Bilbao is a beautiful city with so much to do and see! It’s a unique mixture of modern and ancient architecture, sandy beaches and rocky mountains, and exciting nightlife and relaxing day trips.
I was lucky enough to study abroad here my Junior year of college and spent plenty of weekends traveling and dancing at night clubs. But, some of my favorite weekends were those spent wandering the city and finding new sights.
My favorite area of the city is Casco Viejo. It feels like a time warp full of authentic Basque bakeries, cafes, and txapela shops.
Check out the Mercado de la Ribera in the morning. It’s packed full of fresh seafood, produce, and amazing stained glass views along the river.
Strolling the winding streets and eating pintxos in Plaza Nueva can consume your morning and early afternoon. My favorite bakery to get sweets is Tahona Jardines, and Restaurante Victor Montes in Plaza Nueva has great tortilla and cafe con leche.
Nearby Casco Viejo is the infamous Guggenheim museum. It’s not easy to miss and has some great riverside views. If you don’t go in the museum, this is a nice area to relax for a bit and grab a kalimotxo at a local bar. You can even grab some gelato at Amorino just across the street. And, don’t forget to get a picture with the floral puppy!
If the Guggenheim isn’t quite your taste, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is a nice walking distance away with more traditional artwork. It’s located in the heart of the city near Park Doña Casilda. This is another great area to relax and even see some peacocks!
When I was abroad, I was obsessed with cider houses. The food is delicious and the atmosphere always proves to be exciting.
My favorite in Bilbao is Arriaga Asador Sideria. It’s a bit smaller than other cider houses, but what they lack in size, they make up for in charm. The staff is so friendly and the food is absolutely delicious.
Make sure you come here hungry! My meal included morcilla sausage, bread, traditional tortilla, two kilos of steak (the best I’ve ever had in my life, I might add!), a cheese and nut dessert, and endless cider.
A perfect Sunday afternoon can be spent in Plentzia. Just a short metro ride away from the city, Plentzia is a quaint beach town with gorgeous sights of the ocean and the mountains.
Off the metro stop, you’ll cross a bridge into town and walk along the water. You’ll be surrounded by colorful boats and buildings.
The city is very quiet and has some hidden gems like old churches and sleepy walkways. Spend some time grabbing an early lunch or some pintxos near the water to get some great views and fresh seafood.
There are a lot of hiking trails in Plentzia that offer gorgeous scenery. They all vary in difficulty and length, but this is a great area, regardless of where you hike, to see the city and green landscapes cradling the town.
After a hike, the beach is a great place to finish off your afternoon. It’s spacious and close to so many shops and restaurants for dinner. The water is so blue, and it’s fun seeing fisherman rowing in from a day’s trip.
I could go on, and on about what to do in Bilbao for the weekend, but if you’re looking for some relaxation and ease, this plan leaves lots of wiggle room for wandering and leisure.