What to do on a Sunday in Bilbao?

Bilbao is the capital of the province of Vizcaya, which is located in northern Spain; it is one of the 3 provinces of the Basque Country (or Euskal Herria), an autonomous community located on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea, towards the eastern side, and bordering the country of France.

Bilbao has many places and activities that can be enjoyed not only on a Sunday, but also the rest of the week. You can combine different events, either cultural, about its histories, leisure, visiting museums, tasting its gastronomy, among others. In this article we will mention some of these places, so you can spend a different and fun Sunday.

Visit some places in the old town of Bilbao: 

  • Walk and stroll through the streets of the old town of Bilbao: initially the original old town was only made up of 3 streets, but over time they were expanded to what it is today; that is, 7 streets. It was in 1983 that it was remodeled due to a flood, and currently has both classic and avant-garde stores, restaurants and bars, where you can enjoy its good gastronomy.

In the tour through these streets you can get beautiful architecture of their houses, very colorful; there are also churches, the birthplace of Unamuno, palaces, the Ultramarinos Gregorio Martin, the Fuente del Perro, among others.

  • The Cathedral of Santiago el Mayor: its name was placed in honor of the patron saint of the capital of the province of Biscay; that is, Bilbao. It is a church with gothic style and that as of 2015 was declared a World Heritage Site. 

Here we can find different artistic works, such as Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the chapels of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios, Nuestra Señora de Begoña and San Diego de Alcalá. You can also visit the Main Chapel, the choir, the famous Cloister and some other chapels.

  • The Mercado de la Ribera: this market is located near the church of San Anton and is considered the largest market on the European continent. It has been in operation since the 14th century and it was in the 19th century that its structure, which used to operate in the open air, was covered. It has an area of 10,000 square meters that has been divided between its 2 floors. 

It consists of 59 stalls where you can taste certain menus, the fabulous pintxos or pinchos, brunch, breakfasts, among others. And if you wish, they can cook the products you have obtained in the market, as well as organize meals for birthdays or any event you wish. 

The current building has been in operation since 1929, designed by architect Ispizua with a rationalist design. The upper part offers many events such as jazz concerts, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, children’s theater, storytelling, monolog and much more.

  • The Plaza Nueva and the largest square in the historic center: anyone seeing this square would think that they are in another main square in Spain and not in the Basque Country. However, there are several aspects that indicate that you are in Euskadi, such as the building of the Euskaltzaindia and the Royal Academy of the Basque Language.

This area has several activities that you can enjoy, such as pintxos in the Gure Toki or in any of the bars that are located around the square, as well as the Café Bar Bilbao. And since it is Sunday, then you will know the antique market, where you can buy, exchange or sell coins, stamps, banknotes and records or second hand books or collectibles.

Some cultural activities at Museum level

  • The famous Maritime Museum, in the Ría de Bilbao: if you like boats and want to learn about this subject we recommend this museum, towards the left side of the river; specifically it is located in the Ramón de la Sota Pier, what was formerly the Euskalduna shipyards, where you will find several exhibition boats. You will also see a conch type crane.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao: it is located in the Plaza del Museo and has a good collection of works, a little more than 6000. These works date from the thirteenth century to the present day, where you can better understand the history of Bilbao and, of course, the country.
  • The Museum of Archeology of Vizcaya: it was inaugurated in 2009 at the site of the old Ledezma Station, and has remains from all over the Basque Country. It has approximately 500 pieces, all different, that somehow reflect the process of its capital since its origin. The rooms have videos and multimedia panels with explanations of these stories. 
  • The modern Guggenheim Museum: this museum is located on the left side of the river and was inaugurated in 1997, with a very modern and contemporary structure by Frank Gehry. It has 20 different rooms with a wide variety of exhibitions. It measures about 24,000 square meters, which also includes a cafeteria, 2 restaurants, 1 bookstore and an original auditorium. 

Externally we have another exhibition formed by a chandelier, made of bronze in combination with marble and stainless steel, which weighs about 22 tons and has a height of 10 m, called Maman; it is the work of Louise Bourgeois. The other is a dog named Puppy, about 12 m high, also made of steel, but covered with beautiful natural flowers, and complemented by Jeff Koons’ Tulips and Buren Daniel’s Red Arches. 

Other types of recreational activities: 

  • Boat trip on the Bilbao estuary and the Abra Bay: with this tour you can know or connect with Bilbao in a different way, as you will pass by the Guggenheim Museum, the Port of Santurtzi, the Hanging Bridge, the Deusto Canal, the Port of Getxo and others, but without the hustle and bustle of the city. In addition to the excitement of sailing along the Nervion Estuary. 

The boat is taken at the Plaza Pío Baroja, where it begins its tour of about 2 hours and a half; in each place of Puerto you can get off to get to know the place better and take a nice walk. You can even take this tour and get off and on for 24 hours.

  • Another walk is to go up to the Artxanda viewpoint: there are several ways to get to this viewpoint; one of them is on foot, along the route of about 250 m, but we must warn that there are some slopes and perhaps the journey is somewhat complicated for those who are not used to; it will take 1 hour and 45 minutes on the route, which begins at the Puente de la Salve (La Salve Bridge). 

You can also go up by bicycle, but you must take into account those slopes already mentioned above and you will arrive in about 25 minutes maximum, although it also depends on the speed, as the effort is greater. Another way is by car, which is more comfortable and faster. 

But the most common is to go up by funicular, which dates back more than 100 years. Being its base at the level of the Plaza del Funicular, near the promenade Campo de Volantín; more specifically between the Puente de la Salve and the City Hall of Bilbao.

In this way we arrive at Mount Artxanda and spend a different Sunday, with the best views of the city of Bilbao. From this point you can see the Guggenheim Museum, the estuary, the Iberdrola Tower, the famous Nuevo San Mames stadium and many other iconic places of this city. The viewpoint is located in the park called Pik Otamendi, in which there are some sculptures, such as El Engranaje, an original 1900 funicular. Also, and symbolically, the Fingerprint, originally from 1936, in carbon steel material, as a tribute and in honor of the victims of the Spanish Civil War; an art of humanity for reflection.

Posted in Bilbao, Europe, Spain.