Where to Stay in Bilbao: Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Bilbao are the neighborhoods of Casco Viejo, La Vieja and San Francisco, Indautxu, Deusto, Santutxu. This blog post will help to decide where to stay in Bilbao for nightlife, couples, families, shopping, and near the train station.

Bilbao, Botxo by locals, in northern Spain, is the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country. Founded in the 14th-century, Bilbao is a fascinating and beautiful historical city, blending historic architecture with modern hospitality.

Once a major industrial port city, Bilbao has been regenerated over recent decades with a particular focus on developing the city’s service industry, the result being one of the greatest selections of restaurants, cafes, and bars in all of Spain. 

Whether you would like to walk around locations used in the filming of fantasy media, such as Game of Thrones, explore world-class museums, or revel in the hospitality industry that earnt the city The Urbanism Award for Best European City 2018, there is something to please everyone in Bilbao.

Bilbao is a diverse and multifaceted city, crammed full of exciting things to see and do. The airport of Bilbao is the main airport in the Basque Country. It is also well-connected with the northern coast of Spain.

If you are looking for the best place to stay in Bilbao for the city’s history and culture, you should definitely stay in the old town of Casco Viejo. This is a stunning neighborhood, filled with beautiful architecture, lush parks, and an array of restaurants, bars, and shops. 

For museums, particularly the iconic Guggenheim, stay in Abandoibarra. Alternatively, Plaza Moyua is almost as close by, but just a little more central. The Plaza is also a great center point for anyone who wants to spend their trip hitting the shops.

If you are on a budget, consider the university district of Deusto, a little outside of the city center. Deusto is also ideal if you’re hiking around the Basque Country or want to use the city as a home base for exploring the surrounding landscape. This district to the north of the city is well connected to hiking routes out of the city.

💖 Best Area:Casco Viejo (Old Town)
💎 Best luxury hotel:Hotel Carlton 
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hesperia Bilbao 
💰 Best budget hotel:Hotel Ilunion Bilbao 


📌9 Best Areas to Stay in Bilbao, Spain

1. Casco Viejo (Old Town), where to stay in Bilbao for first time visitors

Where to Stay in Bilbao Spain Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo, also known as Old Town is the oldest part of the city and the best place to visit if you really want to experience the history and culture of the town.

Located in the heart of the city with plenty of restaurants, bars, churches, museums nearby, this medieval area of Bilbao is also an ideal base for first-time tourists.

Located in the center of the Old Town is the city’s main square, Plaza Nueva, known as Plaza Barria, a beautiful neoclassical monumental, built in 1821. The square is surrounded by arches, called cuevas, and charming arcaded buildings such as Euskaltzaindia, the Basque language Royal Academy.

You will also find many shops, bars, traditional taverns and restaurants, and cafés surrounding. It hosts the flea market each Sunday morning.

Plaza Nueva is a good spot to do people-watching and enjoy a coffee. Make sure to try txikitos and pintxos, Bilbao’s version of the Spanish tapas in of its taverns.

Nearby, on the banks of the estuary sits the oldest theatre in Bilbao, the Teatro Arriaga. The historic building is a wonderful place to take in a show and spend an evening experiencing the artistic heritage of Bilbao.

To the north of the theatre is the Areatzako Parkea, a riverside park, lush with trees and fountains. The Café Koiska el Arenal at the center of the park is decorated in a charmingly unique style, whilst the terrace seating area is a lovely spot to take a break overlooking the river.

For more exquisite architecture, take a look straight down Areatza Kalea, to the 18th-century Iglesia de San Nicolás (Church of Saint Nicholas) baroque church to the northeast.

Alternatively, walk south down Calle Bidebarrieta Kalea, past the historic Fountain of Dogs, which is worth taking a look at in its own right, to the 14th century Bilboko Donejakue Katedrala, also known as Santiago Cathedral.

Nearby you will find the lovely 800 square meters of Portal de Zamudio, and the church Iglesia de los Santos Juanes which was built in 17th century in the classic baroque style.

Another important church is the Iglesia de San Antón, built in the 15th century in a Gothic style to dedicated to Saint Anthony the Great.

