Bilbao is a magnet for #art, culture and #food lovers. The largest city in the Basque Country, with a population of almost 350,000 inhabitants, it is one of the most important commercial and #port cities in the Autonomous Community and, due to its proximity to the sea, enjoys mild temperatures almost all year round (21° C in summer and 9° C in winter). In the city centre you will find impressive #architecture, fascinating #museums and a rustic, extremely delicious #cuisine, while only a few kilometres away from the vibrant metropolis you can admire the breathtaking #landscape of north-eastern Spain.
If you like architecture and modern #art, you will love the Museo Guggenheim! Even when viewed from the outside, the modern architectural style of the building gives an idea of what awaits visitors inside the epic titanium building: 11,000 square metres of exhibition space packed with contemporary art of the #modern age and thus of the 20th century. The construction of the iconic building in the city centre on the banks of the Nervión River in 1997 resulted in a targeted upgrading of the city, which in the context of the Museo #Guggenheim is also known as the "Bilbao effect". In 2001, the museum received the Outstanding Structure Award from IABSE. Adults pay around 13 € for admission, children can visit the museum free of charge. The eye-catching, shiny titanium plates on the museum's outer facade, which strongly resemble the scales of a fish, are said to reflect the fascination of Guggenheim architect Frank O. #Gehry for the small sea creatures and the fishing industry itself.
Right in front of the Museo Guggenheim, a giant woof woof decorated with flowers has made itself comfortable. The 13-meter-high West Highland Terrier, designed by polarizing U.S. artist Jeff #Koons, is one of the city's most famous #landmarks and is perhaps even Bilbao's most popular #photo motif. Koons had around 17,000 flowers planted on the #sculpture, with the aim of combining the European horticultural art of the 18th century with modern technologies. In any case, the giant colourful puppy is a really nice contrast to the metal Museo Guggenheim right behind it.
Museo de Bellas Artes
With a collection of more than 8,000 artworks, the Museo de Bellas Artes is one of the most important museums of the whole country. The varied assortment ranges from modern #pop art works of the 20th century to works dating far back into the #Gothic era. Moreover, the museum accommodates the biggest number of #Basque artworks worldwide. If you are lucky, you can also visit a temporary exhibition when you are travelling around Bilbao. Adults pay €10, children can admire the works for free. A little insider tip: between 6 and 8 o'clock in the evening the visit is also free for adults.
Bosque de Oma
About 40 kilometres north-east of Bilbao, in the Urdaibai Nature Reserve, you will find a truly exceptional work of art. Here, the sculptor and painter Agustín #Ibarrola painted strikingly #colourful motifs - mainly human and animal-like figures and geometric shapes - on numerous Monterey #pines to draw attention to the horrible harmony between man and nature with his land art work. A seven-kilometre-long circular trail leads you through the reserve, guaranteeing your very own #unique perspective on the various tree artworks.
Also a good 40 kilometres north of Bilbao is the small island of #Gaztelugatxe, located directly off the #coast of the Costa Vasca. The rocky island is traversed by several #underground passages, has numerous partly developed #caves and can only be reached via a stone bridge with the mainland about 200 metres away. At the highest point of the little hermitage is the monastery Gaztelugatxeko Doniene, which in the 12th and 13th century probably served as a retreat for followers of the Order of the #Temple. Its #romantic and #cinematic location attracts tourists again and again and also ensured that Gaztelugatxe was chosen as one of many locations for George R. R. Martin's fantasy epic #Game #of #Thrones - as Dragonstone, family seat of the infamous Targaryen! Legend has it that a triple chime of the small chapel chases away evil spirits. And the one who rings the bell is allowed to make a #wish. Haven't you always wanted to be the next bell ringer of Gaztelugatxe?