Biscay is a tolerant and open place. You are always welcome to come and enjoy the harmonious combination of modernity and deep-rooted tradition that characterises us. As the ‘friendliest’ destination in Atlantic Europe, Biscay is diverse, and everyone is accepted and treated with respect, regardless of who they love or how they identify. You can openly express yourself here. We share the pride.

Bilbao, our capital, is a clear example of the previously mentioned mixture of traditional and avant-garde atmosphere. The inimitable Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, the futuristic Metro Bilbao, and all the other buildings that have turned the “Botxo” – as we called the city locally – into a key point of reference for 21st century architecture, harmoniously share space with the medieval Casco Viejo (its Old Town) and its famed seven streets or Siete Calles, the very heart of the city.

A wide cultural offer, the millenary Basque language, the most modern shops together with the most traditional ones – which have been offering a first-rate service for generations –, the classic elegance of the Ensanche in contrast with the most alternative trends found in the Art District, the city’s public parks and natural environment, the bohemian atmosphere at Marzana, the attractiveness of popular festivals, the busy nightlife and the ambience of our streets, squares, bars and terraces… No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here in Bilbao.

Whether on your own, with a partner or with your friends, you can wind down in one of Biscayan countless and unique natural settings. In inland Biscay, we’d recommend you to visit our three natural parks: Armañón, Gorbeia and Urkiola. They each have their own character and plenty of routes that will allow you to get into magical caves as well as learn some more about our myths and legends. You can’t miss visiting places like Balmaseda, Durango, Gernika, Orduña, and all the other amazing mountain towns and villages where the history and personality of Biscay was forged.

The coast is full of spaces you can explore too, such as the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve –a true natural paradise located between the sea and the mountain–, fishing ports that still retain their maritime essence, dramatic cliffs, lighthouses that illuminate our coastline, or San Juan de Gaztelugatxe –an islet that seems to have emerged from the water as if by magic. It is also worth paying a visit to our beaches, there are all types of them: familial, nudists, wild, perfect for surfing and water sports, some are hidden, while other are even accessible from the city…

In every Biscayan village or neighbourhood in Bilbao, and particularly in the surrounding areas of Ledesma, Pozas, Casco Viejo or Diputación, there are lively areas jam-packed with bars where you’ll almost certainly be faced with a serious dilemma: ‘What pintxo shall I have?’ There is such a large variety of these delicious gems, that you’ll find it hard to choose. Don’t worry too much, because while you discover one of the Biscayan traditions we like the most, ‘txikitear’, you can go from pub to pub with your friends or partner, drink txakoli, and try one pintxo after another to find the one that tastes the best for you. Of course, once you’ve finally made your choice, you must go back to the pub where you ate it for a second round.

Our gastronomic surprises do not end up here. At any Biscayan restaurant, you have the chance to explore dishes and flavours that you’ll never forget. They range from the most  tradicional ones, like marmitako or cod with pil-pil sauce, the humble sardines or kidney bean stew cooked in a putxera the way railwaymen used to do it in the past, to the highest expression of creative cuisine in Michelin-star restaurants, perfect for having a memorable dinner with someone special.

Bilbao Bizkaia HARRO

To celebrate sexual-affective diversity, to express solidarity in favour of the LGBTQI people from all over the world and to defend their rights, on the 25, 26 and 27 of June, the city accommodates the Bilbao Bizkaia HARRO. Every year since 2015, this event has contributed to distinguish Bilbao as a key point of reference in Atlantic Europe with regards LGBTQI support.

The programme for Bilbao Bizkaia HARRO 2021 is crammed full of social, artistic, cultural, sporting, and sensitization activities. These are aimed to celebrate diversity, both in the capital city and in the rest of the territory, to assert equal rights and to demonstrate the open character of our society in the most attractive and supportive way. The celebration was born thanks to the collaboration among several institutions, voluntary organisations, associations, media companies, and private organisations, who decided to work together in this project. This is one more example of how important it is for all of us who live in Biscay to build an always inclusive and open society.

The programme is divided in six thematic strands:

At Casco Viejo / Zazpikaleak Station behind San Nicolás’ church (Metro Bilbao L3), one of the entrances to Casco Viejo in Bilbao, you’ll have the opportunity to watch some short films that will get you closer to the reality of LGBTQI people. They will make you reflect upon the challenges our society still must take on. Near there, a series of musical performances, drag shows, plays and cultural activities will be staged at Muelle del Arenal.

Close to the Palacio Foral, in the cosmopolitan financial and commercial hub of the city, a giant LGBT flag will move to the Zumba beat and you’ll be able to participate in other different sporting activities and have fun with GBox, Aerobic Dance and Aerobic Extreme classes. Similarly, next to the Arenal Kiosk, educational workshops where the youngest ones will be able to hear and learn about the diversity of households and families will also be organised.

The local culture and our identity, with the Basque language as a stepping stone, will also be present in the events held at Arenal. The reality of the LGBTQI people will be told through art and culture on the guided tours that will tell, without hang-ups, the history of the LGBTQI community in Bilbao Biscay.

A whole programme of events filled with pride awaits you in Bilbao Bizkaia.

You can see the complete schedule here:

How to get around

It is important to bear in mind that the streets of the Old Quarter cannot be reached by car, and that the centre is usually crowded, so the best option is to use public transport. Bilbao has an excellent transport network, making almost any area accessible by metro, tram, train (Euskotren and Renfe) and bus (Bilbobus and Bizkaibus).