Multi-day tours which stop in Bilbao and other northern Spanish cities typically include a visit to the Old Quarter. Once in the city, the mostly flat streets of this riverside district lend themselves nicely to relaxed shared or private walking tours, including food-focused excursions which typically involve pintxo tastings. If walking tours aren’t your thing, you can instead opt for running, driving, and self-guided excursions in Los Siete Calles (Seven Streets) of Bilbao.
Things to Know Before You Go
Some of the Old Quarter’s top attractions are free to enter, while others can be admired from outside, such as the Santiago Cathedral.
Dining options in Casco Viejo range from budget to blow-out and few places require advance bookings; eat slightly later than normal to avoid the tourist crowds.
Wear comfortable shoes for a visit to Casco Viejo because it takes a lot of walking to explore in its entirety.
Smooth sidewalks and a mostly flat layout mean that Bilbao’s Old Quarter is fully wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Bilbao Old Quarter is home to many of the city’s most popular hotels and is within easy walking distance of the popular Abando neighborhood, Guggenheim, and more. As such, most visitors find it easiest to arrive and explore on foot. However, the area also has several public transit options, including tram, metro, and Bilbobus connections. The closest metro station is, aptly, Casco Viejo.
When to Get There
Bilbao Old Quarter is both popular and accessible year-round, although it’s best to visit on Saturdays and Sundays, when open-air flea, food, and flower markets pop up across the neighborhood. For a quieter experience, visit midweek to escape the weekend crowds and if you find yourself in Bilbao on December 21, be sure to stop by Plaza Nueva to celebrate the Santo Tomás Market.
Los Siete Calles
While the Bilbao Old Quarter now teems with cafés, restaurants, and pintxo bars galore, the neighborhood once consisted of just seven streets—Barrenkale, Barrenkale Barrena, Belostikale, Artekale, Carnicería Vieja, Tendería, and Somera—criss-crossed by interconnecting alleyways. Nowadays, you can travel back in time by wandering these centuries-old lanes during a guided tour of the area.
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- Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology
- Basque Museum (Museo Vasco de Bilbao)
- Arriaga Theatre (Teatro Arriaga)
- Bilbao's Santiago Cathedral
- San Vicente Martír de Abando Church (Parroquia de San Vicente Martir de Abando)
- Zubizuri Bridge
- Moyua Square (Plaza Moyúa)
- Artxanda Funicular (Funicular de Artxanda)
- Azkuna Zentroa
- Guggenheim Museum
- Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao)
- Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park
- Euskalduna Palace (Palacio Euskalduna)
- River Maritime Museum (Museo Maritimo Ria)