When people talk about Bilbao, the first thing that comes to mind is the Guggenheim Museum and the pintxos. And it doesn't surprise us at all. But, if your visit coincides with any of the following events, the experience you will take back with you will be unforgettable.
Aste Nagusia (Bilbao's Big Week) (August)
You may have visited many cities while celebrating their festivities, but until you come to Bilbao in August and experience firsthand how we bilbainos enjoy our Aste Nagusia, you will not be able to say that you have seen it all. And this is because for 10 days the city is transformed in an incomparable atmosphere. Bilbainos of all ages hit the streets to enjoy cultural activities scheduled ranging from concerts, theater, fireworks, bullfights, amusement park, txosnas (stands and tents with food, drinks and music), and so on. So mark your calendar the date of 22 August 2020, when everything will start.
Santo Tomás Market (December)
21st December is a big day in Bilbao. It is the day that marks the start of Christmas time but for us is the perfect excuse to enjoy the traditional fair par excellence. Held in El Arenal and the Plaza Nueva, this fair brings all of the flavours of rural Basque life to Bilbao. Santo Tomás attracts thousands of people every year willing to taste typical “talo con chorizo” (spicy sausage in a corn tortilla) washed down with “txakoli” (basque white wine) or cider. Throughout the day, farmers exhibit and sell their products (cheese, pastries, honey, fruit, vegetables or home-made products) and basque music is a protagonist with Bertsolaris (singers of bertsos, a type of Basque musical verse), “txalaparta” (Basque wooden percussion instrument), “trikitixa” (Basque diatonic button accordion) and other traditional sounds.
BBK Live (July)
July is time for Bilbao's premier musical event, the BBK Live. Its 14 editions and the more than 100,000 people who visit us every year have turned it into a firmly established event in the national and international music scene. The green areas, games and barbecues of Kobetamendi - one of the numerous mountains surrounding Bilbao - give way to the stages that have hosted bands such as Guns N'Roses, Ben Harper, Iron Maiden, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, The Police, R.E.M. over the years, Madness, Lenny Kravitz, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, Rammstein, Coldplay, Suede, The Cure, Green Day, The Prodigy, Muse, Pixies, The Strokes and Rosalia.
Bilbao Night Marathon (October)
How we are in Bilbao! During the month of October we have the only competition of this type in the national calendar held at night: the Bilbao Night Marathon. It has become an inexcusable event for runners with the participation of competitors from the five continents and that goes beyond sport. The circuit, which runs entirely on asphalt, crosses the most emblematic places and buildings of the city such as the San Mamés Football Stadium, Euskalduna Palace, Gran Via, Arriaga Theatre, Old Town and of course the Guggenheim Museum where the finish line is located.
Basque Fest in Holy Week (March/April)
Do you plan to enjoy Easter and have chosen Bilbao as your destination instead of going to Seville, Malaga or Valladolid? Well, you won't be disappointed. In addition to the rhythms that mark the numerous processions and commemorative acts of the Passion, Bilbao's Holy Week moves to the rhythm of "Basque FEST", the festival of Basque culture and avant-garde where in different spaces of the city are programmed multiple activities (mostly free!) within the scope of art, music, design, dance, sport and gastronomy that show the history and tradition of the Basque Country.
BIME - Bizkaia International Music Experience (October/November)
We are talking about one of the best autumn music festivals in Europe. BIME Live presents us a musical programme for all styles with the best national and international bands like Crystal Fighters, Franz Ferdinand or Kraftwerk. In addition, with BIME City music goes through the streets and the most iconic halls of Bilbao to introduce us to the future promises of the national and international panorama... for free! Finally, BIME Pro is the first European fair aimed at the music and digital industry.
Open House Bilbao (September)
Although it is not an event exclusive to our city (in fact, it originated in London), the architecture and urbanism festival Open House Bilbao has soon become the pride of its inhabitants. This is how we in Bilbao are, we love to open the doors of our houses to show their patrimonial and artistic value to all citizens. However, queues for free visits are guaranteed in front of each of the more than 70 participating public and private buildings.
White Night (June)
In Bilbao, as elsewhere in the world, we celebrate our city's birthday and we do it in style, no doubt! Known as White Night, on the Saturday closest to the 15th of June, different light and colour shows for all audiences are projected onto the most emblematic buildings of the town. Wonderful view of Bilbao as a great urban kaleidoscope. In addition, the streets and squares host theater, dance, humorists, writers or musicians performances surprising you in any corner of the city.
Bilbao Art District (May)
In Bilbao we are proud of art because we have one of the best museums in the world. But we are aware that art does not have to be limited only to museums or galleries. Bilbao Art District is a program that takes place in May and takes art to the streets, literally. The streets and squares are transformed into open-air art galleries where you watch the amazing street performers in front of the city's landmarks.
Begoña Pilgrimage (August)
The devotion existing in Bilbao and Bizkaia for the Virgin of Begoña, patron saint of Bizkaia, who is not in vain known as "la amatxu" (loving name for "mother" in Basque) is well known. As a result of this devotion, there is a deeply rooted tradition among the families of Biscay: lively pilgrimage to pay tribute to the virgin of Begoña at the basilica of the Virgen de Begoña. One can do it by conviction or tradition, but either on August 15 (the day of the Virgin) or October 11 (the day of the Virgin of Begoña) we have it clear, we approach to greet our amatxu.