Basque Museum (Museo Vasco de Bilbao)
Travel back in time at the Basque Museum (Museo Vasco de Bilbao), where photographic exhibits and cultural artefacts—from textiles to ceramics—bring Basque culture and history to life. Housed in an understated 17th-century convent at the heart of Bilbao’s Old Town, don’t miss the regularly rotated temporary exhibits and topographical map of Bilbao and beyond.
A must-visit for curious travelers interested in the history of the Basque Country, the Basque Museum’s collection includes a wealth of artefacts related to the region’s seafaring and pastoral past. Although signage is predominantly in Spanish and Basque, most of the exhibits at the Basque Museum speak for themselves, while handouts provide limited English-language information. A visit to the Basque Museum is easily combined with a half-day walking tour of the surrounding Bilbao Old Town.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Basque Museum is a great rainy-day option for families in Bilbao, as children under 12 enter for free.
Guided group tours of the Basque Museum should be arranged at least seven days in advance and are available whenever the museum is open.
Signage is predominantly in Spanish and Basque, although there is limited English and French information throughout.
There is a small admission fee to enter the museum, except on Thursdays when all visitors can enter for free.
The Basque Museum is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible and those with a disability always enter for free.
How to Get There
The Basque Museum is situated east of the Nervión River in Bilbao’s Old Town and is well-connected by various modes of public transit. Casco Viejo, the closest metro station, is located just one block from the museum. Leave via the Unamuno exit. Bilbobuses also pass close to the Basque Museum—look for routes that stop outside the Mercado de la Ribera, Parada Arenal, or Parada San Nicolás.
When to Get There
The Basque Museum is typically open Wednesday through Monday, albeit with slightly reduced hours on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is always closed on Tuesdays and also closes for select national holidays such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and King’s Day. Check the website for a comprehensive list of annual closures. Budget travelers should visit on Thursdays, when the Basque Museum is free to enter.
What to Do in Bilbao's Old Town
After visiting the Basque Museum, take time to see what the rest of Bilbao’s Old Town has to offer. Stop by some of the area’s many well-curated design and textile stores, sample pintxos (Basque tapas) at the Mercado de la Ribera, and visit the 14th-century Santiago Cathedral. Walking tours of the Old Town typically include all the above and more, making them ideal for first-time visitors.
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- Bizkaia Museum of Archaeology
- Casco Viejo
- Bilbao's Santiago Cathedral
- Arriaga Theatre (Teatro Arriaga)
- San Vicente Martír de Abando Church (Parroquia de San Vicente Martir de Abando)
- Zubizuri Bridge
- Moyua Square (Plaza Moyúa)
- Azkuna Zentroa
- Artxanda Funicular (Funicular de Artxanda)
- Guggenheim Museum
- Bilbao Fine Arts Museum (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao)
- Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park
- Euskalduna Palace (Palacio Euskalduna)
- River Maritime Museum (Museo Maritimo Ria)