Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country in northern Spain, is renowned for its impressive architecture, delectable cuisine, and rich cultural heritage. Although the city has plenty of attractions that require admission fees, there are also many things to see and do for free. Here are some suggestions for what to do in Bilbao for free.
1. Stroll through the Old Town
Bilbao’s Old Town, known as Casco Viejo, is a charming labyrinth of narrow streets and historic buildings. Take a leisurely stroll through the area to soak up the atmosphere and admire the unique architecture of the buildings. Don’t forget to check out the impressive Gothic-style Santiago Cathedral, which dates back to the 14th century.
2. Visit the Guggenheim Museum
While entry to the Guggenheim Museum is not free, the building itself is an impressive work of art that you can appreciate from the outside. The museum was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Marvel at the shimmering titanium facade and the impressive scale of the building.
3. Walk across the Zubizuri Bridge
Another impressive feat of modern architecture is the Zubizuri Bridge, which spans the Nervion River in the heart of Bilbao. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the bridge is a striking white pedestrian bridge with a distinctive arch shape. Take a stroll across the bridge for great views of the river and the city skyline.
4. Explore the parks
Bilbao is home to several beautiful parks and green spaces that are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. The Doña Casilda Iturrizar park, located in the heart of the city, is a popular spot with locals and visitors alike. With its picturesque ponds, fountains, and sculptures, it’s a peaceful oasis in the midst of the urban landscape.
5. Take a Free Walking Tour
Many cities offer free walking tours, and Bilbao is no exception. The Free Tour of Bilbao is a great way to get an introduction to the city’s history, culture, and architecture. Led by knowledgeable and passionate local guides, the tour covers highlights such as the Guggenheim Museum, Casco Viejo, and the Zubizuri Bridge.
6. Visit the Azkuna Zentroa
The Azkuna Zentroa is a cultural center housed in a former wine warehouse. The building has a striking art deco facade and a unique interior that blends the old with the new. The center hosts a variety of exhibitions, concerts, and events throughout the year, and entry is free.
7. Sample the Pintxos
Pintxos are a type of Basque tapas, and Bilbao is known for its delicious and innovative pintxos bars. While purchasing pintxos does require a fee, many bars offer a complimentary pintxo with the purchase of a drink. Take a self-guided pintxos crawl through the city to sample a variety of flavors and styles.
In conclusion, Bilbao offers plenty of free activities and sights to explore, from historic neighborhoods to modern architectural wonders, beautiful parks, and delicious local cuisine. Don’t forget to take advantage of the Free Tour of Bilbao to learn more about the city’s rich cultural heritage.