Things to do in Bilbao

About Bilbao

Essential attractions include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, a masterpiece of modern architecture, and the historic old town of Casco Viejo with its charming plazas and alleys. Do not miss the scenic Artxanda Funicular for fantastic city views and the impressive San Mamés Stadium, home to the revered Athletic Club of Bilbao.
Children will enjoy the Bilbao Maritime Museum's interactive exhibits, the engaging Euskal Museoa Bilbao Basque Museum, and the expansive Doña Casilda Iturrizar park, perfect for playtime and picnics. The city's many playgrounds and child-friendly pintxos bars also offer family fun.
Rediscover nature by hiking the verdant trails of Pagasarri, enjoy leisurely walks around the picturesque Etxebarria Park, or cycle along the Bilbao riverbank. Water-based activities like kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on the estuary offer a different perspective of the city.
Bilbao shines indoors with options like tasting tours of its renowned pintxos bars, exploring cultural events at the Azkuna Zentroa, or browsing the stalls of the La Ribera Market. Indoor play centers and cinemas also provide amusement.
Enthusiasts rave about the comprehensive Bilbao tours which encompass exploring Casco Viejo, sailing along the Nervión river, and guided visits to the Guggenheim Museum. Gastronomic tours rank highly, offering insight into the delights of Basque cuisine.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum are cultural flagships, drawing visitors globally. The Maritime Museum and the Euskal Museoa Bilbao Basque Museum also stand out with their unique regional focus.
Indoor walking tours of the Guggenheim Museum or the guided exploration through the Fine Arts Museum represent intellectually stimulating rainy day activities. Culinary tours sampling local delicacies offer shelter and taste in one experience.
Consider a quick guided highlight tour of the Guggenheim Museum, a short scenic cruise on the Nervión river, or a 1-hour panoramic city tour that quickly orients you to the treasures of Bilbao.

1 review for audio tours in Bilbao

October 2022
Explore the Beauty of Bilbao by Foot
The ability to truly do it at your own pace was amazing! I loved each stop and was able to actually look around and check out other sights nearby! The recommendations were also great!

Best Things to Do In Bilbao

Discover the vibrant heart of the Basque Country with our guide to the very best things to do in Bilbao.

Bilbao: Doña Casilda Park

What is it?
A picturesque park offering lush greenery and peaceful retreats in the heart of the city.
Why you should go?
Known as the 'lung of Bilbao', Doña Casilda Park is a verdant oasis amidst the urban surroundings. With its enchanting duck pond, vibrant flower beds, and shaded pathways, the park is a favorite Bilbao activity for relaxation and leisure. Children can enjoy playgrounds, while adults appreciate the quiet benches and the charming music emanating from the occasional live bandstand performance. The park shines as a green jewel, enhancing the list of best things to do in Bilbao for visitors who seek to unwind.

Bilbao: Bilbao Maritime Museum

What is it?
A museum celebrating Bilbao's rich maritime history, located along the Nervión river.
Why you should go?
With a waterfront setting that's both picturesque and apt, the Bilbao Maritime Museum offers a deep dive into the shipbuilding and port activities that once drove Bilbao's economy. Interactive exhibits, historical vessels, and detailed models provide an immersive experience for all. This attraction stands out among the places to visit in Bilbao for its blend of educational content and engaging installations, making it a fulfilling stop for history and sea enthusiasts exploring what to see in Bilbao.

Bilbao: Zubizuri Bridge

What is it?
An elegant pedestrian bridge designed by architect Santiago Calatrava, spanning the Nervión river.
Why you should go?
Characterized by its sleek, white design, the Zubizuri Bridge is not merely a crossing point but a modern icon of Bilbao. Affectionately known as the "White Bridge", its unique curvature and glass-paneled pathway offer a modern juxtaposition against the historical city. Crossing the river on this architectural marvel becomes a highlight of Bilbao tours, providing unforgettable perspectives and photo opportunities that showcase the forward-thinking essence of the city.

Bilbao: Plaza Nueva

What is it?
A neoclassical square brimming with history, restaurants, and a bustling Sunday market.
Why you should go?
Plaza Nueva exudes the charm of Bilbao's social life, with its arcades housing some of the best pintxos bars and restaurants in the city. The square's regular flea market is a treasure trove for collectors and casual browsers alike. Culinary and cultural events at Plaza Nueva provide a sensory feast, offering insight into Basque tradition and lifestyle. Engaging in these communal gatherings is considered one of the best things to do in Bilbao for a genuine local experience.

