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Bilbao, cutting-edge metropolis, San Sebastián, beautiful and refined, or Vitoria-Gasteiz, our “green capital”.

The best thing is that you don’t have to choose - you can visit all three as they’re so close together!

Our cities

4 days in Bilbao

Day 1

Fotografía Bilbao Día 1

Morning

We suggest the best place to start exploring Bilbao from is right in the very heart of the city, the Old Quarter and the Seven Streets. The city´s most iconic buildings, such as the Church of San Nicolás, the patron saint of sailors, the Church of Los Santos Juanes and the Church of San Antón, who appears on the city's coat of arms as well as Santiago Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic building dedicated to the patron of the city, are must-see attractions on a full day trip to Bilbao. Other noteworthy buildings include the Biblioteca de Bidebarrieta (library), the Palacio de John (Bilbao Stock Exchange), the Teatro Arriaga, the Mercado de la Ribera (covered market) or the Plaza Nueva, built in a neoclassical style and houses a philatelic, numismatic and collectors market every Sunday and the famous Santo Tomás Christmas Market on December the 21st.

The Basque Museum is very close to the Church of Los Santos Juanes. This is an interesting venue that exhibits various collections devoted to the archaeology of Biscay and the history and ethnography of the Basque Country.

Art lovers will also find two very interesting museums in the area, the Bilbao Museum of Artistic Reproductions and the Museum of Sacred Art. Visitors to the reproductions museum can view high-quality reproductions of works from major museums around the world and the collection in the sacred art museum houses several pieces of religious silverware, sacred vestments, sculpture, painting, alabaster and ceramics, etc.

If you enjoy shopping, you´ll find some interesting bargains in the latest trends and what local designers have on offer in the Old Town. Nonetheless, if you would like to buy some regional gourmet produce you will find them on sale in this part of the city, notably in the largest covered market in Europe, the Mercado de la Ribera.

Another great way to learn about the main tourist attractions the city has to offer, covering most ground yet at your leisure, is to take a ride on the Sightseeing Tourist Bus.

Lunch

We recommend you try something original for lunch that will also help you get to know the city better: a pintxos route. Or if you prefer, choose any of the several bars and eateries Bilbao has to offer.

Afternoon

In the afternoon why not treat yourself to a wonderful stroll along the right bank of Bilbao´s Ria and take in one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city from the top of Mount Artxanda. The Arenal Bridge will be the starting point for our afternoon sightseeing tour.

Continuing on along the river, we´ll get to the City Hall, from where we´ll stroll along on through the Campo Volantín to get to the Plaza del Funicular. Here we will board this unique form of transport and climb up to Mount Artxanda, a natural viewpoint affording views of the city at your feet, as if you were getting a bird´s eye view so to speak. You can try to make out the most iconic buildings that make up the Bilbao skyline while enjoying a drink and a light snack in any of the bars you´ll find at the top.

After indulging in this treat for this senses, come down to the town and cross the river over the Zubizuri Bridge, designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, or, further along over cross the La Salve Bridge or over the pedestrian walkway Pasarela Padre Arrupe, the latter has been built in the form of a large dragonfly that metaphorically evokes the resurgence of the city. We´ll have a great view of the Guggenheim Museum from any of these bridges which, for today, we suggest you admire from the outside, reserving your visit for day two of our sightseeing tour.

What better way to end this great day in Bilbao than to visit one of the best museums of its kind in its category, the Museum of Fine Arts. The museum houses a collection of more than seven thousand pieces dating from the twelfth century to the present day, with works by prominent artists of the stature of El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Van Dyck, Zuloaga, Sorolla, Chillida and Tàpies, among others.

Dinner

Our suggestion for dinner is an experience in the firmament of Michelin Stars in Bilbao or enjoy the finest cuisine in any of the Basque nouveau cuisine restaurants in the city.

At dinner time, Bilbao offers a multitude of dining options sure to satisfy all culinary tastes. Pintxos bars, asadores (traditional brasseries), cider houses and signature cuisine¿

In the evening you can have a drink in one of the pubs in the city or go dancing in one of the nightclubs.

