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We had a wonderful 10 day trip to Barcelona and Madrid complete with side trips and guided tours. Ken at Totally Spain was terrific! He listened to what we wanted and put together a well organized, detailed, thoughtful trip, providing plenty of ba...
C. Newman, Great Neck, USA
This Basque city has become synonymous with the titanium-clad Guggenheim museum by Frank Gehry that catapulted it to the front pages of the travel glossies. Everybody who visits Bilbao, adores Jeff Koons Puppy, Richard Sierra’s The Matter of Time and of course the building itself is a blast for the senses. But when we talk about the city to friends and clients, we find it's walking away from the museum where we really have fun. We can spend hours on the riverside walkway looking at the Calatrava bridge. How many times have we smiled at the tram that runs along funky grass-covered tramlines? And why does a giant spider inspire so many photos?
It’s actually the city itself, especially the old Casco Viejo, that is the real highlight of any visit. The Plaza Nueva and the Seven Streets is a wonderful showcase of just how fun and challenging urban life in Spain is. The Washington Post calls it “a pedestrian's paradise woven with medieval streets, cafes and tapas bars”. If fin-de-siecle is more your style, you’ll enjoy the newly restored Ribera foodmarket and towards the Gran Via you’ll find some truly spectacular cafes and theatres.
It’s hard to imagine that this city was once Spain’s most industrialised – we love its new cultural and green agenda and love the confidence it shows in continuing to work with international architects and designers such as Norman Foster who worked on the metro entrances and Philippe Starck who re-designed the cultural centre that used to be a wine warehouse.
As you’d expect, the Basque cuisine is 100% delicious – whether that’s tapas or pinchos with a local white wine called txakoli or high dining in the city’s top restaurants. And when you’ve experienced the best of Bilbao, you can easily take a daytrip east to elegant San Sebastian, south to Vitoria - the charming Basque capital, or even further south to the Rioja wine region. Bilbao is not to be missed.
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