Bilbao is the heart of the basque country. It is a cosmopolitan city, constantly involving, full of tourism, perfect for design and culture lovers. Bilbao used to be an industrialized city until a serious economic crisis hit by 1970 and that was the motive to be reborn from its ashes. Today you see a totally reformed town. Green spaces, renewed neighborhoods, new aspiring projects by world known architects that adorn the city: Guggenheim Museum designed by architect Frank Gehry, a timeless Metro system designed by Sir Norman Foster, an airport from Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and a community center (Alhondiga) designed by Philippe Starck. The list goes on and on. Bilbao has now become a design town, attracting visitors all year round.
When we visited, it was May and the weather was cloudy, fresh and moist.
The walk along the river Nervión was simply magical with view of the mountains, trees, colorful houses and ofcourse the Guggenheim museum on the front. We crossed the river walking over the famous Zubizuri bridge taking pictures at every moment. This area is so picturesque and it seems like a painting. Definitely the best part of the town.
At tree surrounded Gran Via, the main commercial street, we spent several hours at the famous spanish department store El Corte Ingles that has everything. Definitely the place to find amazing spanish brands (don't forget to take a look at hip brand "Mr. Wonderful" with amazing stationery!)
In the paved streets of the old quarter (Casco Viejo) the pulse is more intense contrary to the relaxed area along the river. In the old quarter there are small local shops, bars, cafes and many people on the streets. Go for pintxos and cañas and cocktails.
Dont forget to visit Plaza Mayor, where every Sunday takes place an open market and people are selling old stuff for vintage lovers. Have another caña and some pintxos in the surrounding bars of the Plaza.
|Stunning views along the river Nervión|
|Bilbao Town Hall|
|Sculpture by Jorge Oteiza in front of the town hall definitely worths a photo|
|Zubizuri (translation: white bridge) designed by Santiago Calatrava, opened in 1997|
|SUP championship at Bilbao river|
|Modern new buildings changed the town skyline|
|Green and colorful streets are a pleasure to the eye|
|Guggenheim, the flower of Bilbao|
|Spectacular smoke coming out of Guggenheim, makes a (much smaller) copy of foggy San Fransisco bridge|
It is impossible not to smile having this view
|Tulips by Jeff Coons. His exhibition will last from June 9 to September 27, 2015|
Sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle a French-American feminist artist, sculptor and film-maker’. She was a pioneering feminist in both her art and her life and remained outspoken, radical and creative up until her death in 2002.Some of her best known public sculptures are The Stravinsky Fountain next to the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), The Tarot Garden at Garavicchio in southern Tuscany (opened 1998), The Grotto in Hannover’s Royal Herrenhausen Garden (2003, finished posthumously), and the Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in California (2003).
|Very impressive on the inside as much as the outside, we saw the amazing and quirky work of Niki de SantPhalle. An excellent audio guide comes with admission.|
|Pintxos and cañas at Casco Viejo|
|Impressive San Mames stadium|
|Football is very important in Bilbao|
|Proud Basque people|
What to do in Bilbao:
- Undoubtedly the highlight of the city is Guggenheim museum. Check the current exhibition at http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao
- Visit Casco Viejo which is the historical centre of the city. It is a large pedestrian area with shops, bars and historical sites.
- Walk by the river and walk on the Zubizuri bridge or even better take a Bilboat! (More information at http://www.bilboats.com).
- except instead of the focus being solely on drinking, delicious pintxos are thrown into the mix. The idea is to go to one bar after the next sampling pintxos and having something to drink. This is usually done by groups of friends and is most popular on Friday and Saturday nights.