Bilbao, lively city a lover for a sport and culture
Situated in the Bay of Biscay, in northern Spain, the city of Bilbao is surrounded by delightful countryside of forests and mountains, beaches and rocky coastlines making it a real tourist attraction. Spanish vitality is expressed in the cordiality of the inhabitants, but also in the numerous sports and games that are played here: not just long rides by bike, on the thirty kilometres of cycle paths, but also swimming in the numerous pools, fitness in the gyms, as well as golf and jogging. Many sports are practised such as football, basketball, rugby, yachting, surfing and athletics.
Also widely followed are the rural sports typical of the Basque country, some of which have ancestral origins, which involve tests of strength accompanied by bets on who will carry the most weights, scythe the most grass or row the fastest. But the taste for betting is seen mainly in the national sport of pelota (either hand or with bat), the most followed and played, which takes place in the courts of each town of the region.
There are many other types of games and shows, and each day there are pop and rock concerts, but the many important festivals are what, above all, attracts the tourists, such as the Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival in April and May, the International Documentary and Short Film Festival in November.
Even children’s entertainment in this city enjoys particular attention: at Carnival time, games, processions and puppet shows are organised, and at Christmas, for more than a month, the doors of the Children’s Christmas Park open at the International Trade Fair Centre of Bilbao, where children can enjoy games, films and shows of every type designed especially for them. Another land of milk and honey for children opens in the 3rd week of August, with merry-go-rounds, circuses and fireworks, which all contribute to making Bilbao the ideal city for family tourism.
But Bilbao attracts not only for its fun activities, but also for its lively cultural life: suffice it to say that Bilbao has some of the most important museums in Spain.
The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum is a magnificent modern construction, the work of the architect Frank O. Gehry, which houses one of the world’s most important collections of modern and contemporary art.
There is also a Fine Arts Museum, one of the finest in Spain, with valuable collections divided into Ancient Art (El Greco, Zurbaran, Goya and Van Dyck), Contemporary Art with Gauguin, and Basque Art with names such as Zuloaga and Iturrino.
The historic buildings
The historic buildings of Bilbao are also magnificent: the oldest in the city is the Cathedral de Santiago, in Gothic style, which was built on the site of an old hermitage dating back to the times of the first St. James pilgrimages. The choir and cloister in Florid Gothic style are worth seeing in the cathedral. The Gothic style reigns supreme even in the Basilica of Begoña where, according to tradition, the Virgin Mary, known as la Amatxo, much loved by the inhabitants of Bilbao, appeared at the beginning of the sixteenth century.
Among the most interesting civil buildings is the eclectic Vizcaya Regional Government building, dating back to the beginning of the last century, which was sumptuously decorated in response to the needs of the bourgeoisie of the era to express their economic power. Sumptuous Art Deco decorations, stained-glass windows and floral motifs are found in the vast building of the Ribera Market, the largest covered market in Europe with an area of 10,000 square metres. Here, amongst other things, you can taste and buy very fresh fish and shellfish.
Bilbao is also considered the capital of cod, which is cooked in many recipes, and it is advisable to taste some, especially after having 'passed' the ceremony of chiquiteo, which consists of going from bar to bar to drink a small glass of wine. Other delights of Bilbao are the famous pintxos, small gastronomic miniatures that consist of a slice of bread covered with various culinary creations, presented with lots of imagination, with fish, meat, vegetables, a joy for the palate and for the eyes. Casco Vecchio, Abando and Indautxu are the most famous areas to go for pintxos.
Where to sleep in Bilbao
Bilbao is a welcoming city and offers different possibilities for accommodation.
To find the ideal hotel and the best offers you can do a search for the stars but also for districts or landmarks.
Text by Anna Glik
Photos: Sisterscom.com, Shutterstock
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Copyright © Sisterscom.com
Update april 2018
WHERE TO GO
You might be interested in
Destinations found in the vicinity
Airports nearby Bilbao
AVION TOURISM MAGAZINE
in digital version
Italian's art cities. On this issue we recommend you: Venice, Bergamo, Milan, Turin, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Palermo and Catania. Discover the destinations directly on the website of the magazine.