Since the opening of the wonderful Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the city has become an essential destination within cultural circuits. But in addition to the Guggenheim Museum, the city offers other interesting museum proposals such as; the Fine Arts Museum, the Basque Museum, the Itsas Museum or the Athletic Club Museum, for football fans.
I recommend to visitors go further in the knowledge of Basque art and culture, and visit others museums in the city. There are a joint ticket "Artean Bono" for visit the Guggenheim Museum and the Fine Arts Museum; with the voucher you get a better price.
Opened in October 1997 quickly became central of the Basque Country museums offer.
The building is an impressive sculpture of titanium, stone, and glass designed by the American architect Frank O. Gerhy. Gerhy himself was the one who personally chose the location integrating the museum into the urban structure of the city and giving it special value, by occupying with new proposals the space that had vacated an industrial past, whose obsolete structures, had succumbed to the new times.
Gerhy's striking work houses one of the most important permanent collections of contemporary art, which is completed with temporary exhibitions that include the latest artistic trends.
The museum also has a gastronomic restaurant in front of which we find the Michelin Stared chef Josean Alija, who has work in the team of the talented chef Martín Berasategui. There is also a cafeteria where we can recover from the exhausting visit to the museum. Although, tables and chairs available are usually in great demand.
The museum has over 100 years of history and was born of the merge of two museums; the old Fine Arts Museum founded in 1908 and the Modern Art Museum inaugurated in 1924.
During its long history, the museum's collaboration with civil society, local artists and public institutions has determined its configuration and growth and has allowed the museum to assemble an extensive collection, considered one of the most important and varied in all of Spain.
The backbone of the Fine Arts Museum collection is Spanish Art School and Contemporary Basque Art, although there is a broad representation of other schools as Flemish and Dutch, as well as some examples of avant-garde impressionist and post-impressionist.
The museum has three main collections:
The museum was opened in 1921 and is settle in a Baroque style building in the heart of the old town.
Its collection, with more than 20,000 objects, that brings together the Archaeology of Bizkaia and the Ethnography and History of the Basque Country, illustrating Basque lifestyles from its origins to the present.
It is a great opportunity to know something more about the history of the Basque Country and see oldest Basques archaeological remains such as, Mikeldi, that dates from before Romans times and it is in the museum cloister.
This peculiar museum was created in 1927 and arises with didactic vocation, to teach art history to the general public.
Inside, you can see exact replicas of very good quality, of great works of sculpture of all time such as: Venus de Milo or Moses by Michelangelo.
The Itsas Museum was opened in 2003 and is located in the same place where the former Eskalduna shipyard were. The exhibition has as the aim of preserving and spreading the history and identity of the Bilbao estuary.
Its collection is based on elements related to maritime activity. As a relevant example the Crane Carola, which was in use until the close of the Euskalduna shipyards in 1984, and now it is become the symbol of the museum.
For many people San Sebastian is the most beautiful city in Spain, in any case it is surely the one that has managed combine with great harmony its incomparable natural landscape with great belle-époque architecture.
All creativity fields are represented in San Sebastian, the city has an explosion of knowledge, art, tradition and modernity available to everyone.
Better known as the Aquarium, the renovated Aquarium integrates the traditional facilities inaugurated in 1928, with the new facilities built underground space gained to Mount Urgull.
It is located in the fishing port and in its interior we find a museum of marine natural history, a naval historical museum and the Aquarium itself, where you can see live fish and which is perfect to be visited with children.
Inside, we will find mainly fauna and flora Cantabrian and exotic, and the star element: the Oceanarium. A large aquarium of about 40 meters length that visitors can walk inside a transparent tunnel. This tunnel has a 360º section which allows feeling completely surrounded by water and guarantees the most complete visibility of everything that happens around them.
Traditional culture and ethnography are the central topic of the San Telmo Museum. It is located in an interesting and old building from the 16th century, which served as a convent for the Dominican monks and in whose church you can admire the José María Sert frescoes.
Also it is worth to mention the room dedicated to Eibar's painter Ignacio Zuloaga.
There are several interesting museums in the city and they are located in attractive buildings that are themselves worth a visit.
Opened in 2002 the ARTIUM collection is made up of around 3,000 works, where all the techniques used in contemporary creation are represented. There, we find the creators who have written and are writing, the art history of the 20th and 21st centuries in the Basque Country and in Spain.
The museum is housed in the Agustín-Zulueta palace, an interesting building from the beginning of the 20th century. It has a very exhaustive collection of Basque art from the 1850-1950 periods, with a great diversity of authors as: Juan de Barroeta, Antonio Mª Lecuona, Darío Regoyos, Aurelio Arteta and Ignacio Zuloaga.
The museum is located in the hometown of the fashion designer, Getaria. His permanent collection has 90 pieces, including the wedding dress of Queen Fabiola of Belgium or some dresses the artist designed for Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly.
In addition, the funds of the Cristóbal Balenciaga Foundation, made up of more than 1,200 models, can be viewed on a rotating basis.
Located in a privileged place behind the Santiago Beach in Zumaia, is the house-museum dedicated to Basque painter Ignacio Zuloaga.
In addition to works by the painter, the museum has works from his private collection that includes canvases and sculptures by Goya, Ribera, El Greco and Rodin among others.
The great Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida has fulfilled his dream of creating a unique space in which to present a large part of his work. For this, he restored an old 16th century farmhouse called Zabalaga, surrounded by a large space of gardens and forests where the artist distributed 40 sculptures of different sizes, fusing art and nature.
Inside the farmhouse several delicate works made of wood, alabaster or wool are shown.
The Basque Railway Museum houses one of the most outstanding railway collections in Europe, featuring steam, diesel and electric locomotives, railcars, and a selection of carriages and wagons.
Rail lovers will certainly enjoy weekend’s trips, from April to November, in steam locomotive from Azpeitia to Lasao.
Mining was for centuries the most important activity in Bizkaia and the one that generated the economic and social development of the province. Gallarta is an important town within the Encartaciones mining region, and it has been the chosen place to locate this Mining Museum.
Over the last 25 years, the Cultural Association of the Mining Museum has collected a large number of pieces, tools, machinery and documentation from the old iron mines.
An interesting collection of mine paintings can also be seen in the museum.
This amazing museum is located in Tolosa, and it will reveal the interesting history of confectionery. The Basques were present when Christopher Columbus and Hernán Cortés discovered chocolate. In the museum we show you the technical evolution from the time of the discoverers to the present day.
It is highly recommended to try the Gorrotxategi brand products; they have great quality and are delicious.
It was created in 1984 by the famous Bilbao sculptor and painter, Agustín Ibarrola. Ibarrola looking for a new relationship between art and nature has covered hundreds of pine trees with colours and life, composing a gigantic natural canvas.
The forest consists of an easy circular route, designed for family excursions of about 7 kilometres, which can be completed in about 2 hours. The forest is located inside the wonderful Urdaibai Unesco Biosphere Reserve and very close to the Santimamiñe Cave, which has a large sample of cave painting.
The park "Pueblos de Europa “was opened in 1991 and is located in Gernika, next to the Biscay Parliament.
The Park houses two well-known sculptures: Gure aitaren etxea (The house of our father) by the Basque artist Eduardo Chillida and Large Figure in a Shelter by the British artist Henry Moore. In addition, the park has an interesting variety of trees and ecosystems of Basque Atlantic: beech, oak, holm oak and riparian vegetation.
Open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. in summer)