As the modern centre of Basque Country, Bilbao is a sophisticated destination and a recommended spot for anyone interested in taking a trip to Spain.
The cosmopolitan city constantly evolves, bringing in new attractions to contrast its many historic sites. Once a powerhouse of the industrial revolution, the grey smokestacks have been replaced with more modern complexes. The skyline now offers a unique mix of domed cathedrals and glass skyscrapers.
Whether you want to explore the historic centre or the impressive landscapes just outside the city, you need to decide where to stay in Bilbao.
Not sure where to search? Start looking for accommodations with this guide to the best hotels in Bilbao.
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Best places to stay in Bilbao: The top hotels for travellers
Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao
Located just opposite the Guggenheim Museum, Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao gives guests a great view of the odd attractions outside the museum. This five-star hotel is one of the best places to stay in Bilbao if you plan to see all of the historic sites. It’s less than a kilometre from the city centre, giving you a convenient spot to start your Bilbao itinerary.
During your stay at Gran Hotel Domine Bilbao, you can also enjoy a panoramic view of the city from a rooftop terrace. The hotel serves breakfast on the rooftop; the interior also contains a café, restaurant, and bar, giving you plenty of meal options during your stay.
Most people find that this hotel provides the perfect place to explore more of the city. While it’s right near Old Town, it’s also near bus stations and a vibrant commercial district full of bars and restaurants.
Hotel Melia Bilbao
Along with the previous option, Hotel Melia Bilbao is one of two five-star hotels in the city. It’s a luxury retreat in a prominent spot. Your itinerary will likely include trips to Exhibition Center, Bellas Artes Museum, and Guggenheim. All of these sites are just a few short blocks away from the hotel.
As a luxury hotel, Hotel Melia Bilbao showers you in comfort. The rooms are incredibly spacious, while the bathrooms feature marble floors with their own heating system.
You can relieve sore muscles in the heated outdoor swimming pool or treat your palate with food at one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants. These restaurants also provide a terrace view of nearby Dona Casilda Park, while the sixth-floor fitness centre offers views of the river.
If you want to enjoy spacious rooms and Mediterranean cuisine, Occidental Bilbao has you covered. The hotel offers a great selection of food at the on-site restaurant and breakfast buffet. You also get luxury rooms and access to a rooftop swimming pool, helping you relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
Located across from the Basilica de Begona, Occidental Bilbao is also a great place to consider staying when you want to spend your days travelling the streets of Old Town. It’s also surrounded by each of the main metro stations.
The hotel provides almost an endless list of amenities and features to help you feel at home. Besides the swimming pool, the hotel offers a spa, fitness centre, and handicap-accessible accommodations. If you don’t feel like working out at the gym or going for a swim, the hotel also has its own pool table and game room.
Located in the heart of the city, Hotel Abando is another convenient place to stay if you want to see more of Bilbao. It’s just 200 metres from the main shopping streets and a short walk from the Guggenheim Museum. Within a few minutes, you can be in the historic quarter.
As with many hotels in Bilbao, Hotel Abando has its own restaurant. The Epaia Restaurant serves traditional Basque cuisine and specialises in fresh fish. It also has an impressive wine list for any wine aficionados.
When you’re ready to unwind, the hotel offers a large gym with a standard selection of equipment. You can also soak in a sauna or Turkish bath. The hotel is near the financial centre but still within walking distance of Old Town and many bars.
Hotel Barcelo Bilbao Nervion
Visiting the Santiago Cathedral is one of the top things to see & do in Bilbao, and staying at Hotel Barcelo Bilbao Nervion places you just under a kilometre away. This four-star hotel overlooks the Nervion River and is right next to the historic quarter. When you walk out the doors of the hotel, you’ll find at least a dozen pintxos bars within one block.
Hotel Barcelo Bilbao Nervion is just a few minutes away from the funicular that takes you to the top of Mount Artxanda. When you get to the top, you can see almost all the city.
The hotel rooms are comfortable and casually decorated with muted colour schemes. It’s a relaxing spot with a variety of hotel options, from single rooms to two connecting double rooms. The rates vary widely depending on the room you choose.
Hotel Mercure Jardines de Albia
The stylish interior of Hotel Mercure Jardines de Albia stands out compared to the traditional décor inside many Bilbao hotels. Located in the business district, this hotel is a little further from the city centre, but still close enough to walk or catch a taxi.
With its location in the business district, Hotel Mercure Jardines de Albia places you closer to the fine dining establishments. If you only enjoy the best cuisine, you’ll love staying within walking distance of the best restaurants in the city.
The rooms are also nice, featuring the same bold colours found throughout the lobby. The atmosphere will keep you upbeat as you explore everything that Bilbao has to offer. You also get just about every amenity you can think of, including a microwave, mini fridge, mini bar, free WiFi, flat-screen TV, and a laptop safe.
Another great four-star hotel near the centre of the city, Ercilla Hotel provides modern accommodations and amenities to help keep you comfortable during your stay. The highlights include on-site dining options. The hotel includes a rooftop gastro-lounge, a stylish lobby bar, and a restaurant.
The restaurant at Ercilla Hotel serves a mix of international dishes and traditional Basque food. You can experience local cuisine or stick with your favourite meals. In the lobby, you can enjoy cocktails, tea, or breakfast from the bar.
The hotel doesn’t provide a lot of special amenities. The rooms don’t offer special views of the city, and the hotel doesn’t have a rooftop pool. It aims to please by offering affordable rates for a hotel located near the centre of the city.
With a gym, casino, and restaurant, Sercotel Coliseo tries to give you more reasons to stay inside. It’s also just a five-minute walk from the metro station and train station. You can easily get around the city from this spot or spend all day gambling at the casino.
Housed inside a former opera house, Sercotel Coliseo has one of the more impressive facades. It fits in with the 19th-century architecture found throughout the inner city. Some of the rooms provide great views of the street, while others face the garden or city skyline.
The nearest attractions include Campos Eliseos Theater, Bank of Biscay Tower, and Abando Train Station. After a long day, you can relax at the health and wellness facilities, including a full gym and fitness centre, massages, and a bathhouse.
Hotel Gran Bilbao
The splashy interior of Hotel Gran Bilbao is covered in pop art and bold colours. Each room includes its own mini bar, and the hotel has a restaurant and café-bar, allowing you to rest in comfort.
When you’re ready to explore the neighbourhood, Hotel Gran Bilbao is just a 10-minute walk from Bilbao Cathedral and the Seven Streets District. If you’re driving around the city, the hotel offers direct access to the A8 Motorway, making it easier to reach the ferry port and city centre.
There is also a bus station just outside the hotel. You can hop on the bus and travel to any part of the city in no time. Its convenient location and low rates make it a popular choice, so book early.
Petit Palace Arana Bilbao
Located in Old Town, Petit Palace Arana Bilbao is one of the most popular three-star hotels. It’s an urban chic hotel in a hip part of the city. Directly across the hotel is the Arriaga Theater, while the Guggenheim and other attractions are about 20 minutes away when travelling on foot.
Catering to guests who want to explore Bilbao, Petit Palace Arana Bilbao offers free bicycles. Car hire is also available for an additional cost if you prefer driving around in a foreign city.
While this hotel is not quite as fancy as the previous options, it’s affordable and still within the centre of the city. It’s also housed inside a 19th-century building and is only several minutes from Santiago Cathedral on foot.