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Editor'S Choice - 2019

Bilbao for all tastes

Bilbao is a city that can be all: Paris, Rome, London, Shanghai ... Its buildings seem to be randomly placed, like something sweetly magical, and you can find architectural art nouveau jewels combined with baroque buildings or even with postmodern art. Its select and exciting culture of tapas bars and good food intermingles with the lively atmosphere that is always in the streets of the city. Here art and gastronomy merge with options for all tastes. If you only came for the pintxos or simply to cultivate yourself this is your city. Bilbao has everything to gain to enchant you and that you end up falling in love.


Here you have an unavoidable appointment an endless list of museums, palaces, theaters, bridges and other buildings. Getting lost in the streets and finding the most unique architectural pieces is very easy in this city that has been awarded by the legendary Nobel Prize for Urbanism, the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, awarded by the city of Singapore. Bilbao has left behind its industrial era to be reborn as a city in which (almost) everything is art, including the design of the subway made by the team of Norman Foster himself. A place

It is best to wander to bump into a plethora of splendid buildings and sculptures. In the Old Town and its surroundings you can praise the greatness of the Cathedral of Santiago, the Arriaga Theater, the Church of San Nicolás or the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady Begoña. Other jewels with which to dazzle in the center are the Campos Elíseos Theater 'La Bombonera', an impressive Art Nouveau piece with its modernist facade; Jorge Oteiza's sculpture in the Town Hall Square, the University of Deusto and of course the Euskalduna Palace. Even the Iberdrola Tower looks pretty next to so many sublime pieces. To breathe pure air, You should go to the Albia Gardens and Doña Casilda Park.

But if what you want is to cultivate, how could it be less, a classic where there is is the Guggenheim museum, created by the famous architect Frank Gehry. Beside him, he continues as his faithful company Puppy, by Jeff Koons, the disgusting gigantic dog made of stainless steel, substrate and flowering plants. Since March, the exhibition can be seen L'Art en guerre: From Picasso to Dubuffet, a series of more than 500 works by artists such as Vasily Kandinsky, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dalí. The exhibition Creations that show the shortage, hostility and repression that was experienced in France with the Nazi occupation during World War II.

The more contemporary art fans they should go to Azkuna Zentroa, a most interesting space in which to go with the whole family. This old refurbished wine store has become a busy civic and cultural center thanks to Philippe Starck. A dip in the swimming pool of your Physical Activity Center is essential.

A visit to the city is also not complete if we do not cross its amazing bridges: that of Zubizuri de Calatrava or the La Salve Bridge right next to the Guggenheim with its graffiti-filled interior walls that sweeten and intrigue the view from the museum. And outside the city you should not miss the Biskaia Bridge designed by Alberto Palacio in 1893. It is the first mechanical ferry bridge and links Portugalete and Getxo with a panoramic view of the impressive estuary. It is an iron walkway that shines for its lightness considered a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

For its part, the Museum of Fine Arts that includes works by great Basque artists such as Néstor Basterretxea or Ramón Zuriarrain.

Alhóndiga Pool seen from the Atrium of Cultures © Francisco Berreteaga


If you only came for himas kokotxas, txacolí and pintxos (we don't blame you) Here you will find the places to go for tapas and how not to play fun and delicious 'from pintxo to pintxo and shooting because it's my turn'.

The best streets to go for some good pintxos are in the Casco Viejo, and they are Jardines y Perro. In the street Perro stands out Xukela, a restaurant with the most extravagant decoration, with paintings of all kinds, animal figurines and other exotic souvenirs. Delicious tapas of ham with brie and angulas, mini casseroles with dishes such as pochas, sausages with potatoes and blood sausages. A lively and always full bar in which it will be essential to try the wild boar head pintxo.

Other taverns to go to near Moyúa Square are Amume (in Basque means grandmother), with traditional Basque food just as grandmothers once cooked. From the same owner, but more avant-garde and creative is Strains. Both shine for their quality and good price.

