The Casco Viejo is Bilbao‘s Old Town, made up of seven main streets and located across the river from the newer part of the city. It’s full of sites such as the Plaza Nueva, surrounded by pintxos bars; the Catedral de Santiago; and the Mercado de la Ribera – Europe’s largest indoor market. There aren’t any big or luxurious chain hotels here, but it is filled with cute bed and breakfasts, small budget pensiones and a couple of boutique hotels.
Petit Palace Arana
The three-star Petit Palace Arana is located on the edge of Bilbao’s Casco Viejo (Old Town) and lies within walking distance of many major sights. Its rooms are cosy and compact, as well as sleek and modern. Dressed in black and white tones, they offer all the necessary mod-cons. The hotel also has a breakfast room, cosy lounge area and offers bike rental services.
The Caravan Cinema is a quirky cinema-themed boutique pension in the heart of the Casco Viejo. It features just five rooms and one apartment, with décor based on famous films, actors and directors. Book the Alfred Hitchcock-inspired apartment, decorated in bright 1970s-style wallpaper, silhouettes of birds across the ceiling and a shadow of a person painted across the shower door. Or for something a little more Spanish, try the Pedro Almodóvar room, decorated with his old movie posters along the walls.
Hotel Bilbao Jardines
The two-star Hotel Bilbao Jardines is located in the heart of the Casco Viejo, and is both spacious and contemporary. The décor is simple and functional with lots of natural wood, green walls and pictures of plants, reminding guests of being in a garden. Rooms feature everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay. There is also a breakfast room, separate dining room and free bike rental in order to explore the city.
Pensión Manoli is a great budget option in the Casco Viejo. Bright and colourful, rooms are decorated in shades of reds, blues and greens with polished wooden floors. Both double and twin rooms are offered with TVs, Wi-Fi and shared bathrooms, and come complete with small balconies, which look out onto the street below. No breakfast is offered, but there are plenty of cafés nearby for when you get hungry.
Hotel Arenal Bilbao
Located on the edge of the Old Town, not far from the Bilbao Cathedral, the Hotel Arenal Bilbao is housed in a beautiful old red building with lots of character. The rooms are spacious and uncomplicated, but are decorated in light colours with wooden period furniture and large windows. The hotel also offers a basic breakfast room and a meeting room.
7 Kale Bed and Breakfast
7 Kale Bed and Breakfast is named after the seven streets that make up Bilbao’s Casco Viejo. A charming little place, it has just 12 ensuite rooms and very homey feel. Decorated in colours of beige, white and teal, the rooms are comfortable and offer everything you need during your stay, including TVs, complimentary toiletries and free Wi-Fi. A continental breakfast is served in the bright dining room, and packed lunches can also be made upon request.
A great value-for-money hotel, Basque Boutique may only be a two-star pensión, but it rivals even some the finest hotels in the city. Located in the centre of the Old Town, it’s delicately decorated with handmade wooden furniture, eccentric sculptures and lots of wood. Original features such as beams and exposed brick walls also add to the ambiance. There are just eight themed rooms, which are individually decorated and centred around Basque culture. Choose from the Gernika room, the txakoli (Basque white wine) room, and the Basque language room.