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Bilbao has emerged triumphantly from it’s harsh, industrial heyday into a cultural, cosmopolitan and charismatic city guaranteed to delight art lovers and adventurers alike. It’s impressive devotion to world class galleries and provincial personality means Bilbao becomes an unexpected favourite of many tentative tourists; industrialized architecture and a lack of verdant greenery mean Bilbao isn’t the most picturesque places, but for what it lacks in beauty it compensates for in rich and remarkable culture.
Amidst the Basque beauty and condensed charm of Bilbao’s Old Quarter resides grandiose Gothic structures, quaint cafes and bustling squares. The 14th century Cathedral de Santiago is perhaps the city’s finest example of Gothic grandeur and houses religious relics, prismatic stained glass windows and interminable arches.
The colourful facades surrounding Plaza Nueva create an idyllic picture of Spanish culture; on Sundays, this square is transformed by the antique bounty of the flea market and offers an authentic atmosphere.
An attraction that allures art-lovers from around the world, the grandiose Guggenheim Museum is an arresting image of glittering titanium and maritime influence that is considered the struggling city’s saviour. The museum’s most distinguished displays are the ethereal Mist Sculpture that arises from the small pool of water near the atrium and Jeff Koon’s Puppy, an enormous Highland terrier made from thousands of begonias. This cultural climax is an unforgettable experience, and hours can be spent exploring the exquisite artistic examples within.
The region’s culinary speciality is undoubtedly pinxto, a traditional Basque tapas that combines exciting an explosive flavours in small and sharable dishes. Bustling Restaurante Victor enjoys an ambient location upon the Plaza Nueva, and serves divine dishes that will redefine your concept of cuisine; savour signature dishes such as goats cheese with walnuts and onion marmalade, Serrano ha garnished meatballs and juicy king prawns with caviar and boiled egg.(Nueva Plaza, 2, 48005 Bilbao, Biscay)