Why choose a cruise to Bilbao?

The vibrant port city of Bilbao offers an intoxicating mix of cosmopolitan culture, a vibrant dining scene and wealth of museums, framed by the stunning Basque countryside. With numerous parks and gardens to enjoy, shops and markets to browse and beaches just a short metro ride away, this city offers all that you could want from a cruise stop-off.

The riverside promenade is a good place to enjoy views of the city and the numerous riverboat tours are a popular way to see the sights and enjoy the River Nervion. Bilbao offers a mix of natural beauty and sightseeing that’s hard to beat.

Bilbao Waterfront Spain

A guide to Bilbao’s hotspots

Gateway to the stunning Basque country, Bilbao is a fine example of urban transformation and has a wealth of cultural delights to explore. The Guggenheim Museum is perhaps its most famous landmark, and within its striking futuristic walls, designed by American architect Frank Gehry, you’ll find an awe-inspiring collection of modern and contemporary artworks by the likes of Anish Kapoor and Jeff Koons.

Foodies will be in their element with the Bilbao dining scene offering everything from family-run eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants. Don’t leave without visiting a pintxos bar, where you’ll be able to sample delicious pintxos bites, delicious morsels of bread topped with various ingredients from cheese to seafood.

The Casco Viejo (old town) is a delightful place to spend a few leisurely hours, browse the shops and get your bearings. If you want a break from the sun, pop into the Archaeological Museum or Catedral de Santiago de Bilbao, which boasts impressive stonework and stained glass.

When you’re in need of refreshment, the Plaza Nueva, situated at the heart of the old town, is the place to be. This shady 19th-century square is fringed by streetside cafes, where you can sip a cool drink and people watch. On Sundays, locals congregate here to buy and sell antiques and collectibles.

Round off your visit with a ride on the old funicular cable railway, which scales to the top of Mount Artxanda, providing awe-inspiring views of this vibrant city and beyond.

Guggenheim Bilbao

Cruise lines that sail to the port of Bilbao

The best time to visit Bilbao

Bilbao is hottest in August, when average temperatures reaching 26°C, with July offering the most hours of daily sunshine, so this would be a good time for your Bilbao cruise if you plan to check out the nearby beaches.

However, if sightseeing’s more your thing, then Bilbao is very much a year-round destination, with even the winter months offering double-digit average temperatures. You may experience some rain if visiting in April, but you can always duck into the fabulous Guggenheim or Bilbao’s wealth of art galleries during a shower.

Bilbao Theatre

Did you know?

· Bilbao was named 2018 European City of the Year

· The city’s sleek metro system was designed by architect Sir Norman Foster

· The Iberdrola Tower in Bilbao is the tallest building in the Basque Country

· Txipirones, squid cooked in its own ink, is one of Bilbao’s most famous dishes

· Basque is one of the oldest living languages and has seven dialects.