Spain
Bilbao

Here you’ll find travel reports about Bilbao. Discover travel destinations in Spain of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

47 travelers at this place:

  • Day7

    About 31kms to Bilbao

    September 18, 2017 in Spain

    We left Gernika at about 7am, with no fixed plan other than to have coffee in Larrabetzu (16kms) and decide whether to walk to Lezama, or all the way to Bilbao.

    The first part of the walk involved more mud and hills, but we picked up our pace on the road sections. We felt pretty good after our Larrabetzu break and figured we could probably make it to Bilbao. We walked with Jim, who we'd met a few times over the past few days. The company and the chat definitely made things easier.

    On reaching Zamudio, we figured that it was time for some food. We spotted a bar/restaurant opposite the train station and with no particular expectations, looked inside. We were brought downstairs to a busy dining room, filled with workers on their lunch break, enjoying an €11 menu del dia. It was lovely and just what we needed.

    After lunch, Jim and I continued walking to Bilbao (8.4kms, according to Strava) and Damian took the train. This was a nicer walk than I expected, although the rain made the mud even sloppier than before. It was good to eventually arrive in the city and to walk through an area I haven't seen before.

    We've had so much rain and mud over the past few days. According to the weather forecast, things should improve tomorrow as we head back towards the coast. Yay!
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  • Day12

    Bilbao

    December 12, 2016 in Spain

    So, I've arrived in Bilbao. After freezing to death riding in the UK I must say I'm enjoying spring like temperatures of 15 degrees. Bilbao is great!

    A few revelations so far;
    1) British are the worst drivers! I had to "sprint" across a petrol station and bang on the side of a van to bring to the attention of said white van man's bovine mind that he was about to reverse over my bike at great pace. He stopped with about 8 inches to spare.
    2) I can declare that I'm not seasick. The journey from Portsmouth to bilbao was a tad rough. It says a lot that when I was in bed I was sliding from one end to the other as the boat rocked. Sadly it didn't have its own radio station or any of the other perks.
    3) I shouldn't pack the bike in such a way that it requires a polevault to mount it and enduring cramp to dismount.
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  • Day33

    Bilbao, Spain

    September 4, 2017 in Spain

    Today we toured the Basque Coast and visited historic villages. Bermeo, a fishing village, has houses painted bright colors because the area is gray and gets a lot of rain.
    The town of Guernica, founded in 1366 was bombed by Germany in 1937 and inspired Picasso's painting Guernica. We also visited the elegantly appointed Assembly House.
    We ended the tour with tapas and wine.

  • Day48

    Day 48: Across to Bilbao

    April 4, 2017 in Spain

    Time to move on again, and another busy day - a double UNESCO day. Lots of sites in a fairly small area here up on Spain's northern coastline, so it was proving to be a busy couple of weeks.

    We left the apartment around 10:30am and started our 2 hour drive eastwards to the first stop - the Altamira Caves. This is a large cave complex where paleolithic paintings were discovered in the late 19th century. Most of the paintings are between 15,000 and 35,000 years old and they're absolutely incredible! Vivid colours, excellent representations (mostly of animals like deer, horses, cows and the now-extinct bison), and the artists had even used the contours of the rocks in the ceiling to create depth effects on their paintings.

    Unfortunately for us though, the visit wasn't so great. You aren't allowed into the actual cave any more (it's been shut for tourists since the 1980s for obvious conservation reasons), but they've created a big museum and a supposedly perfect replica of the caves right next door. That was cool enough, but for some reason you aren't allowed to film or photograph inside the cave replica either! So it's going to be a pretty crappy video for my channel.

    Neither of us were particularly impressed either that the entire museum was packed with hundreds of misbehaving schoolkids - young children being young children, ten year olds mucking around and screaming, and noisy teenagers being typical shits. It was really awful. Probably the most disappointed we've been in a UNESCO site so far I think. I get that it's important cultural heritage and that it's important for kids to see it, but they needed to be kept in line more, and maybe not bring hundreds through at the same time?

    Back to the car, where we drove further eastwards to the city of Bilbao, the capital of Basque country. It's very different here to the rest of Spain, as most of the signs are in Basque first and then Spanish second, lots of Basque flags around and the countryside is different as well. Pine trees and green farmlands, rather than hot and dry olive groves you'd usually associate with Spain.

