Bilbao, Spain – Exploring Art For Big And Little Ones in a Town full of Modern Art

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Day 1

Bilbao had always been on our list of cities to visit, particularly for being famous for the Guggenheim museum with it’s crazy architecture. So off we went on a Friday evening for our weekend away in the Basque country. We arrived quite late due to technical problems with the plane but once we had checked into our room at Hotel Miro we were ready to enjoy our short break.
bilbao guggenheim museum spain
The hotel’s location was perfect, just a short walk away from the Guggenheim.
bilbao architecture art spain
bilbao fountain guggenheim museum spain
As if it wasn’t wet enough already…but I guess it was very tempting! It must be great in the summer heat,  I’m sure all kids would love to run around between the fountains to cool off.
guggenheim museum bilbao scuplture
anish kapoor sculpture guggenheim bilbao spain
Amazing artwork everywhere, this one is called TALL TREE & THE EYE
 by Anish Kapoor and one of my favourites.
maman sculpture louise burgois guggenheim museum bilbao
 Unfortunately there were constant rain showers, which is apparently normal for     Bilbao but we didn’t let it spoil our fun. Just remember to bring an umbrella!
street art under the bridge bilbao

bilbao architecture river

 Our next destination was the Funicular to see the town from above.

funicular bilbao spain

Up we went and halfway we met the other funicular coming down. Jerome liked to stand right behind the conductor’s cubicle, pretending to be the driver, while we enjoyed  the view.

puddle bilbao park

bilbao hills view

We got lucky, it stopped raining and could enjoy the view over the mountains in the distance,

guggenheim museum

the town and Guggenheim museum.

sculpture bilbao spain

The two boys hid behind a sculpture in the park.

bilbao skateboard park

Right next to the station was a fun skate park, wish I would have known that before. I’m sure Jerome would have enjoyed having a break from exploring.

funicular station bilbao

funicular bilbao history

funicular bilbao spain

funicular bilbao spain

On our way back down.

sweet shop bilbao

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bilbao donut

We strolled through alleys, passed little shops one can’t seem to find in London anymore and had some sugary treats. We had never seen such a huge doughnut before, it literally was the size of a cake.

fish monger bilbao

postcard bilbao spain

brutalist architecture bilbao

We passed reminders of the industrial past (myself a huge fan of anything concrete or brutalist, the boys less so),

modern architecture bilbao spain

modern architecture,

train station bilbao

 and grand old buildings like the train station and opera house.

restaurant bilbao

restaurant txoko bilbao

We stopped for lunch to feed our moaning stomachs at Txoco Restaurant  with some local tapas.

washing bilbao

I guess if it rains even the washing needs an umbrella.

bilbao jimmy choo boots saint laurent bag streetstyle

 I’m glad I brought these boots with me, otherwise I would have wet feet by now and  that would have totally spoilt the day. After walking for hours through the old town we headed back to the hotel to rest  before going out for dinner. Sadly our dinner reservation was cancelled but we got seats on the bar in  Txcook to taste more of the local food.

Day 2


Guggenheim was the first thing on our list for today. On the way to the entrance we passed Jerome’s favourite exhibit, the flower Puppy dog by Jeff Koons. In fact there is a lot of art that can be engaging for children and adults alike, even for those who don’t have a lot of understanding of art in general.

puppy jeff koons bilbao spain

Guggenheim museum architecture

andy warhol exhibition guggenheim museum bilbao

The current exhibition was by Andy Warhol “Shadows”

Jeff Koon tulips guggenheim museum bilbao

Jeff Koon tulips guggenheim  museum bilbao

art guggenheim museum

shadow games guggenheim museum

Jerome had fun playing shadow games.

giant maze art guggenheim bilbao

It was a lot of fun to get lost in these massive maze and was unlike anything we had ever experienced before in a museum.
pintxos bilbao
Time for some pintxos at Bar el Globo, a local form of tapas, consisting of generous portion of food speared on a toothpick. Vegetarians might have trouble finding some without meat, but they were all rather delicious.
pintxos bar el globo bilbao

Jerome has always shown a huge interest in any kind of transport vehicle and therefore we headed for the Puente Bizkaya (Vizcaya Bridge), the first transporter bridge in the world and an UNESCO heritage site. On the way we passed the suburbs of Bilbao, all the way down to the seaside towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas. If you don’t have a car, you also have the possibility to go by train or metro, only a 30mins ride from the centre of Bilbao.

portugalete bilbao spain
Vizkaya bridge Portugalete
Gondola bridge vizkaya
The first glimpse of the bridge from the outskirts of Portugalete.
architecture portugalete spain
band stand portugalete
puddle portugalete bride
bridge vizkaya portugalete bilbao
The bridge spans over the Nervion river connecting the two towns. We went up in the lift to the walkway which goes from one side to the other. Chris being scared of height was unable to walk across, but Jerome was brave enough to do so.
cars gondola bilbao
We waited with our car to go across on the gondola to Las Arenas. There were passenger sections on both sides and space for 4 cars at a time. It was a very smooth ride to the other side.
gondol portugalete
We still had a few ours left and decided to find a cafe along the beach near Getxo. Wish the weather would have been better as I would have loved to explore this little seaside village with it’s cute houses and fishing boats.
seaside village bilbao
rainbow motorway bilbao

Despite the weather we had a great time in Bilbao. We would love to come back and stay in San Sebastian next time. Bilbao is a good place to come with kids of all ages, getting around is very easy, everything can pretty much be covered by foot or if the weather is warmer and less rainy by bike. Having a car was very cheap, less than two taxis into town from the airport.
Some useful links:
Metro
Guggenheim
My hotel wish list:
Hotel Astoria 7 in san Sebastian
Hotel Maria Cristina

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