Located in Abandoibarra, one of the most emblematic parts of Bilbao, Bizkaia Aretoa hosts all kind of social, cultural, academic and scientific events.
Designed by the architect Álvaro Siza, the building is L-shaped and it opens out onto the estuary and the Guggenheim Museum. The architect and designer has given priority to “maintaining the scale of the place, respecting cornices and placing the ground floor at the service of the pedestrian, open and permeable, offering views inside with huge wings that integrate the private space in the public area and vice versa”.
It has a constructed surface area of over 9,000 square meters, spread over six floors. It has a mixed structure of wrought steel and concrete and its northern and eastern façades, which will form the main entrance to the building, are set with huge rectangular windows. The façades leading to the library, to the Deusto bridge and the Plaza Euskadi are clad in white marble, which is also found on the stairs and between the grey handmade tiles covering the main wall.
Bizkaia Aretoa has become in a reference place for the field of events in Bilbao
Bilbao is a cosmopolitan, open, welcoming, lively, elegant and modern city which brings together features of a unique cultural heritage, with a new aesthetic in which the avant-garde shares the streets with art to create a new balanced and remarkable urban landscape. Strategically located in the centre of the Atlantic Corridor, it boosts half of the population of the Basque Country and half of its economic activity takes place there.
Bilbao is today the result of an historic process of renovation and reinvention which was necessary to address the new challenges of the 21st century. It is worth noting that the transfor-mation started with the construction of the underground metro system, vital to the daily routine of the city’s inhabitants. But if there is one development that has secured Bilbao’s place on the international stage, it has to be the ‘Guggenheim effect’. It can’t be denied that, since its construction, it has become an icon of the new urban reality. It’s breathtaking architecture, the work of Frank Gehry, won’t fail to leave you impressed. The same can be said of its art gallery, one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of contemporary art.
Of course, Bilbao had a strong identity long before the Guggenheim was built, and you are going to love having a taste of it. Wandering around its Casco Viejo or Old Town involves discovering the historical roots of the city and stopping to try the ‘pintxos’ (the delicious local tapas). Saying that you have been to Bilbao and you haven’t mingled with the locals to ‘txikitear’ (do a little bar-hopping) is not to have lived the true experience of the city. So make sure you include it in your gastronomic tour of the city to taste the delicious pintxos. Day or night, whether in the Casco Viejo (Plaza Nueva, Jardines Street, Calle del Perro Street and Santa María Street) or in the Ensanche district in Indautxu (García Rivero Street or Poza Street amongst others), you can live the authentic experience, with a glass of something nice to wash it down.
Bilbao is a fashionable city at the moment and a probe of this is its condition of venue for several major events in 2018. The European Rugby Champions Cup, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Competition awards, considered the Oscar ceremony of world gastronomy, or the MTV EMA 2018, the European Music Awards of the MTV channel, are only some of them. And we can forget the Bilbao’s premier musical event, the BBK Live, which welcome over 100,000 people every year at a festival that is now firmly established in the national and international music calendar.
Arriving to Bilbao
Bilbao’s International Airport is a benchmark in the Basque Country. It is located in Loiu, ten kilometers away from the capital. There is an urban bus (run by Bizkaibus), which takes you to the main bus station, where you can take any other means of transport in order to move around in the city (taxi, metro, tram…).
Airport-Bilbao by bus: Bizkaibus line 3247 (see more information)
Airport-Bilbao by taxi: Around fifteen minutes. Approx. 25-30€.
The main bus station in Bilbao is Termibus (Address: Gurtubay, 1), next to the San Mamés Stadium. You can access Termibus via the Bilbao metro, at the San Mamés station, or via the Bilbao tram (EuskoTran) and via Renfe’s suburban trains.
Through the A-8, which leads to Donostia-San Sebastián and the border town of Irún (90 minutes from Bilbao, one can access the Southwesterly French network of roads, towards Bordeaux and Paris; and those leading to the South, towards Toulouse and Montpellier).
Through the A-68, which subsequently goes down to the Valle del Ebro (Ebro Valley), which links with Barcelona (around 6 hours) and the A-7, which crosses the Mediterranean coast. The most important road networks of the center of Europe can be accessed through the same route, going through the border town of Cervere. Cities like Lyon, Genoa, Milan or Geneva are less than one day’s journey by road.
The highway directly links with Burgos through the A-68 (one and a half hours) and Valladolid (two and a half hours) through the Autovía de Castilla (Castille’s highway) and from there to Madrid (around four hours) through the Autovía del Norte (Northern highway).
It links with Santander via the Autovía del Cantábrico (Cantabrian highway) in about one hour.
Transportation in Bilbao
The Bilbao Metro was officially opened in 1995 and was designed by Sir Norman Foster (Manchester, 1935), one of the most innovative and important architects of our time. His individual style has given the city one of the most recognizable architectonic landmarks: the ‘fosteritos’, which are the entrances to the various stations and are always made of glass and steel.
The line has been gradually extended to cover an area linking Atxuri to La Casilla, with a central stretch across Abandoibarra district -the new leisure area in the village- and stops at some of Bilbao’s architectural landmarks, such as the Arriaga Theatre, the Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Palace and San Mamés football stadium.
Barik farepasses can be used. 5, 10 and 15 euros-worth passes are available in most underground stations, tram stops, kiosks and tobacconists’ shops. When using Barik card, each trip has a cost of 0.73 euros.
Tickets have to be discounted in the machine located at the stop where you get on, because there is no way to buy or discount tickets on the tram.