What To Do In Bilbao: 48-Hours of Art and Pintxos

It’s so hard to convey how much you enjoyed a city, and marry that up with keywords like ‘what to do in Bilbao’ so that Google actually presents your post to people who are looking for exactly that. So one types convoluted sentences like the above, and then delves back into the images to wander down memory lane… 

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

It’s not an action packed city with hundreds of typical touristy things to do, but one where you kind of sink into a gentle Spanish city lull. Perfect for a quick city break.

If pushed to describe Bilbao – Spain’s largest Northern city and the capital of The Basque Country – it can be summed up in a few words; compact, modern art and pintxos. It’s a great city to wander.

What to do in Bilbao

One of our favourite places in Bilbao was Casa Viejo or the ‘7 Streets’ in the Old Town where you’ll find the best Pintxos in the city. Pintxos are the Basque Country’s answer to tapas and is the word to describe delicious small plates commonly enjoyed as a pre-lunch or pre-dinner snack. 

What to do in Bilbao

Each Pintxos establishment has a selection of small plates spread across the bar and you can choose to eat them hot or cold. It’s totally normal to just pop in for 1 drink and 1 Pintxos then move swiftly on to the next establishment, hence the birth of the ‘Pintxos crawl’. 

What to do in Bilbao Pintxos

We loved seeing family groups just hanging out in the main square – all the generations spending quality time over a beer and their favourite snacks. By the second night we were already working out which places did our favourites. (For a fulsome guide, read The Travelista’s guide to Pinxtos in Bilbao.)

Draped around the broad but gentle river, the city has a really interesting mixtures of achitecture – from traditional to modern…

What to do in Bilbao

What to do in Bilbao

… not to mention some interesting sculpture. Yes, the above are giant cups of coffee and I was very excited.

What to do in Bilbao

It’s also lovely to walk through in the evening, as the building reflections shimmer on the river currents.

What to do in Bilbao

Of course, a visit to the Guggenheim museum of modern art is an absolute must – we adored it. 

What to do in Bilbao

But, the fine arts museum also definitely deserves a few hours. The art is (at the time of writing) organised by themes and alphabet which was so thought provoking!

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum

Oh, and, make sure to catch a football game in the local stadium. What an experience that was!

What to do in Bilbao

Once you’re done, pop back for some more Pintxos.

What to do in Bilbao

It’s a very laidback city that you can simply relax in. Bliss.

What to do in Bilbao  

And, if you’re looking for somewhere lovely to stay in Bilbao, the Vincci Consulado de Bilbao was perfect. (Tap the link for a full hotel review.)

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What to do in Bilbao

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