If you have chosen Bilbao for your Spanish courses… you made the right choice!
A less known destination and therefore less touristic, but it has as much as or even more to offer than the most famous ones!
From Instituto Hemingway we suggest our particular Top ten of Bilbao and its surroundings (which includes cultural visits such as natural sites, food and entertainment) so that you will always have an alternative!
Don´t miss a single one!
Guggenheim Museum: the famous museum designed by Frank O.Ghery is a great example of modern architecture. Since its opening in1997, it has received an average of over one million visitors annually. The collected works offer an overall perspective of the visual art of the 20th century.
Zubizuri (literally “the White bridge”) and Paseo de Uribitarte: The bridge “zubizuri” is also known as “Puente de Calatrava” due to its designer. It was inaugurated in 1997 and it is without question a symbol of the new Bilbao. The route, which goes along the estuary, starts from the old town and leads to the heart of Bilbao. It’s a pleasant walk to get to know the center of the city and appreciate its contrasts, especially when the weather is good.
Artxanda: this mountain, which is about 300 meters high and marks the edges of the city, offers stunning panoramic views. You can go on foot or by funicular, a kind of train that in about five minutes and with a bit more than a euro will leave you on the top.
Casco viejo and the route of pinchos: the “pintxos” are without doubt one of the gastronomic delights of the Basque Country. They are small works of the ¨cooking¨ art in different types and for all tastes. Although they are not free, like the classic “tapas” which are more typical of Southern Spain, their price is too low for the happiness that is provided by the thousands of flavors in a luxury context, such as the historic old town which is full of charming places.
Museum of Fine Arts: it is located in one of the side of the park Doña Casilda and it was opened in 1945. Its collection contains more than eight thousand pieces, including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and applied arts, and is an outstanding feature of cultural heritage comprising a chronology from the twelfth century to the present. Besides its permanent collection, it regularly proposes a major program of temporary exhibitions.
Puente colgante and Portugalete: The Puente Colgante was declared as a World Heritage by UNESCO in 2006 and is a spectacular building that combines with balance both form and function. It is known, as an astonishing work that perfectly combines beauty, elegance and functionality.
It is worth the visit to take a walk in Portugalete, this quiet municipality of about 50.000 inhabitants.
Gaztelugatxe: One of the most charming corners of the coast in Bilbao. Located in Bermeo, “Gaztelugatxe” is the name with which is known this small island that is connected to the mainland by a narrow road. On the top of the island, there is a chapel dedicated to San Juan. To reach the chapel you have to climb about 200 steps. The panoramic view from the top and the uniqueness of the landscape in general, are incomparable.
Reserva de Urdaibai: this is a natural area, occupying a total about 220 square kilometers. It has such rich ecological diversity, that it has been declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. It’s the Ideal place for the nature lovers or for those who just want to get away from the city stress.
The beaches: the Basque coast offers plenty of them and in a good quality. Although water is fresh in all seasons, the beaches are sandy and the water really clean. Some of them, like Mundaka, are especially known to fans of surfing but all of them without exception are good alternatives for an afternoon.
Oma forest: it is located in the Natural Reserve of Urdaibai and it is a very peculiar forest. Tree trunks are painted by the Basque painter Ibarrola in way that they create silhouettes when they are viewed from certain perspectives. It’s like an art show in the middle of nature!
Which things seem to be more interesting for you? Have you already visited these sites? What did you think? What is included in your top 10?