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from just £668 per person.

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.

Big Stand Up Paddle Boarding Experience

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Enjoy an unforgettable experience with up to 8 other people on a Big Stand-Up Paddle Board!

Stand up paddle boarding is thought to be easier than surfing, a great way to keep fit and a great social sport. A giant stand up paddleboard or ‘Big-SUP’ can provide even more wet and wild fun!

After a short drive to Gorliz beach, located on the Basque coast, you’ll arrive at the launch site and be provided with all the necessary equipment for your activity. Your experienced Big-SUP instructor will provide you with a safety briefing and a lesson in paddle techniques before you embark on your fun paddle boarding experience around the calm waters of Gorliz and Plentzia.

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

This tour is operated by coach, paddle board and on foot. Minimum age is 8 years old. Children between 8 and 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. No experience is required, but passengers should be in good physical condition and must be capable swimmers. The standup paddle boarding will take approximately 1½ hours. Please wear sunscreen, swimwear, flat rubber shoes and remember 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.

Big Stand Up Paddle Boarding Experience

Bilbao and Castro Urdiales

Activity highShopping

Duration: 4½ hours

Uncover the charming old quarters of Castro Urdiales and Bilbao in contrast to the modern, industrial face of the city.

Bilbao is situated between the two ranges of hills either side of the River Nervion 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. 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.

On the other side of the city, you will witness Bilbao undergoing a spectacular transformation, with factories and port installations being renovated in modern urban projects. One of these such projects is the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum, a jewel in the city’s crown.

The town centre of Castro Urdiales is filled with characteristic houses and rows of balconies, medieval in origin and earning the town recognition as an historic site in 1978. Wander the narrow streets and admire the varying styles and periods of monuments that can be found in this charming old fishing village.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 2½ hours’ total walking during this tour including uneven and cobblestone surfaces and some inclines. Comfortable, flat, walking shoes are recommended. An interior visit will be made to St. Mary of the Assumption Church if open during the time of the visit. No other interior visits are included.

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.

Discover San Sebastián

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 7 hours

Visit San Sebastián, the ‘Pearl of the Sea’ and discover the charm of this pretty coastal city.

Journey around 1½ hours to San Sebastián, where stunning beaches and wonderful architecture create a picture-postcard setting. San Sebastián has attracted visitors from all over the world since the middle of the 19th century, when Queen Regent Maria Cristina chose the relaxed resort as her summer residence, and today still maintains the same splendour.

As you approach San Sebastián, a panoramic drive will introduce you to some of the main highlights of the city.

Disembark your coach in the old town and join your knowledgeable guide on a leisurely guided walking tour. The Old Quarter is full of character and is the perfect place for strolling amidst a series of shops, bars, restaurants and squares and following your guided tour, you’ll have approximately 1½ hours to explore independently. Perhaps purchase lunch at one of the many ‘tapas’ bars for which San Sebastián is famous or simply relax with a coffee and watch the world go by. You may also choose to indulge in a spot of shopping or if the weather is on your side enjoy a swim at one of the city’s beautiful beaches.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to San Sebastián is via the motorway and takes approximately 1½ hours each way. There is approximately 2 hours of walking required during the guided portion of the tour, some of which is over some cobblestones. Any further walking is at the passengers’ discretion during the free time. Guests can omit the guided part of the tour if they wish, and opt for additional free time.

Guernica, Bermeo and the Cantabrian Coast

Activity medium

Duration: 5 hours

Discover the Cantabrian cornice, the fishing port of Bermeo and historic Guernica.

Head to Guernica, once the capital of the Basque Country. The local lords and kings met here in democratic assembly to promise to respect the special laws of Vizcaya. On 26th April 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the town was razed to the ground by German aircraft, sent by Hitler to support Franco's troops.

During your visit, see the petrified trunk of an oak tree that miraculously survived the horrific bombing raid. In the Park of Europe are the famous sculptures, symbolising Gernika-Lumo as a city of peace. See the interior of the Casa de Juntas, where the Basque parliament has convened since 1979.

Admire lovely views over the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve on your way to Bermeo, one of the area's most important fishing ports in the region. This colourful, working town has a large deep-sea fishing fleet that regularly operates off the coast of the Azores and southern Africa. See the popular Basque style architecture reflected in the fishermen's houses and enjoy some free time to explore on your own.

Experience the dramatic views of the Cantabrian corniche during the return drive to the port. A photo-stop will be made at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe viewpoint, which featured as ‘Dragonstone’ in the television series ‘Game of Thrones’. Capture on camera the beautiful hermitage and islet of San Juan, connected to the mainland by a winding path.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The Basque Government meets at Casade Juntas, and is therefore subject to closure with little or no notice. There are some steps to be negotiated at Bermeo and Guernica. Comfortable, flat walking shoes are recommended. The order of highlights may vary.

 

A selection of cruises to Bilbao

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