Wandering through Bilbao's winding streets

A city almost forgotten by residents and previously overlooked by visitors; Bilbao boasts a beautiful medieval city centre on the right bank of the Nervión river. Today this maze of narrow winding streets is filled with trendy shops, delicious tapas bars and sunny terraces. Find your favourite spots on the shaded squares or along the river.

The romantic Concordia train station

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.

Not tapas but pintxos in the Basque country

Not tapas but pintxos in the Basque country

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!

Take the lift for a beautiful view

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.

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