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Easter in Biscay 2023

The celebration of the Catholic Holy Week in the streets of Bilbao dates back to the middle of the 16th century.


January 2023

At that time it was strictly bounded to the streets inside the city walls, what we know today as the Casco Viejo, and perhaps the area around the convent of San Francisco, on the other side of the estuary, in Bilbao la Vieja.

Nowadays, the processions and the passing of the brotherhoods of penitents in their robes and hoods, carrying spectacular sculptural ensembles, are spread throughout the city centre. Among the ‘pasos’ that parade through the crowds of devotees and onlookers are pieces of imagery by sculptors such as Juan de Mesa (1615), Raimundo Zapuz (1693), Quintín de Torre (1924) and Higinio Basterra (1944), among many others.

Holy Week Bilbao 2023

Those who visit Bilbao between 2 and 9 April and do so in their own vehicle should find out about the routes and times of the processions, not only to be able to observe them, but also to avoid traffic congestion.

Holy Week Bilzkaia 2023

Outside Bilbao, the processions in Orduña and Lekeitio are worhy of highlight. In the latter, on Good Friday, a red-tongued monster, the embodiment of a plague that devastated the area’s vineyards and halted txakoli production for five years, has been paraded alongside the processions since the mid-19th century.

Balmaseda Holy Week

Balmaseda and the Living Passions

Balmaseda is another of the major points of interest in Biscay at this time of the year. The re-enactment of the trial of Pilate and the Passion of Christ is one of the most spectacular of Holy Week and takes place on Holy Thursday and Good Friday. If you choose to go to Balmaseda, you should avoid the car and opt for public transport, as the crowds tend to be large.

The representations of the Passion of Christ that take place in the towns of Berango, Arkotxa or Durango also arouse great expectation.

Basquefest Bilbao

Basque Fest

Around the same time, Bilbao hosts a popular cultural event that includes music, traditional sports, dance, theatre and gastronomy.

In the previous edition, more than 200 activities were offered, most of them free of charge and for all audiences, with the participation of more than 300 artists.

Don Manuel Bakery



Tasting of hot chocolate, milkshakes, coffee, infusions and soft drinks that, accompanied by a sweet, make the dreams of those with a sweet tooth come true.

Restaurante Everest bi



Maria Antonia’s kitchen. Cantabrian fish of the day. Ox Cattle and Major Cattle.

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