Bilbao is a city built around finance and culture, dating from the 12th century. Located in the Basque Country; it is the capital of the province of Gascogne. Bilbao is also an active seaport due to its position in the estuary of Bilbao and next to the Bay of Biscay.
Bilbao was built around the old town or the seven-street district which is now protected as a historic monument. Nevertheless, it is a lively part of the city, with many bars and restaurants that attract locals and tourists to the area. The Gothic Cathedral of Santiago is the oldest structure in Bilbao and a landmark of the city, worth studying for its beautiful interiors in the neoclassical style.
Bilbao’s reputation as a city of culture is well deserved because there are many museums and galleries to visit, including the famous Guggenheim Museum. This museum has a permanent exhibition of modern art and a program of temporary exhibitions in constant evolution. To see Spanish art through history, visit the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. The Museum of History and Archeology of Vizcaya offers a history of the Basque people.
Bilbao has its symphony orchestra which often performs in the city in places such as the Teatro Arriaga and the Palacio Euskalduna. During the opera season, there are even more musical performances to attend. Live music is an important part of the city’s social scene and clubs such as Kafe Antzokia and Bilborock are popular clubs with the alternative music scene.
Semana Grande, which means “big week” is a 9-day festival that falls at the end of August in Bilbao. It is a huge gathering of people with more than 10,000 visitors arriving in the city to join the festivities, including international tourists. Some of the events held annually at the festival include bullfights, a strongman competition, free music concerts, street parties and entertainment and fireworks every night of this lively festival. New events are also held every year, and attendees can check out the festival program available for free from many locations across the city for more details on the exact events and their location.
Parklife in Bilbao
The Dona Casilda Iturrizar Park is large in Bilbao, and for those who wish to discover a slice of England in Spain, it is worth the detour, its landscaping and design deliberately recall the English style. Arenal Park hosts a representation of the municipal band every Sunday morning. The Arriaga theater can also be found here; a place for operas, Zarzuela and other concerts.