This city has everything to be a city that you should know and there are many points of interest to visit in Bilbao in one day, one of the most avant-garde cities in Europe to which we must add its exquisite cuisine.
Traveling to Bilbao is a unique experience that will take you on a journey through the history of architecture and enjoy a perfect plan.
Here we are going to tell you the most important things to see in Bilbao and how to take a tour that will take you to know it in the best possible way.
A walk with the best things to see in Bilbao in one day
1. Arriaga Theater, gateway to the Old Town
Our tour of this city can begin in the Casco Viejo, a network of narrow streets where you have to get lost and enjoy.
The walk can begin next to the beautiful façade of the Teatro Arriaga, which reminds many of the Opera Garnier in Paris although it has nothing to do with it. If you have the opportunity to visit its interior, do not miss it either.
The Arriaga Theater is the gateway to the Casco Viejo and next to it begins Bidebarrieta street that takes us inside.
2. The Old Town of Bilbao
The Casco Viejo is the most commercial area of Bilbao and a place where in each street or square we find some corner to enjoy and surprise ourselves with its atmosphere or having a pintxo in one of its many bars, which have nothing to envy to the most famous of San Sebastian.
On this street, on the way to the Cathedral, we first come across the Municipal Library, with a very pretty façade in an eclectic style.
At the end of the street we arrive at the Plaza de Santiago, where the Cathedral of the same name is located. It is worth entering through its neo-Gothic main door and admiring its three naves and the ambulatory, as well as the choir, the main altarpiece or its numerous chapels.
3. The New Square of Bilbao
After visiting the Cathedral we can walk to Plaza Nueva, an almost square neoclassical square where the Royal Academy of the Basque Language is located.
This square is perfect to rest and observe the Bilbao atmosphere before continuing our walk.
Even if it is retracing our steps, it is mandatory to go to the famous Siete Calles, the most authentic of the Casco Viejo and where the city began to be built. In these streets you must lose yourself and enjoy every corner and facade.
4. Walk along the Ribera del Nervión
The Seven Streets of the Old Town of Bilbao take us to the Ribera de la Ría de Nevíón.
There we find the Mercado de la Ribera, the largest covered market in Europe, and next to it the Church of San Antón, built in the 15th century in a Gothic style and which is currently one of the most beloved churches in Bilbao.
Walking along the Ría we will observe on the other bank the houses of Bilbao La Vieja, the oldest neighborhood in the city, as well as the Estación de Abando, a beautiful railway station where trains from all over Spain arrive from late nineteenth century.
Leaving aside the Arriaga Theater, where our walk began, we arrive at the Arenal Gardens, next to which is the Church of San Nicolás de Bari.
5. The Arenal Bridge and Bilbao City Hall
It stands out for its two side towers and its imposing façade and from where the Arenal Bridge departs to take you to the other bank of the Ría.
Crossing the bridge and following the course of the Ría again, we will arrive at Bilbao City Hall.
It is actually on the other bank but from here we will have the best views of the beautiful building located at one end of the famous Town Hall Bridge.
6. The Enlargement of Bilbao
After crossing the bridge we find ourselves in the Ensanche de Bilbao.
We can see the Plaza de Venezuela and continue along Calle Buenos Aires until we reach Gran Vía, the commercial artery of Bilbao where we can find numerous shops as well as the most important banks in the city.
On Gran Vía there is also the Foral Palace, headquarters of the Bizkaia Provincial Council, located shortly before reaching Plaza Moyúa, the nerve center of Bilbao with a spectacular fountain in its center.
7. The Guggenhein Museum in Bilbao, the main place to visit in Bilbao
And from here, through the Alameda Recalde, we headed to one of the most famous museums, not only in Bilbao, but in the world, the Guggenheim Museum.
The spectacular titanium and glass building, much more beautiful than the one that houses the Guggenheim Museum in New York, a great and highly innovative work by Frank Gehry leaves no one indifferent.
We recommend taking a full tour of the building, admiring every detail and checking how, despite its avant-garde design, it is perfectly integrated into a privileged environment dominated on one side by the Puente de la Salve and on the other by the Iberdrola skyscraper.
The interior of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is less known, since most visitors are left with the spectacular nature of the building, but if you have time, do not miss out on visiting this museum and its exhibitions. And don’t forget to take a photo with Mom or Puppy, the spider and the dog that surround the building.
More days in Bilbao? What to see in Bilbao in 2 days
If you don’t have much time, the previous tour will let you know the most important thing to visit in Bilbao, but this city has much more and if you have enough time, don’t miss out on knowing every corner.
And of course take a walk along the Paseo Abandoibarra or the Ribera de Botica Verde enjoying the banks of the Nervión.
You can find more information on the official Bilbao tourism page.