A Visitors Guide to Bilbao, Spain
Bilbao is the fifth largest city in Spain and is located on the northern shoreline. Founded in the fourteenth century, modern Bilbao is an up and coming city as further cultural, economic and social projects are being developed.
While Bilbao attracts many tourists each year, historically they have been mostly from Spain or nearby France, but in recent years more German, Italian and British people have started flocking to the region. Bilbao has so much to offer that visitors are never left without something to do.
Bilbao is home to two of the best art galleries in Spain, as well as several theatres, concert halls, not to mention the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. Each year Bilbao holds numerous festivals including the most famous ‘Semana Grande’ which translates as ‘The Big Week’.
The Semana Grande is held in August and attracts over 100,000 people every year. With bullfighting, street entertainment, free music and strongman competitions, and many other events, the festival is always a hit with natives and visitors alike.
Bilbao also has various museums, the most popular of which is the art specialist, the Guggenheim Museum, which is said to be the driving force behind the increase in tourism to Bilbao. The museum shares the largest art collections in the world with New York and Venice, but also houses its own spectacular collection.
The Guggenheim Museum building itself is a sight to behold as it is covered in titanium panels, creating an unusual vision. It is built alongside the Nervion River, providing visitors with a picturesque landscape to enjoy.
Bilbao with Children
If you want to visit Bilbao with the family, fear not, for there are plenty of activities for the children all year round! The theatres often play musicals, have puppets, clowns and of course there’s always the cinema to check out.
The ‘Aste Nagusia’ festival is held yearly in the third week in August and has some fabulous activities for children. There are children’s shows on every morning, afternoon and evening for 10 consecutive days, as well as competitions, fireworks, a fairground and circus. Phew!
For more than a month over the festive period the Children’s Christmas Park opens up within the grounds of the Bilbao fair and runs activities and rides for the kids. As well as this, the famous Guggenheim and Fine Arts museums periodically arrange special workshops and events specifically for youngsters, so it’s always worth having a look to see what’s on.
Bilbao for Young Adults
Bilbao has an exciting nightlife and offers modern art, stylish fashion, cool music and a variety of leisure activities aimed at young adults. For example, every April and May Bilbao holds the Fantasy Film Festival, as well as the International Documentary and Short Film Festival every November.
A program called the ‘Bilbao Gaua’ (Bilbao Night) was initiated and funded by the local council to attract more young adults to Bilbao. This night event runs every weekend and includes different activities each week such as games, courses, workshops, storytelling and even film sessions.
Bilbao is an interesting and exciting place that is rich in history, art, and culture, an alternative Spanish holiday destination. There is something for the entire family, which is why it is such a great, yet relatively quiet, holiday destination.
Article by Natalie Moody