My next journey brought me to Bilbao, the main city of the Basque Country in the north of Spain. I am finally visiting the land of Pintxos or tapas as we more commonly know it elsewhere around the world. The main difference between the two of them is that pintxos are normally served on a piece of bread or other, served usually with a cocktail stick which you can eat in one or two bites. I have never been to the northern part of Spain and this time around, I would like to take advantage of the VTL requirement to properly see this country. I have always been intrigued by Bilbao given how I am a fan of Spanish food and it is sure nice to be finally here.

Getting Around 

Bilbao is a pretty walkable city and you can get to most places on foot. I only took public transport once given how central my hotel was. It might seem daunting at first but with the great weather, it is not too tough at all. You can easily reach the old city, Casco Viejo area in less than 30 mins. The perfect way to see the city is always on foot when the weather is this lovely. I did take the metro once and Bilbao Metro to take you to the couple of general area in towns such as San Mames, Bus Station, City Centre and the Old City. Regular tickets cost 1.70 Euros for one zone. You can also get a rechargeable Barik Card that will make things easier if you plan to take multiple trips during your stay in Bilbao. The weather was really lovely during my time there and I even made it on food to the Funicular de Artxanda-ko Funikularra.


I started Bilbao by visiting Casco Viejo, the old city and or historic district. It is located by  the river and filled with gorgeous little alleys that housed traditional taverns. Some of the main attractions here include the Ribera market and the Teatro Arriaga. You should just make a trip to the neighbourhood and get lost wandering around. It is really lovely and scenic. The sights along the river are especially pretty.

You can also take a hike up Etxebarria parkea. The route starts from the metro exit near Miguel Unamuno Plaza. Simply head up the steps and you will find your way to this hilltop park that boasts an awesome view of the city. This is the best spot to get a bird’s eye view of Bilbao.

While Mount Artxanda is another good alternative I find that you are too high up to see the city, there are way too tiny. The park is a good balance. It is actually a rather tough hike and there are many steep steps but the view makes it all worth it. If not, you can always get a ride up too. Check out the pictures I took from here, you have a sight of the estuary and the city centre. 

The city centre surrounds Federico Moyua Plaza and Bilbao is pretty good for shopping too. You can find the main shopping street linking the old quarter to the city centre. Most of the shops are found on Don Diego López Haroko Kale Nagusia. Zara, H&M, Primark, anything you might want!

For the soccer fans, Bilbao is also home to a famous La Liga team, Atletico Bilbao which plays in the top tier competition. They are a solid team. The home, San Mames Stadium is right in the city centre and within walking distance, this makes it great for catching soccer matches during the season.

Another cute little attraction is the Zubizuri bridge! I got no idea why it is that famous but everyone seems to share about it in Bilbao. I manage to check it out while making my way to Mount Artxanda.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is another popular spot. You have to get a look at the titanium and glass museum. It does have a very futuristic look. While I didn’t enter the museum, I did enjoy the area outside and it is really pretty.

Last but not least, let me share about Mount Artxanda and the Funicular de Artxanda-ko Funikularra. This mountain is super accessible from the city centre and it boasts a great view of the city. It is one of my favourite thing to do. Tickets cost 4.30 Euros for a return trip and the funicular takes you to the top of Mount Artxanda. I came in the late afternoon and stayed for the sunset. Check out how gorgeous it is. 


I love Spanish food and it is two of my favourite cuisine in the world, with the other being Italian food. One place that you have to head to when in town will be the Ribera Market! It is located in Casco Viejo right on the banks of the river. The market sells all sorts of fresh food, from meat to vegetables and fish. Everything looks so good and you can see the locals going about their business. I love visiting markets when I am overseas and this is one great way to see the way of life of the locals as well as their culture.

Some stalls in the market sells cooked food such as pintxos and coffee. This is how the locals like it, get their shopping done and drop by for a bite. For us, the tourists, we go for a bite before taking a walk by the market. Everything looks so good here! I wish I had more money and the capacity to eat all of them. Things aren’t affordable and you can soon find that pintxos or tapas do add up if you are trying to make a meal out of it. Check out some of the items I got. The stalls will display everything on the counter to entice you and I wish I can try everything. Point and order is the easiest thing ever.

I would also like to recommend another favourite of mine in this city, Cafe Bar Bilbao. It is located in Plaza Nueva. There is an enclave of pintxos bars and restaurants over here and you can choose which one to visit.

I love Cafe Bar Bilbao. This heritage outlet has been here for more than 100 years and they have its roots since 1911. The food and wine here are divine and affordable. It is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists. You have to get their fried calamari which is so good. Fresh squid and coated with a super light batter, they are the perfect afternoon snack. Wash it all down with a chilled wine from the region.


It is nice to be finally checking out Bilbao and checking it off my after hearing so much about them. I had two full days in the city which was a nice length of stay. I did what I wanted to for the city and had some of the best food in town. It was laidback and relaxing. The north of Spain might not be your first choice but given the opportunity, you should not miss out on checking out this place. Next up, another highlight of my trip as well! San Sebastian!