A weekend in Basque Country
In 2015 we visited the Basque City of Bilbao in Northern Spain for a weekend.
It was a fabulous destination for a break and here are 13 of the things we did there.
1 – We visited Bilbao’s Casco Viejo; the oldest part of the city. It was first laid out at the end of the 14th century but it has been cleaned up recently. It is perfect for browsing the myriad of shops which sell a variety of stuff.
2-We had lovely sponge cakes from the famous shop Arresse
3-We saw a lot of shops selling Basque flags and Basque caps !
4 – We toured the Guggenheim museum and visited a couple of the exhibitions they had there.
5- We ate pintxos. (the Basque version of tapas) Most bars have counter-tops laden with things like chunks of tortillas, jamon bocadillos or bread slathered in salt cod or fried fish.
6- We visited the Plaza Neuva and did a pinxto pub crawl. The neoclassical square is packed with pintxos bars making it easy to hop from one to the next.
7- We visited Bilbao’s Art Deco Mercado de la Ribera. It has a very handsome food hall full of fruits, fresh fish, cheeses and hams. They cook up the stuff you buy from the market stalls and we had an excellent lunch there.
8 – We rode the city’s modern metro system. The station entrances were designed by Norman Foster and are called “Fosterinos”.
9 – We went out of the city to the suburb of Getxo. It is a 25-minute metro ride from central Bilbao. We ate sardines at a beach side restaurant – just perfect !
10- We had some fantastic local Aretxaga wine. It was wonderful with the sardines!
11- We walked on the the “big villas promenade”. It is a fascinating collection of grand mansions erected in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
12 – We boarded the funicular railway to climb the Artxanda Mountain. It took just three minutes to get to the top for an amazing view of the city.
13 – We left the city centre and crossed the Nervión river via the Puente Colgante (Hanging Bridge). It was built in 1893 and has a gondola suspended on cables from towers that are 61 metres tall. We travelled across the bridge both ways for 40 cents and I also paid for the tour which included a stroll along the 45m-high walkway.