Day 2

Fotografía Bilbao Día 2

Morning

For a more leisurely start to your day, we suggest visiting the iconic Guggenheim Museum, work of the renowned architect Frank O. Gehry. It exudes a commanding presence on the banks of the river, where admiring its exterior design and collections is, in itself, a true visual experience. We recommend you check out the constantly-updated calendar of exhibitions and activities. In the grounds outside the museum, visitors will be struck by the sculpture known as Mamá, a spider which stands almost nine metres high, by Louise Borgoise and the adorable Puppy by Jeff Koons, a twelve metre high sculpture of a West Highland Terrier puppy executed in a variety of flowers.

The museums own collection houses works by some of the leading artists of the twentieth century. The collection is complemented with other works belonging to other Guggenheim institutions. We do however recommend you check out the constantly-updated calendar of exhibitions and activities.

If you want to do some shopping, you can go to the nearby Zubiarte shopping mall, offering a wide range of national and international brand stores.

If you are a football fan, without a doubt, the Athletic Club Museum and San Mamés Stadium, also known as The Cathedral, are certainly worth a visit.

For those interested in art and culture, the Basílica de Begoña is an absolute must-see for visitors. This place of worship, built in Basque Gothic style, is one of the most iconic and venerated buildings in Bilbao, with a beautiful carving of the Virgen de Begoña who arouses great devotion among the Bilbao natives.

For the more active visitors, you have the option of going on cycling tours.

Lunch

This area offers a multitude of dining options to enjoy lunch. Visitors can enjoy innovative cuisine in the restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum, or opt for something faster in the Zubiarte shopping centre or in the area around the museum. If you're in the area around San Mamés, you can head towards the street, Licenciado Poza, where there is a wide variety of pintxos bars which, on a match day, is a awash with a sea of red and white.

Afternoon

After lunch we will make our way to the Plaza Pío Baroja, which is next to the Puente del Ayuntamiento bascule bridge where we will board the Bilboat to sail the waters of the Ria and admire the view as Bilbao proudly displays genuine works of art designed by architects of the calibre of Arata Isozaki, Frank O. Gehry and Santiago Calatrava. We will discover its many bridges, almost reaching the mouth of the river, where the most famous bridge in the Basque Country hangs; Vizcaya Bridge. Declared a World Heritage Site, it is a type of transporter bridge, also known as hanging bridge, facing impending extinction and whose construction shares similarities with the Eiffel Tower.

After the boat trip we'll head towards the area known as the Ensanche. The main thoroughfare is the Gran Vía and its centre is the Plaza Moyua, places where you can find some of the most iconic buildings in the city such as the Chavarri Palace, the beautiful Palacio de la Diputación (Council buildings) or the curved glassy structures of the underground stations designed by architect Norman Foster, icons of the change the city has undergone and which the local Bilbao natives affectionately call Fosteritos. Other places of interest around the Ensanche include, among others, the art nouveau styles of both the Casa Montero and Estación de Santander railway station, the Doña Casilda Park or the Teatro Campos Elíseos, (Champs Elysees Theatre) one of the best examples of art nouveau in the Basque Country.

Shopping lovers will find the best shopping district around Gran Vía and Calle Ercilla, perfect for an enjoyable shopping outing.

Another interesting option, and even more so if you are travelling with children, is to visit the Maritime Museum, located on the banks of the river and very close to the Euskalduna Convention Centre and Concert Hall.

We recommend you check out the Bilbao cultural programme of events, as there are a whole array of concerts, festivals and performances that take place in the city throughout the year. We also suggest you visit the Azkuna Zentroa, cultural and leisure centre that runs a varied programme of exhibitions, workshops and courses, conferences, theatre, cinema and audiovisuals, etc.

Dinner

At dinner time, Bilbao offers a multitude of dining options sure to satisfy all culinary tastes. Pintxos bars, asadores (traditional brasseries), cider houses and signature cuisine¿

Day 3

Fotografía Bilbao Día 3

Morning

While we went on a sightseeing boat trip along the river yesterday, for today we suggest you get to experience it from a different perspective, getting to know the most iconic buildings, bridges and villages. We'll start by visiting Santurtzi, which is easily accessible by public transport, to get an insight into the more seafaring culture associated with the river. Visit the town´s AGURTZA Fishing Intepretation Centre and sample the famed sardines or go on one of the many guided tours you get information about at the tourist office.

Our next stop is Portugalete, which can be reached both on foot or by metro. Once there we can stroll around its Historic Quarter and admire Vizcaya Bridge, one of the icons of this area´s industrial past.

Before leaving Portugalete we recommend you visit both the Basilica of Santa Maria, a Gothic-Renaissance place of worship which is considered a National Monument and visit the Museum of Industry, Rialia.

