Bilbao was founded in the early 14th Century by Diego Lopez V de Haro and became an important commercial hub for Spain, especially because of its port activity. However, settlers had made the area their home long before this, with the oldest remains dating from around the second or third century BCE. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city became industrialized, making it the second-most industrialized region of Spain. Today, it is the heart of the modernization of the region, and it is under social, economic, and aesthetic revitalization. There are several architectural and infrastructure projects, including the famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. Picturesque forests, mountains, and beaches surround this thriving urban area.
Location: A Northern Spanish City by the Bay of Biscay
Located in north-central Spain on the northern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, this metropolis is about 14 kilometers south of the Bay of Biscay. Two small mountain ranges surround the city. It is easily accessible by plane, train, ferry, and automobile. It has its own airport, the Bilbao Airport. The AP-8 toll motorway connects it to the European road network, and the A8 connects it to the north of Spain. There are seven different train lines servicing the city. There is also a ferry service.
Business: An Industrial City that now Hosts a Thriving Service Economy
Since the Middle Ages when the Consulate was founded, Bilbao has served as the economic center of Basque Country. The industrialization of the 19th and 20th Centuries brought a new economy to the center, but in the 1980s, the city underwent a crisis as industry failed, so it moved to the service industry instead. Many business travelers come to the city to take advantage of the Euskalduna Conference Center and Concert Hall and the Bilbao Exhibition Center.
Culture: Home One of the Most Important Modern Structures
The building of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which houses modern art, in 1997 increased the number of tourists to visit the town every year. It is just one of several transformed industrial spaces, and the building itself, designed by Frank Gehry, is considered one of the most important architectural models of the past 30 years. The city has a range of architectural styles from Gothic to contemporary. The Old Town has many historical buildings, including the St. James Cathedral and Church of San Anton.
Activities: Many Opportunities for Enjoying Nature
There are 18 public parks within the city limits, the largest of which are Mount Cobetas and Larreagaburu. These areas provide the perfect location for walking, cycling, or just enjoying a picnic. Mount Artxanda is easily accessed by a funicular, and has a recreational area at the summit that features panoramic views of the area. Pagasarri is a popular hiking destination.