The Best Hotels in Bilbao for Every Traveller

Overlook the most famous site in Bilbao, Frank Gehry's Guggenheim, from your hotel rooftop
Overlook the most famous site in Bilbao, Frank Gehry's Guggenheim, from your hotel rooftop | © Gran Hotel Domine
Photo of Esme Fox
27 January 2021

The Basque city of Bilbao, once an industrial port, has famously become a site of intense urban renewal. While here, make sure you try bollos de mantequilla (local butter buns), visit the vibrant Ribera Market and the former corn exchange turned cultural centre Azkuna Zentroa. Whether you want to stay in the Casco Viejo (old town), the modern centre, or close to the Guggenheim Museum, we’ve got you covered.

Caravan Cinema

Hotel
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Caravan Cinema
Courtesy of Caravan Cinema / Booking.com
If you’re a fan of vintage movies, look no further. This fabulously quirky boutique hotel will whisk you to the world of cinema through filmmaker-themed accommodation ranging from Almódovar to Hitchcock. The vibe is retro 1950s throughout, but with modern comforts and conveniences such as cloud-effect mattresses and smartphone app access. The Old Town location puts it within strolling distance of numerous tourist attractions and pintxo bars.
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Hotel Miro

Spa Hotel, Hotel
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Hotel Miro
Courtesy of Hotel Miro / Expedia.com
This upmarket hotel is the creation of top fashion designer/brand Antonio Miró. There’s a distinct lack of frills and fuss in the chic interiors, with an extensive contemporary art collection adding colour and character. Trimmed down services include a bijou spa and famously good breakfast, but the main attraction is multiple uninterrupted views of the Guggenheim Museum – including from many of the rooms.
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Cosmov Bilbao Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
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Cosmov Bilbao Hotel
Courtesy of Cosmov Bilbao Hotel / Booking.com
You shouldn’t expect much in the way of features and facilities. What you can expect, however, is contemporary design in the guest rooms, together with practical snooze aids such as blackout blinds and top-quality bedding. Free minibars and a coffee machine are nice touches, too, and to top it all you’re just a five-minute walk from the Guggenheim.
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Basque Boutique

Hotel
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Basque Boutique
Courtesy of Basque Boutique / Expedia.com
As the name suggests, this hotel is a homage to all things Basque. Each of the eight guest rooms is individually, and playfully, styled by local themes in art, music, landscape or language. Plenty of natural wood and exposed brick give it a rough-and-ready feel. The location deep in the old town also means there’s no shortage of buzz and bustle nearby.
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Hotel Melia Bilbao

Business Hotel, Chain Hotel
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Hotel Melia Bilbao
Courtesy of Hotel Melia Bilbao / Expedia.com
Positioned between the banks of the river Nervión and the green swathe of Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, this upscale hotel scores high for setting – albeit away from the busy city life of Bilbao. Warm reds and salmon tones dominate inside and out, and there’s a scattering of art to ensure it doesn’t feel too corporate. Facilities impress, nowhere more so than the heated indoor-outdoor swimming pool with fabulous mountain views. The Aizian restaurant is also reputed as one of the finest in the city.
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Hotel Embarcadero

Boutique Hotel, Independent Hotel
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Hotel Embarcadero
Courtesy of Hotel Embarcadero / Expedia.com
Looking somewhere between a stately home and alpine lodge, Hotel Embarcadero actually rather suits the port-front setting. It is located in Getxo, about 10km (6mi) north of Bilbao centre, and was once a popular, upmarket tourist resort. The hotel retains something of the retro holiday vibe, with subtle nautical motifs and laid-back vintage charm. The restaurant celebrates Basque flavours, while the bar attracts plenty of locals throughout the day. Superior suites offer lovely views over the water, worth the extra outlay.

Gran Hotel Domine

Hotel
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Courtesy of Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao / Booking.com

The Gran Hotel Domine occupies one of the best spots in the city – right next to the Guggenheim. This modern hotel was designed by the Spanish artist Javier Mariscal, who also designed the mascot for the Barcelona 1992 Olympics. Guests will find the rooms are contemporary and stylish with both bright colours and earthy hues. It also features a sleek cafe and bar, and a spa area.

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Barceló Bilbao Nervión

Hotel
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Barceló Bilbao Nervión
Courtesy of Barceló Bilbao Nervión / Expedia.com

The Barceló Bilbao Nervión describes itself as eco-urban. Situated right alongside the river, on the opposite side to the centre. It brings together sustainability, design and technology in a luxury hotel experience. The rooms are spacious and are dressed in natural tones of greens and beiges; they also offer all the latest mod cons. Other facilities include a gym, meeting rooms and onsite restaurant, serving creative dishes, pintxos and a wide range of wines.

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Hotel Carlton

Hotel
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Hotel Carlton
Courtesy of Hotel Carlton / Expedia.com

This iconic five-star hotel is right in the very centre of Bilbao, on the Plaza Federico Moyúa, surrounded by beautiful flower gardens. This place is fit for royalty with its chandeliers, marble columns, elegance and grace. The rooms are big and romantic, decorated in pastel colours and elegant, patterned wallpaper. Guests will also enjoy dining on Basque cuisine at the restaurant, drinking at the bar and enjoying the views and pintxos from the terrace.

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  • Petit Palace Arana

    Chain Hotel
    Map View
    Guest room at Petit Palace Arana
    Courtesy of Petit Palace Arana / Hotels.com

    The Petit Palace Arana is a great option for mid-budget travellers, offering great value for money. It’s situated on the edge of Bilbao’s Casco Viejo (Old Town), meaning that from here you can easily walk to many of the city’s sights. The rooms are on the small side, but are stylishly decorated in black and white and have everything you need. Added extras include free-to-use iPads, free bicycle rentals and even gifts for kids.

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    Hotel Arenal Bilbao

    Independent Hotel
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    Hotel Arenal Bilbao
    Courtesy of Hotel Arenal Bilbao / Hotels.com

    The Hotel Arenal Bilbao is housed in a characterful red building, located at the entrance to the Casco Viejo. It lies within walking distance of Bilbao Cathedral, Plaza Nueva and many pintxos bars. The rooms are spacious, light and simply-decorated with old fashioned wooden furniture. There’s also a breakfast room.

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    Aliciazzz B&B

    Bed and Breakfast
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    Hotel AliciaZzz Bilbao
    Hotel Aliciazzz Bilbao | © Aliciazzz B&B

    Aliciazzz is a modern and hip bed and breakfast. With a Wonderland-themed interior, its six rooms are decorated with white rabbits, tea cups, eat-me and drink-me labels, and images of the Queen of Hearts. Yet each of these chapters from Alice in Wonderland also represent historic Basque events and significant places within the Basque Country. Breakfast is also served here.

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    Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro

    Hotel, Boutique Hotel
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    Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro
    Courtesy of Hotel Ercilla Lopez de Haro / Hotels.com

    If you’re an art fan and have specifically come to Bilbao to see the Guggenheim, then why not stay in the same hotel the architect Frank Gehry stayed in when he created his first designs for the museum? The rooms here are large and sleek, clad in bold-patterned wallpapers in blacks, whites and silvers. For dinner, book yourself a table at the hotel’s elegant Club Nautico restaurant, and finish up with drinks at the contemporary Le Club bar.

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    Casual Bilbao Gurea

    Budget Hotel
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    Hotel Casual Bilbao Gurea
    Hotel Casual Bilbao Gurea | © Casual Bilbao Gurea

    Offering great value for money, the Casual Bilbao Gurea can be found right in the heart of the Casco Viejo near the cathedral and Plaza Nueva. The rooms are light and fresh, painted in whites and blues with original painted artwork. It’s a great place to stay with children, offering lots of family rooms and kid-friendly facilities.

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    Leon Beckenham contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on January 27, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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