The romantic Concordia train station
Elegant romance along the river
Along the river are still 3 remnants from the Belle Époque period. The Teatro Arriaga was built in 1890 and modelled after the Paris Opéra; reserve in advance to take a tour or attend a performance here. The Estación de la Concordia from 1902 is possibly the world's most romantic train station, with a façade of colourful ceramics and elegant wrought iron. Pay an early morning visit to the compelling modernist Mercado de la Ribera from 1929 to watch the fishmongers theatrically ply their catch of the day.
A plate full of pintxos at Plaza Nueva
Somera, Artecalle, Tendería, Belosticalle, Carnicería Vieja, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena: the Seven Streets already sound lovely in Spanish, but in Basque they become even more exotic - then the 5th street suddenly becomes Harategi Zahar kalea. This part of the city – especially around Plaza Nueva – is teeming with tapas bars, although these are called something else here. In the Basque country people don’t eat tapas but pintxos, culinary artwork served on a cocktail skewer. At café-bar Bilbao you can order a plate with every pintxo on the menu for 20 euros. Buen provecho!
Not tapas but pintxos in the Basque country
Take the lift for a beautiful view
Higher and higher
Bilbao is quite flat along the riverbanks, but as the rest of the city is quite hilly you don’t need to go far for a great city view. Take the lift to the upper city from the square behind the Iglesia de San Nicolás for a great view of the Casco Viejo, set against a backdrop of green mountains. The Basilica Nuestra Señora de Begoña, home to Bilbao's patron saint, is a 15-minute stroll away. An ancient funicular railway squeals its way to the top of Artxanda for an even higher – and more expansive– view.