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Once famed for its shipbuilding, Bilbao is the new modern face of the Basque Country.

Its rapid turnaround from declining post-industrial centre to hotbed of innovation is a stellar example of urban reinvention that cities across the world have tried to emulate.

It is a city of many facets. Rooted in history yet bustling with new energy. Fiercely proud of its heritage but brazenly looking forward, with world-class museums and glittering architectural marvels that promise memorable moments.

What to do

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim Bilbao put the city firmly on the map as tourists suddenly flocked to admire Frank Ghery’s swirling architecture of titanium, limestone, and glass when it opened in 1997.

Its ground-breaking design, moored on the banks of the Nervión River, not only captured worldwide attention. It set completely new standards for museum architecture.

Twenty-five years later, its cutting-edge collection of art from the mid-20th century onwards still makes a strong impression.


Avenida Abandoibarra, 2
48009 Bilbao
+34 944 35 90 00
metro Moyua

Guggenheim Bilbao
Plan your intinerary
Tuesday-Sunday 10:00-19:00
Art District

Roaming the streets around the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Itsasmuseum, the Bilbao Museoa and Sala Rekalde, it is clear that Bilbao is a city brimming with creativity.

The Art District, a circuit of galleries, museums, antique shops, old bookshops, and auction houses that stretches from the peninsula of Zorrotzaurre all the way to the Ensanche and Bilbao La Viejae, is a great place for discoveries.

Award-winning architecture, monumental sculpture, street art hotspots, alternative cultural venues etc. It has it all.

Best explored on foot, with plenty of bars and restaurants for impromptu stops en route.

Casco Viejo

On the other side of the Nervión River lies Casco Viejo.

Also known as Las Siete Calles after the seven streets that formed the heart of the medieval city, its winding, narrow cobbled lanes are made for pedestrians and home to Bilbao’s oldest monuments.

The Catedral Santiago de Bilbao, the Iglesia de San Antón, the Plaza Nueva and the steep stairs of the Calzadas de Mallona that lead to the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Begoña are all within a stone’s throw.

There is no better place to dive into Bilbao’s history and soak up the atmosphere.

The area boasts countless restaurants and pintxos bars to experience the best of Basque cuisine - as well as the Mercato de la Ribera, Europe’s largest covered market, for fresh regional produce.

metro Casco Viejo
Plan your itinerary
Catedral Santiago de Bilbao

Bilbao's oldest church, the Catedral Santiago de Bilbao is one of the finest and most spectacular examples of Basque Gothic architecture.

Construction began in the late 14th century but the original temple saw a number of extensions and reconstructions in different architectural styles, including its impressive Gothic Revival exterior and 64-metre-high bell tower.

The scallop shells - symbols of the city's patron saint Santiago - that can be spotted above the main entrance mark it as a point of transit for pilgrims on the northern leg of the Camino de Santiago.

Plaza de Santiago, 1
48005 Bilbao
+34 664 60 55 88
metro Casco Viejo

Plan your intinerary
Monday-Saturday 10:00-18:30
6€ (Catedral + Iglesia San Antón)
Azkuna Zentroa

A reference point in the life of local residents, the Azkuna Zentroa once served as a wine and liquor storage facility.

Entirely revamped by Philippe Starck, the modernist warehouse designed by Ricardo Bastida has since morphed into a multifunctional, multicultural centre like no other.

Visitors stepping through the Atrium of Cultures are greeted by 43 sculptural columns in seven raw materials, inspired by different historical eras. On these rest three internal buildings in the shape of a cube.

Exhibitions, concerts, movies: there is always something going on. Not to mention the rooftop cafe overlooking the entire city.

Plaza Arriquibar, 4
48010 Bilbao
+34 944 01 40 14
metro Indautxu

Plan your intinerary
Monday-Sunday 09:00-21:00
Artxanda Funicular

For unbeatable views of Bilbao, the lush Basque mountains beyond, and (on a clear day) the entire Bay of Biscay, a ride on the Artxanda Funicular or 'funi', as locals refer to it, will get you to the top of Artxanda Mount, 226 metres above the city, in barely three minutes.

Trains run every 15 minutes from Funikularreko Plaza, just across the Nervión River from the Guggenheim Bilbao using the iconic Zubizuri Bridge, early and late enough to allow for sunrise and sunset panoramas.

For the best viewpoint, pick a spot on the lowest car on the way up.

Carretera Artxanda-Santo Domingo Errepidea 27
48015 Bilbao
+34 944 45 49 66
metro Abando

Plan your intinerary
Monday-Saturday 07:15-22:00
Sunday 08:15-22:00
Single 2.50€ (0.32€ with Barik card)
Return 4.30€ (0.64€ with Barik card)
Buy online
Where to eat

Basque cuisine is famous worldwide, and for a good reason.

Whether you're after a full Michelin-starred experience or traditional pintxos (small bites, pronounced 'peen-chos') washed down with a glass of local Txakoli (dry, slightly fizzy white, pronounced 'chock-oh-lee'), Bilbao is a bastion of gastronomy that will thrill gourmets and foodies alike.

Here's a selection of bars and restaurants in the vicinity of the BEC, and back in the historic centre, to help you start exploring. Enjoy!

Barakaldo (near BEC)

C/Encartaciones 16
48901 Barakaldo
+34 675 02 25 80
Monday 11:00-17:00
Wednesday-Thursday 11:00-17:00
Friday-Saturday 11:00-23:00
+34 675 02 25 80
0.8 km from BEC
12-min. walk

Elkano 27
48902 Barakaldo
+34 94 474 14 86
Daily 13:00-23:00

+34 94 474 14 86
0.7 km from BEC
10-min. walk

Plaza Landaburu 2
48902 Barakaldo
+34 944 06 23 43
Monday-Friday 13:00-16:00 & 20:00-22:30
Saturday 13:30-16:00 & 20:00-23:00
Sunday 11:30-16:00
0.5 km from BEC
8-min. walk

Bilbao City Centre

Barroeta Aldamar 8
48001 Bilbao
+34 944 00 99 77
Daily 11:00-18:00
Friday-Saturday 20:30-00:00
10.7 km from BEC
19-min. taxi ride
metro Abando (19 min.)

Hurtado de Amezaga 5
48008 Bilbao
+34 944 43 21 72
Monday-Saturday 13:30-16:00 & 20:30-23:00
Sunday 13:30-16:00
+34 944 43 21 72
9.7 km from BEC
14-min. taxi ride
metro Abando (21 min.)

Calle Diputación 3
48009 Bilbao
+34 944 24 01 03
+34 944 24 01 03
8 km from BEC
14-min. taxi ride
metro Abando (16 min.)

Calle Henao 34
48009 Bilbao
+34 944 24 58 94
Tuesday-Sunday 13:30-16:00 & 21:00-23:00

+34 944 24 58 94
8.7 km from BEC
12-min. taxi ride
metro Moyua (17 min.)

Calle Rafael Moreno Pitxitxi, s/n
48013 Bilbao
+34 944 39 51 38
Tuesday-Wednesday 13:00-15:30
Thursday-Saturday 13:00-15:30 & 20:00-22:00
Sunday 13:00-15:30
7.4 km from BEC
12-min. taxi ride
metro San Mamés, Exit 14 (15 min.)

Plaza Nueva 2
48005 Bilbao
+34 944 15 16 78
Monday-Thursday 09:00-22:00
Friday 09:00-22:30
Saturday 09:00-23:00
12.3 km from BEC
18-min. taxi ride
metro Casco Viejo (17 min.)

Where to drink

In a city that is constantly evolving, finding a place to wind down after a busy conference day is easy. Bilbao's human scale and abundance of nightlife hotspots, from atmospheric cafes to cocktail bars to funky clubs, give plenty of options, to suit any mood and budget.

Plaza Nueva 6
48005 Bilbao
+34 944 15 16 71
12.5 km from BEC
20-min. taxi ride
metro Casco Viejo (18 min.)

Jardines de Albia
48001 Bilbao
+34 944 23 70 21
8.4 km from BEC
19-min. taxi ride
metro Abando (17 min.)

Calle Diputación 8
48008 Bilbao
+34 944 31 38 58
10 km from BEC
16-min. taxi ride
metro Moyua (16 min.)

Maestro Garcia Rivero 1
48009 Bilbao
+36 944 41 22 49
7.3 km from BEC
15-min. taxi ride
metro Indautxu (15 min.)

Calle Villarías 2
48001 Bilbao
+34 944 65 76 61
10.3 km from BEC
17-min. taxi ride
metro Abando (18 min.)

Calle Diputación 10
48008 Bilbao
+34 944 15 56 15
8 km from BEC
16-min. taxi ride
metro Moyua (16 min.)

Calle General Concha 5
48008 Bilbao
+34 944 43 42 98
8.1 km from BEC
17-min. taxi ride
metro Moyua (18min.)

Somera 10
48005 Bilbao
+34 944 16 34 50
11.5 km from BEC
15-min. taxi ride
Casco Viejo (21 min.)

Plaza Nueva 8
48005 Bilbao
+34 944 15 70 67
12.5 km from BEC
19-min. taxi ride
Casco Viejo (17 min.)

Last modified on Thursday, 23 February 2023 09:43