10 Things to Know about Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

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Bilbao Guggenheim Museum
Source: Edwin Poon

Hailed by expert architects as “one of the most important works completed since 1980”, Spain’s shimmering Bilbao Guggenheim museum is easily one of the country’s most iconic buildings. The building is a tourist attraction in its own right and houses permanent and temporary exhibitions of Spanish and international contemporary art.

1. Location

The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum is located in central Bilbao, Spain. The building is situated alongside the Nervion River which runs through the centre of the city out to the Cantabrian Sea.


  • Address: Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
  • Opening hours: 10 am to 8 pmClosed Mondays in 2016 except for Mondays in July and August,September 5 and September 12, October 31, December 5 and December 26.
  • Website: www.guggenheim-bilbao.es/en/

2. An Architectural marvel

Hailed by expert architects in the 2010 World Architecture Survey as “one of the most important works completed since 1980”, Spain’s shimmering Bilbao Guggenheim museum is easily one of the country’s most iconic buildings. The museum was designed by architect Frank Ghery and is easily one of Bilbao’s most recognised buildings. The building is an example of Deconstructivism, an architectural style characterised by non-rectilinear shapes which distort traditional elements of architecture.

3. Guggenheim Foundation

The museum is owned by the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation and has transformed Bilbao’s port area in to one of the city’s primary sources of income. The Bilbao government paid for the museum’s construction but the museum itself is managed by the Guggenheim Foundation. The Foundation also owns several other museums in New York, Venice and Abu Dhabi and is dedicated to promoting the understanding and appreciation of art.

4. Guided Tours

The museum offers free guided tours to groups of 8 – 20 people. To join a tour sign up at the information desk half an hour before the tour start time.  Tours are held in English, Spanish and Basque.

5. Food

Bilbao Guggenheim has 2 restaurants combining art and food. Nerua is a 1 Michelin star haute cuisine restaurant run by acclaimed chef Josean Alijean. Bistro Guggenheim Bilbao offers a more relaxed menu that varies with the time of day.

6. Routes

The museum offers a variety of suggested routes to make the most of your time at the museum from the express 45 minute route to the 5 hour full day at the museum.  The routes cater to different interests. For details of the different routes visit the Guggenheim Museum’s website.


  • Express tour – 45 minutes
  • A day at the museum – 5 hour
  • Architecture – 90 minutes
  • Family tour – 90 minutes
  • Guggenheim Collections – 90 minutes
  • Temporary Exhibitions – 40 – 60 minutes
  • We Recommend – 90 minutes

7. Art after Dark

Bilbao Guggenheim Museum

One Friday each month is dedicated to Art After Dark. Visitors can see the museum exhibitions from 10pm to 1am while listening to the music of Spain’s best DJs.

8. Exhibitions

The art at the Guggenheim Bilbao rotates with 5 exhibitions at a time lasting an average of 6 months each. Current exhibitions include Andy Warhol, Lousie Bourgeois and Eija-Liisa Ahtila. Upcoming exhibits include Samuel Taylor-Johnson, Francis Bacon and Albert Oehlen.

9. Getting there

The museum is located in the city centre and is easily accessible by public transport.  The museum does not have parking for visitors but there is metered street parking close by as well as underground parking in the nearby Plaza Pio Baroja or Plaza Euskadi car parks.

10. Accessibility

The museum is fully wheelchair accessible. There are models of some of the art pieces for the visually impaired to appreciate the art by means of touch. There is also an audiodescribed tour of the museum for the visually impaired so they can enjoy the art through sound.

Have a good trip and travel!