Recognized worldwide as ‘a masterpiece of the twentieth century’, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a monumental landmark by the edge of Nervion River in Basque City, Spain. Conceptualised and created by renowned designer Frank Gehry in 1997, this art museum is one of the largest in Spain. Housing over 600 pieces of art from all over the world, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is a gold standard in contemporary art; it hosts work by celebrated artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Richard Serra and several others. Over the last two decades, the Guggenheim in Bilbao has risen to be recognized as a prominent name in the global art landscape.
Our guide on the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao will give you details on buying tickets, what to expect, featured artwork and more.
History of Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Bilbao, located at the edge of Basque City, was a prominent port and industrial town. After an economic decline in the 70s, the government led a period of planned urban and economic development. It was at this stage that officials suggested the possibility of building a Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.
In collaboration with the Guggenheim Foundation -- a not-for-profit dedicated to art -- the agreement was signed in 1991. Experimental designer Frank Gehry, a Canadian-American architect, was selected to lead this project, catapulting him to worldwide fame. Gehry’s innovative design is inspired by historical and geographical context; from Bilbao’s fishing ports to the shipping industry, the Guggenheim museum features unique titanium-laden structures that perfectly encapsulate the city’s -- and Gehry’s -- life and culture.
In just twenty years, the Guggenheim Museum has rapidly reshaped the cultural topography of Bilbao, placing it on the global map as a nerve center of visual and sensory art and economic growth.
What to Expect at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
The Guggenheim Bilbao is one of the largest Guggenheim museums in the world. A series of art galleries, mixed media projects like interactive exhibits involving film technology and soundscape innovations await visitors at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Spread across three floors housing twenty galleries, the Guggenheim boasts a whopping 11,000 sq. ft. of exhibition space that features contemporary art. Exhibits are usually on display for a period of about six months; they are curated by both the Guggenheim Foundation and the Museum.
With the museum’s celebrated success, the ‘Guggenheim Effect’ -- eponymously named -- was born. It refers to a phenomenon where a large-scale architectural project transforms the economy of a town or city. The museum commands a footfall of over a million visitors each year and has been labelled as a must-see attraction by art connoisseurs and travel writers around the world.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Tickets
Since the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is one of the world's most popular art museums, expect large crowds through the year. To avoid waiting in line or missing out on the various exhibits, we recommend opting for skip-the-line tickets to the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao tickets cost €13 for visitors above the age of 12 and €7.50 for senior citizens and students. Those under the ages of 12 can enter the museum for free and would have to be accompanied by an adult.
If you're travelling in a group of between 20 to 50 persons, a group booking can be made for €12 per person.
Skip the Line Entry to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Skip the lines and visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to soak in some of the finest artwork in the world
- Skip the long lines and head straight into this famed museum to experience the 'Guggenheim Effect'
- Take in the stunning design of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, dubbed as an architectural marvel of the 20th Century
- Discover some of the finest contemportary artwork and revolutionary exhibits at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao: A Detailed Overview
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is home to a magnificent collection of contemporary art from all over the globe. Whether you’re looking for sculptures, fine art or stunning architecture, this museum has something to delight every visitor.
ZERO is an introductory gallery that wields state-of-the-art technology and innovation to offer a fresh perspective on the museum. It was conceptualized by Local Projects, a design studio based in New York City, known for its innovative and engaging approach to art.
The ZERO exhibit demonstrates the very creation of this museum. With curved projection and a 300-degree view, the exhibit expands the boundaries of physical space, weaving together imagery of the museum’s great works with architectural details. The exhibit is set to a soundscape that incorporates elements of ‘txalaparta’, a traditional Spanish percussion instrument, to create a fully immersive experience.
At the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao ‘The Collection’ includes a vast array of pieces ranging from traditional paintings to innovative sculptures. It reflects and represents the diverse space that creativity encompasses in the contemporary world, with no two pieces truly alike. While this is the only permanent collection at the museum, it remains endlessly dynamic. Some of the better-known works include The Puppy by Jeff Koon, a monumental work in the space of sentimentality, made solely of steel, soil and flowering plants.
Other iconic works include Mark Rothko’s Untitled, an oil-on-canvas abstraction that traverses the spectrum of human emotion, Richard Serra’s dizzying sculpture A Matter of Time and Andy Warhol’s One Hundred and Fifty Marilyns.
Masterpieces of the Kunsthalle Bremen: From Delacroix to Beckmann (25 October 2019 - 16 February 2020)
An exhibit of storytelling, history, scholarship, dialogue and human nature, it details the historical collection of the Kunsthalle museum in Germany. This exhibit demonstrates the public’s role in shaping a country’s art, from individual stories to national and international movements. Spanning three galleries and traversing the space from Classicism and Romanticism right through to Expressionism and Surrealism, this exhibit is a true indication of the relationship between who we are and the art we create.
Notable works include Pablo Picasso’s Sylvette and Paul Cezanne’s Village Behind Trees.
