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The best Christmas plans in Bilbao

By | 1 December, 2022 | 0 comments

We cannot doubt that Bilbao becomes a dream city at Christmas. Its streets are illuminated as if it were a magical story, there is a very special atmosphere and that is thanks to the Christmas decoration and the number of Christmas plans and activities that can be done in the city and surroundings.



1. Plans to do in Bilbao
2. Plans to do at Christmas in Bilbao
2.1 Christmas lights and decorations
2.2 Christmas markets next to the Ría de Bilbao
2.3 Route of Nativity Scenes in Casco Viejo
2.4 Christmas program in the theaters of Bilbao
2.5 Tasting the typical Christmas sweets
2.6 Running in the races of San Silvestre
2.7 January 1st, New Year’s Day: Ascent to Gorbea
3. Children’s plans to do at Christmas in Bilbao
3.1 Children’s workshops in museums
3.2 Christmas Pin for the youngest at the BEC
3.3 Visiting the house of Olentzero and Mari Domingi
3.4 The skating rink and slide in the Arenal and the dock of Ripa
3.5 Olentzero and Three Kings Parade
4. Stay at Hotel Gran Bilbao at Christmas


Plans to do in Bilbao


Bilbao has numerous activities and gastronomy to enjoy throughout the year, this we told you in the post: “Plans to do in autumn in Bilbao”.

In addition to the plans that can be made in the beautiful town of Bilbao any month of the year, there are also numerous events and activities to entertain the little ones and enjoy adults throughout Christmas. The magic of Christmas is experienced in Bilbao as never before, and we cannot be happier to have all kinds of events and activities to do as a family.


Plans to do at Christmas in Bilbao


Christmas lights and decorations


It is a luxury for many to enjoy Bilbao at Christmas, as the town stands out for its Christmas lights. From November 30 to January 8, every day, we can enjoy this wonder from 6 pm to 10 pm.




Bilbao is filled with magic and spirit not only by the typical blue lights in Gran Vía, but also by the illuminated trees in the Arenal (the popular Magic Forest of the Arenal), the decoration in the City Hall of Bilbao, the golden whale near the estuary, the more than 50 Christmas trees in many of its squares, and the number of shops that come together with their lighting to create a magical atmosphere.


Christmas markets next to the Ría de Bilbao


It is a luxury to have every year the wooden booths on the banks of the Ría that offer all kinds of cuisine, gifts for Christmas and decoration for all audiences.


mercado de navidad bilbao


In addition, on the other side of the Ría, on the Paseo del Arenal, we also have the Bilbao Craft Market – Gabonart for your Christmas shopping. This Christmas market opens its doors from December 16 to January 5, offering high-quality products in all kinds of crafts such as ceramics, wood, textiles, leather, and costume jewelry.


They will be attended by artisans from Bizkaia, the people in charge of the trades, from 11 am to 2:30 pm and from 5 pm to 9 pm every day (except 24 and 31 December from 11 am to 3 pm; and 25 December and 1 January when it will be closed).


On the other hand, we cannot forget the Santo Tomás Market in the Arenal and Plaza Nueva in Bilbao, which is held on December 21 and attracts thousands of people to taste the famous talo with chorizo. One of the most awaited Christmas events by the people of Bilbao.


Route of Nativity Scenes in Casco Viejo


belen bilbao


If we are in Bilbao, we have to visit a Nativity Scene, one of the oldest Christmas traditions. Some of the most important in the area are: the Nativity Scene Exhibition of the Association of Nativity Scenes of Bizkaia in the Museo de Pasos de Bilbao. This exhibition will be open to the public from December 4 to January 10. And the nativity scene of the Nativity Scenes Association of Bizkaia in Itsasmuseum – Maritime Museum of Bilbao.


Furthermore, you cannot miss the traditional Nativity Scenes Fair Villa de Bilbao that this year will be in the Church of the Encarnación in Atxuri from December 3 to 11. It is a Christmas market where you can buy all kinds of nativity scenes, figurines, lighting. If you are one of those who like to set up the nativity scene at home, this is your place!


Christmas program in the theaters of Bilbao


In Bilbao, we can also enjoy plays and concerts with the family for theater lovers.  Some of the classics such as The Nutcracker, the New Year’s Concert or Swan Lake performed by the classical ballet of Ukraine will take place at the Euskalduna Palace and others such as the Euskelelea, a tale of traditional songs in Basque at the Arriaga Theater.


All of them and many more in the city of Bilbao in the month of December.


