Bilbao is a city in Spain and which is the capital city of the province of Biscay found in the Basque country. Bilbao is considered the tenth largest city in Spain and the largest city in its autonomous community with a population of over 350, 000 as per 2009. It is situated in the north central part of Spain and south of the Bay of Biscay of which the estuary of Bilbao is formed. Due to the port’s activities which are mainly of iron export that is extracted from the Biscay quarries, Bilbao has been enjoying remarkable importance in the green Spain since its foundation which was in the 14th century.
The tourism industry in Bilbao first came with the inauguration of a railway that connected the Bilbao to its coastal neighbor of Las Arenas in the 1872. The railway made the city become a modest beach destination. Even then the tourism industry started to prosper in 1997 when the Guggenheim museum Bilbao was inaugurated. This inauguration has seen well over 600,000 visitors arrive in the city as per the 2009 tourist statistics and this can be termed as a tremendous increase when compared to the 1995′s 25,000 tourist arrivals. Majority of the Bilbao local visitors or tourists come from within Spain and some others come from Catalonia and Madrid. International tourists mostly come from France, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany.
The tourist attractions in Bilbao are varied and numerous ranging from the historical buildings and plazas in the central part of Bilbao, the vast concert halls and football stadiums to cultural and old fashioned entertainment and fine dining. Some of the main historical attractions in Bilbao include the Plaza Circular, the Plaza de Miguel de Unamuno, the Mercado Antiguo Lavadero (also known as the old market) and the Plaza Miyua. Other attraction centers include the Arriaga Theatre or rather the Palacio de Congresos y de la Musica among others. In this article, we will look at some of the major tourist attractions including the above mentioned.
One of the main attractions in Bilbao is the Plaza de Toros de Vista Alegre (or rather the Bilbao Bull ring). This is an impressive and huge building that was opened in 1960s which houses many bull fighting events and fiestas as from March to early December of each year. Apart from the bull fighting and fiestas, the building also features a museum, which is the Museo Taurino and has a capacity of about 15,000
Another attraction feature is the Plaza Circular. This is the home of the statue of Don Diego Lopez de Haro who is the founder of the Bilbao. The major attraction in this plaza is the BBA-ren Dorrea bank tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in the city built in 1968. Circular plaza is surrounded by major company offices, modern buildings and businesses. This plaza is opened 24/7 and admission is free of charge.
The next attraction site is the Biblioteca Municipal de Bidebarrieta (rather the Bidebarrieta Municipal Library). Apart from being a home to a splendid collection of books, the library also houses numerous events, temporary exhibitions, computer suites and concerts. The place is opened all days except Sundays and admission is free of charge.
Another site is the Estadio de Futbol de San Mames. This is an important football stadium that hosts major matches and has a capacity of around 40,000.The next attraction spot is the Mercado Antiguo Lavedero. This is a historic brick building that was once a laundry house and it now hosts specialty shops and regular markets. The admission to this site is free and it is opened on a daily basis.
Next is the Palacio de Congresos y de la Musica. Just as the name suggests, it is a musical conference centre that hosts theatrical performances, operas, concerts and ballets all round the year. It also houses many bars, coffee shops, landscaped gardens, restaurants and a terrace area. The building is built on the Euskalduna and it resembles an enormous ship. The admission to this building is free but charges are made for events taking place in it and it is opened on a daily basis.
The next attraction site is the Plaza Miyua. This plaza is better known to locals as the Plaza Eliptica and it houses a range of landscaped French style gardens, fashion boutiques and a fountain. It is opened daily all round the clock and the admission is free.
Plaza Nueva is situated in old quarters of Bilbao and it is best known for its historic selection of shops, coffee shops and eateries and stone arches, with a dining fresco dining on the terraces. Its origin dates back to the 18th century and the admission here is free and it is opened daily all round the clock.
The next attraction site is the Universidad de Deusto. This is a university that is highly regarded in Spain and it contains historical buildings and notable attractions. Next in line is the Teatro Arriaga, which is known for its impressive architecture and it hosts plays, operas and concerts all round the year.
Next is the Plaza de Miguel de Unamuno. This building houses the statue of local author who was famous. It is surrounded by museums, bars and cafes and it usually hosts major events in summer, which include the popular Semana grande festival. Admission is free and it is opened daily.
Other major tourist attraction sites include the Cathedral de Santiago, which is the oldest building that is found in Bilbao, the Gothic de Begoria whose spires can be seen throughout the Bilbao city and Pamplona, which is a place for seeing bull races around July of each year. Finally you can visit the Bilbao city hall, which is in the Plaza Erkoreka Ernesto that was designed by Joaquin Rucoba.
From the above we can say that Bilbao city has a vast collection of tourist attraction sites that caters for different interests like game matches, shopping, history and cultures. Hence, one has no reason whatsoever to lie idle in his apartment or hotel room.