The Top 15 Free Things To Do In Bilbao
Bilbao, Spain, is one of the loveliest places to visit in the Basque country. This is an old city that has held onto its culture and feels like a snapshot of the past when you visit. There are things to do in this city that kids will love as well as amazing hikes that are nearby. You can shop, dine, or stay in luxury in this city as well. Whether you have come into town via the Bilbao Airport, or via another method of travel, you will be steps away from the fun as soon as you get into town.
The first thing that you need to do when you get to Bilbao, is make sure that your bags are safe and secure. Once you have your bags in secure storage in Bilbao Spain, you can have a lot of fun while keeping your hands free and comfortable. Whether you are headed to Casco Viejo or the Old Town, or you are planning to see the sights along the waterfront, you need to be sure that your bags are safe and secure.
Once you have your luggage handled, you can head out and start enjoying the top free things to do in Bilbao right away! From the Guggenheim Museum to the Casco Viejo, there is no shortage of amazing things to do and see here.
While entry into the Guggenheim Museum of fine arts is not free, the spectacular building itself is another work of art and can be enjoyed free of charge. Designed by Frank Gehry, this building is utterly incredible. When you head to Bilbao on a budget, seeing the lovely creation that is the Guggenheim Museum is essential. This Guggenheim Museum, with its sweeping lines and curving heights, is stunning, and it needs to be on your list of things to do and see when you visit Bilbao.
The Guggenheim Museum is one of the places that the Guggenheim family has created to help protect modern and fine art, and this location is one of the central parts of the family's efforts to make Old Town Bilbao beautiful and full of special culture. The modern and contemporary art that is housed inside this location is well worth a gander if you have the cash.
The Museum of Fine Arts
This location is free every Wednesday, so if you want to head here to see fine arts and Basque country pieces, you need to plan to visit on Wednesday. This is a fun place for kids and adults, and you will find that there is so much to see and do here. And if you're looking for more things to do with kids in Bilbao, check out our guide.
You will be close to Old Town when you visit this fine arts museum, and you will be able to add it to your day with ease if you realize that you want to visit on a Wednesday.
While not the same as the Guggenheim Museum, the collection here is also curated, unique, and covers to works of many local basque artists as well as famous artists from other places. Other art collections in the city, such as the one housed in the Museo de Bellas Artes, are not free during any part of the week.
If you want to enjoy some people watching and sit down to have a coffee and lunch to go, Plaza Nueva is a good place to visit in Bilbao. This spot does not feel like anything that you would expect to see in Spain, and it feels like a lovely plaza from Venice that has been dropped right into Basque country.
Enjoy the wares and food that are sold around the edges of the square and then sit down in the sun. Even when you are in town when the weather is less than ideal, the Plaza Nueva is a great place to at least drop by when you are visiting Bilbao.
Mercado de la Ribera
If you love an outdoor market, the Mercado de La Ribera is the right place for you! You will be close to the Casco Viejo here, and you will love that you can get food and drinks here as well as organic foods and locally-crafted supplies. Some tourists say that this location is not the outdoor market that they were expecting, but that does not mean that this location is not charming and fun to visit.
When you are planning a day spent in Casco Viejo, the Mercado de la Ribera Market is a great addition to your day's agenda. This is a great stop near Old Town as well as other key locations like the Plaza Nueva, which is an added plus.
Doña Casilda Park
If you love ducks and swans, this is the right park for you to see when you are in Bilbao Spain. There are even peacocks in the park here, and the location can be a nice breath of green and fresh air when you have been busily seeing the sights in the older parts of town like Casco Viejo. The Basque country is known for its pastoral beauty, and you will be able to get a little taste of it even here, close to Old Town.
The park is a great place to stretch your legs, but if you want something a little more challenging, check out the best hikes in and around Bilbao.
The Maritime Museum
This spot is free on Tuesdays, which means that you can plan to add this to your day on Tuesday and then head to The Museum of Fine Arts on Wednesday. The city of Bilbao Spain has long been dependent on the sea for much of its contact with the outside world. The maritime museum tells all about this part of the history of the city and also talks about Basque country history.
This is one of the best museums to visit when you are in this city, and you will need to make time for it during your stay.
San Antón Bridge
This is the oldest bridge in the city, and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is carefully preserved. You will not want to head to this Basque city without seeing this lovely piece of architecture. This spot is beautiful both at night and during the day, and you will enjoy taking selfies in front of this spot or just traversing it and soaking up the history of the location.
