15 Best Bilbao Tours

Located in north-central Spain, about 8 miles south of the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao has about 350,000 inhabitants, making it the 10th most populous city in the country.

It’s one of Spain’s premier destinations in the Basque Country and is best known for the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, which houses an impressive collection of priceless art and wondrous architecture.

During the 20th century, Bilbao was an economic powerhouse, providing most of the region’s industrial output, including shipbuilding and steel production.

Tourism is now one of its largest sectors, and tourists have easy access to a variety of tours and activities options.

1. Abandoibarra and Old Town 1 ½ hour Segway Tour

old town bilbao

Old Bilbao is full of valuable attractions related to the history, culture, art and architecture of the area.

On this 90-minute tour, guests will meet their guide at a central location, where they’ll get an orientation describing what they’re about to see, and learn how to use their two-wheeled machine safely and get the most out of it Effect.

Tour highlights include Euskadi Square, Iberdrola Tower, Euskalduna Palace, Abandoibarra neighborhood, and some works of art by Salvador Dalí.

While the tour does not include entry to most of the above attractions, visitors will discover attractions they may choose to explore on their own after the tour officially ends.

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2. Skip-the-Line Guggenheim Guided Tour

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

Even for those who aren’t exactly art lovers, the Guggenheim is a Bilbao icon and worth a few precious hours of vacation.

This two-hour tour includes the services of an English-speaking guide, and for those who choose to explore the museum further after the tour, we offer a free audio guide in six languages.

Tours meet near the museum’s entrance, including exterior and interior sections, where guests will become familiar with the building’s impressive architecture as well as the permanent and rotating collections inside.

Tickets are for the whole day, so stay as long as you like.

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3. Basque cooking class

Basque Tapas

Northern Spanish cuisine is characterized by numerous international influences, making it particularly dynamic and unique.

In this two-hour interactive Basque cooking class, guests will first get to know their popular chefs before gaining an immersive insight into the region’s cuisine and culture.

With a guided tour, participants will learn about typical Basque ingredients and spices and turn them into a variety of delicious traditional and modern pintxos or snacks.

Tours are limited in size to ensure everyone has an intimate and memorable experience; they include desserts, beers, soft drinks and samples of the fruits of their labor, when it’s all said and done.

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4. Off the beaten track beachside bike tour

Aligunaga Beach

Exploring Bilbao’s stunning waterfront has never been easier or more exhilarating than on this 2½-hour guided bike tour.

It’s perfect for those who are just spending hours on a long-haul international flight, as well as travelers of most ages.

Tours begin in the shadow of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Biscay Bridge, including in Puerto Viejo and some secluded coastal spots with quiet beaches and towering cliffs that don’t usually attract many tourists.

Along the way, guests will learn about the history and culture of the area and build up their appetite, which will come in handy when you need to unwind with a refreshing drink like pintxos and local wine or beer.

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5. Guggenheim 3-Day 4-Star Hotel and Bike Tour Package

Abandovara district of Bilbao

For those who prefer to let a trained travel professional handle all the nasty little details, going out of their way and booking a multi-day tour package is a great option.

On this value-for-money three-day excursion, guests will enjoy access to some of the area’s main attractions, as well as two nights in a 4-star hotel in town, close to all the action.

The package includes tickets to the Guggenheim Museum, a guided city bike tour, and plenty of time for self-guided exploration in the Old Town and Abendovara district.

Both are known for their trendy shopping, trendy restaurants and rich historical and cultural attractions.

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6. 3-Hour Small-Group Art and Cultural Discovery Tour

Bilbao by night

While Bilbao’s La Vieja neighborhood was once primarily an industrial area, it has now developed into one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, with chic art, food, and live entertainment, attracting visitors from all walks of life.

On this three-hour small-group discovery tour, guests and their guides will begin to explore the unique architecture and ethnic communities that make the area so unique and bohemian.

Tours start in the early evening when the area is just coming back to life. There will be plenty of time to ask questions, rub shoulders with the locals, and sample a delicious craft beer or two.

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7. Victoria and Salt Valley Small Group Tour with Lunch

Aniana Salt Valley

For generations, the Salt Valley of Agnana has been the center of wealth and commerce in the Basque Country, as it produced an abundance of important resources and made many merchants quite wealthy by the standards of the time.

After being picked up from your hotel in Bilbao, guests and their guide will be taken to the valley, where they will spend approximately 90 minutes exploring its mines, learning about the mining process over the past few years, and admiring the area’s amazing natural wonder.

The tour also includes a stop at Vitoria-Gasteiz, where everyone will have a traditional lunch, before exploring the city and finally returning to Bilbao around 4:00 PM.