If you are interested in history, the Euskal Museoa Bilbao Basque Museum displays a collection of archaeological, ethnographic, collections around northern Spain.

To the north of Casco Viejo is the sprawling Etxebarria Parkea. Once an industrial complex, the area has been completely rejuvenated into a beautiful hillside park, with views looking right across the city. The only hint of its industrial past is the preserved brick chimney, left standing as a monument in the northeast sector of the park.

In the evening, the southwest area of Casco Viejo is full of a variety of bars and restaurants. Perfectly placed on the banks of the Bilbao Estuary, it’s an ideal location for sunset walks along the riverside, on your way to an evening of fine dining and cocktails.

Be sure to visit the biggest indoor market in Europe, Mercado de la Ribera, where foodies will find traditional Spanish fresh products to take a little of the flavor of Basque gastronomy. It covers 10,000 square meters and was built in 1929.

There are more bars and restaurants on the seven streets of Somera, Artecalle, Tendería, Belosticalle, Carnicería Vieja, Barrencalle and Barrencalle Barrena.

Meanwhile, the Ascao, Correos, Bidebarrieta, Víctor, and Somera are the best shopping streets in the historic center.

Stay in Casco Viejo if you’re visiting Bilbao for the first time; you want to savor the cultural heritage of the city, you appreciate historical architecture, you enjoy relaxed walks around beautiful city streets.

Best places to stay in Casco Viejo:

luxury: Hotel Carlton This five-star hotel is set in Plaza de Federico Moyúa square near Gran Vía, and Moyua Metro Station. It’s within short walking distance from the Guggenheim Museum. It offers rooms with a classic or contemporary design, a private bathroom, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, and free wifi. You can also find a business center, a gym, and an on-site restaurant that serves Basque specialties and international classics.

mid-range: Hesperia Bilbao This 4-star hotel is within walking distance from tapas bars, the main shopping streets, Concordia Train Station, Bilbao’s old town, and the city center. It features spacious, stylish rooms with free WiFi and 42-inch satellite TV, air-conditioned, soundproofed, a private bathroom with free toiletries, and a hairdryer.

budget: Hotel Ilunion Bilbao is situated right in the heart of Bilbao, close to San Mamés Bus and Metro Stations, Iturriza Casilda Park, Euskalduna Conference Centre, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, and Guggenheim Museum. It offers modern, air-conditioned rooms with a minibar, a flat-screen satellite TV, a private bathroom, and a hairdryer.


See more:

2. Abandoibarra, where to stay in Bilbao for museums

Where to Stay in Bilbao, Spain: Abandoibarra
Abandoibarra Alex Corral

Abandoibarra is the northern sector of central Bilbao. This neighborhood is where the most iconic building in all of Bilbao is located, the Guggenheim Museum.

The Guggenheim was built as part of the city’s rejuvenation efforts in the 1990’s and was designed specifically to draw the attention of the global tourist market. It definitely succeeded, almost instantly becoming one of the most significant examples of contemporary architecture. 

If you don’t enjoy museums or don’t have time to venture inside to the exhibits, you can still enjoy the unique façade and the 40-foot-tall west-highland terrier sculpture covered in flowers standing guard at the southern entrance.

Exhibitions in the museum change frequently. Only one exhibit, ‘The Matter of Time’, is permanent, so even returning visitors to the city can benefit from another look around. The museum’s exhibitions all display modern and contemporary art in a variety of forms. 

East of the museum, following the river, is the Eingelesen Landako Park. The network of manicured lawns is home to the university library and the towering glass Torre Iberdrola, Bilbao’s tallest skyscraper, and another beautiful specimen of modern architecture.

Follow the river past the modern shopping center and you will arrive at the Casilda Iturrizar park, a landscaped, tree-lined park, full of fountains, ponds, and stone pergolas. 

If the contemporary art housed at the Guggenheim doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps the more classical works found in the ‘Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao’, at the east end of the park, are more to your preference.

Alternatively, head west out of the park, towards the river and the old shipyard, to the Museo Marítimo Ría, a museum dedicated to Bilbao’s history as a port city.

