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Port Of Bilbao Cruise Guide, Spain


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Constantina Spellman



Welcome to the Port of Bilbao, a captivating destination in Spain that offers a seamless blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. Nestled in the Basque Country, Bilbao is not only a thriving commercial hub but also an increasingly popular stop for cruise ships.


With its strategic location on the northern coast of Spain, the Port of Bilbao serves as a gateway to one of the most enchanting regions in the country. Whether you are embarking on a Mediterranean cruise or exploring the picturesque ports of the Atlantic, Bilbao promises an unforgettable experience.


As you step foot onto the shores of Bilbao, you will be greeted by a unique fusion of tradition and modernity. The city is set against a backdrop of lush green mountains and bathed in the warm glow of the Spanish sun. From its world-class museums to its gourmet cuisine, Bilbao has something to offer every traveler.


Not only is the Port of Bilbao an important economic center, but it is also renowned for its top-notch cruise ship facilities. With state-of-the-art terminals and a commitment to excellent service, the port ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for both passengers and crew.


Whether you are disembarking for a short visit or exploring the city as a port of call, Bilbao has an array of activities and attractions to keep you entertained. From iconic landmarks to hidden gems, this vibrant city offers a glimpse into the rich Basque heritage and stunning natural beauty of the region.


So get ready to embark on a journey through the Port of Bilbao and uncover the wonders that await you in this captivating corner of Spain. In the following sections, we will guide you through the various aspects of the port, provide information on the must-see attractions, and offer tips to make the most of your time in Bilbao. Let’s dive in and embark on a memorable adventure!


Brief Overview of Port of Bilbao

The Port of Bilbao, located on the Bay of Biscay, is a bustling maritime gateway that serves as a key transportation hub in northern Spain. It has a long history dating back to the 14th century and has evolved into one of the most important ports in the country. The port’s strategic location makes it an ideal stop for cruise ships, offering visitors easy access to the vibrant city of Bilbao and its surrounding attractions.


With its modern facilities and commitment to efficiency, the Port of Bilbao ensures a seamless arrival and departure experience for both cruise passengers and crew. The port boasts state-of-the-art terminals equipped with all the necessary amenities, including baggage handling services, immigration and customs facilities, and convenient transportation options.


The Port of Bilbao is a bustling hub of activity, with a wide range of services and facilities available to cater to the needs of cruise passengers. From duty-free shopping and fine dining to cultural exhibitions and live entertainment, the port offers a plethora of options to enhance the visitor experience.


As you disembark from your cruise ship, you will be greeted by a vibrant city that seamlessly blends tradition and modernity. Bilbao is home to a wealth of cultural attractions, including the iconic Guggenheim Museum, a masterpiece of modern architecture that houses a diverse collection of contemporary art. The city is also known for its charming old town, Casco Viejo, where narrow winding streets are lined with charming shops, cafes, and centuries-old buildings.


Outside of Bilbao, the port provides access to a host of other enticing destinations. The Basque Country is renowned for its picturesque coastline, stunning landscapes, and charming fishing villages. From the coastal town of San Sebastian with its renowned culinary scene to the rugged beauty of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, there are countless options for exploration and adventure.


With its unique blend of natural beauty, world-class architecture, and rich cultural heritage, the Port of Bilbao offers a truly immersive experience for cruise passengers. Whether you are seeking cultural enrichment, outdoor adventures, or simply want to unwind and soak in the charm of the region, Bilbao and its surrounding attractions have something to offer everyone.


Now that you have a brief overview of the Port of Bilbao, let us delve deeper into the cruise ship facilities, must-see attractions, dining and shopping options, transportation, and helpful tips to make the most of your visit to this enchanting destination.


Cruise Ship Facilities at Port of Bilbao

The Port of Bilbao is renowned for its world-class cruise ship facilities, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for passengers and crew alike. With state-of-the-art terminals and excellent services, the port has everything you need to start your adventure in Bilbao on the right foot.


As you arrive at the port, you will be greeted by modern and spacious cruise terminals equipped with all the necessary amenities. The terminals are designed to handle large volumes of passengers and provide a comfortable and efficient embarkation and disembarkation process. From baggage handling services to immigration and customs facilities, the port ensures a seamless transition from ship to shore.


Once you have disembarked, you will find a range of services and facilities available at the port. Duty-free shops offer a wide variety of products, including luxury goods, cosmetics, electronics, and tobacco. Whether you are looking for a special souvenir or planning to indulge in some retail therapy, the shops at the Port of Bilbao have you covered.


