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Staggering architecture, vibrant cultural centre, incredible dining scene, buzzing nightlife and stunning landscapes. Bilbao is a thriving waterfront city in the Basque region of Spain, an absolute must for design and culture lovers. It is a city that has been able to successfully mix traditional Basque culture with a new vision for the future. Tucked into green and mountainous countryside, Bilbao flanks the Nervión river, with a string of breathtaking beaches close by.  The city is famed for the captivating Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum, a curvy, titanium-clad building housing prominent modern and contemporary works. Other great architectural works include the soaring bridge designed by Santiago Calatrava. and the wine storage warehouse, now a creative cultural and leisure space by architect Philippe Starck.

Bilbao is also keen to share its beautiful past; a neo-baroque theatre, an art nouveau train station, several spectacular cathedrals, some wonderful historical museums, the Puente Colgante or Hanging Bridge (built in 1893 and comprising of a gondola suspended from 61m towers)  and a funicular railway, which has been shuttling up Artxanda Mountain since 1915. It takes just three minutes to reach the top, where there are sweeping views over the city towards the sea.

Bilbao’s Casco Viejo is the oldest part of the city. Its Siete Calles (Seven Streets) and Plaza Nueava are gourmet heaven, popular for txakoli (slightly sparkling white wine) or zurito (small beers) and pintxos (the Basque version of tapas). 

Parks and plazas dot the city centre, and riverside promenades give way to fine views of the city. Bilbao is sophisticated and humming with action, but is also a relaxed, relatively stress-free city, with an oceanic climate; mild winters and warm summers.