A river running through Bilbao, Spain
BASQUE IN MOUNTAIN VIEWS AND MODERN ART

Cruise to Bilbao, Spain

The new and the old meet head-on in Bilbao — the unofficial capital of Basque country in Spain's northwest, near southern France. Once an industrial capital, the opening of the Guggenheim in 1997 propelled Bilbao into a hub of outstanding art, architecture and gastronomy. Today, modern trams travel on historic avenues like the Siete Calles ("Seven Streets") of Casco Viejo — Bilbao's medieval quarter, which today is dotted with boutiques, bakeries and outdoor cafes. Meanwhile, futuristic buildings like the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum and the Gran Hotel Domine hang over the Nervion river that runs through the city. There's no other city with such a polarity of scenes in Spain. Get onboard a Spain cruise and see for yourself why Bilbao is the pride and joy of Basque Country.
National Language Spanish, Basque
Currency Accepted Euro (EUR)

Things To Do in Bilbao

A hilltop chapel in Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao's Nature

A hilltop chapel in Bilbao, Spain

A hilltop chapel in Bilbao, Spain

Bilbao's Nature

Bilbao may be famous for architecture, but the rolling green hills, panoramic coastline and lush plazas will enchant you as well. Reach Mount Artxanda by cable car for sweeping vistas of the city. Walk by ponds and fountains at Parque de Dona Casilda de Iturrizar, and reach the riverside walkways for close-up urban views of Bilbao.

Various buildings in downtown Bilbao, Spain that show the city's wonderful architecture

Bask in Basque Culture

Various buildings in downtown Bilbao, Spain that show the city's wonderful architecture

Various buildings in downtown Bilbao, Spain that show the city's wonderful architecture

Bask in Basque Culture

Check out the Euskal Museoa and the Arkeologi Museoa for a look into the Basque Country's past. Cruise to Spain to stroll down medieval streets in Casco Viejo, the historical center of Bilbao, or down the Gran Via boulevard for a glimpse into the daily lives of locals, who are usually moving from one pintxos (tapas) tavern to the next.

An aerial view of the city of Bilbao, Spain
An aerial view of the city of Bilbao, Spain

Artistic Heights

Take in the monumental beauty of the Guggenheim by first exploring the outside. You'll see how architect Frank Gehry blended titanium, glass and limestone to conceive elegant curves and sharp edges in this masterpiece of modernity. Then, head inside to see the other masterpieces created by legends like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro and more.

A filet of cod with side dished on a white plate
A filet of cod with side dished on a white plate

Local Cuisine

Food is a pastime in Bilbao. Sample bacalao al pil pil (cod with garlic), Marmitako (tuna and vegetable stew) and savory pintxos, the local version of tapas. Stop by El Globo and La Barraca for a quick bite-sized dish, or head to Mina and Azurmendi for Michelin-starred experiences.

An assortment of botas wine flasks
An assortment of botas wine flasks

Shopping

In Bilbao, you do your shopping on historic streets and sprawling urban areas, with hidden gems in between. Go to the old town and look for the classic botas (wineskin flasks), txapelas (berets) or pañuelos (kerchiefs). Head north to the Abando district for modern shops offering more contemporary wares.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Don't miss Bilbao's outskirts — check out the coastal suburb Getxo, a 25-minute train ride away, which offers lush green mountains and ocean views.
2 Follow the locals and hop from one pintxos bar to the next, sampling a variety of dishes.
3 Instead of taking a cab or renting a car, discover Bilbao more intimately by bike.

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