Discovering the Bilbao of Miguel de Unamuno

Discovering the Bilbao of Miguel de Unamuno

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When it comes to displaying the important names from the history of our country, the Basque capital shines with a long list of names. And it is that – in addition to providing shelter to many top international chefs (such as Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui or Karlos Arguiñano) or fashion designers who have mastered that of Balenciaga – Bilbao is a land of well known personalities in the world of literature. The best example? Miguel de Unamuno, prodigal son of the city and one of the most distinguished names of Spanish literature.

Do you plan to visit the Basque capital to enjoy a few days of relaxation in Petit Palace Arana or in Petit Palace Tamarises? Today we are on our way to follow in the footsteps of this writer who influenced a before and after for the 27 and 98 generations.

The centre, the starting point

Although almost any visit to a city begins in the centre, when it comes to visiting the Bilbao of Miguel de Unamuno, this starting point is especially important and is in a house on Ronda street in Bilbao (in the very centre of the city) where the illustrious writer was born in 1864.

The narrow streets of the Basque capital, the church of the Incarnation, its cobbled squares (like the beautiful Plaza Nueva) and its colourful houses with small balconies adorned with flowers were crucial to the life of a young Unamuno who decided to abandon his studies of painting and to devote body and soul to literature.

El Arenal, before and after

The great writer spent much of his adolescence in the district of El Arenal, a legendary spot in the centre of the Basque capital that – in the case of Miguel de Unamuno,  was crucial to shape his personality; The one that seeps through the pages of his books.

It could be said that there were many hours spent in the cafes of the Arenal (those near the Teatro Arrigada). A time of observation that Miguel de Unamuno would use to shape several of his characters.

In search of the peace of La Ría

We could not finish this walk in the Bilbao of Miguel de Unamuno without talking about the river and how much it influenced the childhood of the Basque writer.

The neighbourhood of Deusto (one of those bordering Bilbao) was not only his second “home” but was a place that especially influenced him, hence why he referred to it (directly or indirectly) in some of his books .


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