Maybe we should rather put “The Ugly Duckling Transformation“.
I am a local guide in Bilbao and whenever I visit Greater Bilbao, I point out the great transformation that our city has undergone. I still remember that ugly gray, rainy and dirty city from so much pollution from the industries that brought economy to Bilbao.
Now I am proud to walk around Bilbao talking about its transformation and feeling satisfied with its great change, we have become the Swan of the story.
And what can we find in this new Bilbao?
1.- City at your fingertips
It is a large city but at the same time secluded, allowing you to travel perfectly on foot. From end to end you can walk 45 minutes, without leaving the city center.
It has different walks to go, always in an environment that gives a feeling of tranquility, relaxed. Enjoy that tranquility while enjoying a good wine in one of its countless bars. Around 8 o’clock in the afternoon you can discover the bustle of the premises enjoying relaxed after a day of work.
2.- Familiarize yourself with Basque culture
Bilbao, like the Basque Country, we have our own unique culture and even our own language. Discover folk dances, music, txapalarta, rural games … Try to read words in Basque, you will end up liking it. A very old language, and no one really knows yet what its origin is.
3.- Miniature gastronomic experience
The pintxos experience is one of the essential Basque experiences. Haute cuisine in miniature. Enter the bars and discover an endless variety of products on a piece of bread and let yourself be carried away by your senses. If you accompany it with a good txakoli, you will not want to leave here!
4.- Gastronomy in capital letters
Proud of our gastronomy, and we have good raw materials, from the sea and the land. You won’t be able to leave the city without trying something that contains cod (cod). Some of our best-known dishes are bacalao pil-pil (cod fried in garlic and olive oil until crisp), bacalao a la Vizcaína (grilled cod covered in a sauce made of red peppers, garlic and olive oil). olive) or kokotxas (cod or hake cheeks). Other seafood dishes to consider here are, txangurros (spider crab) and txipirones (baby squid cooked in their own ink).
5.- First class architects
Bilbao improves day by day and for this we have the best architects in the world with Pritzker prizes to transform the city into a swan reborn from its smoke and dirt. Norman Foster, in love with Bilbao, has managed to create a mining city under the buildings of Bilbao and continues with the project to expand the Museum of Fine Arts. Another lover of our city is Frank Gehry “I fell in love with the Basque people, the pacharán, the txacolí, the hake, the pil-pil”. We could go on, as the list grows fast.
6.- Guggenheim Museum
If you come to Bilbao you feel obliged to visit the museum even if it is from the outside. It is one of the best contemporary art museums in the world. The large sculpture undulating and changing throughout the day houses works of art by great artists such as Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, without forgetting Basque sculptors such as Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza.
7.- Guinness World Records architecture
As lovers of good cuisine and good products, our food market will leave you with your mouth open, and we are part of the Guinness Book of Records. Going shopping at the Ribera market is an incredible experience. With over 10,000 square meters of space, it is the largest indoor food market in Europe and comprises many food stalls, selling everything from cheeses and cured meats to fresh fish and olives. In addition to the stalls, the market also has many bars and restaurants, as well as live jazz music, which means that it is great not only for shopping, but also for an evening.
8.- Zaspi Kaleak or Old Town
The origin of the entire Bilbao industry is born in that small botxo or valley (in Spanish), the well-known 7 streets very similar to the shape of the hand, adding 2 more fingers. It is an incredible place to explore and get lost, discover small shops and galleries, beautiful squares and magnificent churches, do not stop drinking the water from its fountains, fresh fresh!
9.- Our beaches
Although the temperature is mild, without too much heat, sometimes not suitable for going to the beach, do not forget to visit them. You will discover that we have numerous blue beaches. Actually, the beaches of the Basque Country are still a place that many tourists do not know. However, here nature and the sea merge, without feeling overwhelmed by the fact that there are many people. Incredible cliffs, crowned with the title of “The golden nail”, which accredits this place as a site of maximum world interest for the study of the life of those deep sea, which for thousands of years marks the geological history of our people.