Boasting a lineup that includes Depeche Mode, The Killers, Phoenix, Justice and Two Door Cinema Club in the Basque Mountains, Bilbao BBK Live has become one of Europe's best and most beautiful festivals.
But with the music starting late in the day, festival-goers are encouraged to explore the city of Bilbao, taking a stroll through its beautiful old town, or sampling some of its fine food. We caught up with local alternative group We Are Standard (WAS) to find out about this magical city and the best way to be spending our spare time in it.
How would you describe the vibe of Bilbao?
Bilbao is a friendly city that used to be industrial and has become a city with museums and tourist attractions. It's an open-minded city, not too big, but not too small. We love our Basque culture and gastronomy and we’re a city that loves rock 'n' roll and know how to party. July is a great time to come during our summer season for the BBK festival, with nice weather and nearby beaches.
Where are your favourite places to hang out in the city?
I like the view of the estuary all along the city and to the sea with its industrial past. Old docks and structures have been maintained as witnesses of the past. My grandfather used to work in the docks. The estuary is joined to the people of Bilbao and our economy. I like the old part too. They're called The Seven Streets because they were the first seven streets to be found in the city, or should we say the Village of Bilbao.
Talk us through your perfect night out in Bilbao...
It should start having some pintxos (slice of bread with something else on top) while we drink wine or beer. You can do this almost anywhere in the city, but I would start in the old town – there are plenty of bars in the old part. Have a small beer (zurito) or a rioja wine with a pintxo in a few bars. We call it a "txikiteo" – to have a wine in a bar and then go to the next one and have another wine, and then to the next… until you’ve had enough! The main thing is being with friends and finding new ones!
I like Irrintzi Bar, Victor Montes and Berton in the old town. You can walk from one to the other, then to Ambigú, a small bar and restaurant owned by two brothers where the underground Bilbao goes for beers. The menu for lunch is good and cheap, by the way. After Ambigú, I would go to Kafe Antzokia to watch a gig, which is nearby. Then on Saturdays I DJ in the club I run, it’s called Fosbury (Buenos Aires 1). If I’ve still got strength to party, I would go to Fever, a big disco with different spaces and music.
Where are the best places to eat and drink while we're in town?
I’ve named a few already, but for a nice and cheap lunch head to Coppola, Kokken or Dando la Brasa. If you’re after something a bit more expensive but impressive Kuma is a good choice. If you like oysters and white wine go to El Puertito, this one is a gastrobar, just serving oysters.
Are there other places close to the city that we should visit?
Getxo is a nearby town and has a nice little old port, perfect for an appetizer when it’s sunny and you can travel on the underground. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is a picturesque little church at the top of an islet by the coast of Bermeo, which is a 30-minute drive from Bilbao.
Bilbao BBK Live 2018 will take place on 12-14 July 2018. Find out more on our guide, and book your tickets and packages to the festival here.
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