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4 Not-To-Miss Places in Bilbao

Exploring the Bizkaia Capital and its unforgettable experiences

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While The World’s 50 Best Restaurants were celebrated in Bilbao this year, we got the chance to explore some of the cultural and culinary heritage of the Basque city as well. Here, we want to share 4 recommendations and not-to-miss places in Bilbao.

1. Mercado de la Ribera & Restaurant

Mercado Ribera is the oldest and largest market hall in the city. Until today, you can buy fresh produce from fruits and vegetables, fish and seafood, to local specialties such as spices and herbs there. Located inside the market as well is La Ribera, a restaurant and bar designed by iconic local architect Pedro Ispizua. When dining at La Ribera, you can choose from their menu or bring your own produce you bought at the market and have it prepared by the team any way you like – a truly unique gastronomic experience.

2. Guggenheim Museum

Whether you are coming for the art, the architecture or both – the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is probably the most recognizable landmark of the city and a space not to be missed. The building is located right by the river Nervión providing for a stunning skyline with the bright red La Salve bridge right behind it. The museum was completed and opened in 1997 and has since focused on contemporary art from the 20th century, mainly installations, video art and more. With an exhibition space of 11.000 square metres, one can easily wander for hours or even days.

3. Gure Toki and Plaza Nueva

No visit to Bilbao or the Basque Country would be complete without indulging in pintxos, the traditional small-bite of the region. Although pintxos can found at the bars of nearly all restaurants and cafés in the city, at Plaza Nueva they are lined up side by side. One culinary experience standing out in particular is Gure Toki, a traditional pintxos bar that was reinvented and reopened in 2015 with the aim to represent contemporary Basque gastronomy as “haute cuisine in petite size”.

4. Outlook Platforms

As the city of Bilbao is located in a valley, the surrounding hills offer magnificent views of the old town, the river, bridges and buildings of the Bizkaia capital. A well-rounded experience is a ride on the funicular, a cable car that runs approximately every 15 minutes up to the Mirador de Artxanda, a small park and platform that overlooks the valley and – on a clear day – the surrounding area.

Author: Franziska Winterling
Photos: © Cris Santos, © Timo Roth