The next stop is Getxo. We get to this district using the Vizcaya Bridge transporter bridge, which crosses the river 365 a year, 24 hours a day. It is worth mentioning that Vizcaya Bridge with a passenger and car gondola is the first hanging bridge in the world.

Lunch

The range of culinary fare on offer in Getxo is wide and varied. You won´t have any trouble finding inviting pintxos bars and restaurants serving traditional Basque cuisine.

Afternoon

After lunch, we suggest you go for a pleasant stroll along Paseo del muelle de Las Arenas, the promenade which is punctuated by beautiful mansions worthy of admiration. If you wish, you can continue this route along the Ereaga beach pathway until we get to the old port in Algorta. The port, its streets and houses exuding a typical seafaring ambience have managed to preserve the essence of a typical fishing village in the Basque Country.

If you are travelling as a family, the Getxo Aquarium is an excellent option for children and adults alike to learn about marine life and its biodiversity.

The marina and the tourist office in Getxo run the Getxo Coast Activities programme allowing visitors to venture onto the sea and explore the coast in a leisurely manner and from a very different viewpoint. 

If the weather is good, get out and enjoy the sunshine and the seaside on one of the beaches in Getxo or in one of the neighbouring towns such as Sopelana, Plentzia or Gorliz, which are also accessible by metro.

The narrow streets of the Old Town await us in Plentzia, where the seafaring spirit merges with historic buildings and which we can get to by metro from Getxo and Sopelana. This beautiful town is a great place to have a drink before returning to Bilbao.

We can admire the lithified sand dunes in Gorliz, a phenomenon of great geological value, which form a series of sandy formations that are more than 6,000 years old.

Dinner

For dinner, you might like to stay in the area or return to Bilbao. Either way, there is a wide, quality selection of cuisine on offer.

If you are travelling in a group, you can visit and dine in one of the Txakoli wineries near Bilbao. You can book wine tastings, courses and even dine on traditional local dishes in these wineries. We suggest you book winery visits in advance.

Day 4

Fotografía Bilbao Día 4

Morning

On this fourth day's sightseeing, we suggest you journey back into Biscay's mining past and its lesser known history on a route travelling inland. We will travel to the mining district known as La Arboleda in the upper part of the town of Valle de Trápaga-Trapagaran, which we can get to boarding the Larreineta funicular, and where the mining industry has marked the landscape and development in the area. A striking sight are the old mines that have been flooded and converted into artificial lakes forming a spectacular landscape, or the mining town with wooden houses that have been declared a Monumental Group.

La Arboleda is equipped with several recreational areas and sporting facilities and the Peñas Negras Environmental Interpretation Centre, which has a series of signposted routes at the visitor's disposal to learn about and enjoy both the natural environment and the remains of the mines.

For the more adventurous we recommend the tree adventure circuit, archery, climbing and pathfinding for children in the Sopuerta Abentura park.

Before travelling to our next stop, the town of Balmaseda, you can visit the El Pobal Ironworks or Loizaga Tower, depending on the route you choose. The latter houses a Museum of Vintage and Classic Cars with a collection of Rolls Royce cars, widely considered unique in the world.

Lunch

Once in the medieval town of Balmaseda we'll have some lunch. We recommend you taste the local speciality known as, the Putxera, a stew made with beans, ribs, pork, chorizo, black pudding and other ingredients that can be traced back to the northern railway workers of the nineteenth century.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, we'll take the opportunity to discover the medieval town of Balmaseda as we stroll through its Historic Quarter, noted for the Church of San Severino and the Old Bridge.

The next stop is Carranza Valley, one of the most picturesque valleys in Biscay's physical geography affording landscapes and views of great beauty.

Pozalagua Caves are in the Valley of Carranza where we invite you to enjoy an Underground experience. This cave is considered unique and special due to its peculiar stalactite formations.

A hiking route to the Peñas de Ranero starts at the Pozalagua car park. This karst landscape is home to several large caves, including the Pozalagua caves.

If you are travelling with children the Karpin Abentura park is not to be missed. A wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre later converted into what is today a protected area, a wildlife and evolution of the species outreach and recreational area.

Dinner

For dinner you can choose from any of the restaurants in the Enkarterri region and you might even stay over choosing from one of the accommodation options on offer to enjoy the vastness of this land.