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BILBAO | Bilbao, an industrial city in Spain, has experienced significant regeneration since the Frank Gehry designed Bilbao Guggenheim opened in 1997. Bilbao may not have the physical beauty of may of Spain’s other other cities, but we can imagine it is probably an excellent place to live with excellent public transportation and plenty of green spaces. We felt like we were able to get a good feel for the city in our 24 hour visit, and can’t wait to return to get under the surface a bit more.

In order to facilitate easy parking, we stayed 1 metro stop out of the old town (Casco Viejo) in an area called Santuku. The Metro iss incredibly clean timely and easy to navigate, but note if you purchase a 24 hour ticket it expires at the end of that day, not after 24 hours.

After walking through the Gran Via and down towards the waterfront, we took a pintxo break at La Viña del Ensanche (Diputazio Kalea, 10, 48008 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain). Over some delicious ham croquettes and wine, we admired the beautifully constructed bar.

The old part of the town is beautiful and really extensive – definitely the place to head to if you’re wanting to jump straight into some shopping and gastronomic delights. We did a small pintxo crawl around the Plaza Mayor which included stops at the Bar de Bilbao and the beautifully historic looking Victor Montes. Thanks to our time in San Sebastian we were well seasoned in the art of the pintxo hop, and enjoyed delicious small bites of food with Crianza from Rioja or cups of beers (known as “canas”).

Our last few hours in Bilbao were spent at the must-visit Guggenheim Bilbao. The entrance fee is €13.00 and includes an in-depth audio guide. In addition to providing explanation for the modern art inside the museum provides a lot of background on the inspiration for the stunning building. The building itself is truly a work of art that stops one in their tracks and is classic Frank Gehry. We could spot the building on our way into the city which is definitely the defining structure of the Bilbao riverfront.

bilbao spain

To end our short Bilbao visit was enjoyed lunch at Mr Marvellous (48009, Heros Kalea, 18, 48009 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain). We had our final feel of Spanish cuisine including yet more croquettes, a Spanish omettlete and a decadent chocolate desert with ganache, ice cream, and chocolate cake.