In 2010, the city of Bilbao was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize of urban development. More recently, in 2013, its mayor received the World Mayor Award, awarded by the British City Mayors Foundation, in recognition of the urban transformation the Biscayan capital has undergone since 1990. Bilbao’s history reads like a fairytale. A once grey industrial city, it has converted itself into a sophisticated and cosmopolitan metropolis, where art comes alive both in museums and outside.
On the banks of the river Nervión, good living is a daily practice. You can sample the typical ‘pintxos’, watered down with ‘txikitos’ glasses of wine in the Old Town taverns, witness one of the legendary Athletic de Bilbao football games, or even escape to the countryside or the beautiful beaches, such as Barrika, Sopelana (ideal for surfers) or Meñakoz (where they practice nudism), located less than half an hour away by car.
If you are looking to soak up some art, the options are plentiful. La Alhóndiga, a monumental early- 20th-century building and old wine warehouse, is now a complete modern leisure and cultural centre, hosting exhibitions, conferences and cinema festivals. An interesting alternative to the world’s most impressive museums is the Guggenheim museum, to which both Bilbao and its visitors give endless praise. Designed by Frank Gehry, the museum is located on the riverbanks and is made up of curves and twists covered in limestone, glass curtains and titanium sheets. Even from the outside, the view of this astounding construction surrounded by water is a unique experience and worth catching one of our cheap flights to Bilbao for. Don’t miss out!
Flying to Bilbao with Iberia is a really comfortable way to discover a beautiful city. It has a humid maritime climate with prevailing westerly winds that keep the weather mild and temperate throughout the year. As it is so close to the sea, temperatures do not vary greatly from season to season: an average of 8 ºC in winter and 20 ºC summer.
If you are taking a flight to Bilbao, you will land at Bilbao Airport, designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava. This aerodrome was opened in 1999 in the rural surroundings of Loiu, 12 km from the capital city of Biscay. It is built out of glass and iron, has three floors and is supposed to look like a dove starting to fly.
To deal with increased air traffic, the arrivals hall was refurbished in 2011 and it wholly enclosed and air conditioned, and eight new lifts and two ramps were fitted to connect the arrivals hall and the gallery adjoining the car park.
You can take the Bizkaibus A3247 Bilbao – Airport line to the Bilbao Termibus Station from the airport.
Basque gastronomy is characterised by mostly traditional recipes made from quality produce, most of which are obtained from the sea, but their cod "pintxos", "txangurro" or spider crab, and "chorizo al infierno", amongst others, are world famous.
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