I have to admit that my relationship with the Guggenheim was love at first sight. When I saw it on TV I thought it was too modern, too unreal, too…I always found something wrong with it, but now I can only say that it is an authentic architectural marvel that has adapted to the city of Bilbao in a harmonious and perfect way.
If you are lucky enough to visit it on a day when the sun and clouds constantly change the color of the scales, you can feel really privileged. And, of course, don’t forget to see the beautiful puppy guarding the entrance. You couldn’t ask for more.
Bilbao definitely deserves a visit, and not only because of this impressive museum.
It’s a beautiful journey to do by foot from the restaurant Eneperi to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. You will find, at the right side of the restaurant a path that says “San Juan” that will take you to the chapel.
There is also a paved road, with better access, but with the heavy rain of these past months the road was destroyed since it sunk three meters down. This is why the only possibility is to walk down from Eneperi.
The first part is very pretty, with a stoned path where you can already enjoy beautiful views of Aketze and San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. After this first part you will find a mud and slippery path. Your clothes might get quite dirty.
In spite of the good weather, the ground was a mess. From Eneperi to the road it takes about 15 minutes, and then you have to go up the more than 200 stairs, with the sound of the sea. Beautiful!
It was the second time we’ve been there, and this time was even better, since the first time someone broke into our car and broke the trunk. All of this happened while we were seeing it from the top! This is why I recommend that you shouldn’t leave any valuables in the car.
My children are champions because, even though they are young (three and five), they enjoyed the whole journey (about five kilometers way and back, with slopes and stairs). So to all parents out there: your children will enjoy it, especially the part where they can ring the bell and look for the “footprint of San Juan”! All of this while being surrounded by nature.
In this place you won’t hear the sound of cars, maybe of a sporadic airplane, only the seagulls and the sea…I love it! If you are traveling with children, the biggest danger lies halfway through the stairs, there is a path without fence (we didn’t go there), and also up in the chapel, the viewpoint that borders the back part of the chapel. So be careful.
As a curiosity, upstairs you will find a curious WC: it’s a space without door but hidden with a stone wall and a hole in the ground. Everything goes to the sea! In 1053 it was donated to the Monastery San Juan de la Peña, located in Huesca.
I don’t pretend to give a lecture in history nor politics; instead I want to prove the greatness of Biscay and its people, who irradiate sympathy, kindness and hospitability, with these pictures.
I was lucky enough to visit Bilbao on a Sunday, when the book fair of ancient books took place. I was amazed with the texts printed in Euskera (Basque), as well as the sheets and drawings. I let my host guide me and rejoiced with the beauty of the buildings and the sobriety of the institutions; the window in the train station is a jewel, as well as the endless corners that one discovers in these pictures, such as the one of the bar Río-oja, where you can see the inscription of the great floods in the eighties.
Go visit the province and the gift of its nice and noble people, with strong traditions, that offer their humbleness to whoever may need it.
I spent this easter in Bilbao. I was surprised by how nice it is, how clean everything is and its people that are so friendly and nice. I spent a few days, its estuary, museums and of course the athletic football club.. what a feeling. Definitely a nice place to stay.
In Getxo there's an old bridge that once served as transport to cross the river, today the bridge is still running for traffic. The bridge has two ways to cross, the first is through its mobile platform at the bottom, which makes trips every few minutes from one bank to the other and it can carry both vehicles and pedestrians. The other way is climbing to the top of it where there's a walkway that allows you to walk across. Personally, this is the best option since the view is beautiful and it's hard to see much expansion of the city. Perhaps it's best to cross by one way and then return by the other.
I love this different angle. At night, by day, from the side, from the other side, it's a perfect place to find a different picture so I can remember that trip. It's taken next to the "Gugen" museum, with the Isozaki towers in front. A charming landmark.
We were looking for a way to spend the morning and we thought of going to the Forest of Oma, or the Painted Forest.
The entire route is about 8 kilometers long and is perfectly signaled. Inside the woods we found 47 figures and 47 arrows in the ground from where to look at each figure.
You can also visit the caves of Santimamiñe or the town of Oma, both near the forest.
When night falls and the beach gets quiet, there is no better place to relax and unwind than Uribe Kosta beach, where surfers congregate to navigate between the waves. At low tide it exposes all of its rocks and boulders, especially the Peñatxuri.
The Corn Exchange. Impressive Arriquibar building in Plaza de Bilbao. It was previously used as a place to distribute wine, but today it's a cultural center for different activities such as library, study rooms, auditorium, swimming pool, solarium, cafeteria, etc.. In short, you can spend a whole day doing different activities.
