About Bilbao

Straddling the banks of the River Nervion, Bilbao has grown into one of Spain’s major ports and more recently, a leading tourist destination.

The opening of the now world famous landmark building the Museo Guggeheim Bilbao has become inextricably linked with the fast growing city of the Basque province. And while it remains a must see, there are a multitude of other attractions on offer both in Bilbao and the surrounding Basque country.

While Frank Gehry’s masterpeice has made an indelible mark of the Bilbao skyline, the city has an array of other fine buildings and landmarks both historic and modern. The Museo de Ballas Artes is home to one of Spain’s best collections of art and the arts is general are further served by the striking Palacio de la Musica y Congresos Euskalduna.

Bridges too are a major feature within the city, one of the most recent being the Zubizuri bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. Downriver is yet another landmark bridge, the Puente Colgante. Designed by Alberto Palacio, a student of Gustaf Eiffel, the hanging bridge is the oldest of its type in continuous operation in the world and in 2006, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The very latest addition to the city skyline is the striking Iberdola skyscraper designed by Cesar Pelli and due for completion in 2011.

Beyond Bilbao

Leave the city behind and in just an hour’s drive travellers will find themselves in the heart of La Rioja wine region. Home to many of Spain’s most famous producers, including Marques de Riscal in Elciego, which has also commissioned a landmark hotel building designed by Frank Gehry, architect of the Guggenheim in Bilbao. The region is scattered with hilltop towns and villages including the walled medieval city of Laguardia.

Return to the coast and east of Bilbao is the elegant seaside town of Donostia San Sebastian. Situated on a horseshoe shaped bay, the city was made popular by the aristocracy in the late 19th century and is now the venue for several renowned arts festivals and also the location of one of Spain’s most famous luxury hotels, the Maria Cristina.