Bilbao may be the largest city in both the Basque Country and northern Spain, but you can still experience its art, architecture, and cuisine in just one day. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Bilbao.
Dedicate your first morning to the Guggenheim, Bilbao’s most famous museum, which is best-known for its Frank Gehry architecture and vast collection of modern art. Beat the crowds by arriving early, and opt for a private or small-group tour to tick off Guggenheim highlights in limited time.
Once you’re done, grab a coffee, enjoy views over the estuary, wander the neighboring República de Abando Park, and snap a photo with Jeff Koons’ Puppy sculpture. Meanwhile, art lovers can explore at the Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao).
Spend the afternoon delving into the coveted cuisine of the Basque Country. Food lovers can sample the best of Bilbao’s pintxos (Basque tapas) on a food tour. Some focus entirely on the tapas available in the Old Quarter, while others include wine tasting and a market visit. Alternatively, you can learn to make your own pintxos during a cooking class.
Or, learn more about local history and culture on a walking, running, or boat tour. To explore at your own pace and visit only the attractions that capture your attention, opt for a convenient hop-on hop-off bus service.
Treat yourself to an extravagant dinner and drinks on your first and final evening in Bilbao. Many of the city’s top restaurants can be found in the Old Quarter, so stroll around until you find an eatery that appeals to you. Must-try dishes include txangurro (spider crab), bacalao pil-pil (fried cod), or bacalao a la Vizcaína (cod in a red pepper and onion sauce).
Round out the evening with some music. The Euskalduna Palace is home to the Basque Symphony Orchestra, while Bilbao as a whole is replete with live music venues to suit most musical tastes.