P&O Cruises now offer a selection of cruises that include the city of Bilbao as a Port-of-Call.
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.
A full list of the P&O cruises that feature Bilbao as a Port of Call can be found here:
P&O Bilbao Cruises also feature a fantastic selection of shore excursions. We’ve listed a few of the most popular excursions below. Please check the P&O Bilbao Excursions page for a complete list of current excursions.
Bilbao and The Guggenheim
Discover Bilbao and its Old Quarter with its famous ‘seven streets’, a sharp contrast to the ultra-modern Guggenheim Museum.
Enjoy a guided visit around the hugely popular Guggenheim Museum. 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 the Solomon R Guggenheim.
The heart of this industrial port city is 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.
A stop at the Archanda Viewpoint, high above the city, gives an impression of the size of Bilbao. You’ll be able to pick out the landmarks – old and new, industrial and artistic – which are changing the face of the city.
San Sebastian and Hondarribia
San Sebastian, or the ‘Pearl of the Sea’ is well worth a visit, especially when combined with the charming town of Hondarribia.
Admire San Sebastian’s picture-postcard setting and its oyster-shaped bay of La Concha. Coffee and a pastry will be served at the Monte Igeldo Hotel.
Made popular in 1886 by Queen Regent Maria Cristina, many visitors, including Spanish aristocracy, have been drawn to the relaxed resort of San Sebastian. As you tour the modern part of the city, you’ll have the opportunity to see several buildings of enormous architectural and historical interest, including the Cathedral of the Buen Pastor and the Town Hall.
The Old Quarter is full of character and is the perfect place for strolling amidst a series of shops, bars, restaurants and squares. Amazingly, the city has been burnt to the ground 12 times in its history. However, one street not destroyed by the fire of 1813 contains some of the oldest buildings in the city, including the Church of San Vicente.
Lunch has not been included in the fare to allow maximum flexibility. You may wish to try out one of the many ‘tapas’ bars for which San Sebastian is famous.
The delightful town of Hondarribia is divided into two parts – the upper town is the medieval district where small alleyways contain old houses with carved eaves and wonderful balconies. The lower section is a lively fishermen’s quarter. You will have a brief walking tour in the medieval town.
Bilbao and Getxo
Combine the Old Quarter of Bilbao with a visit to Getxo’s Hanging Bridge, a unique masterpiece of 19th century engineering.
High above the city is the Archanda viewpoint. From here, you’ll gain an impression of the sheer size of Bilbao.
As you stroll through Bilbao’s Old Quarter, 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.
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. Reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower due to its black iron structure, this 109-year-old masterpiece of engineering is now the oldest transporter bridge in the world. As well as being used as a means of transportation, the bridge offers one of the best views over the Nervion River, thanks to 2 panoramic lifts on each of its extremes. The lift rises to 141 feet above sea level and, for those who wish, there will be an opportunity to take a ride in the lift. On a clear day, you’ll have great views down to Getxo; which show an area that used to be totally industrial, but which today has been rejuvenated.
Old Quarters and New Sights
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.
Tapas and Sightseeing
Explore Bilbao’s Old Quarter, the medieval heart of the city, before sampling some local specialties in a traditional tapas bar.
See the sights of Bilbao with a visit to 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.
A stop at the Archanda viewpoint, high above the city, gives an impression of the size of Bilbao. You’ll be able to pick out the landmarks – old and new, industrial and artistic – which are changing the face of the city.
In the Seven Streets area, you can discover the gastronomy of the Basque Country with a visit to a typical tapas bar. ‘Pintxos’ resemble canapés and is a type of tapas served cold on a slice of bread. You will have the opportunity to try this along with a refreshing drink.
You will find the full and current list of P&O Bilbao Shore Excursions at
Book online and qualify for P&O online booking discounts.
All P&O Cruises to Bilbao are fully bookable online at P&O Cruises.Share