When it comes to dining, the port offers a diverse selection of restaurants and cafes that cater to various tastes and preferences. From traditional Basque cuisine to international dishes, you can sample a range of culinary delights without even leaving the port. Whether you prefer a sit-down meal or a quick bite, there are options available to suit every palate.


To enhance your experience at the port, you can also enjoy live entertainment and cultural exhibitions. Throughout the year, the port hosts events and performances that showcase the vibrant local culture and talent. From live music and dance performances to art exhibitions, there is always something happening to captivate and entertain visitors.


In terms of transportation, the Port of Bilbao offers convenient options for exploring the city and its surroundings. Taxis are readily available at the port and provide a hassle-free way to reach your desired destinations. Additionally, there are rental car services for those who prefer to explore at their own pace.


If you prefer to venture further afield, the port is well-connected to various transportation networks. Bilbao has an efficient public transportation system, including buses and the metro, which can take you to popular attractions in the city and beyond. Additionally, there are organized excursions and tours available from the port, allowing you to explore the Basque Country’s stunning landscapes, charming towns, and cultural gems.


Overall, the Port of Bilbao takes pride in providing top-notch cruise ship facilities that cater to the needs of both leisure and business travelers. From the moment you step foot on land, you will be greeted with efficiency, convenience, and a wide range of services to enhance your experience. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the vibrant city of Bilbao or embark on an adventure in the surrounding region, the port is your gateway to a memorable journey.


Things to Do in Bilbao

Bilbao, the vibrant capital of Spain’s Basque Country, offers a plethora of activities and attractions that cater to all interests. From cultural landmarks and museums to charming neighborhoods and outdoor adventures, there is something for everyone in this captivating city.


One of the must-visit attractions in Bilbao is the iconic Guggenheim Museum. Designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry, this masterpiece of contemporary architecture is as awe-inspiring as the artwork it houses. Explore the diverse collection of modern and contemporary art, marvel at the unique exterior design, and take in the stunning views of the Nervión River from the museum’s rooftop terrace.


To immerse yourself in the local culture, head to the Casco Viejo, the charming old town of Bilbao. Roam through its narrow streets lined with historic buildings, boutique shops, and traditional pintxos bars. Sample the delicious Basque cuisine and sip on a refreshing txakoli, a local white wine, as you soak in the lively atmosphere. Don’t forget to visit the Plaza Nueva, the picturesque main square of the old town, which hosts a vibrant market on Sundays.


For a unique shopping experience, explore the Mercado de la Ribera, one of the largest covered markets in Europe. Browse through the stalls selling fresh produce, local specialties, and traditional crafts. Immerse yourself in the lively ambiance and indulge in some authentic Basque delicacies.


If you’re a nature lover, escape the urban bustle and venture to the beautiful parks and green spaces in Bilbao. One of the highlights is the Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city. Stroll around the lush gardens, admire the elegant fountains, and enjoy the serenity of this urban retreat. Another gem is the Artxanda Hill, accessible by a funicular ride. From the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning panoramic views of Bilbao and its surrounding landscapes.


Bilbao is also a city of bridges, and walking along them is a great way to appreciate the architectural beauty and admire the river views. The Zubizuri Bridge, designed by the renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is a modern marvel with its white curved structure and glass floor. Another notable bridge is the Puente de Vizcaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site and an engineering marvel that connects the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas. Take a ride on the suspended gondola, known as “La Carola,” and enjoy breathtaking views as you cross the river.


These are just a few of the many things to do in Bilbao. Whether you’re interested in art and culture, gastronomy, nature, or architecture, the city has something to satisfy every interest. Prepare to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy and unique charm of Bilbao as you uncover its hidden treasures.


Popular Attractions near the Port

While the Port of Bilbao offers a multitude of experiences within its own vicinity, there are also several popular attractions located near the port that are worth exploring. From historic landmarks to stunning natural wonders, these nearby attractions provide a diverse range of experiences for visitors to enjoy.


One of the must-visit attractions near the Port of Bilbao is the stunning Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve. Located just a short drive away, this UNESCO-recognized reserve is a haven of natural beauty and biodiversity. Explore the pristine beaches, lush marshlands, and rugged cliffs as you immerse yourself in the serenity of this protected area. Don’t miss the chance to visit the charming fishing village of Mundaka, known for its world-class surfing waves and picturesque scenery.


