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36ºC / 96ºF

Bilbao

With a milder climate than in other major urban centres in Spain and with a fierce Basque identity permeating every part of the city, Bilbao offers a fascinating holiday amid great museums, great people and unique views and experiences. A former industrial town and one of the largest ports in Europe, the city has transformed itself against the threat of decline in shipbuilding and evolved into a cultural hub where design and art attracts thousands of visitors every year. The jewel in the crown of this successful rejuvenation is inarguably the stunning architectural gem that is the Guggenheim Museum, situated right on the banks of the Nervion. Designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, it’s one of the largest museums in Spain and features a great number of artworks by Spanish and international artists, one of which is the flower-covered Puppy by Jeff Koons that greets visitors to the museum. Stroll along the riverbank, past some of the curious buildings and bridges found here, cross the beautiful Zubizuri Bridge and then head right until you get to the Plaza del Gas. Here you can scale the hillside to Etxebarria Park, from where you can get a panoramic view of the city below and the rugged mountain ranges that stretch into the Basque hinterland. Catch an underground train back into the centre of the city and get off at the Moyua Station. From the nearby square of the same name, the streets stretch across Bilbao in a linear pattern. Head west to the Museum of Fine Arts and the vast Doña Casilda de Iturrizar Park which expands serenely towards the Maritime Museum. Near the park you’ll also find the San Mames football stadium, where the pride of the region, Athletic Bilbao, plays. Shop along the many streets that lead back to the Federico Moyua Square and then retire to a bar or restaurant for a drink and some local pintxos to round off a day of exploring. Bilbao is a city that is easy to navigate, and as you stroll along the beautiful streets, you’ll find it difficult not to fall head over heels in love with the place.

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