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Bilbao. River, Industry and Regeneration

Bilbao and the river…

Bilbao is a city that needs it’s river. Without this small river flowing through the green valley, the city we know would not be what it is today

It all started in 1300 when Bilbao was given ‘town’ status by the Lord of Bizkaia, Don Diego Lopez de Haro. He needed a port to export castilian merino wool to northern Europe and ever since the history of Bilbao and the river has been entwined.

Together they have seen war, trade, shipbuilding, mining, industrialisation, wealth, immigration, decline, and eventually regeneration. An awful lot for what is a pretty nondescript small river that flows for some 50km into the Bay of Biscay.

Walk to Bilbao

All this history can be seen, felt, smelled and absorbed by walking along the riverbank. An open, living book passing mediaeval ruins, steel works, furnaces, working suburbs, shipyards, abandoned lots, bridges and redeveloped barrios.

Starting at the UNESCO listed Bridge of Bizkaia, the only Industrial monument on its list in Spain,  we stroll along the riverbank suburbs that form the city. Through Portugalete and into Sestao, a tough town where there is still much deprivation. Onto Barakaldo, a big town in itself  with functioning shipyards, abandoned warehouses and huge cranes. Past Lutxana and Burtzeña both almost forgotten about barrios. Past Zorroza and along the bank past Olabeaga before you reach what was the port  in the 19th and 20th centuries. Now you stand at the heart of the urban regeneration so successfully undertaken and where the Guggenheim and the Euskalduna Palace stand.

Pintxos and Basque Food

This is a great walk, which with stops for drinks and snacks could take from between 2 -4 hours. On surfaced roads and paths, all you need is your camera and an idea of where to go! Its another of the walks and hikes we at Basque Experiences love. Different, off the beaten track, and a chance to see and learn about the Basque Country on foot. Get your timing right and we will be on time for a few of those famous pintxos!! So get in touch with us regarding your Tour of the Basque Country and combine it with some trips with us to discover our famous Basque Cuisine and Basque Food…..

On a sunny day the pics are great!!


Basque Experiences loves July!!

Summertime + cruise-ships + sun = Busy!

The month of July is fantastic here in the Basque Country; the days are long, the fiestas start, the sea is warm and smiles abound 🙂

Here at Basque Experiences, July is a busy time with clients and this year has seen us on some great and varied Basque Tours.

Our pintxo tours are a popular choice for many visitors with lunchtimes or evenings around the various bar areas in Bilbao proving to be great fun. We adapt them as we go along, so if you don’t want tourist bars, you won’t get them, if you want authentic ‘sawdust on floor’ you will! That’s our philosophy… listen to the client and adapt to suit.

Family trips from far-afield this July have been very enthusiastically appreciated! With guests from the US, UK, Canada, NZ, Indonesia, Holland and France, we have had the opportunity to spread the word about the Basque Country. Some will be back we are sure and some others will be telling their friends and work colleagues about Basque Experiences… We arrange our visits to coincide with reservations at some of our finest restaurants so the clients can discover our fantastic cuisine as a group and integrate it in a tour. We make it easy for you!

Etxebarri in July

Specialist tours showing off our city with journalists here for the 2016 edition of BBK LIVE have coincided with larger groups on day tours from cruise-ships. These are proving popular as we see the number of cruise-ships arriving in Getxo growing year-on-year. Passengers get in touch before arriving, sometimes months before, and they often form groups on sites such as Some are family groups with particular interests such as visiting farms or San Sebastian or ..whatever takes your fancy!! July has a lot to offer here in the Basque Country!

Some July photos!!

  • San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
  • Butron Castle
  • Picasso's 'Guernica'
  • Cruise ship tour
  • Basque Shepherds...
  • In love with Cheese!
  • Hidden Valley
  • Basque Sunset