Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao: Top Attraction & Gem In Northern Spain

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao: Top Attraction & Gem In Northern Spain
| 5 min read

The Guggenheim Museum is the landmark of Bilbao, Spain, a building that transformed the city into an artistic destination, a great tourist attraction and a recognizable place on the world map. Located at the edge of the Nervión River in Bilbao‭, the impressive building designed by famous Canadian architect Frank Gehry is a futuristic architectural gem that looks like a giant metallic flower. Every year, the Guggenheim Museum hosts various exhibitions from world-renowned artists and attracts millions of tourists. The city of Bilbao is transformed into a beautiful lively city with a booming economy, and the art museum has had multiple effects on the lives of the citizens after its opening. Read on to discover the beauty of this architectural masterpiece and be enchanted by its uniqueness that has to be seen at least once in a lifetime.

An architectural masterpiece, an iconic structure

guggenheim museum, bilbao: top attraction & gem in northern spain | an architectural masterpiece, an iconic structure

When it opened its doors to the public in 1997, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao immediately became an important architectural structure not only of Northern Spain but worldwide. It is one of the most important structures; a post-modern building of extraordinary beauty that hosts modern artistic collections from unconventional artists. The futuristic structure of titanium, limestone and glass looks like a spaceship that landed in Bilbao, reflecting sun rays changing colors as the sun sets. Apart from the uniqueness of the museum, it is worth entering it so you can see it from up close. There are 19 galleries with modern and contemporary art spread throughout the three floors and a central atrium.

Guggenheim Museum's permanent collection

guggenheim museum, bilbao: top attraction & gem in northern spain | guggenheim museum's permanent collection

The Guggenheim Museum hosts permanent and temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art dating from the mid-20th century to present day, both by Spanish and international artists. The first thing you see when you enter is a huge sculpture, an impressive metallic labyrinth in terracotta colors. Walk through and around the labyrinth of different shaped corridors (some are wide, others narrow, high or low) and feel the different dizzying perceptions. This piece of art is called “The Matter of Time” and is a fun and special art installation. On the second and third floor, there are the main exhibition rooms, where the visitor can admire works of many great 20th century artists. If you are keen on modern art, you will recognize the works of Wassily Kandinsky, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Willem De Kooning. Usually, on the top floor there are temporary exhibitions from famous artists, always of modern art.

Even if you are not a big fan of museums, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao has nothing to do with boring exhibits or something you have seen before. I can characterize it as a fun museum where you will spend an hour or so discovering new techniques and approaches of art that will open your mind and allow you to see the world with different perspective. Kids will also enjoy it because it is luminous, colorful and has great view from the third floor.

Artistic surroundings with famous sculptures

guggenheim museum, bilbao: top attraction & gem in northern spain | artistic surroundings with famous sculptures

Right in front of the entrance of the museum a giant puppy made of flowers that welcomes you. The giant dog, the “Puppy” as it is known, was designed by American artist Jeff Koons in 1995 as a temporary exhibition, but the public loved it so much that has become permanent. It consists of a wire forming the shape of the puppy, 25 tons of soil and an internal watering system so the flowers are preserved. It is a wonderful spot for photos and is also very popular among tourists; it is usually very crowded. As you walk outside of the museum, on the opposite side of the entrance besides the river, you will notice another impressive sculpture, the giant spider named “Maman - Mother” that is around 43 ft (13 m) tall. Created by French-American artist Louise Bourgeois, it is believed that this spider is representing an overprotective mother. Go under the sculpture and see the 26 eggs under her belly, inside a protective cocoon. Another sculpture by Jeff Koons, the colorful “Tulips”, is located on the other side of the museum and is a large bouquet of multicolored balloon flowers about 6.6 ft (2 m) tall made from stainless steel. So, when you get out of the museum, there is even more to see! The surroundings have hidden works of art, making the Guggenheim square an amazing art hub.

Nervión River and green idyllic surroundings

guggenheim museum, bilbao: top attraction & gem in northern spain | nervión river and green idyllic surroundings

The area around the museum is considered an open-air museum of modern architecture. After visiting the museum, follow the steps down and continue walking to the backyard, find the spider and stay there for a while under the shade of the building, relaxing by the river. Imagine sitting on the river Nervion, facing the museum. The sun is setting and the light rays are reflecting on the metallic futuristic building and colors are changing while you are surrounded by mountains, green parks and the river. This is magic! For a panoramic view of the Guggenheim Museum, take the cable car Artxanda that climbs up the hill. The cable car station is located at Plaza del Funicular, a 10 minute walk across the river from the museum. It operates from Monday to Saturday from 7:15 am to 11 pm during summer (June, July, August and September), on Sundays it operates from 8:15 am to 10 pm. Trains depart every quarter of an hour. A standard ticket costs 0.95 EUR (1.05 USD) and a reduced-price ticket costs 0.31 EUR (0.34 USD).

Opening hours and admission of the Guggenheim Museum

opening hours and admission of the guggenheim museum

The Guggenheim Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 8 pm. The museum is open on Mondays only during July and August. The admission ticket for adults costs 13 EUR (14.50 USD) and 7.50 EUR (8.37 USD) for seniors and students up to 26 years old. Children under the age of 12 enter for free. The ticket is valid for the entire day, so you can leave and come back as you like. There are free tour guides at certain hours; ask for the timetable at the reception desk. The ticket includes individual audio guides and a free coat and handbag cloakroom. Photos are allowed inside, but only in the atrium. There is a size-checking system for bags at the entrance, so make sure that your bag is no bigger than a small rucksack. The museum is located on the riverfront of Bilbao, on Abandoibarra 2. Just to the left of the entrance of the museum is a small Tourist Office, in case you need more information about the city of Bilbao.

A magical, almost unreal museum

Even if you are not into modern art, a visit to the Guggenheim Museum is a must-do on your visit to Bilbao. It is a museum like no other, and when you look at it from up close it will make you feel goosebumps. Its modern, futuristic pieces of art, its beautiful location and its popularity make it a one-of-a kind sight. However, even if you do not want to go inside, you can relax in the surroundings with views at the river Nervión and see the sculptures around the museum, the famous “Puppy”, the giant spider “Maman” and “Tulips”.

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Travelling since 1999, I created my blog so my memories won't fade as time goes by. Passionate about travelling and music festivals, I try to combine them both. My motto is "I travel to live, I...Read more

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