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“Jam packed with paintings”

Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
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Bilbao City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Ranked #3 of 115 things to do in Bilbao
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The Bilbao Fine Arts Museum is an art museum located in the city of Bilbao, Spain. It is the second largest and most visited museum in the Basque Country and one of the richest Spanish museums outside Madrid. It houses a valuable and quite comprehensive collection of Basque, Spanish and European art from the Middle Ages to contemporary.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Lockers / storage, Stairs / elevator, Activities for older children
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
106 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Jam packed with paintings”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

Such a lot to see especially the Regoyas. So prolific and very well exhibited. Not so keen on the modern art installation.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank Seasonedtraveller142
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Cormatin, France
Level 6 Contributor
114 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
“Excellent overview of art history & Basque art in particular”
Reviewed October 28, 2013

An impressive collection for such a small city. I liked everything about this museum, except for some of the bad translations on the audio guide (surprisingly not corrected by the native English speakers reading the script!) Definitely worth your time when in Bilbao.

Visited September 2013
2 Thank CathyFrance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 6 Contributor
116 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“A charming little museum.........”
Reviewed October 16, 2013

Originally the Fine Arts Museum founded in 1908 and opened to the public in 1914, which later merged with the Museum of Modern Art in 1945 - these origins would explain the eclectic and interesting collection found in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum today. It houses not only a permanent collection of master works from the Romanesque and Gothic to the Impressionist, by such artists as: El Greco, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Gentileschi, Cassat, Gauguin, Zuloaga, Zurbaran, etc. but also intriguing works from contemporary Modernisme and Basque artists such as Tapies, Chillida, Barcelo, etc. Not to be missed are the temporary exhibits which at the time of our visit featured works by Francisco Durrio and (I have) never seen works of Gaugin before. Durrio apparently spent two years with Gaugin and became an ardent admirer of the latter's works and style.

This is a small to medium-sized museum with enough interesting and arresting works to make a visit worthwhile. The artworks are treated with great respect and given enough space so that even if huge canvasses are grouped together in a room, it never feels as though they have been crammed in and lumped together. There is a thoughtfulness to the groupings and the canvasses are displayed to their full advantage. The modern contemporary artists' works are on a separate floor so that you don't have to sift through them if they are not your cup of tea. The only drawback is that there is not a single chair or bench to sit on anywhere so that one can linger and appreciate the paintings a bit more. There is also just one restroom in the entire museum, which is located on the ground floor. Some of the staff and guards are very helpful; some are absolutely not. For instance, we went on a Wednesday which was a Museum day and entrance was free for everyone, though you still need to get a ticket at the booth. My husband kept my ticket, and when I finished with the temporary exhibits and was ready to go to the Masters, I was not allowed in. All the lady guard kept on saying was that it was the Masters' Exhibit and I needed a ticket. I thought I misunderstood and that this must be a separate exhibit from the ones that were free. She could have simply told me to go get a ticket at the booth, or just allowed me to enter since it was a free day anyway, but no, she gave me the impression that this was something that maybe I need to pay for. I tried to find my husband and when I couldn't find him, I went to the ticket booth and asked how much I had to pay for the Masters' exhibit. They told me it was free and simply gave me another ticket. Why did the lady guard have to make it so complicated?

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) from 10 AM to 2 PM. General admission if 6 euros; 4.50 euros for students, people under 25, people over 65, and groups of 15 people or more. As mentioned above, entrance is free on Wednesdays. Guided tours are available but only on Sundays at 12 noon: 87 euros for a group of not more than 20 people; 5 euros for individuals. Reservation is a must.

There is a cafe and a restaurant, but we did not check either one.

Visited August 2013
Thank cot2ntail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Spanish culture”
Reviewed October 12, 2013

After the Guggenheim, well worth a visit to a more 'Spanish' gallery. Interesting collection of Spanish art spanning several centuries including romantic paintings of Basque life but largely skipping the 1930s and the Civil War.
Guernica belongs here!

Visited September 2013
2 Thank SandyCaroline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Solihull, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Fine Art”
Reviewed October 8, 2013

I'd give it a whole day to get round this. So much to see and read. Room after room of fine art from different periods. Very well presented, with knowledgable staff to help. Fantastic, just too much to see... BTW it's free on a Wednesday apparently.. :)

Visited August 2013
2 Thank Lloyd C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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