The backstreets of Abandoibarra are arranged on a grid pattern, making it incredibly easy to find your way around. They’re chock full of bars, cafes, and fancy restaurants, catering to a wide variety of tastes and cultures.

Stay in Abandoibarra if you are visiting the Guggenheim is a top priority, you are a fan of modern art, you enjoy museums in general, you love contemporary architecture, you want a central location.

Best places to stay in Abandoibarra:

luxury: Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao This 5-star hotel offers a roof terrace with panoramic views of the city, a wellness centre with a Turkish bath, a spa, and a sauna; it’s situated opposite Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, also close to the Museum of Fine Arts, Maritime Museum, Zubiarte Shopping Centre, Iberdrola Tower, Calatrava Bridge, and Deusto Bridge.

mid-range: Hotel Mercure Jardines de Albia This 4-star contemporary hotel is located in the heart of Bilbao, within a short stroll from the Guggenheim Museum, Convention Centre, Albia Gardens, Ledesma Street, Bilborock, and Casco Viejo Metro Station.

budget: Bilbao City Rooms This budget guest house offers spacious rooms with a wardrobe, a desk, a private bathroom, and free wifi. It’s located within easy walking distance from the Guggenheim Museum, Gran Vía de Don Diego López de Haro, Doña Casilda Iturrizar park, Abando Train Station, and University of Deusto.


3. Plaza Moyua, where to stay in Bilbao for shopping

One of the most central locations in all of Bilbao, staying in Plaza Moyua gives you easy and convenient access to most of the city’s iconic attractions.

If you follow the Alameda de Recalde road north, you will arrive at the world-famous Guggenheim art museum in just minutes.

The plaza itself consists of several manicured lawns and flowerbeds, surrounding a grand fountain in the center of a paved oval. It’s set in the middle of a busy roundabout but is accessible to pedestrians via the six zebra crossings at each end of the plaza.

To the northwest of the plaza is the Txabarri Jauregia, a 19th-century palace, built in the style of Flemish Renaissance architecture and currently serving as offices for the local government. 

The streets leading out from the plaza are full of contemporary shops and department stores, so if shopping is a priority for your trip, this is a great area to consider. A wide variety of high-end clothing and jewellery brands have stores in the area.

To the east of the district is the Abando Indalecio Prieto train station. Aside from being a major train terminal, with trains running both locally and long-distance, the design of the station is artistically distinct. 

The section of the station housing the platforms is home to a 15-meter by 10-meter stained glass window, formed of over 300 pieces, depicting traditional Basque culture and landmarks. Anyone entering Bilbao via train at this station will have a beautiful first impression of the city.

Stay in Plaza Moyua if you like shopping; you want somewhere very central and convenient; you are visiting with young children; you are traveling to or from other major Spanish cities by train.

Best places to stay in Plaza Moyua:

Santiago Apartments Bilbao This self-catering accommodation is set in the real heart of Bilbao, within a short ride from main attractions such as the Guggenheim, the old quarter, the Museum of Fine Arts, San Mamés Stadium, Catedral de Santiago, and the Palacio de Música concert.

Hotel Carlton This elegant hotel is ideally located in Plaza de Federico Moyúa square, next to Gran Vía, within a short stroll from the Guggenheim Museum, Moyua Metro Station offers easy access to the city centre with its landmarks.


4. Indautxu, where to stay in Bilbao for nightlife

Where to Stay in Bilbao, Spain: Basque country
Basque Country/Sergei Gussev

Indautxu is the west end of the central district of Bilbao. One of the more affluent neighborhoods, Indautxu is home to a variety of upmarket shopping districts and fashionable bistros and cafes.

The district is known for its active, contemporary nightlife scene. Peppered with trendy bars, restaurants, and clubs, the region is ideal for some evening fun.

The conveniently designed grid system of roads also makes it easy to find your way home after a night out.

A number of old buildings have been converted into unique entertainment venues. In the old shipyard stands the Palacio Euskalduna, which is now a popular venue for live music concerts.

