Portugalete boasts sites and appeals of the first order, evidenced by the fact that it shares a UNESCO World Heritage Site marker with the neighboring town of Getxo. Before the need for resorts in both locations the bridge of Vizcaya opened in 1893, an imposing hanging bridge ferry designed by Antonio of Palace and manufactured in iron, that was the first of its kind built in all the world. It was built with a transporter platform that saves sixty meters of length of the estuary. The height of the bridge is sixty one meters and its visage is shocking. It is undoubtedly one of the most impressive modern architectural feats in all of Spain, and a center of reference for other similar bridges in every corner of the planet. The original structure was destroyed after a bombing during the civil war, and was rebuilt in 1941. In 2006 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Basílica de Santa María
Leaving the basilica one can access the Mirador del Campo de la Iglesia, one of the places frequented mostly for the spectacular views of the river and bridge, which you can enjoy from there. In its gardens you my also find the statue of Lope García de Salazar, a banderizo nobleman who was the owner, Lord, and captive of the Salazar Tower, and the tower old house from the end of the 14th century, which is one of the oldest buildings in the village. It was conceived as a dungeon and housing, and toda is home to a restaurant of high cuisine and a museum on the history of Portugalete.
Leaving from the tower towards Casilda Iturrizar street highlights the Santa Clara Cultural Center. The Center occupies a former Baroque convent, founded by some nuns from Orduña and installed in the village in 1614. It was dismantled in the 19th century during the confiscations.
Finally, in the Paseo de la Canilla you can find the Rialia Museum of Industry, a center of interpretation that seeks emphasize the value and the role of the iron industry in the historical context of the region.
In addition to the bridge of Vizcaya, there is much that see in Portugalete. The town preserves an interesting joint heritage between its Golden Age and the contemporary. Along the main avenues, and particularly on the banks of the estuary, and on Maria Diaz Haro street along the dock of Churruca or Muelle Nuevo, you can see structures that functioned as noble houses of wealthy industrial families in the 19th century. It is a good idea to walk along this road and enjoy these buildings, which are mostly of English influence. These include the houses of Zunzunegui, Olaso, Palacios, Balparda, Vicuña and de Gandarias.
The Park of the Doctor Areilza is a botanical garden with exotic plants.It was designed in 1913 on a beautiful sandy area, which is now lost, that was conceived with great luxury and as an element of ostentation of the bourgeoisie in Portugalete.
The Town Hall, located in the Plaza del Solar, is a neoclassical portico building built in 1883 with traditional iron wrought balconies. Next to it is the monument to Victor Chavarri (1905), of made by the Catalan sculptor Miquel Blay, which won the Medal of gold in the International Exhibition of Paris of 1905. The monument, dominated by the bust of a local entrepreneur, is of eclectic composition, combining deliquescent forms of modernism in the stone of the pedestal with the exaltation of the realism in the figures of the two workers, that is placed in the part front and bottom.
From the Plaza del Solar you can access the old town of Portugalete, declared a monument in 1996 and characterized by its narrow and steep streets, the principal three of the medieval village being Coscojales, Víctor Chávarri (in the middle) and Santa Maria. These routes ascend to the Basilica of Santa María, another monument of cultural interest. The Church was erected in the transitional period from the Gothic to the Renaissance and takes the place of a previous Temple, created for the promotion of María Díaz de Haro. From the original construction it only retains the Virgin Mary that presides over the greater altarpiece, ratified as a Basilica Minor in 1951.