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Visit the famed Guggenheim Museum in the port city of Bilbao.
A Madrid, Bilbao and San Sebastian combination is sure to thrill every traveler!
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Bilbao

Bilbao, an industrial port city in northern Spain, is surrounded by green mountains. It’s the de facto capital of Basque Country, with a skyscraper-filled downtown. It’s famed for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which sparked revitalization when it opened in 1997. The museum houses prominent modern and contemporary works, but it’s the curvy, titanium-clad building that receives the most attention. Staggering architecture, a venerable dining scene and stunning landscapes just outside the city center: Bilbao is one of the great treasures of the Basque Country.

The great landmark perched over the Nervión played a pivotal role in transforming the fortunes of this once industrial city. More than two decades after its unveiling, Frank Gehry’s shimmering titanium-clad Guggenheim museum has lost none of its ability to captivate. The city also has its share of beauties from the past, including a neo-baroque theatre, an art nouveau train station and several spectacular cathedrals. Tucked into a lush corner of Northeast Spain, Bilbao is surrounded by rolling green hills, with breathtaking coastline an easy jaunt from town. Parks and plazas dot the city center, including the Parque de Doña Casilda de Iturrizar with its tree-lined paths and ornamental pond, while riverside promenades give fine views of the cityscape.

The dining scene in Bilbao staggers the imagination. Here you’ll find Michelin-starred eateries, buzzing pintxo bars and long-running family-run restaurants all offering a different take on Basque cuisine. The cobblestone streets of the old town offer endless rewards for foodies, whether munching one’s way through the eateries lining the Plaza Nueva or taking in the glimmering food halls of the Mercado de la Ribera. Basque culture takes on many forms in this thriving waterfront city. Leaping forward a few centuries, the Basque spirit is very much alive in performing arts halls like the Euskalduna Palace or on music-filled stages around town. Then of course, there’s the hallowed Estadio San Mamés, where the 100% Basque team of Athletic Bilbao take the field.


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