In the east of the neighborhood, the beautiful Azkuna Zentroa, an old corn exchange building, has been converted into a multifunctional entertainment venue. The center houses a theatre, cinema screen, lecture halls, and exhibition spaces, along with public fitness facilities.

Fans of art will appreciate the easy access to the Guggenheim museum of modern art, or the more classical Museum of Fine Arts.

Those who appreciate more niche exhibitions may also enjoy the Benedikto Museoa, an art museum dedicated to the works of the famous Spanish painter, Benedicto Martinez.

To the east, by the river, stands the modern San Mames Football Stadium. With a capacity of over 50,000 seats, this is the largest stadium in the Basque country and frequently hosts important sporting events.

Stay in Indautxu if you value quality nightlife, you enjoy high-end shopping, you are attending an event at the San Mames Stadium.

Best places to stay in Indautxu:

Hotel Ercilla de Bilbao, Autograph Collection This mid-range hotel offers stylish rooms with a TV, a private bathroom, and free wifi. it’s within walking distance from Guggenheim Museum, Azkuna Zentroa, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Campos Elíseos Theatre, and Vista Alegre Bullring.

Hotel Silken Indautxu This 4-star hotel features air-conditioned rooms with a fridge, a mini-bar, a private marble bathroom, and free wifi. It’s located close proximity to Bilbao’s famous Guggenheim Museum, Indautxu Metro Station, the Fine Arts Museum, Atletico Bilbao’s San Mames Football Stadium, Abando Train Station, and Concordia Train Station.


5. Deusto, where to stay in Bilbao on budget

Deusto, best area to stay in Bilbao on budget

Deusto is the district north of the river, best known for being Bilbao’s student neighborhood, due to the local University of Deusto. The university itself is directly across the river from the Guggenheim museum. Be sure to take a moment to appreciate the fantastic views of the iconic building across the water.

Deusto is connected to the city center by several bridges, which bring you directly into the parks surrounding the Guggenheim. Just minutes away from the main shopping and nightlife districts, the area is conveniently close to all Bilbao has to offer, whilst typically remaining quieter than the more crowded tourist hubs. 

The neighborhood is home to several popular arts and exhibition venues. The Deusto Expo Centre hosts a variety of exhibitions and shows throughout the year.

The La FuNdicIOn theatre, on the banks of the estuary at the end of Botica Vieja park, puts on excellent contemporary, independent theatre performances.

Being slightly further from the city center than other neighborhoods, hotel prices in Deusto are also generally lower than more central locations, which is ideal for anyone on a budget.

Deusto also offers a convenient route in and out of the city for hikers and backpackers. Being closer to the city’s perimeter, there are a number of designated hiking trails leading to the surrounding areas.

If you are travelling to Bilbao by car, Deusto is connected to a major highway into the city, allowing you to drive into the heart of the city without the rammed traffic of the city centre.

Stay in Deusto if you are on a budget, you are interested in visiting neighboring Barakaldo, you are visiting the university or a student, you are traveling to Bilbao by car, you are hiking around the Basque Country, Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, you are interested in hiking out from the city to explore the surrounding area.

Best places to stay in Deusto:

Hotel Artetxe This charming budget hotel is located on the hilltop in Deusto, 5km outside of Bilbao’s city center. It’s also close to University of Deusto, Deusto Bridge, Zubiarte Shopping Centre, Iberdrola Tower, and Maritim Museum Ría de Bilbao.

Bilbao Akelarre Hostel This hostel provides shared rooms with free wifi and safe locks. It’s within walking distance from Deusto Metro Statio, Guggenheim Museum, Euskalduna Palace, Ría de Bilbao Sea Museum, University of Deusto, University of Sarriko, and San Mames Football Stadium.

NH Bilbao Deusto This 3-star hotel is situated just 500m from Euskalduna Palace, Iberdrola Tower, Deusto Metro Station, and Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum.


6. San Francisco, budget-friendly area in Bilbao near train station

San Francisco, a budget-friendly area in Bilbao near train station

San Francisco (Las Cortes), is one of the more up-and-coming areas of the city. One of the less affluent neighborhoods, Las Cortes is known for housing Bilbao’s red-light district.

