Although it is said that only those cities that have direct access to the sea are seaworthy, the truth is that Bilbao has that quiet and magical air to it, like the large cities on the seafront, thanks to its unmistakable estuary. Besides having a unique and original Old Town, the capital of the Basque Country comes alive every day and every night thanks to unique corners situated along the estuary and, in many cases, it has become the city’s real hidden treasure.
If you have decided to make a romantic getaway or a last minute trip for a couple of days, the best option is to choose a Petit Palace hotel in Bilbao to enjoy the city in the best possible way. But, the question is where to start? In this post we propose you discover the secrets behind the Ria de Bilbao.
A stroll along Bilbao’s estuary is a complete experience. From contemplating unique landscapes to enjoying the best terraces in the city, some of the most popular locations at the moment are located on the banks of the estuary. Although there are many possibilities, we recommend the following: La Ribera (the coffee shop at La Ribera Market, a must on your places to visit in Bilbao), La Terraza at the Maritime Museum (with its stunning views) and La Karola (the quintessential indie bar with views to the estuary in the background).
Once we have recovered some energy with the best pintxos of the city, there is nothing better than to discover those secret corners, which we mentioned previously, and that have the estuary as its centre point. One of the most striking (because it seems to appear out of nowhere) is the chill-out bar of Zorrozaurre. Am almost improvised place that looks and feels like an oasis in the middle of the street and is bathed by the Ria. One of the best things about it, is that very few people know about it, so take advantage to visit and enjoy it!
Another of those hidden gems in Bilbao’s estuary is the so-called “Norwegian Bilbao”, or in other words, the Olabeaga quarter. An area that was shaped by Nordic sailors that reached the port of Bilbao with Scandinavian cod. The architectonical style corresponds to that of the north of Europe, with houses in different colours but sharing the same red coloured roof. Interested in one more secret? If you visit this part of Bilbao, do not forget to bring a warm jacket because the temperature here is lower than average.
Our last secret stop is the Paseo de los Caños, an area that links the bridge Puente de la Peña with the Atxurri neighbourhood, and it is located on the right bank of the estuary. Undoubtedly, it is the quietest and most charming area of Bilbao and an ideal place to disconnect from the busy pace of city life. You can walk from end to end in about 40 minutes. In addition, the viewpoint of Los Caños allows you to see some of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Bilbao on the other side of the estuary.