular exhibitions in the open air. It is especially interesting to visit this place during the holidays, when concerts of national ensembles are held. In addition, every Sunday you can meet flower sellers selling unusual decorations and flora of the region. For tourists, Arenal square can become a place to visit between other attractions of Bilbao, which will allow you to choose the best route, thanks to the large number of transport interchanges.
Best religious attractions in Bilbao
Basilica Of Our Lady Of Begonia
The first position in the category of the best religious attractions of Bilbao is occupied by one of the largest temples in the city, as well as a place of veneration of the virgin Mary, who, according to local beliefs, is a guide and patroness of sailors. The temple began to be built in 1511 after the decision was made.
However, the construction was completed only in 1621, 110 years after the start of work. In the future, the Basilica of our lady of Begonia was rebuilt several times and rightfully became known as one of the best sights of the city. You can visit it any day to find many interesting interior objects, as well as explore the gilded altar. Many sailors come to him to thank the Holy virgin Mary for her patronage.
Church of San Nicolas de Bari
Not far from the bridge that leads to the new town, there is a small path to the Church of San Nicolas de Bari. It is built according to an unconventional octagonal plan and dates back to the XIV century. However, it was reconstructed several times over a long period of operation. Inside you can find one of the most beautiful altars in the whole country, which was designed by the famous architect Juan de MENA.
The large Cathedral is located very close to the water artery that feeds the city, so it was often subjected to floods. The long history was full of disasters, and the Cathedral was closed several times. It was only rebuilt in 1743 and one of the most beautiful churches in Bilbao was reopened 11 years later. The structure is made in the Baroque style, and a stone base with a height of up to 1 meter was used for strengthening. On the top there is a dome in the shape of a prism. The religious complex is always open to the public.
The Cathedral Of Bilbao
The Cathedral of St. James is a Gothic landmark located in the capital of the Basque Country. This place is one of the most beautiful in the region and has the status of a small Basilica. Presumably, the construction of the attraction was carried out in the XII-XIII centuries, even before the Foundation of residential quarters. In 1374, there was a major fire, after which it was necessary to carry out reconstruction.
The Church received the status of a Cathedral in 1949. A tall and beautiful building with a bell tower and a spire looking up into the sky, it is located on the way of Saint James, which runs through the Northern part of Spain. Currently, the exterior of the Cathedral combines elements of the Gothic style and the Renaissance. The total area of almost 1,100 square meters is open to tourists.
Church Of St. Anthony The Great
The Cathedral, which is in the last place in the rating, is located in the old part of Bilbao. This universally recognized landmark is dedicated to San Anton. This is one of the symbols of the Basque capital, which even found a place on the coat of arms. It was built in 1433 on the site of the trade exchange and the Palace of Alphonse XI. Originally it was a small structure with a single nave, but, after 50 years, it was significantly expanded.
Inside there are a large number of chapels, one of which was built in the XVI century and richly decorated. Despite the relative poverty of the interiors, the Cathedral of San Anton is an extremely important tourist attraction in the region. It houses a wooden sculpture of Saint Anthony, as well as many statues. Inside the Church, a number of modern works of art were also placed, for example, paintings by Inaki Garcia, as well as Vincente Larrea. The oldest part of the temple at the moment is the crucifix, which dates back to the Renaissance.
Attention! This rating is subjective in nature, is not an advertisement, and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.