    Our second site for the day was the Vizcaya Bridge, a huge gondola bridge spanning the river just north of Bilbao. It's a marvel of industrial age engineering, 50 metres high and a couple of hundred metres long. In the late 19th century the locals needed a bridge to cross the river, but they couldn't build a low bridge because of all the maritime traffic coming in and out of Bilbao. They couldn't build a high bridge because it would require ramps and a lot of money, plus the space needed would mean knocking down huge swathes of the towns on either bank.

    So they came up with a gondola bridge! It's essentially a tall suspension bridge, except instead of a road deck, it has a gondola suspended from high steel cables that slides back and forth between either bank. These days it only fits six cars, a few motorbikes and a bunch of pedestrians, but in the horse & cart days it must've been very useful!

    We spent a couple of hours here admiring and crossing - walked across the top catwalk and then came back on the gondola. I think it's the newest heritage site we've been to so far, and very impressive. Interesting to see it on the same day as one of the oldest we've been to! And the first one in the category of "industrial sites" - very different to the usual medieval, religious and Roman sites we've seen.

    Late afternoon we drove down to Bilbao and our accommodation. In a good spot right in the centre of town, sixth floor apartment with district views I guess. Only downside was no grass or trees nearby for Schnitzel to relieve himself on!

    We headed straight out into the city for a walk around, exploring the old town (mostly 17th century) and following the river around to the city's main attraction these days, the Guggenheim Art Museum. It had just closed, but we were planning on visiting tomorrow.

    For dinner we headed back to one of the main squares to check out the big culinary attraction - pintxos (pronounced pinch-os). These are basically fancy little bar snacks that you order with a drink, the idea being you just order a few of these with a drink, enjoy them and then head to another bar. Sort of like tapas but these are straight off the bar, rather than ad-hoc from the kitchen.

    We visited one of the highly rated ones and had some great stuff - chicken yakitori skewer, baguette with sausage, a few different types of croquettes and bacalod (codfish) of course. Very tasty! Good that Schnitzel was welcome to join us inside as well, he sat on the floor and was very well behaved. Last stop was around the corner from our apartment where we had a slice of cake and a coffee/hot chocolate.

    Back to the apartment very tired but looking forward to exploring more of the city!
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  • Day49

    Day 49: Guggenheim Museum

    April 5, 2017 in Spain

    No UNESCO for today! Only thing we had planned was to visit the Guggenheim museum, one of the city's key attractions. We headed there fairly early, about 10:15am and just after it opened. Quite a few different things to see! It's entirely modern art, from about 1910 onwards. Lots of works by well-known modern artists including Picasso, Warhol, Basquiat, Pollock and others.

    Stopped briefly for a spot of lunch in the museum cafe around lunchtime, fairly expensive for what it was but not too bad I guess. Kept going after lunch through the Abstract Expressionism gallery which was quite interesting, but unfortunately I had to leave around 2pm as our Mercedes finally needed to go back to the depot. We'd tried to extend the rental further but Avis have a maximum 30 day duration, making us out of luck.

    So off to the airport I went! Thankfully only a 30 minute drive, and relatively painless to get in and out of the rental office. But the best part was that when I mentioned to the car return girl that I was picking up another car, she asked if I wanted to keep the Mercedes! Uhh, yes! So after about 15 minutes of paperwork and signatures I drove back out of the same car park in the same car! Funny how these things work out sometimes. Lucky too, since I'd forgotten I needed to fill it with fuel before returning it.

    Met Shandos back at our apartment where we relaxed for the next few hours before heading out for dinner later on. People eat a bit earlier here than in other parts of Spain, the whole idea of heading out at 11pm doesn't seem to happen as much. Maybe because of the colder weather? Kitchens still often don't open until 8pm, but there's always pintxos a la barre (at the bar) to snack on before you can have pintxos calientes (hot).

    We visited 3 different spots and had a couple at each, along with a drink. Afterwards we were hoping for dessert at the same bar as last night, but alas they weren't doing coffee and we didn't feel like having another alcoholic beverage, so we found a gelato place that sold cakes and coffee and perched up. Schnitzel is very welcome everywhere here too, unlike other parts of Spain. Portugal just seemed to have a blanket ban on dogs in indoor dining areas, but unless it's a nice restaurant here nobody seems bothered. People are less uptight about it as well, if he barks he startles people but you don't get the endless filthy glances like in Australia.

