Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque country in Northern Spain. The city was the winner of the 2018 European City of the Year, awarded by the Academy of Urbanism. After the city’s post-industrial economic collapse in the 1990s, the city decided to invest heavily in culture and decided to create a unique museum that would draw in travellers from around the globe.
The Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, designed by Frank Gehry, is a modern and contemporary art museum that opened in 1997 to boost the city’s economy. This phenomenon is actually known as “the Bilbao or Guggenheim effect” and refers to when a cultural investment of a museum leads to an economic uplift. The architectural construct of the building is an extremely unique defiance of conformity and is known worldwide for its winding entrances, foggy lake and metallic exterior. Since opening, the Guggenheim has hosted 165 exhibitions, 95 temporary exhibitions and 70 presentations from its permanent collection.
Among the other notable structures in Bilbao is San Mamés Stadium, home to one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, Athletic Club Bilbao. This team is unique in its nature because it is composed completely of Basque players; for this, the team serves as a significant symbol of Basque nationalism.
Bilbao, along with many other Basque cities, is exploding with Michelin-starred restaurants and pintxo (Basque tapas) bars. There are over 40 Michelin-starred restaurants in Bilbao and surrounding Basque cities, claiming more Michelin stars than anywhere else in Europe.
The old town cobblestone streets, rolling green hills, architecturally-daring façades and exquisite cuisine makes Bilbao an adventure for your eyes and a holiday for your taste palate.