Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology
A small gem of a museum in Bilbao’s Old Town, the Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology chronicles the region’s past, from murky prehistory to the modern day. Housed in a former train station, the museum’s collection consists of thousands of ancient artifacts, ranging from household items to the 15th-century Urbieta wreck.
Open since 2009, the Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology gives Bilbao visitors the opportunity to step back into the Biscay region’s primordial past, from the earliest days of its human history. Artifacts from the Iron Age and Neolithic periods are displayed alongside objects from the Middle Ages, most of which were excavated in nearby archaeological digs, and which capture the way that people once lived in this rugged corner of northern Spain.
A number of objects hail from the Cave of Santimamiñe, a Paleolithic settlement, while the Urbieta wreck—a 15th-century boat that was excavated from the Guernica estuary—is a collection highlight. Multimedia features complement the ancient items on display.
Things to know before you go
- Children under 12 can visit the Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology for free, and it’s also free for everyone on Museum Day (May 18) every year.
- The museum is accessible to visitors with limited mobility.
- There is no on-site café or restaurant, so it’s best to eat before your visit.
How to get there
The Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology is located at 2 Calzada de Mallona in Bilbao’s Old Town (Casco Viejo), an area of the city that’s pedestrian-only. Near the Casco Viejo station, it can be reached by the Metro, numerous train lines (including the E1, E3, E4, L3, and Trena), and local buses.
When to get there
The museum is open every day except Mondays, typically from morning to evening (note that it’s closed for 2 hours every afternoon for a lunch/siesta period). On Sundays and public holidays, it’s open from morning until early afternoon, with no lunch closure. The museum is busiest on weekends and in the summer; visit during the week for a calmer experience.
If you want to extend your museum-going experience, the Euskal Museoa (also known as the Basque Archaeological, Ethnographic and Historical Museum) is just around the corner. Set to reopen following a period of renovation, the museum first opened in 1921 and is dedicated to the history and ethnography of the Basque people.
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- Basque Museum (Museo Vasco de Bilbao)
- Casco Viejo
- Bilbao's Santiago Cathedral
- Arriaga Theatre (Teatro Arriaga)
- San Vicente Martír de Abando Church (Parroquia de San Vicente Martir de Abando)
- Zubizuri Bridge
- Artxanda Funicular (Funicular de Artxanda)
- Moyua Square (Plaza Moyúa)
- Azkuna Zentroa
- Guggenheim Museum
- Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao)
- Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park
- Euskalduna Palace (Palacio Euskalduna)
- Itsasmuseum Bilbao