Bilbao – an out-of-this-world gastronomic experience

Bilbao is an avant-garde city that surprises any traveler for its vast artistic and architectural richness, but above all for its passionate cuisine.

In the Basque Country, and in Bilbao in particular, it is tradition to go out at the end of the day or over the weekend to socialize, have a few drinks and enjoy pintxos and tapas, which consist of small pieces of the most delicious food served on a slice of bread. These pleasant snacks are often served free of charge to accompany drinks.

You’ll be equally delighted by the traditional olives with anchovies, the potato tortilla, and the kalimotxo, a local drink dating back to the 1920s, made from a mix of red wine and coca-cola.

But tradition in Bilbao also says that you should go from bar to bar to experience what each one has to offer. In many of them, most people will be standing, leaning against the counter, in a very lively conversation.

The old part of town is ideal for this. The historic center of Bilbao is full of charming bars, cafés, and restaurants that brighten up its peculiar streets, squares, cathedrals, shops, and centuries-old bridges.

Plaza Nueva is a square surrounded by neoclassical buildings, where you can find many restaurants and cafés with terraces. It is also often the stage for shows, fairs, and a weekly market, on Sundays, where you can buy second-hand items and antiques.

But the true gastronomic center of Bilbao is the Mercado de la Ribera, since its opening in 1929. Based on the site of the old city market, which dates back to the 14th century, it is currently one of the largest covered markets in Europe, where you can not only buy a wide range of local products but also enjoy the wonderful cuisine in its bars and restaurants. It is also a very pleasant experience to wander through its three floors while sampling the charcuterie, chatting with local producers, and drinking a txakoli – a slightly sparkling white wine.

On the way back home, all these vibrant flavors and sensations will certainly remain in your mind and palate!

If you would like to know more about Bilbao, read the post What to do in Bilbao.

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