The Basque language royal academy or the Euskaltzaindia is a site dedicated to the preservation of the Basque language. This language academy studies, preserves, and teaches this unique language so that it is not lost to time. Basque country culture is everywhere in this special city, and this is one of the most interesting places to see when you are in Bilbao. Most people are not aware that there is a separate Basque language, and this is the right place to visit to learn more about it.
Cathedral de Bilbao
The Santiago Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in this part of Spain, and it dates to the 14th and 15th centuries. This is also a Basque museum in its own right. This is one of the most incredible examples of the lovely architectural styles of this period, complete with stained glass, flying buttresses, and ornate hand-carvings. This spot transitioned to a cathedral in the 1500s from the local parish church that it had once been. It is one of the most impressive and iconic buildings that exist in this part of the world. While you might be traveling to locations around Bilbao to see Basque culture, this spot is just as connected with Basque country history and social fabric as any other spot in the city.
Funicular de Artxanda
The ride on the Funicular de Artxanda is not free, but it is very affordable. This ride is well worth it because the view from the top will not cost you a dime, and it will take your breath away as you take in the amazing architecture around you. The Plaza Del Funicular is one of the best places to get to see the entire city in one spread beneath you, and you will be glad that you took part of a day to enjoy the quiet and beauty of this high point above the city.
The Flower Market
Open only on Sundays, this lovely outdoor market takes place in the Arsenal near the city walls. This is a great place to head to meet locals, see beautiful flowers that have been grown with love, and enjoy an authentic experience. This is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Northern Spain during your visit, even if it is something quite simple. If you are renting a house or a small apartment during your stay, you can bring back some flowers to your flat to enjoy while you are still in the city.
This long suspension bridge dates to the late 1800s, and it is located a few miles from the city centre. Head here to enjoy lovely views of the water and of the city itself. You will love that the contemporary art and the architectural art of this city are so often visible as you explore Bilbao, and this bridge is one of the beautiful sites in the city that is memorable and does not cost anything to enjoy. This is a great place for some really good photos, and it can make a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city to stop in here. Ride the trolley across the bridge for something unique to do or just enjoy the sight of the structure by itself.
The Azkuna Center
This old wine warehouse has been turned into a cultural center, and it is one of the must-do things that is offered in this city. Head here to see the column that depicts cultures, wars, and events and enjoy listening to the tour that is offered via recording. This is one of the most memorable free things to do in the city, and you should add this stop to your list of things to do when you are near the city center.
Palais Garnier Opera House
This gorgeous building will make you think that you have stepped onto the stage in a rendition of the Phantom of the Opera. From soaring boxes and sumptuous carpets to sweeping stairwells and lovely art, there is something here for everyone to enjoy. You will have to pay to get inside to see a show, but you can easily visit the outside of the building and take a look at all this lovely site has to offer.
It is also sometimes possible to enter the main lobby for free and take a look around. This is one of the most memorable buildings in the city, and you will want to consider this spot a must-see on your trip to the Basque region.
Las Siete Calles
Nestled in the heart of Casco Viejo, this is the heart of the seven streets that make up one of the oldest parts of the city. These moody and dark little streets were linked with the original harbor and its trade, and today some of the most iconic buildings and areas of the city are hidden in Las Siete Calles.
The Seven Streets is a great place to head to if you enjoyed Bilbao Cathedral and you want to see more of the oldest part of the Casco Viejo and learn more about Basque culture. You can easily imagine people going about their days in this older part of town, and the feeling of immersion in the heart of the city is complete when you are in this area. Enjoy shopping, food, and drink down in this part of the Old Town area, or simply walk and look at the sights.
Bilbao, Spain, is a Great Place to Visit on a Budget
This city is full of incredible things that you can see and do when you are on a tight budget. There is already so much to love about Bilbao, and the fact that it is not that expensive to see lovely sights like the Bilbao Cathedral and the Museum of Fine Arts is another added plus. When you visit this place, you can learn all about Basque country culture as well as its people and see what the area of Northern Spain is all about.
Always make sure that you have your luggage dropped off in safe storage when you are heading to Bilbao. Before you go see what the city has to offer, you will want to be sure that your luggage is being cared for properly. Having your hands free will make your trip to Bilbao, Spain that much more enjoyable overall.