Bilbao: San Mamés Stadium

What is it?
The home stadium of Athletic Club Bilbao, heralded for its electrifying football matches and loyal fan base.
Why you should go?
For sports enthusiasts, a visit to San Mamés Stadium is a thrilling encounter with local passion and athleticism. The roar of the crowd and the pulse of the game encapsulate the fervor of Bilbao's football legacy. Take a guided tour, witness the formidable architecture, and if timing allows, experience a match to see the city's love for their team. Engaging in this energy renders San Mamés a top choice among things to do in Bilbao for a memorable, adrenaline-fueled activity.

Bilbao: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

What is it?
An extraordinary museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by architect Frank Gehry.
Why you should go?
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is not just a museum; it's a statement piece of avant-garde architecture. Clad in titanium, its shimmering facade reflects the city's industrial history and cultural dynamism. Inside, you can experience a diverse and rich collection of modern art masterpieces, along with temporary exhibits from globe-trotting artists. Whether you're an art expert or novice, the Guggenheim promises an enriching gaze into the world of art innovation, affirming its place as one of the best things to do in Bilbao.

Bilbao: Casco Viejo

What is it?
The old quarter of Bilbao, filled with historic buildings, charming streets, and quaint shops.
Why you should go?
Wandering the atmospheric streets of Casco Viejo, visitors will find themselves transported back in time. This labyrinth of alleys features a plethora of unique boutiques, beautiful squares, and the stunning Santiago Cathedral. As a central hub for what to see in Bilbao, it's brimming with cultural events, vibrant nightlife, and the city's famous pintxos bars. Absorbing the old-world charm here is akin to flipping through the vibrant pages of Bilbao's storied past, making it an essential Bilbao activity.

Bilbao: Artxanda Funicular

What is it?
A century-old funicular railway offering breathtaking panoramic views of Bilbao.
Why you should go?
The Artxanda Funicular is not just a means of transportation but a journey to witness the sweeping vistas of Bilbao. Visitors taking this short, enjoyable ride reach the summit to access lookout terraces, sprawling parks, and leisure facilities. Ideal for photographers, families, or couples seeking a scenic escape, the funicular showcases Bilbao's landscape in its full glory. This makes it one of the most recommended things to do in Bilbao, offering a moment of tranquility above the city's hustle.

Bilbao: Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao

What is it?
A prestigious museum housing a significant collection of European art spanning several centuries.
Why you should go?
Home to some of the best artworks in Spain, the Fine Arts Museum of Bilbao invites art enthusiasts to delve into a repository of over 10,000 pieces. The collection encapsulates Gothic to contemporary art, allowing visitors to embark on a chronological journey through the history of art. Regular exhibitions, workshops, and cultural events add depth to the visitor experience. For anyone considering what to do in Bilbao, the museum's offerings stand out as both educational and visually enthralling.

Bilbao: La Ribera Market

What is it?
The largest covered market in Europe, known for its fresh produce and a variety of local foods.
Why you should go?
Set by the riverside, La Ribera Market serves as a cornucopia of Basque flavors and culinary craftsmanship. It's a bustling hub where locals and tourists alike can savor fresh seafood, artisanal cheeses, and exceptional wines. The market doubles as a cultural venue, with live music and gastronomic events filling the air with festive vibrancy. Sampling the local cuisine here is not just about eating; it's an exploration of the region's soulful connection to food, ranking high among fun things to do in Bilbao.

TOP-5 tours in Bilbao for first time visitors

  • Explore the iconic Guggenheim Museum, a beacon of modern art and architecture, which constitutes a central part of the things to see in Bilbao.
  • Stroll through the Casco Viejo, the historic quarter boasting a wealth of culture and what to do in Bilbao for history buffs.
  • Take a journey to Mount Artxanda via the funicular for a panoramic view, making it one of the fun things to do in Bilbao.
  • Discover the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum and the countless exhibits that illustrate why it's one of the places to visit in Bilbao.
  • Indulge in the culinary delights of Basque cuisine on a gastronomic tour, a highlight of Bilbao activities for food lovers.

Fun things to do in Bilbao with kids

Bilbao is a city that delights families with its mix of cultural charm and kid-friendly attractions. First on the list for an entertaining family day out is the Vizcaya Bridge. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, this hanging bridge combines history and fun in a unique transport ride across the river. Children marvel at the gondola moving above the water, and parents appreciate the fantastic views of the port and surrounding landscape. Next, the Maritime Museum offers interactive displays to educate and entertain curious minds about Bilbao's maritime past. With ship models, simulators, and open-air exhibits tailored to the interests of young explorers, it's an educational experience that feels like play. Finally, the Etxebarria Park, once an industrial site, now boasts vast green areas for outdoor activities. With ample space for picnics, play areas, and a sweeping view of Bilbao, it's an excellent spot for kids to run free and absorb the beauty of the Basque Country.

