Bilbao is a wonderful destination for a weekend of football and culture. Highlights include the architectural marvel Guggenheim Museum, atmospheric old town and magnificent San Mamés stadium. Despite fielding only players with a Basque connection, Athletic Bilbao are one of only 3 clubs never relegated from the top flight of Spanish football, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Where to stay
Casco Viejo (Old Town) is a great area to base yourself, with numerous independent bars, exceptional restaurants and atmospheric streets, it makes for a fantastic day or night out as well as being central for access to the other places of interest in the city.
Obtain tickets through the Athletic Club website below or at the stadium the day before a match. Stadium and museum tours are also available.
How to get to San Mamés Stadium
Bilbao is a fairly compact city, from old town it's a 30-40 minute walk to the stadium. You can also use the Metro on either Line 1 or 2 to get to San Mamés (also called Santimami) station. Casco Viejo is the metro station in Old town, just 4 stops from San Mamés.
Where to go before an Athletic Bilbao match
Again, we'd recommend old town before the match as there are so many bars in a small area, each with their own character and identity. They also tend to be individually owned so service is invariably excellent which makes it a great area to bar-hop and sample a number of places.
Not to miss while you're in Bilbao
Guggenheim - More interesting to see the architecture of the building rather than what's inside, a marvellous example of modern architecture designed by Frank Gehry.
Culinary heaven - A total of 28 Michelin stars across 19 restaurants show just how good this area is for great food.
Pintxos - Small snack which is found in bars all over Bilbao and the Basque region, basically food on bread to have with your drink.
La Ribera market - The biggest indoor market in Europe selling fresh local produce.