I find it quite difficult to explain Bilbao. This city is traditional and modern, but also charming and overwhelming, all at the same time. As a particular detail; people in Pais Vasco speak a difficult and unique language that has no relationship or share any origin with any other language in the world: The Euskera.
The truth is I adored this place, its people, its architecture and obviously their food. It is impossible not to go crazy with the “pinchos”. In Pais Vasco, you don’t sit down at a bar or a restaurant to eat. You just order a beer and some “pinchos” and you eat this while standing up; and then, you continue on your way.
Basque streets and architecture
I love walking through the streets of Bilbao. Streets combine super old buildings full of antique details and then you may find a super modern building such as the Guggenheim Museum, one next to the other.
The last time I visited Bilbao, I did not spend the night in the city. This time I went to a residential neighborhood a few kilometers from the center called Getxo.
It was a great experience since this place brings together some majestic mansions with huge green gardens, which added a very particular charm to the place. It was the ideal location to get to know a neighborhood where local people live. This experience made me see their day-to-day life and learn more about their traditions.
What to do in Bilbao?
I strongly recommend not to miss the Mercado de la Ribera, as it offers a quite interesting variety of local products. It is also a quite emblematic building as well. The vitros made me completely fall in love with this market. In fact, the colors of the building are also very peculiar as well!. In addition, the market is located a few meters from the old town of Bilbao, so it is perfect if you want to get lost among small streets and discover corners at every step.
Another Must spot in Bilbao is the Guggenheim Museum. It’s even fun for kids as several exhibits are both modern and vibrant, but also interactive.
The city is just the right size, which makes it easy to get around in just a few days.
What I do recommend is leaving a day or two, to visit some nearby towns that are really worth knowing.
Bilbao and its surroundings
Just over an hour’s drive away from Bilbao is San Sebastián. For those who do not know, it is an exclusive coastal city which I suggest people visit as well. La Concha beach and the path around the beach is one of the most emblematic walks. This place was frequented by royalty, which has given the city its particular touch of distinction and elegance.
Another town close to San Sebastián is Hondarribia. It is a romantic small old town bordering France. It is something to do during the day and then go back to Bilbao, but not before ordering some good pinchos to eat without sitting!!