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Eat, drink, sleep


Budget: Take a stop at any of the restaurants in the Old City’s Plaza Nueva and snap up some pintxos with the locals. Dishes start from around £4. They are so affordable and tasty you’ll be going back again and again. Bar Zuga in the square caters for a young, trendy crowd, too. From £4 per dish. (Plaza Nueva, Casco Viejo, Bilbao)

Midrange: Tuck into some pintxos while standing at the bar with the locals at Cafe Iruna, a good value and culture-driven restaurant. Pintxos from £13.75 for a ‘workers menu’ – which we assure you is far better than the name sounds.  

Luxury: If you want to try some luxurious, traditional Basque dishes, check out Zortziko, a mighty impressive restaurant in a matchingly commanding 19th-century mansion. Inventive, playful and utterly delicious – you’ll forget eating festival food in no time. Three courses from £51. 

Cafe Bar Bilbao


BudgetCafe Bar Bilbao (above) sits in the corner of Plaza Nuevo and alongside the pintxos – it’s big here, have you noticed? – there are all manner of choice local reds to get to grips with. So grab a glass and get localised! From £2.

Midrange: Proud of its wine list, Old City drinking establishment Taberna De Los Mundos will bowl you over with choice. Its intent on offering wide-ranging drinks extends to its beers too, with a wealth of imported and local brews, and light to dark options as well. From £6.

Luxury: The gastronomic-pushing Irrintzi takes a creative approach to its pintxos and its drinks, with a wide variety of wines and beers, but is even more noted for its thirst-quenching cocktails. From £12. 

Spa Hotel Jardines de Albia


Budget: Want to explore the city and enjoy the fest but don’t want to lay in a hot, sweaty tent or fork out mucho dinero, too? Moon Hostel Bio Bibli has a great central location, and will cost you about as much as a single beer at the fest! From £9pn.  

Midrange: Also in the Old City is Hotel Bilbi, which is perfectly placed for getting into the local pintxos – Plaza Nueva is just round the corner. Private bathrooms with all of the amenities you need are part of the deal. Great for exploring the city in comfort. From £29pn. 

Luxury: The four-star Spa Hotel Jardines de Albia (above) is smack-bang in the city centre and offers a cut above standard: generous-sized rooms (and bathrooms), ace service and, as the name suggests, spa facilities so you can chill out in style. Great for seeing the Old City and with good transport connections. From £65pn. 


Photos: Getty; Thinkstock; TNT


Bilbao rocks: From music festival BBK Live to the Guggenheim, the Basque city is a seductive mix of the new and the traditional
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