Bilbao architecture, tradition, life
BILBAOArchitecture, tradition, life
Today Bilbao is an internationally-recognised town planning landmark because the strength of its cutting edge is based on respecting and integrating its industrial past.
The icon of the transformation of Bilbao is the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum with its stunning architecture, the work of Frank Gehry, of which you have probably heard already. You have to come and see for yourself how design and architecture impregnate the whole city, starting with the Paseo de Abandoibarra, very close to the museum itself, an undeniably charming area where tourists and locals, joggers and families, mix and meet every day. Another design classic is the city metro, the work of Norman Foster, and Azkuna Zentroa.
During your visit to Bilbao you can take as your point of reference La Ría, the estuary, an artery along which ships used to arrive and which today remains a key part of city life. Following its course you’ll come to the Puente Bizkaia, a jewel of industrial architecture and a World heritage Site. Discovering La Ría and its bridges is a journey through the city’s history.
La Ría also takes you to the Casco Viejo, or Old Town of Bilbao, a lively area which is very close to the hearts of Bilbao’s inhabitants. Take a walk around its bustling “seven streets” and before you know it you’ll be trying pintxos and wine or “txikiteando”.
Bizkaia Bizkaia stands out mainly because of its advanced modernity, but also because it suits the label land of contrasts as it lovingly keeps its traditions alive.
The rest of the territory has both highly populated areas and others with an age-old rural flavour. On the one hand, over decades the mining industry has been linked to exploiting iron ore, which has left a wealthy bequest in the shape of industrial remains and mining areas, such as La Arboleda in the Valle de Trápaga-Trapagaran.
Interior mountains with mythical summits such as Anboto and Gorbeia, enveloped in legends, tumble down to the sea forming a steep coastline dotted with sandy areas and charming fishing ports.
29 golden-sand beaches, steep cliffs and natural spots constitute the coast of Bizkaia throughout 150 kilometres. From Muskiz to Ondarroa, coastal villages feel their fishing fiestas and traditions intensely, with obligatory appointments such as fishing boat regattas or curious customs like the traditional dance Kaxarranka, taking place in Lekeitio's San Pedro festivity.
We will also find some of the symbols of the territory on the coast, such as the hanging bridge, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site and Gernika, a great symbolic town due to the bombing in 1937 that was depicted in the famous painting by Picasso. The coast also offers landscapes full of great beauty. Pure images such as San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, exceptional natural spaces and shelter for migratory birds.
Bizkaia also offers numerous inland attractions in the shape of medieval boroughs and natural reserves. The Duranguesado and Encartaciones regions and the valley of Arratia still keep the essence of the rural Bizkaia alive, apart from a great historical-cultural heritage. Towns such as Durango, Elorrio, Otxandio, Orduña and Balmaseda are marked with palaces, noble houses, walls and churches, constituting authentic treasures of the Bizkaian architecture that will captivate visitors for sure.
Bilbao has opted for design in the reconversion of the city