Soto. The Fourth Dimension (18 October 2019 - 9 February 2020)
The Soto exhibit offers a retrospective overview of the works of Jesús Rafael, known for his field-changing work in the space of contemporary design. This exhibit houses 11 of Rafael’s most intriguing creations. Experience his experimental use of the dimensions of space and duration with pieces like Spiral, from the Sotomagie series and Black Vibration, a dark and moody painting on canvas and metal.
Tremble Tremble (31 October 2019 - 1 March 2020)
The Film and Video Exhibitions Program at Guggenheim in Bilbao is dedicated to visual arts and communicating through moving images. Currently showcasing the work of Jesse Jones, Tremble, Tremble is an ambitious and unique project, inspired by the feminist movement in Ireland and Italy during the 20th Century. The project centers around a symbolic witch, tracing her world through history, literature and creative imagination. Tremble, Tremble discusses the underside of identification and the power of ritual in a political world.
The Guggenheim Museum holds an impressive 300-seat auditorium, a library and a bookstore. The library features a variety of books, specialising in work from the mid-twentieth century. CDs and videos about the museum and art are also made available here, as well as a computerised catalogue, which is also available on the official website.
Visitors can also stop by its two restaurants, Nerua and Bistro Guggenheim for a delicious meal. The museum also offers a bar that is accessible from the square nearby.
Things to Know Before Your Visit
The museum is open throughout the year between Tuesday and Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM. It is closed on Mondays, except on 23 and 30 December 2019. On these days, the museum is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM. For more information, check timings here.
Guggenheim Bilbao is located in the center of the city and is well-connected by public transport.
By metro: If commuting by metro, the closest stop to Guggenheim Bilbao is the Moyua station. From here, you can take the Ercilla-Guggenheim exit to reach the museum.
By tram: If you’re traveling by tram, get off at the Guggenheim stop.
By bus: There are several bus stops within walking distance of the museum. The routes are listed here:
- Routes 1, 10, 13, 18 and A7 lead to the Museo 1 / Henao stop
- Routes 13, 27, 38 and 48 lead to Alda. Recalde 31 and 11, and Alda. Recalde 12 stops
- Routes 11 and 71 lead to La Salve / Igogailua and Campo Volantín / La Salve stops
The museum does not offer parking facilities. However, metered parking is available on the street and underground parking is available nearby at Plaza Pia Baroja and Plaza Euskadi.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao is wheelchair accessible; wheelchairs are available on request. Admission to the museum can be purchased at a discounted rate for those who are differently-abled. An accompanying caretaker or assistant need not purchase a ticket. Specific parking spaces have also been allocated around the museum for those with permits.
Abandoibarra Etorb., 2, 48009 Bilbo, Bizkaia, Spain
Tips for Your Trip
- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao ticket offers a free audio guide that you can ask for at the desk.
- When you get to the museum, check out the plasma screens above the admissions desk for relevant information regarding the exhibits on display, admission fees and a list of services available
- Museum members and followers can attend concerts, film screenings and other activities and events at the museum. Make sure to check the official website or check in at the help desk to find out what events are being held that day.
- The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao encourages regular visitors to purchase membership plans in order to gain priority access to events and screenings. Check out the official website to become a follower or a member.
- Wear comfortable shoes as touring the museum involves a lot of walking
- Baby strollers, wheelchairs and portable chairs are available at the museum upon request
- If you’re visiting during the summer, carry a jacket as the inside of the museum can get chilly
- Remember that photography and videography is not permitted within the museum
- Seeing-eye dogs are the only animals are allowed inside the museum
- Outside food and beverages are not allowed inside the museum
- A cloakroom is available for visitors to check in their bags and coats
- There is a separate admissions desk at the rear entrance for those traveling in groups to enter and meet their guides
- Remember that visitors are not allowed to touch the exhibits
- The exhibitions at the Guggenheim Bilbao are constantly shifting and changing, usually twice a year. Make sure to check on the exhibits before visiting.
FAQs about Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
What are Guggenheim Museum Bilbao ticket prices?
Tickets cost €13 for visitors above the age of 12 and €7.5 for senior citizens and students. Those under the age of 12 can enter for free and must be accompanied by an adult.
Are children allowed inside Guggenheim Museum Bilbao?
Yes. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
What are Guggenheim Museum Bilbao timings?
The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:00 AM to 08:00 PM and is closed on Mondays.
How to get to Guggenheim Museum Bilbao?
The museum is well-connected by bus, metro, tram and car.
Can I drop my luggage at Guggenheim Museum Bilbao?
Yes. A cloakroom is available for those who want to drop off extra luggage before their tour.
Is photography allowed inside Guggenheim Museum Bilbao?
No. Photography is strictly prohibited in Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Is the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao wheelchair accessible?
Yes. Wheelchairs are available on request and those with disabilities can be accompanied by a caretaker in the museum.