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.