Renowned for its Guggenheim Museum and edgy arts scene, this northern Spanish city has delicious Basque food and nearby golden beaches.
Recommended place to stay:
Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain|www.mirohotelbilbao.com|
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This petite, light-filled hotel by Barcelona designer Antonio Miro is emblematic of post-Guggenheim Bilbao, with chic, black and white minimalist rooms, contemporary photographs, library, a cool spa and laid-back, helpful staff. There’s an honesty bar and free umbrellas to borrow on rainy days.
The location, on Bilbao’s ‘Golden Mile’ of exclusive shops and restaurants (the Gran Via), is superb – and only a five-minute walk from the Guggenheim and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Upper floor rooms with a river view are best: the views at night, when the Guggenheim is illuminated, are spectacular.
The neighbourhood is the Alameda de Mazarredo, a reclaimed industrial zone now replete with avant-garde architecture to complement the adjacent Guggenheim, all arranged around a new riverfront park. It’s thrumming by day but quieter at night, and the shops, pintxos bars and restaurants of the city centre are a 10-minute walk away.
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Fascinating ancient traditions, world-famous gourmet treats, Spain’s finest wine region and a gorgeous golden coastline.