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Bilbao is a wonderful city to explore over a long weekend. It’s small enough to explore on foot, but big enough to have a great selection of cafes and restaurants, fabulous architecture and beautiful scenery. The nightlife is second to none, and, of course, the city is also home to the iconic Guggenheim Museum.

Bilbao may be the biggest city in Northern Spain but it is a calm place with a laid back vibe - where there is all the time in the world to take in the sights as you stroll around the winding streets, perhaps stopping for a cup of delicious coffee, or a chilled glass of local white wine with some tapas at one of the many bars that are open all day and long into the night. Walking through the old town is a wonderful way to absorb the tremendous atmosphere of Bilbao. And, the green spaces of Dona Casilda Park are always welcoming and provide the perfect respite should you visit when the temperature is high. It is real oasis in the heart of the city.

Bilbao’s Museo Guggenheim opened with great fanfare in September 1997, and brought Bilbao screaming into the 21st century - with sensation. It enhanced the city’s already well advanced regeneration, stimulated more development and put Bilbao firmly on the world map in terms of tourism of course, the world art scene.

Some critics venture the opinion that structure overpowers function at the Guggenheim, and that it is famed more for its appearance than for the art that it houses. However, this amazing building, designed by Frank Gehry, is an inspirational mix of graceful canopies, sharp cliffs, looming towers ship shapes, and flying fins that most visitors will find absolutely irresistible.

Bilbao is small and perfectly formed, so it is perfectly possible to explore most of its key areas in a day. The atmosphere of this compact city is unique within the country –extremely laid with a charmingly quaint yet still chic feel. It is one of the true jewels in Spain’s crown - with welcoming locals, and a delightfully quirky selection of quintessentially Spanish architecture - a highlight being the wonky and rustic Spanish apartments that loom above winding, narrow, winding streets, decorated with flower filled balconies that fill the streets with scent. Old historic buildings sit happily sit by side with ultra-modern offerings, and contrast so completely that the comparison makes each style seem even more remarkable.

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