Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum, designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry and opened in 1997, is hailed as one of the most important architectural works of its time. Within its undulating and reflecting walls on the banks of the Nervión River, you’ll find a rotating artistic wonderland of both modern and contemporary art.
The Guggenheim is Bilbao’s most popular attraction, and the facade is all but impossible to miss. Those who want to tour the collection have many options to choose from. Explore the exterior and interior on a guided small-group tour, or gain insight into the collection and architecture with a private guide and customized tour. It’s also possible to visit on a day trip from San Sebastian or as part of a multi-day itinerary through northern Spain.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a must-see for art lovers and first-time visitors.
- Choose between a single admission ticket or a combo ticket that includes entrance to the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.
- Bring a light jacket during the summer months, as the temperature inside the galleries can be quite cool.
- No photography of any kind is allowed inside the museum.
- The museum is wheelchair accessible, and free wheelchairs are available for use.
How to Get There
The Guggenheim Museum is situated in the center of Bilbao. It’s walkable from most areas of the city center, or you could ride the tram to the Guggenheim stop, metro to the Moyua stop, or any number of public buses.
When to Get There
The Guggenheim Museum is closed Monday and busiest on weekends. Rainfall is plentiful in the Basque Country, and the museum is a good option for a gloomy morning or afternoon.
Construction of the Guggenheim
This distinctly Gehry-esque museum was built on a former wharf in Bilbao between 1993 and 1997 using some 33,000 thin titanium sheets, along with limestone and glass. The iconic American architect designed the museum to harmonize with its surroundings, and the color of the exterior changes based on weather and light conditions. Since the design was so mathematically complicated, Gehry relied on software designed for the aerospace industry to help translate his concept into reality.