Bilbao's Central Park: Dona Casilda

03/10/2021

Dona Casilda Park is the main park of Bilbao. Located between the Guggenheim Museum and San Mames, this central park features a pond, a meandering river, many fountains, trees and places to picnic. Known to locals as El Parque de los Patos, it is the largest urban park in Bilbao and where relaxation comes naturally.

North

The north side of the park faces towards the Zubiarte Mall and Plaza Euskadi. There is a wide path that paces in front of multiple restaurants and the Melia Hotel. The Melia Hotel is one of the most popular hotels in the city. Its central location and views of the park make it an nice place to spend the night.

Near the Melia hotel is the dog off leash section of the park. It is one of the five best dog parks in Bilbao and is quite active with the city's furry friends. This dog park is not fenced but there is a designated area. There are signs that surround the off leash area to inform you where leashes aren't required.

You will often see dogs outside of the off leash area roaming free. Though this is commonplace it is still a good idea to follow city bylaws.

The north side of the park also has statues of historic figures. There are washrooms in this area along with two public ping pong tables. The tables do not have public paddles so make sure to bring your own.

East

The east side of the park could be described as the more cultured area. It is where the cafe area is located along with a large children's playground and the fine arts museum.

The fine Arts Museum of Bilbao (Museo de Arte Moderno) was established in 1908 and contains over 10,000 pieces in its permanent collection. There is also a rotating collection that changes multiple times a year.

It is the second most visited museum in Bilbao after the Guggenheim. The building itself is a hybrid of several different designs. The more classical architecture is found facing the Plaza Euskadi while the more modern glass architecture is found at the rear of the building.

At the rear of the museum is a large children's playground. It is designed to look like a castle and is in pastel colours. There are two different playgrounds within this one area. There are also multiple pairs of swing sets.

A large walkway parallels the fine arts museum and the playground. It is the main pedestrian artery between Gran Via and Plaza Euskadi. In the middle of the pathway is a large monument that also doubles as a drinking fountain. The Gran via side of the walkway has some beautiful flower gardens.

On the other side of the pathway from the playground is a cafe. This cafe serves mostly beverages. It has a large seating area that is a perfect place to relax. Much of the seating area is shaped under the canopy of the large oak trees in the area.

South Central

The south side of Dona Casilda Park faces Gran Via, in the Indautxu neighborhood. There are several entrances from Gran Via to the park. These entrances are wide with seating and flower gardens. In between the entrances are large condo buildings that are highly detailed in their exterior design.

Once in the park there is a grassy area that slopes down towards a pond in a valley. This pond is one of the main features of the park. It is also one the best places to bring kids. Everyone likes to look at the two geysers shooting out of the pond while the plethora of birds lounge and swim about. Species include ducks, peacocks, geese and many more.

Next to the pond is a small arching bridge adorned with love locks that goes over a tiny river. This tiny river wanders through the park and around the trees in a whimsical manner.

One side of the valley has a small plaza with a fountain of a small child in the center of it. The plaza is surrounded by a series of benches. Around this area is another small pound which is where the wandering river begins.

West

The west side of the park is next to the Euskalduna tram station and the Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall. This is also closely located to the off leash dog park on the north side of the park.

The most westerly side of the park contains two square slabs displaying chiselled artwork. In between, is a large drinking fountain with inset benches.

Heading deeper into the park, a couple of wide pathways pass by a green space and a pond adorned with a large statue and bust.. This bust is of Dona Casilda, the woman who donated the land for the park.

Continuing onward, a long yet wide pathway is bordered by benches, bushes, and palm trees, that concludes at La Pergola. La Pergola is a giant oval composed of a series of spectacular arches and pillars that provide a shaded walkway encompassing the largest fountain in the park.

Dona Casilda Park is the biggest green space in Bilbao and is a favourite to locals, children, and tourists alike. Located in the Indautxu neighborhood of the city, it is a must visit spot. Enjoy a picnic and spend some time watching the birds. Wander the pathways, and adventure to the pergola. It's a perfect place to spend an afternoon or an entire day.

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