If you’re interested in history, a visit to the Gernika Peace Museum is highly recommended. Located in the town of Gernika-Lumo, the museum showcases the tragic events of the 1937 bombing of Gernika and serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of peace and harmony. Learn about the Basque Country’s history and the enduring spirit of its people as you explore the museum’s exhibits.


The stunning coastal city of San Sebastian is another popular attraction that can be easily reached from the Port of Bilbao. Famous for its world-class culinary scene and breathtaking beaches, San Sebastian offers a unique blend of culture, architecture, and natural beauty. Wander through the streets of the Parte Vieja (Old Town), where you will find countless pintxos bars serving delicious bites of Basque cuisine. Relax on La Concha Beach and take in the picturesque views of the bay. Don’t forget to visit the iconic comb-shaped sculpture, Peine del Viento (Comb of the Wind), created by renowned artist Eduardo Chillida.


Located approximately an hour’s drive from Bilbao, the charming coastal town of Zarautz is another great option for a day trip. With its long sandy beach and traditional Basque atmosphere, Zarautz offers a laid-back and relaxed experience. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the beach promenade, indulge in fresh seafood at the local restaurants, and immerse yourself in the vibrant surf culture that the town is known for.


These are just a few of the many popular attractions near the Port of Bilbao. Whether you’re seeking natural beauty, cultural immersion, or historical significance, the region surrounding the port has something to offer every visitor. So, take the time to explore these nearby gems and discover the rich tapestry of experiences that await you.


Dining and Shopping at Port of Bilbao

The Port of Bilbao offers a delightful array of dining and shopping options, ensuring that visitors have a memorable culinary and retail experience. Whether you’re looking to indulge in local gastronomy or find the perfect souvenir, the port has something to cater to every taste and preference.


When it comes to dining, the port boasts a diverse range of restaurants and cafes that showcase the rich flavors of Basque cuisine. From traditional pintxos bars to upscale fine dining establishments, there is no shortage of culinary delights to explore. Treat your taste buds to a variety of mouthwatering pintxos, small bites of tasty goodness that are a staple of Basque cuisine. These delectable creations, usually served atop a slice of bread, range from savory meats and cheeses to seafood delights.


For those seeking a more formal dining experience, the port offers a selection of restaurants serving up a fusion of traditional and innovative Basque dishes. Indulge in local specialties such as bacalao al pil-pil (salted codfish in a garlic and olive oil sauce) or txangurro (stuffed crab) while enjoying stunning waterfront views.


Beyond culinary experiences, the Port of Bilbao also provides a variety of opportunities for shopping enthusiasts. Duty-free shops within the port offer a wide range of products, including luxury goods, cosmetics, electronics, and spirits. Take advantage of the tax-free prices and browse through the exquisite selections to find that perfect gift or treat for yourself.


For a more immersive shopping experience, roaming the streets of Bilbao’s Old Town, known as Casco Viejo, is highly recommended. Here, you will find numerous boutique shops and artisanal stores, each offering unique and locally crafted items. From handmade ceramics and leather goods to traditional Basque textiles and jewelry, you’re sure to find something special to take home as a memento of your visit.


Additionally, Bilbao is home to some well-known department stores and fashion boutiques, where you can explore the latest trends and fashion-forward options. Discover renowned Basque designers and international brands as you peruse the numerous shops located in the city center and upscale areas.


When it comes to both dining and shopping, the Port of Bilbao is committed to providing an exceptional experience. Whether you’re looking to savor the flavors of Basque cuisine or indulge in a shopping spree, you’ll find a diverse range of options to cater to your desires right at the port or within easy reach in Bilbao. So, be prepared to tantalize your taste buds and satisfy your shopping cravings during your visit to the Port of Bilbao.


Transportation Options in Bilbao

When it comes to getting around in Bilbao, you’ll find a variety of transportation options that make exploring the city and its surrounding areas convenient and hassle-free. From public transportation to private hire services, Bilbao offers reliable and efficient ways to navigate the city and beyond.


One of the most popular modes of transportation in Bilbao is the metro. The city’s metro system is clean, efficient, and well-connected, making it a convenient option for getting around. With three lines that cover the main areas of the city, including the Old Town, the Guggenheim Museum, and Bilbao’s business district, you can easily reach your desired destinations. The metro operates from early morning until late at night, and tickets can be purchased at the stations.


