32 things to do in Bilbao. Tourism in Bilbao has grown in recent years and there are many things that can be done. There are plans for everyone: from visits to museums, weekend plans, things to do with children, active tourism around Bilbao, things to see in one and two days, things to do for free and night activities. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Bilbao and don’t know what to do or what sites to visit, in our blog you will find the main tourist attractions. In addition, you can also find tips to visit Bilbao and everything about the most beautiful places of Bilbao and everything worth visiting.
1. The Guggenheim Bilbao museum, with more than one million annual visits, is the main tourist attraction in Bilbao. Its impressive exterior design is made of titanium and limestone plates and inside we can find exhibitions and works of contemporary art. Next to the Guggenheim Bilbao you can also see Puppy, the dog that guards the museum and the giant spider.
2.The Arriaga Theater was built in 1980 and is one of the most emblematic buildings in the town. In addition, it is without a doubt the most important theater in Bilbao. The Arriaga theater has a capacity of 1200 people.
3.The impressive Azkuna center or Alhondiga is an old wine cellar converted into a leisure center. Modernist style, it has been restored several times. In its 15,000 square meters spread over several floors are various exhibitions, gym and pool, cinemas and a library.
What to see in Bilbao and surroundings
4. Does Bilbao have a beach? No, but in less than 10 kilometers there are the beaches of Getxo and Sopelana. In addition, you can go by Metro Bilbao and if you are looking for places to surf you will love the Basque waves.
5. One of the most fun activities to do near Bilbao are paragliding flights. If you like to try new things you can not miss paragliding in Sopelana accompanied by an instructor. It is an activity also for children from 6 years of age. You can book your flight below.
6. You cannot leave Bilbao without visiting the Bizkaia Bridge. This ferry bridge joins the right and left bank of the Ria de Bilbao and has become a symbol of Bizkaia. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it can be accessed by Portugalete or by Las Arenas (Getxo). We recommend you take the elevator up to the catwalk. The views are stunning!
7. In Gatika you will find the Butrón Castle. A property of the Middle Age that is one of the most beautiful corners of Bilbao.
8. The Old Port of Algorta in Getxo is one of the most charming places on the coast of Biscay. Close to Bilbao, you can taste the best seafood and fish. Other villages to visit are: Gernika and Lekeitio.
9. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is one of the natural jewels of the Biscay coast, which we recommend visiting during Easter or summer. Located between Bermeo and Bakio it is one of the most visited places after the Guggemheim Museum. You can find more information, curiosities and routes of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe in the section of our blog.
Plans to make in Bilbao at a weekend
10. The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum has more than 6,000 works and is one of the most important museums. We recommend checking the weather and if it rains, reserve that day to see museums.
11. Another thing to do if it rains is to visit the Itsasmuseum Bilbao or Maritime Museum, located in the Euskaduna shipyards. Inside you can see exhibitions related to the Ria de Bilbao and the old shipyard. In the winter months you can see the Atyla Ship outside.
12. Another of the essential buildings to visit in Bilbao is the Euskalduna Jauregia Palace. Inside, events, conventions and all kinds of shows are held.
13.The Bilbao Cathedral or as it is also known, Santiago Cathedral, is a historical-artistic monument declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
14. If you go to Bilbao you will love Casco Viejo and its 7 streets. El Casco Viejo is the oldest area of the Villa de Bilbao. There you will find innumerable things to see like Rivera Market and Plaza Nueva. These places are perfect to buy souvenirs in their small shops.
15. The town hall of Bilbao is another of the emblematic buildings that you can see in downtown Bilbao.
What to do in Bilbao for free
16. The famous estuary of Bilbao or Ibaizabal is born in Basauri and divides the capital of Biscay into two. Among the things to do are kayak or boat routes to Santurtzi and walks along its banks. A romantic getaway for couples or perfect plan to do with friends.
17. Bilbao has 9 bridges to cross the estuary: the San Antón Bridge, the Arenal Bridge, La Salve Bridge, Zubizuri or Calatrava Bridge and Deusto Bridge are some of them.
18. The Carola crane which is located next to the maritime museum, has become a symbol of Bilbao. This crane is one of the reasons why the port of Bilbao became so important worldwide.
19. The church of San Antón that is located next to the La Rivera market is another thing to see if you go to Bilbao.
20. The best views of Bilbao are on Mount Artxanda. You can go there by car, bus or funicular. It is also the best place to take photos.
What to do in Bilbao with children
21. Gran Vía of Don Diego López de Haro is the main street of Bilbao and the finance center. On the other hand, it has a wide variety of stores to go shopping. At Christmas it is a good time to visit this area.
22. Doña Casilda Park or Casilda Iturrizar Park is the green lung of Bilbao. It is next to the Museum of Fine Arts and in it you can see various monuments.
23. The Arenal Kiosk is another of the outdoor things that you can see and enjoy.
24. Another of the many things you can do in Bilbao with children is to visit the Etxebarria Park that is located in the Bilbao neighborhood of Begoña. In August, during festivities it is one of the best places to see fireworks.
25. In Begoña you can also see the Basilica of Begoña.
26. On your visit to Bilbao you will see hundreds of murals in its streets. One of the most striking one is the mural Soñar (Dream) in Olabeaga.
What to do in Bilbao: parties and leisure
27. The Aste Nagusia or big party of Bilbao is celebrated during the last 2 weeks of August. If you plan to visit Bilbao on those dates, there are a lot of shows and things to do.
28. If you like football you cannot miss the opportunity to go see Athletic Bilbao at the San Mamés Barria stadium.
29. The Bilbao BBK Live festival takes place every year in the month of July in Bilbao. If you are in summer in the capital of Biscay you can see the best artists and pop and rock groups of the moment in concert.
30. For some years now, the Red Bull Cliff Diving championship takes place in Bilbao and the public can see the participants jump from the La Salve bridge.
31. If you are looking for a plan for Saturday night, weekend or New Year’s Eve in Bilbao, you will find a large number of bars and pubs.
32. Finally, Bilbao is famous for its cuisine, so one of the things that we recommend to do in Bilbao is to eat “pintxos” in its bars and restaurants.