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30 words you have to learn if you come to visit Bilbao

30 palabras que tienes que aprender si vienes a conocer Bilbao.

Are you going to visit Bilbao soon? Then you should know that here, and all over Euskadi, we have a special vocabulary. Some words come from the Basque language and others from tradition. And knowing them will allow you to move around the city much better. Do you want to know what they are? Here we show you the 30 words you have to learn if you come to Bilbao.

30 words you have to learn if you come to visit Bilbao


  • Aupa: the typical form of greeting here, replacing hello.
  • Epa: variation of aupa.
  • Kaixo: also means hello.
  • Agur: the most used word to say goodbye.
  • Pues: a catch-all word. It is added as a colloquialism for many phrases, but it is also used to ask why.
  • Bai: means yes.
  • Ez: means no.
  • Eskerrik asko: translates as thank you very much.


  • Sirimiri: you are very likely to suffer from it if you visit Bilbao. We call this way to fine rain, between rain and fog. That’s why you won’t hear that it rains, but that sirimiri falls.


  • Cuadrilla: as the group of friends is called here.
  • Txikiteros: the professionals of drinking txikitos. You will see them in the bars, in cuadrilla, with a glass in their hands and singing bilbainadas.


  • Potear: nothing more and nothing less than going out to visit bars and having a short drink in each one of them. The result? You can imagine.


  • Kalea: you will see it written in many places, as it means street in Basque.
  • Sagardotegi: where you can taste the typical sagardo. It is the name of the traditional Basque cider houses.
  • Txozna: are the stalls that are placed in the street during the festivities and where food and drinks are served. Besides being the dance area.
  • Taberna: this is the name given to the bars where people stay to drink.
  • Jatetxea: and let’s not forget about eating. This is how restaurants are called here.
  • Azoka: market or fair that takes place in the street and where you can buy handicrafts and farm products.


  • Txikito: you go to a bar and you want to have a short glass of red wine? Then you have to order a txikito.
  • Zurito: and if you are more of a beer drinker and want a short drink…ask for a zurito!
  • Kalimotxo: the sacred drink of the Basques. A mixture of Coca Cola and red wine.
  • Sagardoa: the Basque cider. Fermented apple juice with low alcohol content.
  • Patxaran: if you eat in any bar or restaurant, you will most likely be offered a glass of patxaran at the end of your meal. Of Navarrese origin, it is the after-dinner drink par excellence in the Basque Country.
  • Txakoli: the people of Bilbao do not live by red wine alone. Txakoli is the white wine of Euskadi. Ideal to drink as an aperitif or with a pintxo.
  • Pika: Do you like beer with lemon? Then don’t order a Radler, order a pika.
  • Katxi: in case you come during the festive season. Drinks are served in katxis, plastic cups with a capacity of one liter that you can share.


  • Pintxo: here there are no tapas, there are pintxos. And they are also sacred, since they are small representations of our gastronomy that can be eaten in 2-3 bites. If you go to many bars you will see a bar full of them.
  • Gilda: one of the typical pintxos of Euskadi. It is a stick with anchovies, green olives and chilli, all spread in olive oil on a piece of bread. You can’t leave without trying one!
  • Salda: during the cold months it is common to see the sign “salda dago” in bars.  It is a typical broth served at this time of the year.
  • Talo: it is usually sold in the txoznas that are set up during fiestas. It is a very thin corn cake, kneaded and handmade. Inside, it usually has chorizo sausage, but you have the option to order it with black pudding, bacon, pork loin and even vegetarian or vegan.

What else do you need to know if you visit Bilbao?

In addition to these words, we leave you a selection of our posts where we give you information that will help you to know Bilbao as if you were from here: