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Retail By City

BilbaoSpain

City not ranked

City Overview

Bilbao is the largest city of the Basque Country with a population totalling roughly 350,000 inhabitants. The city is located on both banks of the river Nervión, and its metropolitan area stretches alongside the riverbanks towards the north. The total metropolitan area comprises a million inhabitants, representing more than 40% of the total Basque population. Within Spain, it comprises the fifth largest metropolitan area.

Bilbao experienced a dramatic change in the past 20 years, transforming from a degraded industrial area into a modern city focussing on new economic activities embedded in a citizen-friendly attitude. Particularly the centric riverside has changed, with offices, culture and retail substituting the heavy industry. Today, Bilbao is a cosmopolitan city with a much improved transport structure, connecting the city with the suburbs. Industry remains important (the port is still among the top 5 of Spain), however, the tertiary sector has become the dominant economic factor. Tourism only became an important activity with the refurbishment of the city centre and the riverside. It was triggered by the opening of the spectacular Guggenheim museum in 1997, located next to the river and symbolic for the transformation of the city.

The retail offer of Bilbao is located both in the city centre as well as on the outskirts of Bilbao. Especially for high street, interest from retailers has been on the rise and currently Bilbao is among the top five target locations of Spain. The prime high street offer is situated slightly outside the historic town centre, along the Gran Via Don Diego Lopez de Haro. The long street hosts most of the mass market retail offer including the larger fashion stores such as Zara, Massimo Dutti, Sfera, H&M, etc as well as the El Corte Inglés Department Store. Gran Vía is continuously reinforcing its fashion strength and Primark will be the next retail giant establishing itself here, on number 1 of the street. 

Other important retail streets are Calle Ercilla (increasingly important due to the lack of space on Gran Vía) and calle Rodríguez Arias and surroundings. Furthermore, the pedestrian part of the historic town centre (“Casco Viejo”), located East of the river Nervión, offers a mixture of mass market, touristic and local retail as well as restaurants.

Inside the city of Bilbao, only one shopping centre is located: Zubiarte is a medium-sized complex located in the heart of the city, close to the Guggenheim museum. It comprises 21,000 sqm and is fashion oriented. It is much more the commuter towns outside Bilbao where the bulk of the shopping centre offer is situated. The most important ones are Artea (located in Leioa, 41,000 sqm) towards the north of Bilbao on the east-bank, Max Center (located in Barakaldo, 59,000 sqm), Megapark Barakaldo, a prime retail park located opposite Max Center (108,000 sqm) and Ballonti (Portugalete, 53,000 sqm) towards the North of Bilbao on the west-bank. On the other side of Bilbao, towards the south, the Bilbondo shopping centre (39,000 sqm) is the most important retail complex, located in Basauri. 

Things to do

See

Work

Check out the Gran Via de Don Diego Lopez de Haro, the prime high street of Bilbao. Start at the Abando train station Square, where Primark will open its next flagship store, and finish beyond the Plaza Moyúa where an unconsolidated high-end offer is situated and where the high street area of calle Ercilla emerges. Another street worth mentioning is Rodriguez Arias, which crosses Ercilla and serves as a location for above-average brands.


Rest

The Guggenheim Museum is a compulsory component for a visit to Bilbao. Combine it with a walk along the agreeable riverside, all the way from the Euskalduna Palace towards the Old Town, to admire the remarkable transformation that the city has undergone. Other key elements to include in your visit would be the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum) or the Azkuna Centre.


And be seen

Eat

Pintxos bars: Café Bilbao, El Globo, El Molinillo, El Puertito, La Granja, La Taberna del Mercante, La Viña; Víctor Montes



Restaurants: Asador Ibáñez de Bilbao, Asador Kerren, Atea, Bascook, Café Iruña, Casa Rufo, La Mina, Nerua, Yandiola.


Drink

Start at: Mercado de la Ribera, Marzana, El Alemán, Splash & Crash, Ambigú



Finish in: Kafé Antzokia, Azkena, Kubrik Bar


Be Merry

Visit the buzzing Art-Deco style “Mercado de la Ribera” food market, the largest in Europe, which shows that food is indeed a cornerstone in the Basque society. Have a bite, a meal or a drink, whatever best suits you at whatever the time of day.


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