Posted by: Debra Kolkka | August 19, 2018

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Guggenheim Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bilbao was inaugurated on 18th October 1997 by King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

The Basque  government had suggested to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation that it would fund a Guggenheim Museum to be built in Bilbao’s once flourishing port area.

It cost US$100 million to construct, $50 million in acquisitions, $20 million fee to the Guggenheim and a subsidy to the $12 million annual budget. The Foundation manages the museum.

It became instantly popular. In the first 3 years almost 4 million tourists visited the museum, helping to generate $500 million in economic activity.

It was designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry and has been described as “the greatest building of our time”, “a fantastic dream ship of undulating form in a cloak of titanium”, “mercurial brilliance”…and much more.

We were in Bilbao on a lovely spring day. The museum certainly makes a statement beside the river.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

The steel bubbles create great reflections.

There is a giant spider in front of the museum.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

This is actually the back of the museum. We walked up the steps towards the entrance.

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Jeff Koons puppy looms large.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao

Here is the entrance to the museum.

Guggenheim Bilbao

I would love to take you inside, but it was closed!

We were happy to see the stunning exterior and may go back one day to see the art.


  1. Such great photos! I’ve been to the Guggenheim in NYC, but not in Spain.

    • I have been to the one in New York too, and I was able to get inside there…wonderful.

      • My daughter actually works for the Guggenheim. So we got in for free! It’s an odd museum…..

  2. Stunning architecture … and I’ve heard good things about what’s inside.

    • Perhaps one day we will find out.

  3. Amazing architecture, very similar to the Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Disney Hall.

    • It is a stunning building. It is no wonder it attracts so much attention.

  4. Thanks for the post Debra wonderful information very excited to be seeing this

    • I hope you have better luck than we did getting inside.

  5. It is a wonderful museum, both outside and inside. The exhibitions change on a regular basis and they are top class.
    When you come back, you will also have to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts). They have a magnificent permanent collection, but they also bring in great exhibitions on loan from other museums.

    • We will definitely be back in the area and look forward to seeing the inside of this amazing building.

  6. Extraordinary architecture and such a beautiful place – I love the description of “a fantastic dream ship of undulating form, etc…”

    • It is a good description.

  7. Frank Gehry; top of my list!

    • You won’t be disappointed.

  8. More than ten years ago I learned about Bilbao, and it was actually the photos of the city’s Guggenheim which caught my attention the most. Then as I read more about the history of this part of Spain, including its economic downfall and revival — marked by none other than the Guggenheim Museum — it climbs higher on my wish list of the cities in Spain I most want to visit.

    • The city has been reinvented and the Guggenheim has brought many visitors. We liked the old part of the city more than the new, but we could see that it would be a pleasant place to live with lots of amenities.

  9. Amazing! I have always wanted to see this museum.

    • We were impressed with the exterior and hope one day to go inside.

  10. On our list next year – quite different to the gallery in Venice

    • Completely different!

  11. It looks amazing!!! Thank you for presenting it to us.

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