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About Bilbao

The Basque city and cruise port of Bilbao in northern Spain has become one of the hottest destinations in Europe following the opening of the imaginatively-designed Guggenheim modern art gallery, which is an architectural work of avant-garde art in its own right.

Until then, Bilbao was very much a working city but it has always boasted a lively old town dating from the 14th century. Through the winding alleyways of the Casco Viejo you can stop to sample tapas at the many exceptional local bars and restaurants.

Other sights include the arcaded Plaza Nueva and the Gothic Cathedral de Santiago.  One of Spain's most important art collections is housed across the city at the Museo de Bellas Artes. This features works dating from the 12th century through to contemporary art by Cezanne, Gauguin and Francis Bacon.

 

Shore excursions in Bilbao

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Bilbao and The Guggenheim

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 4½ hours

Discover Bilbao and its Old Quarter with its famous ‘seven streets’, a sharp contrast to the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum.

Enjoy a visit to the hugely popular Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao. The building is the work of architect Frank O Gehry and is an architectural masterpiece in its own right. This great titanium, stone and glass sculpture houses 19 galleries of modern and contemporary art collections, supplemented by works from New York’s Solomon R Guggenheim.

Afterwards, you’ll visit the heart of this industrial port city; the Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are lined with Renaissance, Baroque and modernist buildings. As you stroll through this area your guide will point out the main sights including: the Cathedral of Santiago, a Gothic church built at the end of the 14th century; the Bridge and Church of San Anton; and the Plaza Nueva, an arcaded square.

Complete your visit to Bilbao with a photo stop at the Artxanda Viewpoint, located high above the city, providing a true impression of the size of Bilbao.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves approximately 2½ hours’ walking and standing. Upon arrival at the Guggenheim, your guide will provide commentary on the exterior of the museum, then once inside after explaining the different rooms, they will provide you with an audio guide to view each room independently. Exhibits within the Guggenheim are subject to change; therefore we are unable to guarantee exactly which collections will be on display. Photography or video filming is not permitted inside the Guggenheim Museum. Due to increased security measures bags, handbags larger than 35cm x 35cm, rucksacks and umbrellas, are not permitted inside the museum and must be left either on the coach or checked into the coatroom inside the museum.

Kayak Experience at Gorliz Beach

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Travel to the beautiful Gorliz Beach and enjoy kayaking at one of the most beautiful and calm bays of Bizkaia.

Benefiting from a privileged location on the Basque coast, the large shell-shaped bay of Gorliz protects its waters and makes them perfect for any kind of water sports. A short coach drive will take you to the launch site, where you’ll be met by your experienced kayak instructor. You’ll be given a safety briefing and a lesson in paddle techniques before setting off on your kayak experience.

Follow your instructor on a pleasant paddle around the calm waters of Gorliz and Plentzia, making stops along the way to marvel at the magnificent green landscapes of this area.

Afterwards, enjoy approximately 1½ hours of free time on the beach. The sandy beach of Gorliz stretches for almost ½ mile and has a beautiful promenade. Sunbathe, take a dip in the sea or stroll along the promenade, before the return drive to your ship.

Essential information

Minimum age is 8 years old. Children between 8 and 14 must be accompanied in the kayak by a responsible adult. No kayaking experience is required, but passengers should be in good physical condition and must be capable swimmers. The kayaking will take approximately 1½ hours and 2-seater kayaks will be used. Please wear sunscreen, practical shoes and loose clothing that can get wet. Passengers are reminded to wear swimwear and to take a towel. A bottle of water and fruit/energy bar will be provided. The beach is Public and so may be busy during peak season. Before booking this excursion you must refer to the ‘Activity Excursion’ and ‘Beach/Water Related’ paragraphs under the Guide to Symbols in this brochure.

Kayak Experience at Gorliz Beach

Leisurely Bilbao Views

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3¾ hours

Combine a panoramic tour of Bilbao with a visit to Getxo’s Hanging Bridge, a unique masterpiece of 19th century engineering.

Bilbao is situated between two ranges of hills either side of the Nervion River and is the industrial and financial capital of the Basque Country. The heart of the port city is the Old Quarter where narrow streets are lined with Renaissance, Baroque and Modernist Buildings.

High above the city is the Archanda viewpoint. From here, you’ll gain an impression of the sheer size of Bilbao.

From the comfort of your seat, enjoy all main sights of the city including The Guggenheim Museum, Euskalduna Palace, Ensanche square and Albia Gardens. You’ll also see San Vicente Church, the church of the Sagrado Corazon (Holy Sacred Heart) and the University of Deusto, among other highlights.

Situated on the Nervion River is Getxo, an elegant residential town with large, rambling houses. Nearby is the Bizkaia Bridge – a Hanging Bridge, which joins the riverbanks at Portugalete and Las Arenas, thus allowing free-flowing maritime traffic. The bridge offers one of the best views over the Nervion River, thanks to two panoramic lifts on each of its extremes which rise to 141 feet above sea level.

Before returning to your ship, enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee or tea at the exclusive Palacio San Joseren, an early 20th century palace with elegant gardens recently restored to its former glory.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is minimal walking on this tour. However, there are approximately 15 steps to negotiate at the entrance to Palacio San Joseren and gravel ground. The lift to the top of the Hanging Bridge is not included in the tour; you may choose to take the lift during limited free time, however as the lift holds approximately 8 people, there may not be sufficient time for all passengers on the tour to do so. The visit involves approximately 15 minutes’ walking.

Leisurely Bilbao Views
 

A selection of cruises to Bilbao

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