If you want to explore the area outside of Bilbao city, there are many interesting places to go to.
Santander, once a summer resort for royals, is a charming city to the west of Bilbao worth visiting.
A short distance to the south east of Santander is the splendid Cabarceno Nature Reserve featuring wildlife from all over the world. San Sebastian , much closer to Bilbao, is gloriously situated around a shell-shaped bay. San Sebastian is considered the most elegant and fashionable Spanish seaside resort.
To the south you can visit Rioja, the internationally known wine region. A highlight in the area is the town Haro , at the center of Rioja Alto vineyards and the location of many bodegas offering tours of cellars and wine tasting.
Also worth visiting is the medieval town, Laguardia in Rioja Alavesa.