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Christmas balls. Author and copyright M. R.
Christmas balls. Author and copyright M. R.

Bilbao Christmas Market

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)

Bilbao, the largest and most important city in the Basque Country, an important industrial and commercial city. The city is famous for the presence of the futuristic Guggenheim Museum, a museum of contemporary art, designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry and inaugurated in 1997.

But Bilbao also has an interesting historic center (Casco Viejo) that is completely pedestrianized, with a 12th-century Gothic cathedral (Catedral de Santiago), and 19th-century buildings.

In the city there is also one of the most important painting museums in Spain (Museo de Belles Artes); numerous buildings by modern architects such as Santiago Calatrava, Arata Isozaki and Norman Foster; and the Puente de Vizcaya, a late 19th-century suspension bridge that joins the two banks of the Ria de Bilbao, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

During Christmas, the city of Bilbao hosts at least two Christmas markets, the most important of which is the one that takes place in Calle Bailén (Terraza).


The Bilbao Christmas Market (Mercadillo de Navidad de la calle Bailén) takes place in the city center, along calle Bailén (Terraza), near the Arenal bridge,  and is usually made up of over 40 wooden houses with handicrafts, of Basque cuisine, and the typical Christmas gifts.

Gabonart Feria Artesania Bilbao. The Feria de Artesanía de Bilbao ‘Gabonart’ takes place on the muelle del Arriaga near the theatre. There are 41 stalls installed offering a wide range of products (ceramics, jewellery, glass and silver jewellery, leather, glass, wood sculptures, textiles, toys …).

Saint Thomas (Santo Tomás). Saint Thomas (Santo Tomás) is celebrated on December 21 of each year. This day people come out to fill the Plaza Nueva and the streets surrounding El Arenal. This is the best chance to taste the local products on display there (talo con chorizo and txakoli white wine are the most popular products), but also to participate in the collective revelry enlivened by street performances and local music. The St Thomas Market is like a living portrait of the Biscay farmhouses and is the real gateway to Christmas in Bilbao.


This post is also available in: Portuguese (Portugal)

ATTENTION: We recommend that you check the opening of the Christmas markets with the organizers.