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Inflight Magazine of Brussels Airlines

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Bilbao April 2011

Jazz lovers in Bilbao are spoilt for choice with many live concerts during April. Also, join the crowds during Holy Week (17-24) to witness more than a dozen processions as they wind their way through the streets. Scott Adams is our city guide

HISTORIC CENTRE

The cobble-stoned streets of the Old Town are great to explore by day. After dark, enjoy a traditional Basque dinner and then sample the energy of the city’s many bars.

SLEEP Travellers on a budget can still enjoy the buzz of the city centre when staying at Hostal Gurea (14 Calle Bidebarrieta, tel. 944 163299, hostalgurea.com, rooms from €40). The bright rooms have free internet connection and there are also bicycles available for hire.

EAT Ariatza (1 Calle Somera, tel. 944 155019) is the perfect place to discover popular Basque dishes, such as grilled cuttlefish, served with delicious Spanish wines. Go with an appetite as the portions are large and satisfying.

CULTURE Magnificent religious Easter parades abound in Bilbao this month, with Good Friday being the highlight. Most start from the local churches late afternoon.

LATER Join the party atmosphere at K2 (10 Calle Somera) which doubles up as an exhibition space with artworks for sale.

THE RIVER

Rent a bike and make the most of the shady paths running beside the Nervion River. On your ride, you’ll see many architectural landmarks. SLEEP The modern, stylish rooms of the Hesperia Bilbao (28 Campo Volantín, tel. 944 051100, hesperia-bilbao.com, rooms from €53) have the amazing Guggenheim Museum in their sights. The trendy ground floor bar is the perfect place to unwind with a drink.

EAT The restaurant Etxanobe (Palacio Euskalduna, 4 Avenida Abandoibarra, tel. 944 421071) offers spectacular city views. The exquisite gastronomic offerings include lobster and scallops.

CULTURE Jazz (365jazzbilbao.com) livens up the city in April with weekend concerts in many of the waterside hotels and clubs.

SHOP The ultra-modern shopping centre Zubiarte (2 Calle Lehendakari Leizaola) houses over 100 brand name shops, cinemas and restaurants.

TIP Bikes can be rented by the hour from the Tourist Information Kiosk (Plaza Arriaga) or from many of the hotels.

GRAN VÏA AND AROUND

The shady streets and 19th-century atmosphere make this a popular area. Take some time to flash the plastic in the many shops before planning your evening over tapas and wine.

SLEEP Stunning, ultra-modern designs throughout the hotel make Silken Metro Moyúa offers both casual and more formal dining – as well as a tasty menu Indautxu (Plaza Bombero Etxaniz, tel. 944 211198, hoteles-silken.com, rooms from €80) a bold choice. The late night scene in the bar, Splash and Crash, makes it well worth a visit.

EAT Metro Moyúa (40 Gran Via, tel. 944 249273) has tasty tapas and drinks in the front section and a more formal restaurant in the rear. The garlic potato salad and battered cod are excellent. Present your Brussels Airlines boarding pass to Bilbao and enjoy a free local tapa. This offer is valid from 1-30 April.

SHOP This elegant area has a wide variety of fashion boutiques for daywear as well as more credit-card-draining establishments. For something special for her, visit Rosa Clará (13 Calle Máximo Aguirre). For him, check out Adolfo Domínguez (16 Calle Rodriguez Arias).

LATER Let your hair down at the Cotton Club (25 Calle Gregorio de la Revilla). The DJs and live groups keep the crowds dancing until early morning.

SANTURTZI AND THE PORT

Jump on a train at Bilbao’s Abando Station and in 15 minutes you can get a taste of the local way of life in the pretty maritime town of Santurtzi.

EAT Right on the water’s edge at the port, you’ll find the Restaurante de Cofradia de Pescadores (in front of the statue of the Virgin of Carmen, tel. 944 610211), which serves up excellent fish and seafood.

CULTURE Take a stroll along the waterfront to enjoy the many contemporary sculptures by Basque artists such as Amadeo Gabino in this open-air museum.

TIP Late afternoon is the time to be down at the port to watch the boats come in loaded up with fresh fish, providing excellent photo opportunities.

INFO

The Santiago Calatrava-designed airport is 12km from the centre.

Bus Bizkaibus A3247 leaves from in front of the arrivals hall from 6.15am to midnight, every 30 minutes. The route goes through Gran Via, in the centre, before arriving at Termibús, which connects with the Metro and trains.

A one-way ticket costs €1.30.

Taxi A journey for up to four passengers costs around €24 and takes about 15 minutes.

Tourist office You’ll find a tourist information stand in the arrivals hall of the airport and a larger office in the town centre at 11 Plaza Ensanche (tel. 944 795760, www.bilbao.net/ bilbaoturismo).