Staying in Bilbao: Useful tips & links
Staying in Bilbao
Finding cheap accommodation in Bilbao need not be difficult as there are a variety of hostels and hotels to choose from. HitchHikersHandbook is here to help so below we list a selection of the cheapest budget options for your convenience.
Search for Bilbao’s cheapest accommodation (hostels, airbnb, home-stays etc.).
Moon Hostel (Calle Luzarra 7) is located outside the city centre on the opposite bank to the Guggenheim Museum and offers 4 bed dorms (14.95 €), 6 bed dorms (8,95 €) and privates from (20 €). Facilities include a bathroom with each room, a communal living and dining rooms and free WiFi.
Ganbara Hostel (Prim Kalea, 13, bis) is situated in the heart of the old town and offers 4 bed dorms (17,50/19 €), 6 bed dorms (17/18 €) and 8 bed dorms (16/17,50 €). Please note that prices are higher on Friday, Saturday and festival days. The price includes free breakfast and WiFi and the hostel offers a common room in which to relax.
Bilbao Central Hostel (Fernandez del Campo 24) is, as the name would suggest, centrally located and is very close to the RENFE station. The hostel offers 6 bed dorms (20/21 €) with prices higher on Friday and Saturday. Breakfast is included n the price and there is also free WiFi and a kitchen to use at the guest’s disposal.
The nightlife in Bilbao is lively and fun and the Basques certainly know how to party until the small hours. Bar crawling is a national pastime here with young people moving quickly between the pubs raking up the alcohol points as they go. So, whether it is enjoying some of the world’s finest cuisine, drinking beer on the street or dancing the night away, there is something for all tastes.
① During the weekends Casco Viejo (Old Town) young people fill the bars around Barrenkale and Barrenkale Barrena streets. On close-by c/Perro, a mixed crowd practise one of the most popular customs in the city: “poteo” or “txikiteo” (bar hopping). There are also numerous bars offering live music with everything from rock to Spanish-style cheese.
② On c/ Mazarredo (near the Guggenheim) can be found late-night Bilbao with numerous clubs and disco’s playing a range of electronic and other genres of music.
③ c/ Licenciado Poza, more simply known as “Pozas”, is located in Indautxu and is swamped with revellers nearly every day. On the whole, Indautxu is a little bit more upmarket than the old town, and the drinks are also a little more expensive.
④ c/ Ledesma contains many cafés and bars, and is popular with the 30 something crowd.
⑤ Across the San Antón bridge, on the south bank to the old town lies Bilbao la Vieja home to the gay scene in Bilbao. It attracts a good mix of people and is famed for its gay bars and clubs.
Things to try & buy
Bilbao is a food lover’s paradise with the locals holding a near religious reverence for all things culinary. As an introduction to Basque food, head to La Ribera Market and check out the sheer variety of seafood, meat, vegetables, and fruit, spread out over three levels. For something a bit more immediate, Basques love to partake in the txikiteo, a white wine, or zurito, small beer, tapas bar crawl, where along with every drink a pintxo (tapa) is eaten with every bar offering its own speciality. Including, but not exhaustively, sausage, fish, cheese, and elvers (baby eels).
Local food specialities include Bacalao al pil-pil, a delicious and emblematic dish consisting of cooking previously desalted pieces of cod on a slow heat in a clay pot with olive oil and garlic, and Chipirones, squid cooked in their own ink. For desert make sure to try canutillo, a sort of puff patty filled with custard.
Ideas for things to buy in Bilbao include Basque handicrafts such as linens and Basque dolls, a Basque beret (txapelas) or even a souvenir art book from the Guggenheim.
There are numerous cafés, restaurants and bars that offer Wi-Fi all around the city but particularly in the Casco Viejo and Indautxu districts. In addition to private Wi-Fi, there is a free public hotspot system with citywide coverage. Here is the map of the areas covered: