Bilbao: sights & museums

We spent a considerable amount of time walking around Bilbao. We only bought one 24-hour metro pass during our three day stay so most of our exploring was done on foot.

Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so after grabbing a bite to eat at a nearby pintxo bar, we discovered the Arkeologi Museoa was free on Thursdays. We spied some giant puppets in the large open courtyard and decided to have a closer look.

posing w/ giant puppets   posing w/ giant puppets

Many Spanish festivals feature these puppets. One person controls the giant structure with a wooden frame and can see through a translucent veil stitched into the long fabric skirt. Slightly creepy and totally fascinating.

While we stayed in the Old Town, we walked across the Areatzako Zubia bridge daily to get to shopping and bars.

view from Areatzako Zubia bridge

One of the most famous sites in Bilbao, the Guggenheim Museum boasts a shiny undulating exterior and a giant puppy covered in flowers!

puppy!

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

We opted not to go inside but enjoyed exploring the grounds and seeing how the shape of the building changed depending on where you stood and time of day.

There was a special exhibit going on at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao of life-like sculptures, so we decided to make that our museum visit choice. The materials varied but these sculptures were absolutely fascinating and incredible life-like!

Escultura hiperrealista 1973-2016 @ Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao  Escultura hiperrealista 1973-2016 @ Museo de Bellas Artes de BilbaoEscultura hiperrealista 1973-2016 @ Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao  Escultura hiperrealista 1973-2016 @ Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao

Right by our hotel, there was a set of stairs that disappeared uphill. We decided to follow them and do some exploring…

Mallona Steps

scene on the Mallona Steps

The Mallona Stairs led us up past a large soccer pitch and an amusement park to a beautiful church.

Basílica de Begoña

We both preferred the Moyua area to Old Town as there was lots of shopping, bars, and beautiful squares to explore.

Moyua Plaza

Iglesia San José

On Sunday mornings, the El Arenal flower market appears with many locals picking up plants and bouquets for the week.

flower market @ El Arenal

Our last stop before heading to San Sebastian was Azkuna Zentroa. Boasting a movie theatre and swimming pool on the upper floors with a wide open gallery space below, it was a nice spot to rest our feet for a while and admire the unusual columns.

column @ Azkuna Zentroa