The green hills of Bilbao are a welcome relief after a lengthy stay in the dry plains in Southern Spain.
Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country in northern Spain, and the capital of the province of Biscay. The city is located on the banks of the Nervion, a tidal river. The population of Bilbao city is just over 372,000, but within the metropolitan area there are over 1 million inhabitants, ranking it as the fifth largest metropolitan area of Spain.
Bilbao is a major seaport and industrial center, but in recent years the city has undergone a major urban renewal, in order to move it away from the region's industrial history and instead focus on tourism and services. The developments are centered around the new metro system and most of all, the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum. A new tram line was introduced in 2002.
The Port of Bilbao, formerly on the river, has been moved and expanded downstreams on the Bay of Biscay, opening a great deal of real estate on the river, that has been the site of most of the new buildings.
The medieval neighbourhood, Casca Viejo (the Old Town), is the most colorful part of Bilbao, a maze of narrow streets full of taverns, shops and monuments.