Where to Stay in Bilbao

When planning your visit to Bilbao, deciding where to stay is crucial. You can choose from delightful hotels, welcoming hostels, and lavish luxury hotels. Although Bilbao is not particularly famous for its vibrant, trendy hotels, and options may appear limited in some areas, our research for our city trip uncovered several hidden gems.

This blog will guide you through making the best accommodation choice. What are the prime areas for staying in Bilbao? Which neighborhoods offer the best experiences? And which hotels come highly recommended?

How to Get to Bilbao in Spain?

Situated in the north of Spain, Bilbao lies in the autonomous region of the Basque Country, right along the northern coast. The city is strategically placed at the mouth of the Nervión river by the sea, home to an important seaport.

Approximately 400 kilometers north of Madrid, Bilbao is readily accessible from other prominent Spanish cities such as Barcelona and Valencia. Nearby tourist destinations include the cities of San Sebastián and Santander. Notable regional attractions are the island of Gaztelugatxe, known from Game of Thrones, the Urdaibai nature reserve, the charming coastal town of Castro Urdiales, and the tidal island of San Nicolás.


Why Bilbao is Worth Visiting

Famous primarily for the Guggenheim Museum, an architectural gem that showcases modern and contemporary art, Bilbao is a top destination for many travelers’ bucket lists. However, this iconic museum is just one of many reasons to visit.

In Casco Viejo, the city’s old town, a wealth of attractions awaits. Explore the Basque Museum and the Cathedral of Santiago, located amid a network of medieval alleyways. Besides its rich cultural sites, Bilbao boasts a vibrant city atmosphere with excellent restaurants, terraces, and bars, perfect for trying the local pintxos. This combination of cultural wealth, historical architecture, and distinctive cuisine makes Bilbao an essential destination for a unique city break in Spain.


Where to Stay in Bilbao: The Top 3 Neighborhoods

Bilbao is quite a large city, but choosing the best area to stay is straightforward. The best pick is undoubtedly Casco Viejo, or the city’s historic center.

Where to Stay in Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is not only rich in city landmarks but also filled with tourist favorites like Santiago Cathedral, the grand Teatro Arriaga, and the lively Mercado de la Ribera. Additionally, this area is teeming with charming restaurants and pintxo bars that are sure to delight any visitor.

Getting around is easy too, as the metro from Casco Viejo connects you to other parts of the city efficiently. You might be particularly interested in visiting the area around the renowned Guggenheim Museum. While it’s accessible by metro, a pleasant walk will also get you there without much fuss.

The Best Hotels in Bilbao’s Casco Viejo:

#1 Hotel Tayko Bilbao is perfectly situated in the old town within an authentically restored building from 1924. This hotel’s crown jewel is its Michelin-starred restaurant, Ola, which is a must-visit for food lovers.

#2 7 Kale Bed and Breakfast offers a warm stay in the heart of the old center. Rooms are equipped with French balconies and are simply yet tastefully decorated, providing a comfortable retreat.

#3 Bilder Boutique Hotel stands out as a refined boutique hotel in Casco Viejo. The interior design includes elegant herringbone floors and large, stylish beds. Select rooms also feature a terrace or offer picturesque views of the city.

Where to Stay in Abando

The area between Casco Viejo and the Guggenheim Museum—known as Abando—is also vibrant, with an array of dining and nightlife options, although it’s a bit farther from the historic landmarks. A highlight is Calle Ledesma Kalea, a lively car-free street where locals enjoy gathering for evening drinks. Other notable attractions in Abando include Parque de Doña Casilda, the largest park in Bilbao, and the striking Zubizuri Bridge, a white pedestrian bridge spanning the river.

The Best Hotels in Abando:

#4 Hotel Mercure Jardines de Albia is an exquisite luxury hotel in Abando, which not only features a permanent modern art exhibition but also boasts a spa complete with a swimming pool.

#5 Hotel Bilbao Plaza enjoys a scenic riverside spot next to Bilbao’s impressive city hall. The hotel offers various rooms, some with river views, others overlooking a peaceful courtyard, and a select few with private terraces. Guests frequently commend the hotel for its excellent value for money.

Where to Stay near the Guggenheim Museum

The iconic Guggenheim Museum, a major draw in Bilbao, is situated just outside the historic center by the Nervión River, still within an easy walk from Casco Viejo. The museum, a masterpiece of modern architecture by Frank Gehry, opened in 1997 and has been a pivotal part of Bilbao’s urban transformation.

The Best Hotels Near Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum:

#6 Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao, designed by Javier Mariscal, is located directly across from the Guggenheim Museum. This designer hotel features a rooftop terrace that offers stunning views and serves breakfast daily in this inspiring setting.

#7 Hotel Miró boasts an exceptional location opposite the Guggenheim. This boutique hotel, designed by the fashion designer Antonio Miró, offers rooms styled in a sleek, modern aesthetic.