Bilbao, SpainLast week I wrote about visiting the spectacular Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. You can see my post here.

But after your museum visit is over, you’ll want to make time to stroll down the river and enjoy Bilbao’s old town.

Although Bilbao’s medieval old town and its architecture dates back to the XIVth century, it’s fair to say that the creation of the Guggenheim twenty year ago really put this Basque city on the modern tourist’s map.

Bilbao. SpainIn fact, it’s called the ‘Bilbao effect’ – measuring how much tourism grew since the Guggenheim was constructed back in 1997. Other cities have tried to replicate this model, with varying levels of success.

However, it’s true that Bilbao is a nice city to wander, but probably would not attract the sheer number of visitors without its famous modern art museum attracting them to the Basque city.

After your visit, you will want to wander the Siete calles – the seven streets that form the heart of the old town. Here you will see the Gothic cathedral of Santiago and the ornate, early 20th century Arriaga Theatre (pictured above).

Bilbao, SpainWe also spent some time exploring the busy Ribera Market – constructed in the 1930s in the Liberty style.

It’s one of Europe’s largest covered markets – and part of it has been converted into a lively area to eat and drink – if you can snag a table at this popular spot.

So once you’ve had your fill of modern art and architecture at the Guggenheim, it’s definitely worth it to wander this small Basque city. Enjoy your time in Bilbao.

 

Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao, Spain