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The city of Bilbao has undergone a huge transformation in the last 15 years. Had you mentioned you were visiting the city back in 1996, people would have looked at you in shock.

‘El Boxto’ or the Hole, as Bilbao was known, was one of the least glamorous holiday destinations in the world. Now, thanks to a facelift via the architectural marvel that is the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao is one of the most visited places in Spain.

The ‘Bilbao Effect’ has seen the city attract many top architects who have virtually redesigned large parts of the city. Regenerated, Bilbao now boasts plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants and a lively nightlife, alongside luxury hotels and high-end shopping. Despite the changes, the strong cultural traditions of the Basque region are still very much in evidence. The picturesque areas of the Old Town, with its plethora of bars and restaurants serving delicious pinxtos, the beautiful Basque countryside, and the city’s passionate love of its football team, Athletic Bilbao are what make Bilbao such a unique and fascinating city.

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