Tasting the typical Christmas sweets


In Bilbao, there are a variety of sweets that are savored on these special dates. And we are not talking about polvorones, nougat and Roscón de Reyes, but about typical Basque sweets. Some of them are: the goxua, the intxaur-saltsa, and the marzipan eel, which you can find in any bakery in Bilbao.


In addition, you cannot miss the limited edition Christmas doughnuts and gourmet bombs of Hotel Gran Bilbao. Handmade with natural ingredients. Call us to place your order at 944 328 575 or stop by the hotel reception.



Running in the races of San Silvestre


On the last day of the year it is tradition to run the popular San Silvestre race held in different municipalities in the Bilbao area. It is undoubtedly a tradition that moves both athletes and runners, as it is a very good way to end the year. It is not so important to win it, but to have fun and say goodbye to the year, on many occasions, disguised as Santa Claus.


January 1, New Year’s Day: Ascent to Gorbea


And to start the year in a more special way, what better plan than an excursion to Mount Gorbea (the highest mountain in Bizkaia) on the first day of the year in the morning.

An indispensable tradition for many Basques to start the year off on the right foot.  It is an excursion surrounded by unparalleled views that can be adapted to any level.


 monte gorbea


Children’s plans to do at Christmas in Bilbao


Children’s workshops in museums


As every year, the little ones can have fun in the children’s workshops held in the museums of Bilbao. Among the most popular museums of the festive season are: the Guggenheim Bilbao Museoa that hosts Christmas workshops to discover the connection between art and celebration for children from 6 to 11 years old (December 27, 28 and 29; and January 3 and 4 with versions in Spanish and Basque), the Itsasmuseum (December 26 and 27, and January 2 and 3 from 9:30-13:30) and the Arkeologi Museoa (December 17 and 18 in the morning).


Christmas pin for the youngest at the BEC


The Christmas Children’s Park, or also called PIN, is the most awaited Christmas event for the most txikis. It is a space full of attractions and workshops where children can have fun and learn at the same time.  This event aims to transmit values of solidarity, civility, sustainability, equality, family and healthy living in any of its areas. A perfect plan to entertain children during the Christmas holidays.


The PIN will take place in pavilions 1, 3 and 5 of the BEC (Bilbao Exhibition Centre) in Barakaldo from December 17 to January 8 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (although it will be closed on December 25, January 1 and 6).


In the following link, you will find all the information about schedules and prices about the PIN 2022:


pin navidad bec


Visiting the house of Olentzero and Mari Domingi


The house of the Olentzero is the oldest farmhouse in Bizkaia of the sixteenth century, renovated to inhabit and shape the different mythological characters of Basque culture. It is located in the town of Mungia and has all kinds of activities for the little ones to get closer to Basque myths and traditions. A magical journey that will not leave anyone indifferent.

If you wish, you can find more information here.


caserio olentzero


The skating rink and slide in the Arenal and the dock of Ripa


Another of the most important events of Christmas is the 800 square meter ecological ice rink that you will find at the Muelle del Arenal. And for the little members of the family, we also have 6 huge ecological ice slides at the Ripa dock.  Undoubtedly, a leisure activity for the whole family because it is designed for all ages, from November 25 to January 5.


pista de hielo bilbao


Tickets for the ice rink can be purchased at the following link, and the schedules will be:

-25 November-22 December: Monday to Thursday from 11-14 hr and from 16:30-20:30 hr; Fridays and weekends from 11-14 hr and from 16-21 hr.

-23 December-5 January: every day from 11-14 hr and from 16-21 hr.

Except: holiday eve, December 24 and December 31, which the schedule will be only in the morning from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and December 25 and January 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.


Olentzero and Three Kings Parade


One of the highlights of the Christmas vacations is the Olentzero Parade and the Kings Parade. Both dates are eagerly awaited by children, as they will be able to leave their toy letters and enjoy a magical night where they will travel around Bilbao.


On December 23, the Olentzero arrives in Bilbao accompanied by Mari Domingi to distribute enthusiasm to children and adults while maintaining Basque culture. And January 5 is where children enjoy the Three Kings, the night before Kings Day, where they will open all the gifts if the children have been good, of course, if not, they will bring them coal.


Stay at Hotel Gran Bilbao


Enjoy a different Christmas at the Hotel Gran Bilbao, where we will help you live a unique experience on these important dates.

If you are thinking of staying at our hotel, do not hesitate to contact us, our team will be happy to help you and your family to make you feel at home.


navidad en el hotel gran bilbao

Categories: blog, Navidad

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