Bilbao

Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country as a whole. It is also the largest city proper in northern Spain.

Bilbao is situated in the north-central part of Spain, some 16 kilometres (10 mi) south of the Bay of Biscay, where the economic social development is located, where the estuary of Bilbao is formed. Its main urban core is surrounded by two small mountain ranges with an average elevation of 400 metres (1,300 ft). Its climate is shaped by the Bay of Biscay low-pressure systems and mild air, moderating summer temperatures by Iberian standards, with low sunshine and high rainfall. The annual temperature range is low for its latitude.

After its foundation in the early 14th century by Diego López V de Haro, head of the powerful Haro family, Bilbao was a commercial hub of the Basque Country that enjoyed significant importance in Green Spain. This was due to its port activity based on the export of iron extracted from the Biscayan quarries. Throughout the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Bilbao experienced heavy industrialisation, making it the centre of the second-most industrialised region of Spain, behind Barcelona. At the same time an extraordinary population explosion prompted the annexation of several adjacent municipalities. Nowadays, Bilbao is a vigorous service city that is experiencing an ongoing social, economic, and aesthetic revitalisation process, started by the iconic Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, and continued by infrastructure investments, such as the airport terminal, the rapid transit system, the tram line, the Azkuna Zentroa, and the currently under development Abandoibarra and Zorrozaurre renewal projects.

Bilbao is also home to football team Athletic Club, a significant symbol for Basque nationalism due to its promotion of only Basque players and being one of the most successful clubs in Spanish football history.

Tourism

The first notion of Bilbao as a tourist destination came with the inauguration of the railway between Bilbao and the coastal neighbourhood of Las Arenas, in the municipality of Getxo in 1872. The connection made Bilbao a minor beach destination.

The real tourist surge though would come much later with the inauguration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in 1997. Thereafter tourist arrivals registered a continued upward trend, reaching over 932,000 visitors in 2018. The trend was exponential considering that in 1995, Bilbao only counted 25,000 tourists. Bilbao also hosts 31% of the total Basque Country visitors, being the top destination of this autonomous community, outranking San Sebastián

The majority of tourists are domestic visitors, coming from Madrid and Catalonia. International travellers are predominantly French, crossing the border just to the east. The others arrive from the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy. Tourism generates about 300 million euros yearly for the Biscayan GDP. Bilbao also draws business tourism, having been equipped with facilities like the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, and the Bilbao Exhibition Centre, in nearby Barakaldo.

Main sights

Contact

Bilbao
email
address
Plaza Ernesto Erkoreka nº 1. 48007 Bilbao
phone
944 204 200