12 Best Performing Arts Venues in Bilbao and the Basque Country, Spain

Bilbao BBK Live

Fodor's choice

One of Spain’s hottest pop and rock music festivals, BBK Live draws more than 100,000 fans each year with its lineup of big-name artists. In 2023, headliners included Florence + the Machine, Arca, Phoenix, and the Arctic Monkeys. Those who have outgrown noisy, muddy campgrounds will appreciate the “glamping” accommodation option.

La Tamborrada

Fodor's choice

Every January 19 and 20, more than 100 platoons of Donostiarras (San Sebastián natives) dress up as chefs and Napoleonic soldiers and bang drums as they parade through the streets. The tradition was born out of a mockery of Napoleon’s troops, who would march around the city in a similar fashion. Today it’s San Sebastián’s biggest street party.


Fodor's choice

A self-proclaimed "gastro club," with food and live music offerings, this venue hosts events ranging from Lindy Hop dance parties to lectures on food science. It morphs into a DJ-driven discoteca most nights after 1 am.

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Antxoa Eguna

Join Getaria locals the first weekend of May as they celebrate the moment anchovies reach their plump seasonal prime with gallons of Txakolí and mountains of grilled fresh fish.

Aste Nagusia

The “Big Week,” a nine-day event celebrating Basque culture, is held in Bilbao in mid-August with a fine series of street concerts, bullfights, and fireworks displays.

Edificio Baluarte

The Congress Center and Auditorium is a sleek assemblage of black Zimbabwean granite. It contains a concert hall of exquisite acoustical perfection utilizing beechwood from upper Navarra's famed Irati haya (beech) forest. Performances and concerts, from opera to ballet, are held in this modern venue, built on the remains of one of the five bastions of Pamplona's 16th-century Ciudadela.

Fiesta de la Virgen Blanca

This weeklong festival (August 4–9) celebrates Vitoria’s patron saint with bullfights and street parties. The festivities begin with the arrival of Celedón, a well-dressed dummy that “flies” over the main square holding an umbrella.


Drawing many of the world’s top performers, this late-July festival in San Sebastián attracts an international crowd of jazz devotees. The 2023 lineup included Joss Stone and the Village People.



Home of the Orquesta Sinfónica (Symphony Orchestra) de Euskadi, this venue is also a favorite for ballet, opera, theater, and jazz.

San Fermín

Pamplona’s main event, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises, is best known for its running of the bulls, a tradition that’s dangerous for humans and ultimately lethal for the animals involved. Ethics aside, a huge part of the festival is consumed by nontaurine activities such as processions, live music acts, and fireworks. Held each year July 6–14, the festival begins daily at 8 am with a herd of fighting bulls let loose to run through the narrow streets to the bullring alongside daredevils testing their speed and agility in the face of possible injury or death. The atmosphere is electric, and hotel rooms overlooking the course come at a price.  Recent years have seen a disturbing increase in sex crimes; it’s advisable for travelers, especially women, to take commonsense precautions, including being aware of your surroundings and not walking alone at night.

San Sebastián International Film Festival

Glitterati descend on the city for its international film fest in the second half of September. Exact dates vary, so check the website for details.