Mundaka is the paradise of surfing in Spain, with the best waves for those who love this sport.
It is also a beautiful and calm town, one of those villages of the Basque Country that is worth visiting for their beauty. The surroundings are spectacular, since it’s located inside the Urdaibai reserve.
Other nearby towns worth visiting close to Mundaka are Bermeo and Lekeitio. The food is excellent, although a bit expensive since they take advantage of tourism.
This year, the San Mames Stadium is celebrating its 100th birthday, and already half built, the new stadium is going next door. That alone is worth the visit. We went on a Sunday morning and there was a huge line (moms with strollers, families, school groups, amazing). We bought our tickets and went during nap time, and there was still so many people. We first visited a mini-museum (no pictures allowed) leisurely, and then we started the tour. Apart from the stadium itself, there are a lot of worthwhile curiosities inside and things that the kids loved. A bust of Pichichi, a stuffed lion, the only Spanish stadium arch. The guide was very funny and we had a great time (even though I don't like football). I've told you everything in great detail and there are photos on my blog Planesconnhijos.com
Visit the old town, its seven streets and its cathedral in the centre which was an old cemetry. Then check out its shops, its typical bars with its excellent cuisine and typical multiracial pintxos... that smell of old yet modern...
If you are able to take the correct road without going down directly to the town, you will discover Elantxobe from above, and see its tight red roofs that seem as if suspended over the sea.
The village, from above, is a beauty that produces vertigo when you ask yourself how am I supposed to get down there. But slowly, curve by curve, you reach this charming little town that has lived for centuries with whatever the sea has to offer.
Under the protection of the eastern face of the Caño Ogoño, and open to the Bay of Biscay towards the other winds, today this fishing village has a new jetty that protects its small port. This gives certain tranquility.
How must it have been before? How did the fishermen dock after crossing the sea in this narrow and rocky cove? I’m scared to think about it…
If you love ports as much as I do, then you will have a great time in Lekeitio. Located 55 kilometers from Bilbao has a very pretty old town, especially around “Gamarra Enparantza”, a place that was used since old times as a market, and that today links the old neighborhood of Dendari with the Arranegi one, inhabited by sea folks.
It is worthwhile to wander through these corners, but there is nothing like the town port to really have a good time. It is small and colorful, full of fishing boats painted in colors. The port of Lekeitio is alive at any time of the day.
In the morning it is quite fascinating to see the fishermen return with their catch and to select and separate the fish from the seafood and to prepare everything for the auction in the marketplace.
The afternoon is usually calm; the fishermen make repairs to their nets and prepare themselves to go out early next morning.
Nighttime at the port is the best. Full of restaurants with great atmosphere, this is the place of choice for travelers and neighbors to enjoy spectacular dishes straight from the sea.
Rich in life and history, owner of a multicolor, steep and labyrinth-like fishing neighborhood, Bermeo was founded in 1239. There are no remains of this time, but it does have monuments from the 14th Century, when the village became fortified.
The Tower of Ercilla, the cloister of the Church of San Francisco and the temples of Santa Eufemia and Santa María give the village a delicious medieval flavor.
In Bermeo everything revolves around the port since almost 800 years ago. It concentrates people, streets, alleys and stairs.
Protecting the most important fleet of ships in the Cantabrian, the great docks fosters the busy marketplace, taverns and bars. From there, the people go out to the sea and come back full of joy or sorrow. It is also the place where the sun goes down to rest. And you can also eat there the most famous seafood of the region.
The Biosphere Reserve of Urdaibai extends itself on both sides of the estuary of the Oka River.
This protected space of great beauty and rich in fauna covers the sea board of the ria of Mundaka, the immense sandy areas and the earth that surrounds it. Gernika, the main city of the reserve is found at the end of the ria. From there begins the adventure of discovering the rural interior of the valley and the sea shore.
On the right sight of the ria, Urdaibai shines in all its splendor. You only have to surround the coast to discover the marshes torn by winding canals –today it is the most important humid area of Basque Country-, the landscape full of crops on its soft hills, the scattered villages, and the Cantabrian oaks next to the empty hills of sand.
The beach of Laida is constantly changing in shape and size with the capricious dance of the tide. On the Bay of Biscay, the beach of Laga is paradise on Earth. Protected by Cape Ogoño, the magnificent golden strip of sand is quite visited in the summertime, although thanks to the restrictions of the reserve, it’s still wild and clean, inhabited by black cormorants and peregrine falcons.