The City of Bilbao has a long and colorful history that is captured in the medieval Casco Viejo (Old Town), a labyrinth of narrow streets, shops, taverns, monuments, and ancient buildings. The modern city is undergoing regeneration and renewal as it moved from its traditional industrial base to a new, modern tourism and service-based economy.
The Port of Bilbao is home to a world-famous Guggenheim Museum and one of Spain’s best Fine Arts Museums. It contains several new luxury hotels and a variety of amusements for travelers.
The de la Merced Church was built in 1675 to redeem criminals. Rebuilt in 1750, it is now a showcase for plays and musicals.
The Port of Bilbao’s Riverside Market was designed by Pedro de Ispizua y Susunaga. Built in 1929, it offers a wide variety of high-quality seafood and fish in a wonderful eclectic building.
The San Anton Church was built in the 14th Century on top of the old city’s fortress. The Gothic church is elegant and, combined with the San Anton Bridge, creates part of the city’s shield. The 16th Century Dominican nunnery, la Encarnacion Church, has a beautiful Gothic interior and houses many family tombs. It also contains the Sacred Art Museum, exhibiting an excellent collection of silver as well as sacred artwork from the Basque region.
The Port of Bilbao’s 14th Century St. James Cathedral contains small and beautiful Gothic cloisters and a tower and façade designed by Sererino de Achucarro. The St. James Square contains a beautiful fountain designed by Luis Paret and a large atrium.
The Port of Bilbao has two central shopping districts. The pedestrian “Old Quarter” houses traditional family-owned shops. The new pedestrian area contains many international shops.