Welcome to Bilbao!

The city that will host our 18th ICML is also the largest one in the Basque Country, with a population of around 1 million in its metropolitan area.

Situated less than 20 kilometers from the Atlantic coast and surrounded by mountains, Bilbao has a great history of naval and steel industry linked to the Ibaizabal river that crosses the city. It is still home to one of the most important ports in the Gulf of Biscay.

Nowadays, and after a heavy de-industrialisation process, Bilbao is a cosmopolitan and colorful city that hosts the largest academic community in the Basque Country, with six campuses and other university buildings in the city center and its surroundings.

Internationally, it is probably best known for its touristic sites, such as the Guggenheim museum, the Euskalduna theatre, its urban architecture and its football club, the Athletic Club Bilbao, a professional team formed exclusively by local players – its stadium, San Mames, was recently rated within the Top Ten of stadiums with the best atmosphere, showing a great sense of community around its teams.

However, the city has much more to offer to the visitor: a vibrant social and gastronomic life in the old town, a wide range of cultural infrastructure such as the Museum of Fine Arts and many green areas to walk around. Bilbao is also a great starting point to discover picturesque towns on the coast or other fascinating spots in other Basque territories – the cities of Donostia, Iruñea, Baiona and Gasteiz are between one and two hours away by bus or by car.

Many important events of Basque culture take place in Bilbao, the area with the largest figures of Basque speakers. One of those cultural and social events is Korrika, a 10-day-long race in favor of the local language that crosses the whole Basque Country, town after town. This event is held every two years, and becomes a large celebration each time. The next edition will in fact take place in spring 2021, and it will pass Bilbao during the same days our conference is taking place. Therefore, the participants of the conference will have the chance to witness one of the most inspiring social and cultural events organized in favour of Euskara.