Capital of the Basque Country and city of a thousand shades, Bilbao is one of those places to visit at least once in a lifetime because it is sparkling, colorful, brilliant. In Bilbao you can breathe the Basque atmosphere even if it is perhaps not exactly like all the other Basque countries because it manages to maintain its own well-defined and multifaceted identity.
It is not one thing, so it is difficult to describe it. It contains in itself different characters, cultures and nuances, precisely those that give it that being original, strong, decisive. Not being very big, the perfect duration of a trip should be a weekend, but 24 hours can be enough to discover its most important elements, provided they are well organized. Here's what to see in Bilbao in one day.
- One day itinerary in Bilbao: Morning
- One day itinerary in Bilbao: Afternoon
- One day itinerary in Bilbao: Evening
- User questions and comments
One day itinerary in Bilbao: Morning
1 - Casco Viejo, Santiago Cathedral, Municipal Library
Typical breakfast at the Bohemian Lane spending no more than € 4,00. We are in the heart of the historic city center, the Old Town, consisting of 7 streets connected to each other, narrow and characteristic, with more than 700 years of history. We take Done Jakue Plazatxoa and then Posta Kalea and arrive in plaza de Santiago in front of the Santiago Cathedral, the most famous place of worship in the city. Built on a stretch of the route leading to Santiago de Compostela (from which it takes its name), it has a Gothic style architecture, despite being built in 1400. Its Renaissance portico is of notable beauty. Not being very large, it is also possible to visit it inside. From here along Calle Bidebarrieta Kalea you arrive at the Municipal Library whose palace has an eclectic style, inaugurated in 1890 and built by Severino de Achùcarro. Inside, the stained glass windows and the large chandeliers that descend from the ceiling deserve our attention.
2 - Church of San Nicolàs, Arriga Theater
We head towards the Church of San Nicolàs along Areatza Kalea. This church stands opposite the Arriaga Theater in the heart of the history of Bilbao. Built in 700, it features a Baroque style, has a central dome with chapels and the Sacristy around it. The external structure and internal furnishings are truly fascinating and prestigious. The Arriaga Theater is located at the foot of the Puente del Arenal and it is the oldest theater in the city. It has a neo-Baroque facade that is somewhat reminiscent of the Paris Opera and was built in 1890 by the architect Joaquin Rucoba.
- Distance traveled: 2,3 km / 32 min
- Places visited: Casco Viejo (free), Santiago Cathedral (free), Municipal Library (free), Church of San Nicolàs (free) Arriga Theater (free)
- Bilbao like a local: personalized guided tour
- Where to have breakfast: Bohemian Lane, C / Carniceria Vieja, 3
One day itinerary in Bilbao: Afternoon
1 - Ria de Nervion, Ponte Zubizuri, Guggenheim Museum
We stay in the area for lunch. Irrintzi is a place where you can have a quick lunch with tapas for around € 10,00. Refreshed, from Santa Maria Kalea we leave the Casco Viejo and arrive on the banks of the Ria de Nervìon that we walk to give us a truly fascinating overview of the area. Along Campo de Volantin Pasealekua we arrive at Zubizuri Bridge or also called Calatrava. To walk it we take the stairs. Its arched structure, slender and white, gives a bit the idea of being a sailboat and is typical of the Spanish architect's style. Once off the bridge, we walk along the Paseo di Uribitarte for about ten minutes to get to Guggenheim Museum which is striking not only for its 51-meter high shimmering structure and for its works, but also for the first sculpture we encounter, a huge spider, the Maman. For art lovers, especially modern art, this museum is a true paradise.
2 - Town Hall, Etxebarria Park
As soon as we leave, we get on the green tram to get off at Pio Baroja and in 3 minutes on foot be in front of the city Hall. The building was inaugurated in 1892 after nine years of construction and designed by the architect Joaquin Rucoba. The structure is elegant and rich. The passing of time does not allow us to enter (also because reservations are required for visits) but its exterior is already beautiful, impressive. Walking, taking Quintana Kalea, we arrive at the neighbor Etxebarria Park, where we could sit down for a while to resume our journey through the streets of Bilbao.
- Distance traveled: 4 km / 53 min
- Places visited: Ria de Nervion (free), Ponte Zubizuri (free), Guggenheim Museum (€ 13,00 adults, € 7,50 pensioners and students, free for children and friends of the museum), Palazzo del Comune (free), Etxebarria Park ( free)
- 2 hour guided bike tour
- Where to have lunch: Irrintzi, Santa Maria Kalea, 8
One day itinerary in Bilbao: Evening
1 - Plaza Unamuno and Dinner
On foot, along Mallona Galtzada, we return to the Casco Viejo to discover plaza Miguel de Unamuno, the liveliest of the historic center where we find two famous museums: the archaeological Museum and Basque museum. At the end of Calle Mallona there are 213 steps leading to the Basilica of our senora de Begona, alternatively there is a paid lift. We will not go up to the Church, but we will stop for dinner in the historic center, precisely at Victor restaurant, in Kale Barria where it is possible to have a typical Spanish dinner by spending no more than € 15,00. The environment is welcoming and traditional.
2 - Casco Viejo
Always in the historic center you can have a drink at the K2, in Calle Somera 10, which we reach by walking along Artekale Kalea. Art exhibitions are often set up. It is a place that is very fashionable among young people and where you can end a tiring but very interesting day.
- Distance traveled: 900 m / 14 min
- Places visited: Miguel Unamuno square (free), Calle Mallora (free)
- Where to dine: Restaurante Victor, Kale Barria, 2
Before leaving: useful tips
- When to go. There is not a perfect time to visit Bilbao because the climate is mild with sunny and not too hot summers and cold and mostly rainy winters. It is preferable to go in the spring, but it is not a rule.
- Public transport. It is recommended to take the metro because it is comfortable and functional. Active until late at night, it covers all areas of the city, even the extra-urban ones along the coast.
- Bilbao Bizkaia Card. Very useful if you decide to travel by public transport. With a cost of € 10,00 you can choose the one that is valid for 24 hours and allows you to travel on all public transport (trams, buses, metro, funiculars).
- Living room: if you decide to extend your visit, take a look at our accommodation offers
What not to see: the attractions that are better to give up
- Basilica de Begona. Certainly interesting both for its interior and for the exterior, but it is too decentralized with respect to our path.
- Market de la Ribera. Despite being in the historic center, it is a stage that we have to give up due to lack of time.
- Museum of Fine Arts. Nice and interesting, but there is usually a queue to get in.
- Artxanda funicular. It would be worth a visit for the breathtaking view of the city it guarantees, but there is no time in a day.
- Church of San Anton. It should be visited, but it is not part of our one day itinerary.