The original Guggenheim Museum opened in Bilbao in 1997, and since then, the city has been transformed. As a matter of fact, it continues to make waves thanks to the innovative buildings designed by famous architects that were built there.
Nonetheless, it is the odd blend of the modern and the old in its historic district that gives it its distinctive personality. The old town is full of picturesque streets and bars serving delicious pintxos, which is further evidence of the locals' devotion to food. Because of this, Bilbao is often ranked highly amongst Spain's most fascinating metropolises.
The Guggenheim Museum is a great place to start exploring this northern Spanish city. Frank Gehry used 33,000 ultra-thin titanium plates to make its peculiar curves, making it one of the most surprising examples of architecture from the 20th century. As with New York and Venice, it houses the most significant private collection of modern and contemporary art in the world. The Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao is another one of Spain's premier art galleries.
The Euskalduna Conference Centre, the Norman Foster-designed metro stations, the Isozaki and Pelli towers, the Calatrava-designed Zubizuri bridge, and the Philippe Starck-designed La Alhóndiga cultural centre, which was constructed atop a former wine cellar, are all part of the city's effort to present a forward-thinking, innovative image.
However, Bilbao's historic old town is an integral part of the city's identity and would be hard to picture without. It's fun to explore the 'Seven Streets' and find everything from traditional to hip cafes and shops to famous landmarks like the Cathedral or the elegant theatre modelled after the Paris Opera House, the Arriaga.
Here are two virtues: To the Basques, with love: a verdant metropolis and delicious food
Basque Country, home to one of the world's highest concentrations of Michelin-starred restaurants per capita, is home to Bilbao, whose cuisine is widely regarded as an art form. Bars in Plaza Nueva and the surrounding streets are always bustling with customers and serving up their famous pintxos. Amidst the lively bars, family-run restaurants, and celebrated chefs, foodies can feel at home here. In addition, they will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the La Ribera Market, a stunning structure where they can have their freshly purchased produce prepared for them or sample a variety of pintxos and Txakoli wine to the accompaniment of local musicians.
The culinary and cultural traditions of There are many parks in Bilbao, such as Doa Casilda de Iturrizar, and the city is surrounded by hills (for a classic way to see the city from above, try taking the Artxanda cable car). Bilbao's estuary is a visual representation of the city's revival. People paddle boarding can be seen on the water, and the Hanging Bridge of Portugalete, a World Heritage Site, can be reached by boat.
Getxo's beautiful beaches and cliffs are only a little over 30 minutes away by metro if that's not enough.