Just two decades into a major renaissance, the charming city of Bilbao, Spain, is a fascinating destination in which to extend your Taste of Bordeaux cruise with our optional land package.

Just a few miles from the coast of the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao, Spain, was not always the tourist destination it is today. In fact, it was only in 1997, when the Guggenheim Museum opened its doors, that Bilbao made its shining debut on the international map. However, since then, people from all over the world have flocked to this little haven of Basque country known for its contemporary art, architecture and cuisine.

The Groundbreaking Guggenheim

The famed Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry designed Bilbao’s prime tourist attraction: the Guggenheim Museum. A work of art itself, the museum’s daring and innovative façade curves at random with silver panels that catch the light and a flower-like atrium. Inside, walls and pedestals are covered in contemporary paintings, sculptures and collages from the mid-twentieth century to today. Artists featured include Andy Warhol; German artist Anselm Kiefer; and Basque masters Eduardo Chillida and Jorge Oteiza. The Guggenheim often features a large-scale sculpture at its entrance, with past works including Jeff Koons’ enormous flowering Puppy and Louise Bourgeois’ gargantuan spider, Maman. You will have the opportunity to visit the Guggenheim on an included tour as part of your Bilbao land package.

Mercado de la Ribera Market

Did you know that Bilbao’s Mercado de la Ribera Market was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in 1990 for being the world’s largest municipal food market? Covering a surface area of 10,000 square meters over three stories, the market sits on the waterfront of the Nervión River. It is a feast for the senses with art deco windows and stained glass illuminating a vibrant palette of colorful fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood and premium cuts of meat. New spaces dedicated for Basque tapas known as pintxos have also appeared within the market, rendering it not only a must-see but a must-eat for any Bilbao sightseer. Though you may not visit this market as part of your included tours in Bilbao, you will have an opportunity to visit a local market and try pintxos - and we highly recommend this market in your spare time!

Casco Viejo

No visit to Bilbao is complete without strolling along the Casco Viejo–seven 15th-century streets that formed the original medieval town. The heart of the city, these narrow pedestrian-only streets are lined with taverns and pintxos bars, shops and colorful homes with plant-laden balconies, as well as the Gothic Catedral de Santiago with its breathtaking interior. You will stroll through this area and learn more about its history, plus have time to photograph the cathedral, as part of your included tours in Bilbao.

Bilbao Tiles

Originally created to stop people from slipping on rainy days, Bilbao’s flagstone pavements have their own unique rosette style. You’ll find this trademark design beneath your feet in many areas of the city. In fact, it has become a proud symbol of Bilbao and appears on the design of many souvenirs, local awards and even pastries!

Why Reserve Our Optional Land Package in Spain’s Basque Country

Add a bonus country to your Taste of Bordeaux river cruise: Spain! Make the most of your international airfare and indulge your wanderlust by exploring this intriguing, culture-rich region. Whether you’re a self-described foodie, exploring your Spanish heritage or are simply interested in extending your journey, our 4-night Basque Country land package, which includes visits to Bilbao and San Sebastián, is sure to inspire you.

What’s Included in Your Optional Land Package

  • 2 nights in Bilbao at the Hesperia Bilbao (or similar)
  • 2 nights in San Sebastián at the NH Collection Aránzazu (or similar)
  • Daily breakfast at the hotel
  • Convenient transfers between your hotel and ship
  • Guided tours, including a visit to the Guggenheim, an excursion to Guernica, the Casco Viejo and pintxos tasting
  • The services of one of our wonderful Cruise Managers – unique in the industry

Extend your journey courtesy of AmaWaterways! Receive a complimentary 2-, 3-, or 4-night Land Package when you reserve select 2024 and 2025 Europe river cruises. Click here for offer details or contact your preferred travel advisor. Offer available through June 30, 2024. 

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