The Basque city of Bilbao is a spellbinding capital of art, design and gastronomy. With one of the world’s finest buildings – the Guggenheim – at its heart, Bilbao dazzles with style and energy, boasts a unique identity and speaks Europe’s oldest and most enigmatic language - Euskara.
Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country, as well as the capital of the province of Biscay or Bizkaia. Once a heavily industrialised city, Bilbao has taken itself through an extraordinary transformation. The banks of the Nervión river are home to numerous businesses and factories, which during the Industrial Revolution brought heightened prosperity to the region.
The Nervión divides the city in two: the old city and the new. To the east are the narrow streets of the Old Town, or Casco Viejo, centred around the Siete Calles, or Zazpi Kaleak, district. Chock-full of ‘pintxo’ bars, traditional restaurants and Basque cider houses or 'sagardotegis', Casco Viejo is home to historic sights such as St James' Cathedral or the vast Mercado de la Ribera food market.
Standing in stark contrast to the old part of town is the other half of the city, on the opposite side of the river. A section of this more modern half belongs to the late 19th century bourgeois expansion of Bilbao. Here you will find the Guggenheim Museum and other iconic buildings like the cutting edge Palacio Euskalduna on the banks of the river.
The Guggenheim, a building created by architect Frank Gehry, provides a surreal and very particular beauty to Bilbao. Although it is an impressive landmark not to be missed, overlooking the rest of the city would be almost criminal.Read More