top 5 bilbao is here by popular request!

we left behind the beautiful madrid barajas terminal 4. and, after a short and rocky flight, we landed on the very stylish sondika airport in bilbao, by calatrava. in plain sight, i found a perfectly equipped booth that answered all my tourist questions. there were plenty of brochures and posters, interactive screens and a very knowledgeable assistant. she gave me all the necessary info regarding any corner of the basque country. i must say that it’s the best tourist info booth i have ever come across. each airport should have one!

top 5 bilbao

a little booking error brought the unexpected gift of one free day in the area which was quickly assigned to be spent in san sebastian (watch this space for more details). but, very eager to finally see the guggenheim, the first day was bilbao-only. i discovered a wonderful, modern town with many exciting places. and i had occasional encounters with the challenging and surprising basque language. my advice is that you should not miss visiting bilbao if you are in the area!

5. the bilbao metro was created by foster+partners. the inside of the few stations i saw was subtle and contemporary. for instance, in one of them, the walls were made of concrete embossed with leaf motifs.

the fosteritos, as the glass shells of the street entrances are called, are unique to the city.

fosteritos top 5 bilbao

4. santiago calatrava’s work. the aforementioned sondika airport is not his only work in the city. there’s also the controversial zubizuri (basque for white bridge) that arches over the nervion river.

sondika airport calatrava top 5 bilbaozubizuri calatrava bilbao

3. basque health department building was created by coll-barreu arquitectos. it cost a total of 13M euro. click here for more details. the location is central and very close to the following highlight, alhondiga.

basque health department building top 5 bilbao

2. alhondiga bilbao is a former 3-building wine cellar. it was recently restored by philippe starck into a lively bee-hive of activities. it houses a mediateka, a multiplex, a theater, an exhibition space, a conference hall, a restaurant, a cafe, a fun shop and a large roof-top fitness center. the bottom of the swimming pool is made of glass. so, by looking up from the ground floor, you can see the swimmers going to and forth above your head…jaw-dropping! the mediateka is a huge public library that holds enough to make anybody happy. the ground floor is held by 43 pillars, each differently styled. find all the info and many great pix here. it’s the must hang out place!

alhondiga top 5 bilbao

1. the guggenheim! i finally got to see it, after years of wanting to! but please wait just a little longer for all the details. i have an upcoming post dedicated exclusively to it!

guggenheim top 5 bilbao

photo credits: google search