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Bilbao

Bilbao

The centre of Bilbao is situated about 19 kilometers inland from the Bay Biscay, and it's river runs from the port of Bilbao, on the coast, right through the city centre. It is one of Spain's bigger cities, and although having had a rather 'gritty' industrial reputation in the past, is now a modern thriving metropolis, well worth visiting.

Being close to the Bay of Biscay, it does suffer some of the bad weather that the Atlantic can throw at it, which is typical of most of the north coast of Spain, although it does have a well-defined dry summer season. The climate here is worlds apart from the southern Spanish beaches which bake in the sun most of the year. While Bilbao rarely receives any snow, the mountains which almost surround the city in the background, are regularly snow covered in the winter months.

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Bilbao has much to offer in the way of attractions, most notably the Guggenheim Museum, being the symbol of modern Bilbao. Visitor numbers to this museum are staggeringly high.

 

The river which is such a prominent part of the city has many bridges, and has been reshaped over the years to facilitate the passage of ships, including the Deusto canal.

Bilbao is definitely an industrial city, greatly relying of it's docks for the transport of goods, but the passenger side of shipping also accounts for much of the ferries calling at the port, with over 200 regular maritime services link Bilbao with 500 ports worldwide. Especially of those are the car ferries which ply between the cities of Portsmouth and Plymouth on the south coast of the UK.

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Apart from the Guggenhiem Museum, the city has a number of very notable buildings including St. James's Cathedral, the Alhóndiga, a old wine warehouse now completely redesigned into a multi-purpose venue hosting a cinema multiplex, a fitness centre, a library, a restaurant, among other spaces. Then there is the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, and the Zorrozaurre, which when completed soon will be the tallest building in the Basque region.

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Bilbao abounds with 18 parks and open spaces, one of which is the Doña Casilda Iturrizar park located near the city centre and designed in the English style and named after a local benefactress who donated the area to the city.

Bilbao has it's own airport just north of the city, an underground Metro system with two lines connecting both sides of the river, with a third line in the planning. There are 7 local commuter railway lines serving the city and a tramway above ground. The main railway station has routes covering most of the Iberian peninsular.

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