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Based on a trip in September 2002.

"The True Basque Beret" from the collection of the Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao.

Recommended hotels are:
Our Madrid office has two suggestions: Hotel Lopez de Haro (newer and more modern) and Hotel Ercilla (very classic in the center of the city).
Because both were busy, our 2002 visit was scheduled for:

Hotel in Bilbao: Silken Indautxu Plaza Bombero Etxaniz S/n

Bilbao, Vizcaya 48010. Telephone:

Fax:  The Silken Indautxu  was okay, but it was not exactly close to the Guggenheim, the shopping district or to the Old Town area.

Why not stay at the newly-opened hotel directly across from the Guggenheim?  Why enjoyed looking at the museum in different lights.  This hotel is:

Silken Gran Hotel Domine,

Alameda de Mazarredo,61

Bilbao 48009

Tel: +34 902363600

The question for the American visiting Bilbao is what else to do beside seeing the Guggenheim.  We have a few ideas.

The Fine Arts Museum is an excellent facility that offers a survey of all periods of art in beautifully lit and arranged uncrowded rooms.  It has an excellent gift shop for the lover of art books.  Don't miss the outdoor cafe facing a lovely park, great for people watching.

You also should wander around the Old Town area, "Casco Viejo."  This is old Bilbao, and while our minds were dazzled by images of the Guggenheim, we enjoyed our walks in the Old town very much.  Allow time for sitting and people watching in the Plaza Nueva.  (We wanted to visit the Basque Museum, but were never there at the right time.  It looks like an interesting collection in an historic building.  The story of the Basques has been a real mystery for thousands of years.)

I think we missed a bet by not riding the subway.  It is said to be clean, modern and beautiful.  The stations are by the famous architect, Norman Foster.  The subway also offers easy routes to the ocean and to near-by towns.

Guggenheim Museum with Jeff Koons' Puppy, photo by author