But whilst the area may have a darker reputation, it nonetheless boasts a vibrant character and distinct sense of community.

One of the most obvious perks of the neighborhood is the relatively lower prices of both accommodation and entertainment. If you are on a budget, you can find food and lodging fairly affordably here, and the more typical tourist spots are just a short walk away. 

The central region of Abando is just the other side of the Bilbao-Abando Indalecio Prieto train station. Meanwhile, the old town of Casco Viejo is right across the river.

Home to most of Bilbao’s immigrant population, primarily hailing from across Africa, Las Cortes is one of the most diverse areas of the city. The area’s multicultural heritage is reflected in its array of cafes, restaurants, and shops.

If you grow tired of the customary Basque cuisine found across the rest of the city, head here for a little more variety.

Most of the main shopping and nightlife venues are situated along the main San Francisco Street. Art lovers may be interested in visiting the Reproductions Museum, which displays replicas of iconic art pieces and sculptures from around the world.

Las Cortes may be an ideal location for anyone traveling to or from the city via train. The Bilbao-Abando Indalecio Prieto train station is direct to the north of the neighborhood. Convenient for anyone passing through for a quick visit, or who gets anxious about missing their train.

Stay in Las Cortes if you are on a budget, you want to experience the multicultural hub of Bilbao, you want to stay near the train station, you don’t mind staying somewhere with a complicated reputation.

Best places to stay in las Cortes:

apartamento miribilla This apartment offers 2 bed-rooms, with a TV, a well-equipped kitchen, located close to Arriaga Theatre, Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, San Mamés Stadium, Catedral de Santiago, Funicular de Artxanda, and Calatrava Bridge.

Apartamentos Líbere Bilbao La Vieja Located just 500m from Catedral de Santiago, this apartment offers air-conditioned rooms with free wifi. You can easily find attractions nearby such as Arriaga Theatre, Calatrava Bridge and Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.


7. Bilbao La Vieja, where to stay for young couples and hipsters

Bilbao’s hipster district, Bilbao La Vieja (also known as Bilbi) is the city’s most prominent and trendy party district. Located immediately south of Las Cortes, the diverse culture of the surrounding districts bleeds over into the varied and multicultural dining and nightlife scene of Bilbao La Vieja. 

The rooftop bars, riverside terrace, trendy craft beer bars, Nikkei restaurants with fusion Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, and the Michelin star restaurant of La Mina are some of the great places for couples to enjoy.

During the day, the neighborhood is a vibrant hub of arts and culture, full of independent boutiques and galleries, which display the work of local artists. The art from these galleries spills out of their doors in the form of colorful street murals, which are well worth taking a street art tour to appreciate the best examples of.

The neighborhood is structured around the central Miribilla Park, home to the Bilbao Arena. The Arena is beautifully designed with a cladding of scale-like green tiles in various hues, to blend into the surrounding landscape. 

You can also visit Bilboko Berreginen Reproductions Museum or walk along the Marzana riverbank boulevard.

Primarily known for hosting basketball games, the arena welcomes frequent concerts and performances in the main venue, whilst also providing sports facilities, such as swimming pools and gymnasiums, for public use.

Mirabella park itself hosts markets and open-air events. If you are looking to appreciate the industrial history of the area, the San Luis brick furnace still stands in nearby Saralegi Plaza, preserved as a monument. 

Meanwhile, if you look closely at many of the buildings now used as entertainment venues around the neighborhood, you will notice that many of them are converted from old industrial factories.

Stay in Bilbao La Vieja if a busy nightlife is important, You value independent art and design, You are attending an event at Bilbao Arena.

Best hotels in Bilbao La Vieja:


8. Santutxu, where to stay in Bilbao for families

Santutxu is a residential part of Bilbao south of the Old Town, but it is also the gateway to the hills that surround the city. This is a family-friend neighborhood with a lot of green spaces and activities for kids.

You can hike around Parque Larreagaburu’s hills to get lovely views of Bilbao starting in Santutxu.  It is also a neighborhood where you will get a real feel for the Basque country.

