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How to Spend 1 Day in Bilbao

How to Spend 1 Day in Bilbao

Bilbao may be the largest city in both the Basque Country and northern Spain, but you can still experience its art, architecture, and cuisine in just one day. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in Bilbao.

Morning: Visit the Guggenheim

Dedicate your first morning to the Guggenheim, Bilbao’s most famous museum, which is best-known for its Frank Gehry architecture and vast collection of modern art. Beat the crowds by arriving early, and opt for a private or small-group tour to tick off Guggenheim highlights in limited time.

Once you’re done, grab a coffee, enjoy views over the estuary, wander the neighboring República de Abando Park, and snap a photo with Jeff Koons’ Puppy sculpture. Meanwhile, art lovers can explore at the Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao).

Afternoon: Food Fiesta

Spend the afternoon delving into the coveted cuisine of the Basque Country. Food lovers can sample the best of Bilbao’s pintxos (Basque tapas) on a food tour. Some focus entirely on the tapas available in the Old Quarter, while others include wine tasting and a market visit. Alternatively, you can learn to make your own pintxos during a cooking class.

Or, learn more about local history and culture on a walking, running, or boat tour. To explore at your own pace and visit only the attractions that capture your attention, opt for a convenient hop-on hop-off bus service.

Night: Dinner and Drinks

Treat yourself to an extravagant dinner and drinks on your first and final evening in Bilbao. Many of the city’s top restaurants can be found in the Old Quarter, so stroll around until you find an eatery that appeals to you. Must-try dishes include txangurro (spider crab), bacalao pil-pil (fried cod), or bacalao a la Vizcaína (cod in a red pepper and onion sauce).

Round out the evening with some music. The Euskalduna Palace is home to the Basque Symphony Orchestra, while Bilbao as a whole is replete with live music venues to suit most musical tastes.

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Free Cancellation:Get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance on most experiences.See Details

9 Tours and Activities

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The Premier Bilbao Food & Wine Walking Tour

The Premier Bilbao Food & Wine Walking Tour

star-5
133
Learn all about traditional pintxos (the Basque version of Spanish tapas) on a guided walking tour of Bilbao's bars. At each stop, sample one or two of these delightful little bar snacks accompanied with a glass of wine, beer, or hard cider. Get an insider's perspective of the ancient part of the city that dates back to 1300. Consider booking this tour at the beginning of your Bilbao vacation so you can return to your favorite hotspots for more pintxo sampling.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$118.13
From
$118.13

Bilbao Like a Local: Customized Private Tour

Bilbao Like a Local: Customized Private Tour

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8
Get to know the city through the eyes of a passionate local. With no set itinerary, you can customize the tour or leave it up to the local for an insightful introduction to the city. Make travel about the people you meet not just the places you see. With our walking tours, you’ll skip the mundane historical tours and discover the city through a local’s eyes. Experience a tour that will transform the way you travel to make it as much about the people you meet, as it is the places you see. Our local guides (Lokafyers) are passionate about their city and eager to share their knowledge and perspective. Since Lokafyers are not professional guides and tour occasionally, they provide an experience that’s authentic and personal, like a friend showing you around their city. By the end of the tour, you'll feel comfortable navigating the city and confident that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay.
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  • 2 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$36.35
Price varies by group size
From
$36.35
Price varies by group size

Guggenheim Bilbao Museum Private Tour

Guggenheim Bilbao Museum Private Tour

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44
Immerse yourself in the artistic wonder of Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum with a private guide on this cultural tour. Accompanied by your accomplished guide, explore the enthralling exhibitions of the museum in order to discover contemporary and modern art masterpieces; see timeless masterworks like Joseph Beuy’s ‘Lightning with Stag in its Glare’ and gaze at Jeff Koons’ colossal sculpture ‘Puppy’. Gain fascinating insight into different art movements and hear tales of the intriguing lives of some of the artists during this culturally enriching exploration.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
From
$118.13
Price varies by group size
From
$118.13
Price varies by group size

Cooking Class in Bilbao with Local Charming Village Visit

Cooking Class in Bilbao with Local Charming Village Visit

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23
Learn how to make Basque tapas with the benefit of personalized attention during this half-day private cooking class. Enjoy being in a private villa in the mountains with a chef guide, who will teach you how to cook with seasonal produce grown on site. Sip a glass of wine and taste local cheese and olive oil while you learn, then sit down to eat your masterpieces. Private round-trip transportation included, as well as a visit to the fishing village of Castro Urdiales.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$257.46
From
$257.46

Casco Viejo or 7 streets

Casco Viejo or 7 streets

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4
Discover the charm of Bilbao’s Old Quarter on an enriching morning or afternoon walking-tour of the city’s medieval enclave. With an expert guide, travel back in time to the 6th century and visit ancient landmarks like the Cathedral of Santiago and Plaza Nueva. Admire the sacred beauty of the Church of St Anton; wander the site of the Mercado de la Ribera; and enjoy picturesque views of the port, the origin of the industrial Spanish city. Gain valuable insight into the rich history of the city and see cultural traditions first hand as you explore.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
From
$70.88
Price varies by group size
From
$70.88
Price varies by group size

Private 4-hour City Tour of Bilbao with Hotel or Cruise Port pick-up

Private 4-hour City Tour of Bilbao with Hotel or Cruise Port pick-up

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1
Maximize your time in Bilbao with a private guide and a sightseeing tour tailor-made for you. Explore Bilbao’s atmospheric Old Town and Ensanche neighborhood, browse the stalls at the La Ribera market, and marvel at architectural wonders such as the Guggenheim Museum, San Mames Stadium, and Bilbao Cathedral. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$448.88
Price varies by group size
From
$448.88
Price varies by group size

Bilbao Classic & Modern by boat

Bilbao Classic & Modern by boat

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3
Discovering Bilbao’s old quarter, known as the Casco Viejo, without a guide could give you only a fragmented picture of its sights and history. This walking tour ensures you cover the must-sees without getting lost, and provides a guide to share their stories—insight you may miss if by yourself. Plus, the tour finishes with a river estuary boat trip, letting you view more of the city from the water.
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  • 2 hours
From
$88.60
Price varies by group size
From
$88.60
Price varies by group size

Bilbao of legend

Bilbao of legend

Experience Bilbao's culture and history through Basque cuisine on a private tour of Casco Viejo, the city's fascinating old quarter. You'll stop to eat and drink in a series of four bars to get an in-depth look at the local food scene as you join a crowd of locals, or Bilbaínos, at each location. Morning and afternoon departures are available for this private tour, which includes four snacks and drinks per person.
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  • 3 hours
From
$60.59
Price varies by group size
From
$60.59
Price varies by group size

Bilbao Classic & Modern by boat

Bilbao Classic & Modern by boat

star-5
4
See Bilbao in a different way as you relax on a boat, and take in the sites. Choose from a ride in the sea, or river, and cruise past landmarks like the Guggenheim Museum, University of Deusto, palaces, and more. Listen to live onboard narration from a guide, and learn about the history of the city as you sail around it.
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  • 2 hours
From
$76.78
Price varies by group size
From
$76.78
Price varies by group size