Hilltop Chapel, Bilbao, Spain
Bilbao may be famous for architecture, but the rolling green hills, panoramic coastline and lush plazas will enchant you as well. Reach Mount Artxanda by cable car for sweeping vistas of the city. Walk by ponds and fountains at Parque de Dona Casilda de Iturrizar, and reach the riverside walkways for close-up urban views of Bilbao.
Downtown Architecture, Bilbao, Spain
Check out the Euskal Museoa and the Arkeologi Museoa for a look into the Basque Country's past. Cruise to Spain to stroll down medieval streets in Casco Viejo, the historical center of Bilbao, or down the Gran Via boulevard for a glimpse into the daily lives of locals, who are usually moving from one pintxos (tapas) tavern to the next.
Take in the monumental beauty of the Guggenheim by first exploring the outside. You'll see how architect Frank Gehry blended titanium, glass and limestone to conceive elegant curves and sharp edges in this masterpiece of modernity. Then, head inside to see the other masterpieces created by legends like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and more.
Food is a pastime in Bilbao. Sample bacalao al pil pil (cod with garlic), Marmitako (tuna and vegetable stew) and savoury pintxos, the local version of tapas. Stop by El Globo and La Barraca for a quick bite-sized dish, or head to Mina and Azurmendi for Michelin-starred experiences.
In Bilbao, you do your shopping on historic streets and sprawling urban areas, with hidden gems in between. Go to the old town and look for the classic botas (wineskin flasks), txapelas (berets) or pañuelos (kerchiefs). Head north to the Abando district for modern shops offering more contemporary wares.
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