A man from Bilbao: wine, friends and talk © A man from Bilbao


A union between art and gastronomy is the restaurant Nerua inside the Guggenheim Museum itself. In an intimate environment, it is the ideal restaurant to go as a couple. Very flirtatious and minimalist, with a culinary offer with a lot of flavor and dedicated to the pleasures of the sea. The place is committed to the most avant-garde gastronomic innovation; so much so that they have an R&D laboratory in which five people are dedicated daily to discover new ways to surprise diners. Try the menu of nine products and enjoy organic products. The best, zero added sugars. If you are on the bikini diet you can taste the dishes without regrets.

Another gastro gem is the Etxanobe Restaurant in the same Euskalduna Palace, next to the Doña Casilda de Iturriza Park. Endless delights with which to reach the culinary sky by the hand of Chef Fernando Canales. Famous for its magnificent hake dishes, you can also savor a delicious casserole of clams and kokotxas in green sauce. Other pleasures that you can not miss are the stewed beans with farmhouse yolk, the txangurro tartita and pumpkin meringue, the cold anchovy lasagna in natural tomato soup, the carabineros with vanilla salt, the carabinero ravioli with beluga caviar or the cod in light pil-pil pumpkin, mushrooms and licorice. We know that the choice will be very difficult among many excellent dishes, that's why we recommend the 'Meet the Etxanobe' menu, so you don't want to taste everything. And for dessert you can taste the orange cream with liquid nitrogen and dulce de leche or the false fried egg, a smoked homemade curd with mango spherification. A thousand and one dishes that will make you enjoy the beautiful while you are dumbfounded with the mural of Joaquin Gallardo in the dining room.

Nerua: surprising and without trap © D.R


For the icing on the trip, you could not miss a tasting of the magnificent sweets typical of Biscay: Biscayan cake or Carolina, the Bilbao cake, the mythical canutillos ... Bakery Gardens you can enjoy sweet desserts such as huge meringues, Bilbao cake, canutillos or gigantic and tasty Carolinas made of Meringue, chocolate, egg yolk and an amazing puff pastry tartlet.

And in the Opila bakery, you will discover exquisite desserts and tremendous breads of the most varied. It is a corner decorated like a fairy tale with grace and affection in pastel tones, comfortable armchairs, bird cages hanging from the ceiling and very retro air. Delicious brownie thread, chocolate and raspberry mini muffins, cookies of all kinds And what about the wonderful Piccolo of Opila, a bread with black olives, cheese and oregano that is a blessing, because bread and bread is not food of fools.

The Opila Bakery © Claudia Gene


During the day, it is ideal to have a few beers in the Victor Restaurant of the Plaza Nueva while watching the lively popular dances in the middle of the square. Another very good perfect option for foodies is to go to Sir Winston Churchill Pub. A purely sophisticated environment british with comfortable armchairs and leather sofas, quality cocktails and the best cigars and Dominicans kept in a humidor. Try some of the 130 rums, 30 varieties of gins and vodkas they have, and Relax like a whole Sir.


The entire Gran Vía and López de Haro Street will be your mecca shopping with luxury stores like Louis Vuitton or Loewe. For other types of shopping more alternatives and with more extensive and interesting options it is better to stroll through the area of ‚Äč‚ÄčLicenciado Poza and the streets of Indautxu. And one of the most curious and fun stores is right in front of La Bombonera. It is called Almoneda Campos, with attractive and unexpected cachivaches, from retro lamps to super chic vintage clutch and the strangest figurines, all in a tiny but lovely space. If you are looking for an original gift, this will be your store.

For, a benchmark of fashion in Bilbao in Gran Vía © For


Surf enthusiasts can go to Barinatxe beach (also known as La Salvaje) in Sopelana, just 20 minutes from downtown. A corner with surfers where you can catch some waves or just sit admiring this great water sport and try to learn. Right next to Atxabiribil Beach, those who want to observe fantastic views of the sea without getting wet can do so by having a drink on the terrace of The Rock of Sopellana. We recommend from a squid or a pulpño to some tasty white potatoes or a tortilla pintxo.

Barinatxe Beach (also known as La Salvaje) © Claudia Gene

Video: Steak, Cider, & Baby Piglets: MUNCHIES Guide to the Basque Country Episode 3 (November 2019).

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