Bilbao: culture & cool hotspots
Bilbao was once known as a drab industrial city, but today it is vibrant, hip and full of cool hotspots. Not surprisingly, the city is gaining tremendous popularity as a city break destination. This is also a very nice stop during your road trip through northern Spain. Especially if you are traveling with a van or RV. Right on the city you will find a great RV site with a view of the city.
Bilbao is located in the Basque Country, an autonomous region of Spain, with a population of nearly 350,000. The city also feels and tastes very different from “normal spain” as a result. For example, the region has its own cuisine and even its own language. Bilbao is the capital of the Basque Country, located in a mountainous area and a few minutes’ drive from the Bay of Biscay. So reason enough why you absolutely should not miss this city.
In this article
What to do in Bilbao
Bilbao is the capital of Pintxos, so what you should do a lot of in Bilbao is eat Pintxos. These are small bites that are often eaten with a toothpick. In bars, you’ll find bowls full of pintxos. Often you can grab them yourself and then the pricks are counted. Or you specify which one you want and they come and bring a plate full of goodies to your table.
Visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Museum is BIlbao’s must-see. In and around this museum you will find beautiful modern art and masterpieces. The building itself is already absolutely a picture to admire.
Watch a game of Athletic Bilbao
In the Basque Country, they are proud of everything Basque and especially when it comes to soccer. Whether you are a soccer fan or not attending a game at Athletic Bilbao’s stadium is always a fat party.
Stroll through the historic center
After all, that’s really what we prefer to do in a city; stroll around and grab a terrace every now and then, and in Bilbao’s case, with a nice bite to go with it. Walking through the historic center of Bilbao, you will also be treated to the most beautiful buildings.
Even more fun to see in Bilbao:
- Visit the Santiago Cathedral
- Visit the Mercado de la Ribera fresh produce market
- Grab a bike and explore the city
- If you have a little longer time also visit Picos de Europa & San Sebastian
Hotspots & food in Bilbao
- Pasteleria Suiza: pastry time!
- La Camelia Vegan Bar: for you guessed it VEGAN FOOD
- Oh Taku: for when you’re terribly hungry for Japanese food
- Mercado de la Ribera: in the fresh market you will find numerous places where you can order a drink or snack.
- Bar la Muga for the specialty beer lover (everyone, that is, I should hope ;p)
- Zuga Taberna: place to order delicious Pintxos
Best time to travel to Bilbao
We visited Bilbao in June and in terms of temperature it was really great. In addition, the city is also nice and quiet. In summer, it can get a lot hotter and busier. Best travel time to visit the city runs from May to September.
Note that on Sundays many places are closed.
Which budget do i need in Bilbao?
- Motorhome site: 15 euros per night
- Hotel: 50 euros per night
- Eating out: 20 – 40 euros (especially if you choose pintxos you won’t spend much)
- Transportation: we paid 1.50 euros for a bus ride. So no money. Public transportation is super well organized and very affordable.
Practical information about Bilbao
- Download a translate app. During our trip, there were few people who could speak English. Google Translate was really a lifesaver then. Or download duolingo and start learning Spanish. Even better, of course.
- Try to avoid toll roads as much as possible. The toll in Spain is huge. We paid about 30 euros for an hour’s drive. You also miss the most beautiful spots this way.
- Use the app park4night or camper contact to find the nicest RV sites and campgrounds
- Looking for a free overnight stay? Through TrustedHousesitters, you can babysit other people’s homes and pets for free.
- We have already had 2x per breakdown on the road and then were very I with the ANWB. This year we even opted for the complete package, since last year we got stuck in Germany for 8 days and only spent 80 euros per day on accommodation
- Download the foreign affairs app and stay up to date with the latest travel advice
- Attention Orange Travel Advisory. Also, if you travel through an orange area, your insurance can deny charges. If there is an orange travel advisory regarding Corona, the insurance will only not cover costs related to Corona (please check, because this is not the case everywhere).
- Refueling is cheaper in villages. So never fill up your tank on the highway
- If you want to withdraw money in Europe, you often have to pay a small fee to your bank. We recently switched to Knab, which does not charge additional fees. We are very happy with it + you now receive €50 gift when you use Knab’s Switch Service!
- A credit card is really handy to have with you. For example, purchases are extra insured and in some places you can only pay by credit card.
What are nice places to stay in Bilbao?
Motorhome site Bilbao
We spent a night at the camper place “Área de Autocaravanas de Kobetamendi “and this was really great! You have a great view of the city and with the bus (which stops in front of the RV spot) you’ll be there in no time. There is actually no plumbing included, but if you ask very nicely you can really use the toilet for a while.
We paid 15 euros per night in low season.
Hotels in Bilbao
Of course, we also spotted lots of cool hotels in Bilbao for you. Again, saves some searching.
Plus we always like a booking through We Wander Why. You pay nothing extra and we get a very small fee for each booking. So if you are happy with this article and would like to receive more We Wander Why content in the future, please make us very happy with a click to our friends at Booking.com.