This was my first visit to Bilbao, and it didn’t disappoint. It rained the two days I was visiting, but to be honest that didn’t put me off from walking around and enjoying everything this city has to offer.
Bilbao has an industrial past, not the nicest weather and had very bad reputation until the 90’s due to terrorism attacks.
But nowadays this city is an example for many others. There is no doubt that the Guggenheim museum changed Bilbao once and for all. This building is simply breathtaking.
During a decade the local government accomplished a full facelift and this is now one of the preferred destinations in Spain. There is a brand new tram, old buildings have been transformed and there is a very strong art scene around.
You would be very lucky if you have sunny days, but don’t let the weather put you off. One of the main attractions in Bilbao is actually the food, that can be enjoyed indoors.
Basque cuisine is one of a kind. Most of the Michelin starred chefs in Spain come from this region.
The most typical dish has to be “pinchos”, one or two bites of the most amazing ingredients. My recommendation is to move around the city, from one pace to another tasting each place’s speciality. Of course you have to accompany each visit with Spanish wines or beer. It is quite an experience.
I went to Bilbao with old friends as a celebration, and I had a really good time catching up over food and more food.
There is a lot to see, but there is nothing like getting lost around the old town. Carrying the umbrella at all times seems to be the norm, and many old men wear “chapelas”, which is the typical Basque beret.
For a place to stay, Barcelo Bilbao Nervión has the perfect location and offers outstanding service.
Finally, talk to the locals. They are the best source of information and you will receive unique tips and recommendations. We were lucky enough to go to a very famous bar called Bowie, where locals have been gathering for 20 years. Sadly I have heard that the place closed down just a week after our visit.