Bilbao was an industrial giant for much of the 20th century, but following a couple of decades of decline the city decided to change its image in the 1990s.
Celebrity architects and designers, like Frank Gehry, Norman Foster and Philippe Starck were drafted in to breathe new life into Bilbao’s skyline and infrastructure.
Now it’s a city with world-famous modern landmarks like Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, complemented by sophisticated cultural attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts and a picturesque old centre.
And when it comes to food Bilbao’s pintxos bars have become an international sensation.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Bilbao:
1. Guggenheim Museum
Where better to start than this iconic building on the Nervión.
Half of your visit will be spent outside in awe of the flowing lines and titanium and glass cladding.
In case you didn’t know, it was designed by Frank Gehry and completed in 1997, as part of an ambitious regeneration scheme to put Bilbao on the world map.
Inside are nineteen galleries with temporary exhibitions of contemporary art, giving precedence to Basque artists, but also including shows by David Hockney, Richard Serra, as well as curated, themed exhibitions of art from around the world.