Cruises to Bilbao

Bilbao, Spain

Take a memorable Alaska cruise adventure to Bilbao, Spain. Situated in northern Spain, the port of Bilbao offers a captivating experience for cruise passengers. Arriving at this vibrant destination, you can expect a stunning panorama of the cityscape against a backdrop of rolling hills and lush green landscapes. Known for its unique blend of modernity and tradition, Bilbao boasts a rich cultural heritage, breathtaking architecture, and a vibrant culinary scene. With its strategic location along the Nervión River and proximity to the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao also provides opportunities to appreciate the region's diverse marine life and natural beauty.

Ships dock directly in the Port of Bilbao, allowing passengers to disembark conveniently and explore the city. No tenders are required. Ships typically arrive in the morning and stay in port for a day or more, providing ample time to discover Bilbao's treasures. The harbor area offers various amenities and facilities, including transportation options, visitor information centers, and shopping opportunities. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, admiring the views of the river and the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which is a must-see highlight of the city's skyline.


Bilbao is a city that seamlessly blends old-world charm with contemporary architecture. The town itself presents a mix of traditional and modern elements, featuring a captivating fusion of historic buildings and cutting-edge structures. From an aerial view, you'll witness the city's transformation with the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, the Zubizuri Bridge, and the Euskalduna Palace standing out as architectural marvels. Explore the Old Town, known as Casco Viejo, where narrow medieval streets lead to charming squares and lively pintxo bars. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the stunning Basilica of Begoña and the traditional Ribera Market.

Bilbao is deeply rooted in Basque culture and history, offering a captivating glimpse into the local way of life. The Basque people have a strong sense of identity, with their own language, customs, and traditions. Explore the fascinating Basque Museum to delve into the region's rich heritage, or visit the Euskal Museoa Bilbao to learn about Basque culture and traditions. Immerse yourself in the local folklore and witness traditional Basque dance performances or vibrant music festivals that celebrate the region's unique cultural identity.

Attractions and Activities

Bilbao and its surroundings offer a range of exciting outdoor adventures and activities. Embark on a scenic excursion to the nearby Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, where you can explore diverse ecosystems, hike through lush forests, and spot an array of bird species. Visit the enchanting San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a picturesque islet with a stunning hermitage perched on top, and enjoy breathtaking views of the rugged coastline. For thrill-seekers, the nearby mountains provide opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking, while the Bay of Biscay offers water sports such as surfing and kayaking.

Local Speciality

Bilbao is a gastronomic paradise, offering a delectable array of local dishes and flavors. Indulge in the renowned pintxos, small bite-sized delicacies served in bars throughout the city. Savor traditional Basque cuisine, including dishes like bacalao al pil-pil (codfish in garlic and olive oil sauce) and txangurro (stuffed spider crab). Don't forget to pair your meal with a glass of locally produced Txakoli, a refreshing white wine, or sip on the famous Basque cider, poured from a height to enhance its flavors.

When visiting Bilbao, take the opportunity to indulge in the local products and bring home a piece of the city's essence. Explore the bustling markets, such as Mercado de la Ribera, to sample and purchase fresh local produce, including cheese, chorizo, and seasonal fruits. Bilbao is also renowned for its traditional Basque handicrafts, such as pottery, woodwork, and textiles. Consider purchasing a unique piece of Basque artwork or a traditional Basque beret as a cherished souvenir of your visit.

Festivals and Events

Bilbao comes alive with vibrant festivals and celebrations throughout the year. One of the most significant events is the Aste Nagusia, also known as the Bilbao Great Week, held in August. This week-long festival features street performances, live music, traditional dances, and a spectacular fireworks display. Another noteworthy celebration is the Semana Grande, which takes place in mid-August and offers a range of cultural activities, concerts, and sports events. Experience the lively atmosphere and immerse yourself in the local traditions during these festive occasions.

Best time to visit Bilbao

Bilbao is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. The summer months of June to August bring pleasant weather and a vibrant atmosphere, with various festivals and outdoor events taking place. Spring and autumn offer milder temperatures, making it ideal for exploring the city's attractions comfortably. Winter months can be cooler, but you'll have the opportunity to experience Bilbao's festive holiday traditions and enjoy fewer crowds.

Bilbao Cruise Schedule

Bilbao, with its striking architecture, rich cultural heritage, and breathtaking natural surroundings, is a captivating cruise port of call in Spain. Explore the city's iconic landmarks, immerse yourself in Basque culture and history, and savor the flavors of traditional Basque cuisine. Whether you're admiring the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, wandering through charming streets in the Old Town, or embarking on outdoor adventures in the surrounding areas, Bilbao promises an unforgettable experience for cruise passengers. Discover the beauty and unique charm of this Spanish gem on your next cruise itinerary.