The Museum of Sacred Art in Santutxu provides a great insight into the history of religion in Europe. Families will love the calmness of the area and better still if the kids enjoy an educational aspect to their holiday.

The 16th Century church, Iglesia de la Encarnacion, is close to the Museum and the indoor carnival, Tximipark, will certainly entertain the kids. There is not a huge amount of nightlife, but you will find bars and restaurants. 

Stay in Santutxu if you’re a family with young children; You want to avoid tourist crowds, Hiking in the surrounding hills appeals to you, You are interested in history and religion.

Best places to stay in Bilbao in Santutxu:

Hotel Gran Bilbao This stylish design hotel is set 10 minutes’ walk from Bilbao Cathedral and the popular Seven Streets district. it has direct access from the A8 Motorway, a 5-minute drive from Bilbao Ferry Port, and close to Atxuri Tram station, Miraflores Bridge, Bilbao Arena, San Anton Church, Ribera Market, Arches of the Ribera, and Catedral de Santiago.

Bilbao Apartamentos Atxuri Centrally located in a quiet area next to the River Nervión, in a short walk from the historic old town, Bilbao Cathedral, and Ribera Market, and Arriaga Theatre.


9. Uribarri, a quiet quiet residential district in Bilbao

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Uribarri is the administrative heart of Bilbao, the district where you will find City Hall and its offices. It is in the northeast of Bilbao, a largely middle-class, residential district. It developed during the 20th Century as the city grew.

There are a limited number of hotels, but rooms are affordable, and you may be lucky in high season when Bilbao is very busy.

The Artxandako Funikularra is a great ride. The route this funicular takes goes through the stunning scenery of Bilbao. Remember before the growth of Bilbao, this was beautiful agricultural land. It then crosses the bridge to provide an aerial view of the Guggenheim Museum

Stay in Uribarri if Your preference is to be away from the center of the city and tourist attractions, A quiet residential district suits you fine even though there are fewer accommodation choices, A funicular ride over Bilbao appeals to you.

Best hotels near Uribarri:

Cosmov Bilbao Hotel Located in the heart of Bilbao’s Old City, this budget hotel is close to La Ribera market, the Nervión River, the Miribilla Quarter and the Bilbao Arena Sports Centre. There is an open-air market on the first weekend of every month and you can enjoy lots of concerts and different theatre plays every week.

Vincci Consulado de Bilbao This 4-star hotel is centrally located in Bilbao Old City, it offers air-conditioned rooms with a TV, a wardrobe, a private bathroom, and free wifi. You can easily access the majority of Bilbao attractions on foot such as Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, and Calatrava Bridge.


Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Bilbao in this video:

Where to stay in Bilbao: Best Areas to Stay in Bilbao, Spain

How Long To Stay In Bilbao? 

For all that Bilbao is packed full of things to see and do, the city is still relatively small and compact. Almost everything of note is contained within the city center or just a few minutes away by metro. 

With most of the iconic attractions within walking distance of one another, the city is ideal for shorter breaks. If you plan your itinerary well, you could comfortably take in the most iconic sights over a long weekend. 

For a more comprehensive visit, there are enough museums, theatres, and restaurants to keep you entertained for a week, but beyond that, you may find yourself running out of things to see.

Best places to stay in Bilbao Airport?

The closest hotel to Bilbao airport is the Holiday Inn Express, just 1-mile away. The hotel has very good reviews and is reasonably priced, offering comfortable, spacious rooms, along with a free breakfast and airport shuttle.

Alternatively, if you are looking for something a bit more luxurious, the Hotel Seminario Aeropuerto Bilbao is just 5-minutes away from the airport and boasts stylish rooms, with beautiful views over the surrounding landscape. This hotel also offers a complimentary airport shuttle and breakfast.

See More

Bilbao is a city with a chequered past that, with consistent investment over the last few decades, has blossomed into a destination full of world-famous attractions. 

Whether you want to sample the distinct Basque cuisine in the region’s capital city, appreciate the mix of historical and world-class contemporary architecture, or shop at the city’s modern commercial districts, Bilbao is the perfect place to spend a long weekend.

Leave a Comment