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Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao

The capital of Biscay province in the autonomous Basque region of northern Spain, Bilbao is a vibrantly cultural city with its own language and traditions. 

Taking your car by ferry to Bilbao allows you to explore the Basque country at will, have your pick of beautiful nearby beaches and enjoy easy onward travel throughout Spain.

Where can I drive to?

You are only 60 miles from the French border and the lively seaside towns of St Jean de Luz and Biarritz.

Pamplona, famed for its Running of the Bulls festival every July, is 1 hour 45 minutes away.

Spain’s captivating capital Madrid is four hours from Bilbao on the A67 motorway.

Barcelona is 380 miles away, and Alicante 500 miles.

Did you know?

Bilbao featured in the opening scenes of the James Bond movie The World is Not Enough.

The city was known in Elizabethan England, as Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” as it has a reference to swords, presumably made of Biscayan iron called ‘bilboes.’

Bilbao enjoys an enviable climate, with average highs of 26c in summer and lows of 13c in winter.

Local food specialities include fried fish and seafood stews.

The Best of Bilbao

  • The extraordinary, soaring curved metal Guggenheim Museum is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture and one of the most important buildings of the last 30 years. The art inside is good, too.
  • Alhondiga is a wine warehouse dating from 1909 and converted in 2010 in a complete redesign by hip French designer Philippe Stark into a cinema, restaurant, library and fitness centre complex.
  • Mount Artxanda is easily reached by funicular from the city centre, and boasts restaurants and balconies with panoramic views at its summit. Gran Via is a long shopping street, Bilbao’s bustling main thoroughfare. The central Plaza Moyua, with a fountain and flowerbeds, is a pretty place to pause for a rest.
  • There is also a pedestrianised medieval Old Town. Zubizuri Bridge (meaning ‘white bridge’ in Basque) is a must-see suspension structure by world-renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Bilbao offers a late and active nightlife like many other Spanish cities, with live music in some clubs and vibrant bars.
  • Big Week (Semana Grande) is Bilbao’s annual blow-out festival, held the third week in August. Highlights are the strongman game, street entertainment, nightly fireworks (best viewed from one of the city’s many bridges) and bullfighting.

Brittany Ferries operate 3 weekly sailings to Bilbao

For more information on Bilbao visit www.spain.info

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