Exploring Bilbao

Bilbao is an important town in the Spanish Basque Country and the North of the country in general. As a renowned economic hub, it was built along the Nervion River banks. Its 354,000 inhabitants are spread out over 41,43 km², and a pleasant atmosphere reigns over the city. Bilbao encompasses two hills named Pagasarri and Artxanda, a port in the river's estuary and eight different districts. The international airport is located 20 minutes away, meaning you can quickly reach the city centre once you have landed. Air France offers flights to this Spanish city from several different places: Detroit, New York, Houston, Boston, Washington or Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. Regardless of where you are departing from, you will have a lay-over in Paris before enjoying your holiday in Bilbao.

Bilbao, a highly attractive city

By travelling to Bilbao, you will discover a rich and vibrant city that is extremely pleasant to wander around. The Guggenheim museum is an absolute must-see, regardless of how you are staying for. It is currently home to modern and contemporary pieces, but its futuristic architecture is what draws the eye in before all else.

The impressive 7 street, or "siete calles" district will take you back in time. Set in Bilbao's historical centre, there are lots of colourful houses there with typical architecture, and you can look in all the little shops set in pleasant cobbled streets, visit the Gothic cathedral and many other churches. To explore this neighbourhood, walking is your best option. You can thus make the most of the romantic bridges and beautiful flights of stairs, which you can sit on for a few minutes to admire the view. Once rested, you can visit the Santiago cathedral. It was built towards the end of the 14th century and boasts a purely Spanish Gothic style.

As you walk, you will also come across the dog fountain. Located in Perro Street - a small alleyway in the historical centre, is boasts a very elegant neo-classical style.
To get from one side of the river to the other, take the Zubizuri bridge, meaning "white bridge" in Basque. Its arched shaped, metallic structure and glass floor make it an extremely futuristic monument. Another place full of style is the Alhóndiga and its unique features. Imagined by Starck, it combined different styles with a great deal of talent, and offers a clearly urban artistic area.
The town centre is occupied by the Arriaga Theatre - whose structure was inspired by the Paris' Opera House. Its façade and large balconies once again show a mixture of different styles. Inside, everything shines brightly: the majestic staircase, old rugs - made by the Real Fábrica Nacional de Tapices - and nine sculptures representing the composers born there will no doubt amaze you. Once there, you can go to the theatre and watch poetry readings.

Still in the heart of Bilbao, you can discover Bizkaia Square and its totally futuristic monuments. The city also has lots of parks to relax in. The Albia gardens will give you a quiet place to rest in, in the very heart of the city. The Doña Casilda Iturrizar park is a huge place where your children can play and watch the ducks on the lake, and is host to lots of festivals during the summer.
Once you have visited the inner part of the city, the best thing is to get an overall view. To do so, you will need to climb Mount Artxandra. From up there, the view is unique and you can catch glimpses of everywhere you visited earlier, during your stay in Bilbao. A memorial from the Civil War - made by Juanjo Novella - is also up there.

If you want to discover the Basque coastline, Bilbao is a great place to start. You could head out to Lekeitio and visit the harbour and St. Mary of Assumption Basilica. Perched up on the rocky peaks of cape Ogoño, the village of Elantxobe will give you a view of the sea from above.
There is also lots of nature around Bilbao. The Pozalagua grottos, beaches, Gorbeia natural park and Urdaibai estuary are all easily accessible if you rent a car once there. offers many direct flights to Paris departing from major US airports.
When you arrive at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport you can easily reach your hotel with the Super Shuttle, Air France buses, Citybird taxis or the Paris public transportation network (RER, metro, etc.).
You may reserve a flight for Paris or you may also reserve your flight + hotel and/or car rental when you reserve your ticket.

A well-prepared trip to Bilbao

For a trip to Bilbao under the best possible auspices, summer is the best time to travel. You can thus enjoy warm temperatures - 25°C on average - with very little rain. Autumn and spring are also pleasant months, even though there is more rain.

To find out more about the many local activities, you can visit the Tourist Office's website.
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