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Top secret


2018 is certainly going to be a record-breaking year for Bilbao!


It’s no secret that Bilbao is - and always has been - famous for business and commerce generally. Thanks to the city’s industrial past, many people visited – and indeed still visit – Bilbao every week on business. And, of course, all of us at Secret Bilbao hope things are going to continue like this for many a year to come. Important trade fairs such as the Biennial Machine Tool and Ferroforma Fairs have always attracted huge numbers of interested visitors.  

With the slow transformation of the city, led perhaps by the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum and the Euskalduna Congress and Music Centre, it seems that Bilbao is attracting an increasing number of Trade Fairs. Between the new Trade Fair Exhibition Centre, the Bilbao Exhibition Centre and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Congress and Events), substantial figures were generated for the year 2016, as may be seen here:

  • 12% more costs as compared to 2015 (€147.8M)
  • 1,129 business meetings
  • 180,624 participants
  • €142,694,368 spent directly
  • €5,125,041 spent indirectly by 5,740 accompanying businessmen

Neither should we forget that many of the people coming to Bilbao on business to attend fairs also combine their “professional” work with leisure: hence the coining of the expression “bleisure”, a combination of “business” and “leisure”. More can be found about this particular subject in an article concerning the presence of Secret Bilbao at the ITB Berlin International Tourism Fair.

But let’s get back to the events scheduled for this coming year, shall we? Bilbao is going to be packed with sports, gastronomy and music fans: Bilbao hasn’t been chosen the Best European City of 2018 by The Urbanism Awards for nothing, you know! Care to take a peek at what Bilbao has in store for this year?

San Mamés Stadium swaps football for rugby and the Red Bull Cliff Divers are coming back this summer

Our local football team, Athletic de Bilbao, is giving up its stadium to the best European rugby teams this coming month of May for the European Rugby Finals. For some time now, it’s practically impossible to find accommodation anywhere in Bilbao for the second week of May and so many rugby fans will be forced to stay in Guipuzcoa, Álava and even Cantabria and La Rioja.

In addition to which, the world’s best cliff divers will return to Bilbao once again for the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series on the 30th of June. We can’t wait to see the best divers in the world launch themselves off the La Salve bridge into the River Nervión far below, performing impossible gyrations and piruettes as they plunge earthwards – or in this case, riverwards! We’ve really missed watching them these past two years!

Gastronomy and Bilbao: an inseparable tandem

One of our greatest passions in Secret Bilbao is to talk about our city over a glass of good wine and pintxo on our "Pintxo Tour" or over dinner in one of the city’s fine restaurants. Yes, Bilbao’s going to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue this year! In fact, the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum has been chosen as the perfect venue for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants when the list of the world’s best restaurants is announced later this year. More than 800 people, between world-famous chefs, journalists, reporters and food critics, are coming to visit us this summer. And, d’you know what? We’re absolutely convinced they’re all going to LOVE Bilbao!!

Bilbao sounds good

Everybody knows that people from Bilbao have always been known as enthusiastic singers, as may be confirmed by Los Bocheros, Los Chimberos and Los Cinco Bilbaínos. This year, however, the extremely popular BBK Live Music Festival demonstrates that there’s more life to the well-known lyric of “an Englishman visited Bilbao” and this year the MTV European Music Awards is going to be held in the Bilbao Exhibition Centre on the 4th of November.


And, in addition to all the above, Bilbao is also going to hold the El Sol, Bier-American Advertising and Communication Festival but will also host the Biennial Machine Tool Fair, while a stage of the Vuelta a España is also scheduled for Bilbao. But that’s not all: from the 11th to the 13th of June, Bilbao will host a conference held by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions titled “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” and, in April, the Bilbao Exhibition Centre is once again the chosen venue for more than 1,500 international experts in air transport with the “Routes” conference. And, on top of all this, this coming autumn, the Euskalduna Congress and Music Centre will host IV Edition of The Global and Social Economic Forum, 2018….

WOW!! What a year we have in store!!

2018 is certainly going to be a record-breaking year for Bilbao!