    Back home to bed before another travel day tomorrow, our days in Bilbao are at an end!
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  • Day27

    Bilbao - ES

    June 10, 2016 in Spain

    The fishing villages only awaken after 5 pm. The harbours become the local swimming pool and meeting place and and are a hive of activity.

    In one of the attached pictures is a school playground, on the beach. How cool is that ?

  • Day11

    Bilbao

    September 8, 2017 in Spain

    Today was long, well my choice for it to be long. There was a lot of road side walking so that is not quaint.
    The best part of today was talking to the locals. On my way out of Gernika today I started a conversation with a basque man sitting on a bench. Well he was reading his paper and I interrupted that. It transpired that he was 92 and had lived through the bombing. He was more like a 70 year old. I had a really nice conversation with him.
    Along the way I bought a banana off a lady who had a table of wares at the end of her driveway. She insisted that I eat a fresh fig for energy. It was lovely and I picked some more further along the way. Another old lady I cornered in her garden, offered to cook some of the "calabasa" for me if I came back in 12 days days when she harvested it. Then on my way into Bilbao, at the end of my walk, with the legs crying for mercy, another old man said "hey you, are you with him?" motioning to a walker ahead of me. No, says I, I am walking Sola. " Better off" he said!
    So while the walk was lovely for stages, the chats with the older folks was the best.
    Other things I have noted:
    Lots of dogs, chained to the house appear Savage. I say "hello doggie" and they growl and or lurch, barking viciously.
    Lots and lots of feral cats.
    Wild mint along the roads.
    Calabasas grow profusely, even up trees. (it is a squash type plant)
    The reason only a few of us walkers were the only ones on the beach a few stops ago, was because there was jellyfish in the water. I thought it felt like something stinging, but I saw nothing. I have big welts on, where else but, my feet and ankles. Not a bother when I walk, thank goodness.
    Thee is supposed to be a strike in the Spanish airports on the day I fly back to Dublin. That should be memorable.
    .
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  • Day12

    Guggenheim etc

    September 9, 2017 in Spain

    Rainy and cool so a good day for a bit of a rest and a walk about in Bilbao. It is nice. The museum is extra ordinary to look at but most of the modern art inside is either rubbish or I don't appreciate it. I am glad I went in, I even had to pay admission.
    I had more pinxtos and tzcoli for lunch. It is like a holiday every day here. Put something on a lump of bread, put a toothpick in it and have a few with wine. Easy and really delicious. 7.50 euro for three, with wine, makes it affordable. I go to the bar with confidence now. Awakened some dormant gene or other.
    I got on the tourist bus and got the layout of the city. A lot of hills and stairs. It is not so easy to have a wee chat with people as they bustle about or in today's case walk bent over in the driving rain. With a day to look around but I think San Sebastián has the edge. Hostels are great value and this one in Bilbao is rather chic, but the inhabitants still snore and have smelly feet.
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  • Day4

    Berlin to Bilbao

    April 14 in Spain

    4/14 A day of travel. Raining in Berlin, off to airport for a long days trip to Bilbao. Berlin to Dusseldorf - 4-5 hour layover - Dusseldorf to Bilbao. Eurowings Arrived in Bilbao around 8:30 PM, Taxi to airbnb by 9PM. Great 7th floor apartment - Andoni our host had all ready for us. Loft apartment, Illene upstairs. Off to visit Casco Viejo -old town. What a nightlife scene !! 3 star. Bars, restaurants and people/kids everywhere on the meandering cobblestone streets. So much fun. We
    had a couple glasses of wine while walking around and just enjoyed the
    atmosphere of the socializing - Bilbao style.

    Miles: 4
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Bilbao, Bilbau, بلباو, Горад Більбаа, Билбао, Bilbo, بیلباو, Μπιλμπάο, بیلبائو, בילבאו, Բիլբաո, BIO, ビルバオ, ბილბაო, Бильбао, 빌바오, Bilbaum, बिल्बाओ, Bilbo / Bilbao, 48001, บิลบาโอ, Bilbaw, Більбао, 毕尔巴鄂

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