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Things To Do In Bilbao – Month By Month

what to do in bilbao

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Written by David Mason | @masononsocial | 5th Dec 2023

TLDR: This guide is tailored for solo travellers exploring Bilbao, offering insights into the best experiences, from cultural gems to social hotspots, ensuring a memorable visit in this dynamic Spanish city.


  • A must-visit attraction in Bilbao is the Guggenheim Museum, renowned for its contemporary art and striking architecture. Read more about it below.
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About Bilbao

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Bilbao, the heart of the Basque Country, is a city where modernity meets tradition. Known for its stunning architecture, rich history, and vibrant culinary scene, Bilbao offers a unique experience for solo travellers seeking both adventure and cultural immersion.

What Else To Know When Visiting Bilbao

things to do in bilbao for solo travellers

Accommodation Tips

Solo Friendly: Choose accommodation in central areas like Indautxu or Casco Viejo. Look for hostels or boutique hotels offering social events, ideal for meeting other travellers and getting local tips.

Dining Solo

Local Delights: Dive into Bilbao’s culinary scene by visiting pintxos bars in the Plaza Nueva or along the Ribera Market. Pintxos, similar to tapas, are a great way to sample local flavours and interact with Bilbainos.

Safety Tips

Staying Safe: Bilbao is generally safe, but as with any city, stay vigilant, especially at night. Prefer well-lit and busy streets, and keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas.

Language and Culture

Language Basics: While Spanish is widely spoken, learning a few phrases in Basque (Euskera) can be appreciated. Simple words like ‘Kaixo’ (Hello) and ‘Eskerrik asko’ (Thank you) can go a long way.

Getting Around

Transportation: The city centre of Bilbao is compact and walkable. For longer distances, Bilbao offers an efficient metro system, trams, and buses. The city also has a bike-sharing program, Bilbaobizi, which is perfect for exploring at your own pace.

Meeting Fellow Travellers

Social Hotspots: The Old Town (Casco Viejo) and the areas around the Guggenheim Museum are filled with lively bars and cafes, perfect for socialising and meeting both locals and fellow travellers.


Cost-Saving Tips: Enjoy free entry to many museums on specific days, indulge in affordable pintxos for meals, and use public transport or the Bilbaobizi service to save on travel costs.

Bilbao whats on

What’s On In Bilbao Month By Month

No matter the time of year, Bilbao offers an array of engaging activities, catering to every season. From enjoying the warmth of the Basque sun to delving into cultural richness during the cooler months, this guide highlights the 12 best experiences for solo travellers in this vibrant Spanish city.

January: Bilbao International Animation Community Festival (Animakom Fest)

Expect the weather to be: Cool, around 10°C.

What: A festival celebrating the art of animation, showcasing films from around the world.

Why: This event is a haven for creativity and storytelling, perfect for those interested in animation and film. It’s also a great place to meet like-minded individuals and artists.

Where: The festival takes place in various venues across Bilbao, including cultural centres and cinemas.

February: Bilbao Carnival

Expect the weather to be: Cool, around 13°C.

What: A vibrant celebration with parades, costumes, and music, bringing the streets of Bilbao to life.

Why: The carnival’s lively and inclusive atmosphere is ideal for solo travellers looking to experience local traditions and join in the festivities.

Where: Throughout the city, with main activities in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) area.

March: European Short Film Festival

Expect the weather to be: Mild, around 15°C.

What: A festival showcasing a diverse range of European short films.

Why: It’s an excellent opportunity for film enthusiasts to explore contemporary cinema and engage in discussions with filmmakers and other cinephiles.

Where: Screening at various cinemas and cultural spaces in Bilbao.

April: Basque Fest

Expect the weather to be: Pleasant, around 17°C.

What: A cultural festival highlighting Basque music, dance, gastronomy, and art.

Why: This festival offers a deep dive into the unique Basque culture, making it perfect for solo travellers interested in experiencing local traditions and meeting residents.

Where: Held in various locations across the city, including the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

May: Bilbao Night Marathon

Expect the weather to be: Warm, around 20°C.

What: A unique night marathon, with thousands of runners taking to the streets.

Why: Whether participating or just watching, the event’s energetic atmosphere is great for experiencing the city’s vibrancy and possibly meeting fellow running enthusiasts.

Where: The race starts and finishes in the city centre, near the Guggenheim Museum.

June: BBK Live Music Festival

Expect the weather to be: Warm, around 22°C.

What: A popular music festival featuring international and local artists, spanning various genres.

Why: The festival’s dynamic environment is ideal for music lovers and those looking to enjoy live performances and connect with other festival-goers.

Where: Located on the slopes of Mount Cobetas, accessible via public transport from the city centre.

July: Bilbao’s Big Week (Aste Nagusia)

Expect the weather to be: Hot, around 25°C.

What: A nine-day festival filled with concerts, fireworks, street theatre, and traditional sports.

Why: The festival’s diverse range of activities and communal spirit makes it a perfect setting for solo travellers to immerse themselves in local festivities and socialise.

Where: City-wide events, with major activities along the Nervión River and in the Old Town.

August: Bilbao International Documentary and Short Film Festival (ZINEBI)

Expect the weather to be: Warm, around 25°C.

What: A prestigious film festival focusing on documentaries and short films from around the globe.

Why: A cultural feast for those interested in documentary filmmaking and storytelling, offering the chance to engage with creators and fellow film enthusiasts.

Where: Hosted in various venues, including the Arriaga Theatre and Guggenheim Museum.

September: Bilbao Design Week

Expect the weather to be: Pleasant, around 22°C.

What: A week dedicated to design, innovation, and creativity, featuring exhibitions, workshops, and talks.

Why: This event is a great opportunity for those interested in design and creativity to get inspired and network with professionals in the field.

Where: Across various locations in Bilbao, including design studios and cultural institutions.

October: Bilbao International Jazz Festival

Expect the weather to be: Mild, around 18°C.

What: A celebration of jazz music with performances by international and local artists.

Why: The festival’s intimate and vibrant setting is perfect for enjoying outstanding music and potentially meeting other jazz lovers.

Where: Held at venues throughout the city, including the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

November: Bilbao Book Fair

Expect the weather to be: Cool, around 13°C.

What: A fair celebrating literature, with book signings, readings, and various literary events.

Why: It’s an excellent occasion for book enthusiasts to discover new authors, engage in literary discussions, and enjoy the cultural atmosphere.

Where: Typically held in the Plaza Nueva or the Euskalduna Conference Centre.

December: Bilbao Christmas Market

Expect the weather to be: Cool, around 10°C.

What: A festive market offering crafts, local products, and seasonal treats.

Why: The Christmas market is a wonderful place to experience the holiday spirit, browse for unique gifts, and enjoy seasonal delicacies, making it a warm and welcoming event for solo travellers.

Where: Mainly around the Gran Via and Plaza Moyúa.

Heading Back

Bilbao is a city that captivates solo travellers throughout the year with its unique mix of cultural events, lively urban atmosphere, and rich artistic heritage. Each month brings forth new and exciting experiences, ensuring that whether you’re basking in the mild Basque climate or exploring the city’s architectural wonders, your solo adventure in Bilbao will be brimming with memorable moments and new friendships.


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