Bilbao has several distinct areas of interest.
THE CASCO VIEJO (Old Quarter) or The Seven Streets is the oldest neighbourhood and the original nucleus of Bilbao. It forms part of the Ibaiondo district and holds the Plaza Nueva and buildings such as the Arriaga Theatre, Bidebarrieta Library, the Bilbao Stock Exchange, Atxuri railway station, Santiago Cathedral and the churches of San Antón, San Nicolás and Santos Juanes. Its commercial strength is reflected in five hundred shops, most importantly the Ribera Market, the largest indoor food market in Europe.
THE GRAN VÍA DON DIEGO LÓPEZ DE HARO holds the main commercial and financial activity of Bilbao, with the buildings of the banks BBVA, BBK and Caja Laboral, the El Corte Inglés department store, the Headquarters of the Regional Government of Bizkaia and the Sota Building. It is 50 metres wide and 1.5 kilometres long between the Plaza Circular and Plaza del Sagrado Corazón. Before the halfway point is the Plaza de Federico Moyúa, the heart of the Ensanche district of Bilbao, home to the Chávarri Palace and the Hotel Carlton.
ABANDOIBARRA and RÍA DE BILBAO. On the right side of the river you can find the Town Hall of Bilbao and at the end of the Volantín field, The Olabarri Palace. On the other side and crossing the Zubi Zuri bridge, the Isozaki towers (Isozaki Atea) and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao can be found. The Padre Arrupe walkway leads to University of Deusto and Deusto Bridge. Continuing along the promenade will reach the Euskalduna Congress Palace and the Maritime Museum.
The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum has the second best collection of classical art in Spain after the Prado Museum. The collection of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum gathers today, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints and decorative arts, more than 6,000 works, with a chronology that expands from the twelfth century to nowadays.
The Basque Museum, located in an old baroque style school in the Casco Viejo. Archaeology and ethnohistory of the Basque Country.
The Arriaga Theatre is a very beautiful building. Inspired in the Paris Opera, it was the work of the municipal architect Joaquín Rucoba and was opened in 1890. Today, the Arriaga continuously hosts the city’s programmes of music and theatre.
Azkuna Zentroa is not only one of the most iconic buildings in the city, but also an innovative new cultural and entertainment space, with a whole variety of activities for all interests: exhibitions, concerts, conferences, children´s workshops, sports activities of all kinds, a reading area, cafes, restaurants, shops, a 2.000 m2 terrace which serves as a sunbathing space in summer and in winter as an extra activity area, cinemas...
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao building, designed by American architect Frank Gehry, represents a magnificent example of the most groundbreaking 20th-century architecture. With 24,000 m2, of which 11,000 are dedicated to exhibition space, the Museum represents an architectural landmark of audacious configuration and innovating design, providing a seductive backdrop for the art exhibited in it.
Bilbao offers an excellent opportunity to savour the pintxo food culture to the full in different areas like the Old Quarter, Ledesma, Diputación or Pozas next to San Mamés Stadium. The pintxo is a small tasty morsel served in bars, people in Bilbao consider good pintxos a fundamental joy of daily life, and bars dedicated to providing them abound.
Bilbao’s history and its estuary are closely entwined. For this reason, Bilboatspresent Bilbao’s architecture with a cruise on the estuary in order to get to know the city from its main artery: the Nervión or Ibaizabal Estuary.
This double-decker bus is the fastest and most convenient way to move around the tourist attractions. Tickets can be purchased at the departure point (Alameda Mazarredo, 67, next to Bilbao Tourism Office and the Guggenheim Museum) or at any of the stops. It is valid for 24 hours and it allows you to stop as many times as you want, visit whatever interests you and continue the route at your convenience.
Services include explanations in Spanish, English, French or Basque.