Taking gastronomy to the next level
Bizkaia is a heaven for foodies from all over the globe. Come and find out why!
We love Basque food and we want to share it with you, from creative and flavoursome pintxos (snacks) to Basque dishes old and new at affordable prices to the world’s top cuisine. Today, there are 11 Michelin-starred restaurants in Bizkaia.
Whichever your choice, you can always wash it down with a glass of txakoli, the young wine made in coastal areas in Bizkaia. Let yourself be seduced by the dishes that have pleased the most discerning palates. No wonder Restaurant has chosen Bilbao to host The World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards in 2018.
Open-minded and friendly
Bizkaia likes you just the way you are; here you are free to be yourself
Eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Try an assortment of bite-size pintxos. Make your own cheese. Attend a cooking workshop to make the best meals at home. Try freshly-caught fish at a grillroom with views of the Cantabrian Sea. In Bizkaia you can have a thousand and one culinary experiences. Here are but a few of them!
Basque cuisine can be enjoyed in many different ways. Bar counters display the most enticing pintxos, bite-size culinary treats to feast your eyes and mouth on. At traditional restaurants you can have Basque culinary staples like bacalao al pil-pil or vizcaína (cod in traditional sauces), txipirones (baby squid), pisto (ratatouille) or bonito (tuna). All these quality ingredients are the result of the known-how of Basque arrantzales (fishermen) and baserritarras (farmers).
But there are ways other than eating to enjoy Basque gastronomy. You can also have out-of-this-world culinary experiences, like a tasting of txakoli from Bizkaia at a local winery (where you can buy a bottle or two as well) or a meal at a cider house featuring txuleta (steak) and tortilla de bacalao (cod omelette) – and, of course, cider poured from the barrel as everyone cries, ‘Txotx!’.
If you have a knack for cooking, you can sign up for a pintxo-making course or a workshop in new cuisine, where you will get the smartest tips and finest recipes from renowned chefs. For a purely Basque experience, you can learn how to make talo (corn tortilla), cheese, honey or jam, or even spend a few hours in the life of a local food producer.
Tender is the night
Bilbao is renowned for its festive nightlife. The city and its surroundings come to life from Thursday to Sunday in the evening. Bilbao La Vieja and the Casco Viejo (Old Town) are the areas with the highest concentration of LGBT+ bars and nightclubs, but you can also find a few of them in the centre of town.
The area known as El Triángulo, at the crossroads of Calle de la Torre and Barrenkale Barrena, is perfect to kick-start your bar-crawling experience. At the bars along calle Santa María, also in the Old Town, you can have drinks and pintxos too. At the far end of Calle Barrenkale, you will find a few LGBT+ bars to have a great time in a relaxed atmosphere.
For entertainment until the wee hours, cross the Ría and head for Bilbao La Vieja, where you can enjoy the quintessential Bilbao in a multicultural setting. Here bars are open late, offering spicy shows, live music, DJ sessions, and tons of joy. Other districts like Barakaldo or Portugalete, which can be accessed by public transport, have interesting things for the LGBT+ community as well.
How to get there
Where to eat
Bizkaia is a world-class travel destination. It is not difficult to find where to eat here. Rather, what is difficult is to choose between so many options: fine cuisine, Michelin-starred restaurant, traditional menu, international cuisine? Asian? Chinese? Mexican? Fusion?
If you are in one of Bizkaia’s natural settings, you should try peppers from Gernika, alubias en putxera (bean stew) or the dishes prepared with in-season vegetables, from local gardens to your table – a safe bet, indeed. If you are by the sea, you should have some fresh-off-the-boat fish: cod, seabream or tuna in marmitako (Basque fish stew with potatoes, peppers, onions and other ingredients). Some of the coastal towns are perfect to buy canned seafood to taste at home.
Where to sleep
Bilbao and Bizkaia offer a wide range of accommodations, with varying degrees of luxury and comfort to suit all budgets. To make the most of your stay in Bilbao, you should stay in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) or the centre of town, in districts like Abando, Indautxu or Abandoibarra.
If you are looking for unique natural settings, the rest of Bizkaia has a lot to offer in terms of country homes and hotels delivering quality gay-friendly service and a welcoming atmosphere for all.