17 things to do for free in Bilbao

Close up of the Tall Tree & The Eye (2009) by Anish Kapoor, with reflection of Nervion River, next to the Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain (82)

17 things to do for free in Bilbao

Whilst the Basque Country is slightly more expensive than the rest of Spain with a little bit of planning, and some useful advice from your friends here at hitchhikershandbook, you can leave Bilbao having seen lots of sights and still with some money in your pocket.

Brightly coloured stairwell with people walking down and graffiti on La Salve Bridge - Bilbao, Spain (96), free in Bilbao

Georgia, ‘Bitstream Charter’, serif;”>1. The Georgia,’Bitstream Charter’,serif;”>Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Art) contains over six thousand pieces including paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and objects from the decorative arts and is Free on Wednesdays for everybody; always for children younger than 12, the disabled and unemployed; also on Sundays between 2-8 p.m. for under 25’s. 

2. Casco Viejo (Old Town) is based around Seven streets, and many alleyways which form the medieval neighbourhood of Bilbao. Walking around it is a pleasure in itself. 

3. La Alhóndiga (Alhóndiga Bilbao) is a “Culture and Leisure Centre” with wonderfully creative design including 43 pillars and a swimming pool with a glass floor. Walk through the foyer and enjoy. 

4. Iglesia de San Vicente Martir (Church of St. Vicente Matir) constructed in the 16th & 17th centuries in the Gothic style; its features include a Renaissance façade with Triumphal Arch and a spectacular altarpiece, it is Free to visit. 

5. Why not walk around the Mercado de la Ribera (Riverbank Market), the largest indoor market in Europe, and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of the Basque Country. 

6. Take a trip to the Estación de Abando Indalecio Prieto (Bilbao-Abando Train Station) and marvel at the stained glass atrium depicting typical Basque jobs. 

7. Museo Marítimo Ría de Bilbao (La Ría Maritime Museum) is housed in the former Euskalduna shipyard and is Free on Thursday. 

8. Museo Diocesano de Arte Sacro (Museum of Sacred Art) contains over 2000 pieces divided into three sections: escultura-pintura (sculpture & painting) orfebrería (jewellery) & ornamentos (ornaments) spanning from the 12th century to the modern age. It is Free on Thursday. 

9. Although it does cost to enter, simply walking around the Marvel at the Museo Guggenheim Bilbao (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) is an unmissable treat.

Close up of the Tall Tree & The Eye (2009) by Anish Kapoor, with reflection of Nervion River, next to the Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain (82), free in Bilbao

10. For an escape from the noise and for some wonderful views over the city head to Parque Etxebarria (Etxebarria Park). 

11. Iglesia de San Antón (Church of St. Antón) was built on the foundations of the city’s original Alcázar (Fortress) in the Gothic style. The Belfry, built in the Baroque dieciochesco style, is one of the best examples of its kind in the whole Basque Country and is Free to visit. 

12. Sit and have a sandwich on the Neo-classical public square of Plaza Nueva (New Square), lean against an arch or take a coffee and wath the world go by. 

13. Euskal Museoa (Basque Museum) is the first stop for those wanting to learn about all things Euskala. It is Free for Senior citizens & Children and Free on Thursday. 

14. Ayuntamiento de Bilbao (Bilbao Town Hall) is Free to visit but make sure to come on Monday Friday: 9 a.m., 9.30 a.m. or 10 a.m for a guided tour. 

15. Take a stroll along the Rio Nervion and admire the quirky architecture of Bilbao, it is at times both weird and wonderful. 

16. Palacio de la Diputación Foral de Vizcaya (Biscay Foral Delegation Palace) is probably the best example of eclecticism in the whole of the Basque Country. It is Free but make sure to come on Monday Friday: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. for a guided tour. 

17. Walk across the Puente de San Antón (St. Antón Bridge) an arched bridge that it one of the emblems of the city.

Spider sculpture “Maman” (1999) by Louise Bourgeois and La Salve Bridge, on Campa de los Ingleses Kaia, next to the Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain (86), free in Bilbao

 written by: Jon

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