Things to do in Bilbao with family

Bilbao, with its blend of culture, history, and modernity, presents a rich tapestry of experiences suitable for visitors of all ages. Families visiting this vibrant city can engage in Bilbao activities that range from educational to purely whimsical. The Bilbao Aquarium, nestled on the edge of the picturesque Nervion River, offers a mesmerizing look at marine life, capturing the imaginations of both young and old with its colorful aquatic displays. For a more hands-on, interactive experience, the AlhondigaBilbao invites families to partake in cultural events, workshops, and exhibitions within an innovative space known for fostering creativity and learning. Lastly, families can step aboard the Artxanda Funicular, an enthralling ride that takes you to one of the city's best vantage points. Here, one can relish in the panoramic views of Bilbao while children delight in the spacious parkland, complete with play areas and open-air enjoyment. These compelling attractions exemplify the diverse range of things to do in Bilbao with family.

Free things to do in Bilbao

Bilbao offers a wealth of activities that need not come with a price tag, providing joy to those exploring on a budget. The bustling La Ribera Market combines the vibrancy of local life with the historic charm of the city, as it remains a locus for social and cultural happenings. Visitors can wander through a plethora of stalls, soaking up the rich aromas and lively ambiance of this culinary haven at no cost. Capturing the creative spirit of Bilbao, the street art in Zorrozaurre is a testament to the city’s thriving art scene. A self-guided tour among these urban canvases introduces art lovers to the edgy, imaginative side of Bilbao. Additionally, the scenic walk along the Nervión River presents a delightful route that showcases the city’s architectural beauty and serene natural surroundings. Whether for morning jogs or leisurely evening strolls, this pathway is a favorite for both residents and visitors alike, cementing its place among the top free things to do in Bilbao.

Cheap things to do in Bilbao

Even with a modest budget, Bilbao's offerings are robust and enjoyable, allowing you to experience its culture and charm affordably. A standout among economical Bilbao excursions is a visit to the Mercado de la Ribera. While shopping for local produce may require opening your wallet, simply browsing the colorful market space and soaking in the lively atmosphere is a treat that’s free. For those with a taste for the arts, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum presents an opportunity to witness world-class exhibitions with a minimal entrance fee that's often waived on specific days. Additionally, joining one of the community-led Bilbao tours through the city’s historic districts provides insightful narratives about Bilbao's rich history and architecture at low to no cost—a favorite for those curious about the essence of this Basque city. These cost-effective activities not only enrich your travel itinerary but also ensure that your visit to Bilbao remains memorable and vibrant.

Things to do in Bilbao for couples

For couples seeking a romantic retreat, Bilbao artfully combines culture, gastronomy, and stunning scenery to create memorable experiences. A visit to the panoramic Artxanda Lookout offers an intimate viewpoint from which to gaze upon Bilbao's urban layout, meandering river, and surrounding mountains; it’s a scenic spot perfect for shared moments and sunset selfies. Couples with a penchant for the arts can revel in the stunning architecture and world-renowned exhibitions of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, where the shared appreciation of innovative creativity kindles deeper connections. Food-loving duos can embark on a culinary journey, nibbling on pintxos and sipping on local txakoli in the cozy bars that dot the Casco Viejo, Bilbao's old quarter. Its cobblestone streets and historic ambiance provide the quintessential backdrop for a hand-in-hand exploration. Each of these attractions encapsulates the essence of Bilbao activities for couples, promising a unique blend of bonding opportunities.

Things to do in Bilbao at night

Bilbao transforms as the sun sets, offering a plethora of nocturnal activities that exude the city's vibrant energy. The iconic Guggenheim Museum, renowned for its daytime cultural allure, becomes an arresting vision at night when its titanium curves are lit up, a romantic backdrop for evening strolls along the Nervión River. For a taste of Bilbao's spirited nightlife, the Indautxu district beckons couples and friends alike to its myriad of bars and clubs, where both traditional Basque atmospheres and modern tunes can be savored till the early hours. Theater enthusiasts should not miss the chance to catch a live performance at the Teatro Arriaga. This opulent venue, with its neobaroque façade and rich programming, hosts concerts, operas, and plays that cater to diverse artistic tastes. Each attraction offers unique insights into the things to do in Bilbao at night, ensuring that visitors can capture the city's after-dark enchantment in full measure.