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8. Pintxos Guided Boat and Walking Tour

University of Dusto Bilbao

Short-distance combo tours are a good idea for travelers with a limited travel budget and short attention span.

This two-hour guided tour includes walking and boat sections and is available in English, German, French and Spanish.

It all begins with a scenic leisure cruise on the Bilbao River, where attractions include the city’s unique skyline, the Guggenheim Museum and Dusto University.

The walking portion of the tour winds its way through several different neighborhoods, where guests will learn about what they see.

Afterwards, they will retreat to a traditional restaurant for pints and refreshing drinks.

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9. Bilbao loves local custom guided tours

Ribeira market in Bilbao

There really is no substitute for the guidance and perspective of a local when visiting a new city.

On this customizable tour, guests can choose whether they would like to spend 2 to 6 hours on the tour, focusing only on what interests them.

Anyone with a rigid itinerary will be amazed by a personalized tour that focuses on the city’s most famous sights as well as some that stray slightly from well-worn paths.

Tours cover history, culture, gastronomy and art based on guests’ interests, and are a great way for new visitors to get acquainted with the city’s layout.

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10. Private Guided Tour of the Museum of Fine Arts

Bilbao Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Arts is another major attraction in Bilbao. While some tourists choose to visit on their own, others opt for the added value that only a local guide can provide.

The museum can be very crowded during peak hours, but this tour offers skip-the-line tickets, ensuring less wait time and more time to experience the wonders inside.

Permanent and temporary exhibitions cover a wide range of periods and showcase contemporary and historical works by locally, regionally and internationally renowned artists.

Tours last two hours and are available at mid-morning, early-afternoon, and late-afternoon start times.

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11. Hop-on hop-off boat tour

portugal suspension bridge

Hop-on hop-off tours are a great option for self-help people who want to use their vacation time wisely, focusing only on the things that interest them and ignoring those that don’t.

To meet the needs of international travelers, tours include audio guides in multiple languages. Most of the included attractions can be seen in less than three hours.

Most tours take place in the canals and estuaries surrounding the city, including sights such as the Portuguese Suspension Bridge and the fishing village of Santurzi.

The cruise includes indoor and outdoor seating and offers some of the best photos you’ll likely find in the area.

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12. Bilbao Highlights: Guggenheim and St. Mams Lunch

San Mames Stadium in Bilbao

The only thing better than packing many of Bilbao’s highlights into one convenient and relatively inexpensive tour is a free lunch.

Covering the city’s arts and sports scene, this 90-minute tour is ideal for staff with limited time and includes guided tour time within each attraction.

The San Mames Stadium has hosted football matches for more than a century, and sports fans will get a behind-the-scenes peek at an area normally reserved for coaches, players and staff.

After visiting the Guggenheim, everyone will have lunch before calling it a day and embarking on other adventures.

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13. Full-Day Bilbao Mountain and Sea Tour

Santurtzi view

Thanks to Bilbao’s coastal location, you can experience the mountains and sea on a full-day tour that starts and ends in the town.

After a brief meeting and greeting with your guide, guests will depart for Vitoria-Gasteiz, a quintessential Basque country city known for its numerous historical monuments, impressive architecture and towering cathedral.

Other inland attractions include vast valleys, ancient salt mines, and lunch and drinks at a traditional restaurant in the quaint village of Balmaceda.

Once on the coast, guests will explore towns such as Santurtzi and Portuguese Town before returning to the starting point in Bilbao.

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14. Estuary Private Sailing Tour and Rioja Wine

puerto getxo

Being able to fall asleep without regrets is one of the truest pleasures of vacation. This four-hour morning sailing and wine tour is perfect for those who don’t want to go with the sun.

Guests will enjoy a hotel pick-up service, after which they will be taken to the marina in the nearby coastal town of Getxo.

Tours take place on a majestic sailboat, from which guests can see stunning cliffs, secluded beaches and some old world fishing villages that haven’t changed much in centuries.

After the water portion of the tour, guests will enjoy a relaxing wine tasting where they will choose from two different regional varieties before returning to Bilbao in the early afternoon.

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15. Old Town Guided Walking Tour

Santiago Cathedral, Bilbao

It’s hard to imagine a 90-minute hike covering centuries of history, but that’s exactly what this hike does.

Focusing on the old town, walkers and their guides will explore many of the city’s most iconic sights, such as the Cathedral of Santiago, the Church of San Anton, and the Mercado de la Ribera.

With European, Basque and Middle Eastern influences, the old town is packed with must-see sights that are close enough to see many of them in a short amount of time without breaking a sweat.

Tours also include stops at traditional wine bars and are available in several languages.

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