Bilbao, bus tour to discover the best architecture and the Guggenheim

Bilbao is one of the most complete cities in northern Spain. It has a busy cultural life and urban landscape that you will cross today on a tour between “pinchos” and facades. In this trip on a bus rental, be prepared to learn ‘Euskera’, the Basque language.

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Today you will visit the streets of Bilbao: you will know their houses, the most impressive buildings and hidden corners. A journey that will reveal the best architecture, inside and out, of the last two centuries. And of course, you will stop to take the famous "pinchos" (pintxos in Basque), authentic miniatures of the original Basque cuisine.

Departures from:

Asturias, Santander, Donostia-San SebastiánVitoria-Gasteiz

Access: From the west, take the A8 motorway and if you come from the east, by the A68 and A8. Bilbao is surrounded by a highway that you must follow to find the exit 118 Bilbao-San Mamés, which will take you to the center.

Bilbao Estuary

Bilbao Estuary.
Credit photo: fotolia.

Parking a bus or minibus in Bilbao.

Bilbao City Council has arranged a parking area for buses in the center. From there you can walk to the Guggenheim in just half an hour. Parking is on the street, the Lehendakari Aguirre Avenue, even numbers, between Calle Sagrada Familia and Plaza Ugarteko.  

Bilbao Estuary and the Guggenheim

Bilbao is crossed by a river that divides the city, where the Nervion and Ibaizábal rivers meet.

From where you have left the bus, I propose to go directly to the Guggenheim, following the Lehendakari Aguirre Avenue to the bridge of Deusto, from where you can see the care landscape on both sides of the estuary.

Tour on Google Maps

Tour on Google Maps.

Arriving at the Guggenheim Museum you will meet the first great work of art: Puppy, a giant dog covered with flowers, by American artist Jeff Koons.

The Guggenheim Museum opened in 1997. Its spectacular architecture, designed by Frank Gehry with curved shapes that give an aspect of ship, has changed the profile of the Bilbao’s estuary, giving a modern air. Inside, as impressive as the outside, you can see works of contemporary art by international artists of the twentieth century, mainly.

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 20: 00h.

Prices: Adult € 13. Discounts for groups, children free.

 Puppy at Museo Guggenheim

Puppy at Museo Guggenheim.
Credit photo: guggenheim

Surely some of you will want to stay all day at the museum, but the others could go for a walk to take the announced Basque “pintxos”.

Bar to bar through the streets of Bilbao

Wanding a bit throughout the district El Ensanche, getting lost in its streets, but following Iparraguirre Kalea direction. At this point, you may have noticed the street names are in Basque. Don’t you worry if you don’t understand something and ask to a passerby, the locals are very friendly and all of them speak Spanish too.

You will find many taverns and bars plenty with "pinchos". I recommend you get one at a time, following the Spanish tradition, taking a different one in each place, washed down with Chacolí (Txacolin), the most famous white wine in Basque land.

 Typical bar full of “pintxos” in Bilbao

Typical bar full of “pintxos” in Bilbao.
Credit photo: vajeroturismo

A break under the sun: AlhondigaBilbao

To relax while knowing Bilbao, I recommend following this tour through a very interesting place, the AlhóndigaBilbao, formerly a wine warehouse, which today has become a place of leisure and culture wiht innovative design. You can also find a snack cafe and a restaurant with very-very good dishes.

In the very center inside the square you can see the projection of the sun on a 42 square meters screen. Awesome!

 AlhondigaBilbao’s sun screen

AlhondigaBilbao’s sun screen.
Credit photo: txemivirtual

 Column close up at AlhondigaBilbao

Column close up at AlhondigaBilbao.
Credit photo: txemivirtual

Tour around the Old Town of Bilbao or Seven Streets

Back crossing the river to get in a walk of about 20 minutes around the Old Town Bilbao, also called Seven Streets, by the number of streets that there were originally in Bilbao. Passing the Arenal Bridge , you will reach the old residential area with large mansions and historic buildings, and also a leisure and trade Bilbao’s center.

 Sights of Old Town.

Sights of Old Town.
Credit photo: conocerbilbao

There is much to see through the historic streets, many of them pedestrian, so you cannot go by bus or minibus. The architecture lovers can visit the Cathedral of Santiago and the Church of San Antón, located a few meters from the river. Close by is the Mercado de la Ribera, a unique rationalist boat-shaped building, which holds inside a place where you can buy high quality food produce.

 La Ribera Market

La Ribera Market.
Credit photo: liherluzas

Other attractions in the Old Town include the Archaeological Museum, the Municipal Library, the Arriaga Theatre (there you can go by bus) or the Plaza Nueva (New Square), filled with shops and bars, where a flea market takes place every Sunday. Of course, throughout the old town you will find places to keep discovering new and amazing “pinchos”, but this time, try the Basque cider!

 Basque cider pouring from barrel

Basque cider pouring from barrel.
Credit photo: turismoeuskadi

 Plaza Nueva

Plaza Nueva.
Credit photo: memoriadeBilbao

 Arriaga Theater

Arriaga Theater.
Credit photo: txirenadas

The Tourist Office of Bilbao offers guided tours around the Old Town Bilbao on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00 am. It is targeted at small groups. If you come in a large 50-seater bus, you will have to call and notify days in advance. Call for more information to +34 944 795 760 or email: informacion@bilbaoturismo.bilbao.net

Farewell to Bilbao, back to the bus.

Bilbao has a wide bus network and two subway lines famous for their entries designed by Norman Foster, colloquially called "Fosteritos". To go back to your rented bus and start the return trip, you can take the subway at Casco Viejo station to Sarrico station, a good base to meet with your coach driver.                                                 

 Tube entry designed by Norman Foster

Tube entry designed by Norman Foster.
Credit photo: ketarinirudia

Once on the bus, tell the driver to follow the instructions to join BI-604 (further south on Lehendakari Aguirre Avenue towards Plaza de Ibarrecolanda, at the first roundabout take the second exit, at the next roundabout, the third exit onto Av. Enécuri / BI-604) and from there you can connect with the national highway N-637, which will take you to all directions.

By the road, you can imagine how to prepare your own "pinchos" to surprise your friends when you get home. They will be amazed!

Bilbao tour and economic bus rental.

Depending on where your group comes from and the physical form in which the participant may be, it could be a good idea to use the bus only for transfers to and from Bilbao. Within the city you can move walking, by metro or taxi. If the rental company can use the bus for other services during the day, renting the bus with driver will come out much cheaper.

Text: Idere, an Asturian traveler.

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