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What to see in the Old Town of Bilbao

Qué ver en el Casco Viejo de Bilbao.

Do you want to know the way of being and living of the authentic Bilbaoans? Introduce yourself to our culture, history and gastronomy? The 7 streets, as this area of ​​the Villa is also known, is a space that captivates you. Where modernity and history meet. Do you want to enjoy your visit to the city to the fullest? We tell you what to see in the Old Town of Bilbao.

The Historic Center of Bilbao

If you are wondering what the historic center of Bilbao is, here is the answer. The Casco Viejo is the heart of Bilbao, its first streets and the starting point from which the city spread throughout the Botxo. Today it is a completely pedestrian area that preserves its medieval design, but in which the gastronomic and cultural offer stands out, making it the perfect place to enjoy all that this city offers in the open air.

History of the Old Town of Bilbao

700 years ago Bilbao was a village made up of three streets that surrounded the fortress, today replaced by the Church of San Antón. Thanks to being one of the most important merchant centers in the north, the Casco Viejo expanded until it became the 7 streets. The increasingly important industry made the city grow and modernize to what it is today.

What are the 7 streets of the Old Town of Bilbao called?

The three original streets are:

  • Somera: translated as the street above.
  • Artekale: the middle street.
  • Tendería: which refers to the small shops and workshops that were located on both sides of this street.

With the expansion of the city, four more were added:

  • Belostikale: also called Pesquería, since it was the place where the fishmongers were.
  • Carnicería Vieja: due to its proximity to the first slaughterhouse in Bilbao.
  • Barrenkale: we return to the literal meanings. In this case, the street below
  • Barrenkale Barrena: the last to be created.

Translated as the street behind the street below. All of them gave rise to the term “the 7 streets”.

Map of the Old Town of Bilbao

Qué ver en el Casco Viejo de Bilbao

  1. New Square: the heart of Casco Viejo. An arcaded square, built in neoclassical style during the 19th century. Here are some of the most important pintxo bars in the city.
  2. Miguel de Unamuno Square: square built on two levels where there is a statue in honor of Miguel de Unamuno.
  3. Santiago’s cathedral: hidden between the 7 streets. Its current façade, neo-Gothic, is from the 19th century, but the original cathedral was built in the Gothic style between the 14th and 16th centuries. Outside, the rose window, its tower and its spire stand out. Inside, its stained glass windows, its central nave, the choir, the main altar, the altarpieces of the chapels and the cloister.
  4. Church of San Antón: Gothic church from the 15th century. Its Renaissance-style entrance portico and the outer tower stand out. Inside you will find various sculptures such as one of La Piedad and another of the Virgin of Begoña. There are also remains of the old wall of Bilbao.

  5. Church of San Nicolás: designed by the Basque architect Ignacio Ibero between 1743 and 1756. The dome that covers the temple and the tympanum of the main entrance, which includes a precious bronze relief, stand out. Inside, you will find five Rococo altarpieces made by Juan Pascual de Mena.
  6. Riverside Market: the largest covered market in all of Europe and one of the country’s commercial landmarks. Not only will you find the best of our gastronomy, but you will also be able to admire its design.
  7. Arriaga theater: neo-Baroque building built at the end of the 19th century dedicated to one of the most important Spanish composers in history, Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga. In addition to being a center of culture, its exterior and interior architecture will surprise you.
  8. Basque Museum: where you can learn about the ethnography of the Basque people through various pieces and objects. In addition, the building itself has a central cloister that is worth visiting.
  9. Bidebarrieta Library: the building, an exponent of eclecticism, was built between 1888 and 1890 by the Bilbao architect Severino de Achúcarro as the headquarters of the recreational-cultural society “El Sitio”, founded in honor of the defenders of Bilbao during the Carlist wars. In 1956 it became a library.

How to get to the Old Town of Bilbao

Inside the Casco Viejo is the metro stop of the same name, which includes two exits:

  • San Nicolás: which overlooks the church of the same name.
  • Unamuno: which overlooks the square.

In addition, along the Arenal there are several bus and tram stops. And, next to the Mercado de la Rivera, is Euskotren.

We tell you everything you need to know about these means of transport in our post on how to get around Bilbao.

Sleeping in the Old Town of Bilbao

Staying in the Casco Viejo allows you a total immersion in our city. And if, in addition, that accommodation is located in a historic building, you can live a complete experience.

Our hotel is located in the old Palacio de Ampuero, which dates back to the 18th century. The international Café Suizo y Calzados la Palma, a fashion reference in the Villa, was also here.

Now, you have the opportunity to be part of the history of Bilbao.