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Two days in Bilbao



  • Aerial view of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

How about spending a weekend exploring Bilbao in northern Spain? Here are just a few good reasons: its famous Guggenheim Museum (with its giant spider and enormous flower-covered dog), the narrow streets in its historic quarter, and its delicious 'pintxos'.


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Two days in Bilbao


DAY 1: BILBAO AT ITS MOST AVANT-GARDE

You could start your visit at the Town Hall with a photo of the views. Then what about a stroll along the estuary? Cross over the Zubizuri bridge (designed by Santiago Calatrava), and continue on until the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the 'futuristic boat' designed by Frank Gehry. Standing guards over the museum, you'll see a sculpture of a spider entitled ' Mother' and another of a dog, known as 'Puppy'. And for lunch you can always stop by the restaurant in the museum. Then continue on your stroll to visit the Museum of Fine Arts and the Conference Hall and Auditorium. And on the other side of the estuary you may want to take a ride on the funicular railway. The shopping area par excellence Go on, admit it: now you feel like something a little less cultural. Shopping? The shop windows on the Gran Vía Don Diego López de Haro will give you some ideas. And in this area you can also see the Chavarri Palace and the entrances to the underground stations designed by Norman Foster. The most emblematic place to stop for refreshments and a rest is the Café Iruña. You could also opt to have dinner in this area and then go on for a nightcap in the areas around the Alameda de Urquijo, Alameda Mazarredo and the Muelle de Uribitarte dock.

Two days in Bilbao


DAY 2: THE FLAVOUR OF THE HISTORIC QUARTER

Today our starting point is the Paseo del Arenal (on Sundays the site of a wonderful flower market) and the Plaza de Unamuno square. If you look behind you, you'll see the 213 steps of the Calzadas de Mallona. The best plan now is just to wander: lose yourself among the cobbled streets. In the famous area of 'The 7 streets' you'll find the La Ribera market and the Begoña basilica. Lastly, take a look at the lovely Teatro Arriaga theatre. For lunch, we suggest the Plaza Nueva square. Beneath its 64 porticoed arches there are numerous bars where you can try the famous 'pintxos' (miniature gourmet canapés) accompanied by Txakoli wine. The best way of rounding off the afternoon? In one of the local pastry shops.

Two days in Bilbao


THINGS TO REMEMBER

You can take a cruise up the Bilbao estuary. http://www.bilboats.com/ There is a Bilbao Sightseeing Card available. http://www.bilbaobizkaiacard.com/ A convenient way to move around the city is by tram. Remember that Basque ("Euskera") is the official language in the Basque Country, in addition to Spanish.