Where to stay in Bilbao


Nestled in the heart of Spain's Basque country, Bilbao is a vibrant city that combines contemporary innovation with deep cultural traditions. Known for its outstanding culinary scene, impressive architecture β€” most notably the Guggenheim Museum β€” and lively streets, Bilbao offers a rich urban experience. Choosing the right neighborhood for your stay can greatly influence your experience of the city. Whether you prefer the buzz of nightlife and shopping or a quieter, residential vibe, Bilbao has something to suit every traveler. This guide aims to provide an honest and detailed snapshot of various neighborhoods in Bilbao to help you decide where you would most enjoy your stay.

  • Abando

    • 🏬 commercial
    • financial district
    • πŸ₯‚ upscale
    • 🎭 cultural

    Abando is the central business district of Bilbao, presenting a polished and modern part of the city. It's home to the main train station, making it ideal for those traveling by rail, and features the impressive Guggenheim Museum. Although it's convenient and well-connected, the commercial nature means it can lack the intimate feel of smaller neighborhoods, and accommodation prices can be higher.

  • Casco Viejo

    • πŸ›οΈ historic
    • picturesque
    • tapas bars
    • πŸ•Ί lively
    • πŸ“Έ touristy

    Casco Viejo, the historic heart of Bilbao, is a charming area with narrow winding streets, quaint plazas, and distinctive architecture. It's known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious pintxos bars, and rich cultural sites, including the Santiago Cathedral. Due to its old structures, visitors may find accommodations less modern, but the authentic atmosphere is unmatched. It can be crowded with tourists, and noise levels can rise at night.

  • Indautxu

    • πŸ₯‚ upscale
    • πŸ›οΈ shopping
    • 🍽️ dining
    • πŸ™οΈ modern
    • convenient

    Indautxu is a bustling commercial area in the heart of Bilbao, known for its upscale shops and vibrant atmosphere. It's perfect for a lively stay with access to excellent restaurants and bars. The area has a modern feel with wider streets and less of the old-world charm found in other parts of the city. While convenient, it can be noisy and may not provide the traditional cultural immersion some travelers seek.

  • Bilbao la Vieja

    • πŸ•ΆοΈ hipster
    • 🎨 artistic
    • cultural diversity
    • 🍷 nightlife
    • πŸ”₯ edgy

    Bilbao la Vieja, often referred to as Bilbi, borders the NerviΓ³n River and is an area steeped in history yet exuding a trendy, bohemian vibe. It's become a hotspot for the city's artistic community, with various galleries and cultural venues. While it has a hip and creative flair, some parts can feel a bit run down, and visitors should be mindful of their surroundings at night.

  • Deusto

    • student-friendly
    • youthful
    • local
    • 🏘️ residential

    Deusto, home to the University of Deusto, is a vibrant student area known for its youthful energy. The presence of students means that there are affordable eating and drinking options. It can be a great place to mix with locals and other travelers, though it may not offer the traditional Spanish architecture or charm of other parts of the city. Some visitors might find it too removed from the main tourist sites.

  • Uribarri

    • 🏘️ residential
    • 🧘 quiet
    • scenic views
    • 🏑 suburban

    Uribarri is located just north of the city center, offering a more residential and peaceful experience. The area boasts beautiful views of the city due to its elevated position, especially at Parque Etxebarria. It is, however, less central, meaning visitors will need to rely on transport to get to the main attractions. The quiet streets and local feel can provide a respite from the bustling city center.

  • San Francisco

    • 🌏 multicultural
    • πŸ’ƒ vibrant
    • working-class
    • regeneration

    San Francisco is known as Bilbao's most multicultural area, offering an array of international cuisine and cultural experiences. It has an edgy charm with lively streets, but, as a more economically diverse area, some travelers may feel it is less polished and safe, particularly at night. The lower cost of accommodations might be appealing for those on a tight budget.