The Guggenheim Foundation is one of the most well-known museum organisations in the world and boasts a series of iconic complex’s throughout the world. The Guggenheim museums are noted for their bold and modernist architecture designed by legendary designers such as Frank Gehry, Richard Gluckman and Hilla Rebay. Although the New York branch of the Guggenheim is often considered to be the most iconic, the Bilbao counterpart is also hugely popular and the most visited attraction in the city. This article contains everything you need to know about the stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.


The initial idea for an art museum was suggested by the Basque government in 1991. This museum would transform the relative run down and neglected port area and turn it back into one of the most profitable and visited locations of the city. An agreement was made with the Guggenheim Foundation which involved discussions of operating costs and an agreed rotation of high-quality exhibits to attract tourists from near and far. The museum was officially opened in October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I.


As previous Guggenheim museums were noted for their outstanding architecture, architect Frank Gehry was selected to design the Bilbao museum and he was advised to create something truly spectacular and innovative – Gehry certainly didn’t disappoint! The museum sits proudly on the banks of the Bilbao estuary and offers great views of the river and surrounding landscape.

Using a combination of locally sourced limestone, glass and titanium, the structure resembles a huge ship to pay homage to the maritime history of the city. The titanium cladding reflects the sunlight and the strange and random curved angles used to create som[G4] [G5] e magnificent shapes and lines. It is widely considered one of the greatest achievements of modern architecture and has received great critical acclaim worldwide. Many people indeed simply visit the museum to view its magnificent design.

Visitor information

Now that you understand a little more about the history of this spectacular museum, we have gathered important information to use if you wish to plan a visit to Bilbao.

The Guggenheim Museum is located on the southern banks of the Bilbao Estuary in the Abando district. Next to the museum is the beautiful Parque Republica de Abando and the impressive Euskadi Plaza. The whole area has been re-developed and is a pleasant place to walk through during fine weather.

The Museum does not have its own parking service for visitors. However, it is possible to park in the municipal parking spaces in the vicinity or in the nearby parking of Plaza Pío Baroja or Plaza Euskadi. So if you hire a car with Drivalia you will be there in only 15 minutes from the centre of the city.

Opening Times

Current openings times are listed below. Please note that the museum is closed on Monday’s except special occasions – check the Guggenheim website for these instances. The museum is also closed annually on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Monday: Closed

Tuesday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Friday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Sunday: 10:00am – 08:00pm

Ticket Prices

Current ticket prices are listed below – for up to date information, it is advisable to check the Guggenheim website. It is also possible to purchase a joint ticket for entry to both the Guggenheim Museum and the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

Adults: 10.00 Euro

Seniors: 6.00 Euro

Students: 6.00 Euro

Children: Free

Groups Up to 20: 20.00 Euro

Notable exhibits

Exhibits rotate regularly and it is advisable to check before your visit to see what special exhibits are currently on display. We have listed some of the permanent collections together with some of the current exhibitions below:

– “The matter of time” – intriguing sculpture set by Richard Serra

– “Iberia” – abstract oil painting by Robert Motherwell

– “Nine Discourses on Commodus” – a series of oil paintings by Cy Twombly

– “Closed Circuit” – stainless steel and card creations by Michael Snow

For a full list of exhibitions, we suggest checking out the following link: [G11]

We hope you have found this guide illuminating – the Guggenheim really is a fascinating museum – its design and iconic architecture have become a symbol of Bilbao and the exhibitions held within are truly interesting and engaging. You may also want to know that you can have lunch at the Bistro Guggenheim Museum, a perfect place to taste typical Basque cuisine.