Tel: (34) 944 153100Fax: (34) 944 156395
N +43º 15' 34.52" / W -2º 55' 24.20"
My name is Borja and I am the art and the city expert at the TRYP Arenal Bilbao. This tour is one of my favourites. During the tour we can appreciate the mix of modernity and classic which still surprises even the local residents after the transformation that Bilbao underwent to change from it a grey and polluted industrial city to a comfortable, modern place to live and a world leader in innovation and urban development.
The Tryp Arenal is located in the Arenal area, which joins the Old Quarter with the Ensanche, on the left bank of the river. Several cultural initiatives were developed in its squares and gardens such as the Arriaga Theatre (Alphonsine style), San Nicolás Church (Baroque) and the kiosco de Música (Modernist). Once in the old quarter itself there are the famous Siete Calles (Seven Streets) which correspond to the old medieval town, Plaza Nueva (Neo-classic), the Archaeological Museum and Santiago Cathedral (Gothic).
After the Arriaga Theatre we take the tram and get off at the Guggenheim stop. Along the way we can see the Plaza Circular, the beginning of the Gran Vía, and the statue of Don Diego López de Haro, founder of the city. Looking ahead we can see the Isozaki Towers (Isozaki) and the Zubizuri Bridge (Calatrava). Abandoibarra used to be the industrial area of Bilbao and was very run down after years of activity. Here were the Euskalduna shipyards and different railroad workshops and buildings with hundreds of containers on their way to the port of Bilbao. This area has now been completely renewed and is one of the most visited in the city. Walking along the banks of the river we can see the Guggenheim Museum (Frank Gehry), the auditorium and the UPV Library, the Iberdrola Tower (Cesar Pelli), the Palacio Euskalduna (Soriano and Palacios), an award-winning building that represents the last ship build in the shipyard, and the Ría de Bilbao Maritime Museum, located in one of the yard’s docks.
From here we can cross the Doña Casilda de Iturriza Park, also known as the duck park, at one end of which is the Museum of Fine Art (F. Urrutia). Here there is a magnificent collection of classic, modern and contemporary works of art plus a vast collection of work by Basque artists: Arteta, Arrue, Zuloaga, Zubiaurre, etc. In the area we can also find the Casa Montero (Luís de Alardrén), the Chavarri Palace (Atanasio de Anduiza and Uribarri), the Palacio de la Diputación (L. Alardeen) and the Casa Sota and the Carlton Hotel (Manuel Mª de Smith and Ibarra).