Buses are another reliable means of transportation in Bilbao. The city has an extensive network of bus routes that cover all areas, allowing you to reach even the more remote attractions. The buses are equipped with modern facilities and offer a comfortable and affordable way to explore the city. You can purchase tickets from the bus driver or use a rechargeable transport card for a more convenient payment method.


For those who prefer a more flexible mode of transportation, taxis are readily available throughout Bilbao. You can easily hail a taxi on the street or find one at designated taxi stands. Taxis in Bilbao are metered, and most drivers accept credit and debit card payments. It is important to note that taxis may have additional charges for luggage or late-night journeys, so be sure to check before beginning your ride.


If you prefer to explore at your own pace, renting a car gives you the freedom to venture beyond the city limits and discover the beautiful landscapes of the Basque Country. There are several car rental companies available in Bilbao, both at the airport and within the city. However, it is worth considering that parking in the city center can be expensive and limited, so it is advisable to research parking options before setting off.


When it comes to traveling to and from the Port of Bilbao, private transfer services provide a convenient and reliable option. Whether you are embarking on a cruise or returning from a day of exploring the city, private transfer services can ensure a smooth and comfortable journey. Many companies offer pre-booked transfers that take you directly to your desired destination, whether it’s the airport, a hotel, or another port of call.


With its well-developed transportation infrastructure, Bilbao makes it easy to navigate and explore the city and its surroundings. Whether you choose to hop on the metro, catch a bus, hail a taxi, or rent a car, you’ll find that getting around in Bilbao is straightforward, allowing you to make the most of your time in this vibrant city.


Excursions and Tours from Port of Bilbao

Exploring the surrounding areas of the Port of Bilbao is a must for those seeking to experience the diverse beauty and rich culture of the Basque Country. From charming coastal towns to picturesque countryside, there are numerous excursions and tours available from the port that will take you on unforgettable journeys.


One popular excursion is a visit to the charming coastal town of San Sebastian, known for its stunning beaches, world-class cuisine, and vibrant atmosphere. Join a guided tour that will take you to the must-see sights in San Sebastian, such as the iconic La Concha Beach, the Parte Vieja (Old Town) with its pintxos bars, and the stunning Miramar Palace. Indulge in a culinary tour to sample the mouthwatering local pintxos and experience the culinary excellence of this gastronomic paradise.


For nature enthusiasts, a visit to the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve is a must. Choose a guided tour that will take you through the diverse landscapes of this UNESCO-designated reserve, including its beautiful beaches, marshlands, and cliffs. Learn about the rich biodiversity of the area, spot local bird species, and appreciate the untouched natural beauty of this enchanting location.


History buffs will be fascinated by a tour to the town of Gernika-Lumo, where you can learn about the tragic events of the 1937 bombing of Gernika and the significance it holds for the Basque people. Visit the Gernika Peace Museum and gain insights into the powerful messages of peace, resilience, and reconciliation that the museum conveys.


If you’re interested in exploring the stunning landscapes of the Basque Country, join a tour to the Bilbao countryside and the nearby towns of Getxo and Portugalete. Marvel at the engineering marvel of the Puente de Vizcaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and take a ride on the suspended gondola that traverses the Nervión River. Explore the coastal town of Getxo with its charming Old Port and beautiful beaches, and enjoy the tranquil beauty of the surrounding countryside.


Wine enthusiasts will delight in a tour to the Rioja wine region, famous for its world-class vineyards and exquisite wines. Join a wine tasting tour that will take you through the vineyards, cellar, and tasting rooms of some of the region’s top wineries. Learn about the winemaking process and indulge in the flavors and aromas of the Rioja wines.


These are just a few examples of the many excursions and tours available from the Port of Bilbao. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, gastronomy, or a combination of all three, there is a tour that will cater to your interests and allow you to experience the best of the Basque Country. So, take the opportunity to venture beyond Bilbao and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty and culture of this enchanting region.


Helpful Tips for Cruise Passengers

As a cruise passenger visiting the Port of Bilbao, there are a few helpful tips to ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable experience during your time in this vibrant city. From practical advice to cultural insights, these tips will help you make the most of your visit.


1. Plan your time wisely: Bilbao offers an abundance of attractions and activities, so it’s important to plan your time in advance. Research the top sights and prioritize the ones that interest you the most. Consider pre-booking tickets to popular attractions to save time and avoid long queues.


2. Dress comfortably: Bilbao has a moderate climate, with warm summers and mild winters. Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes for exploring the city’s diverse landscapes and attractions. It’s also a good idea to carry a light jacket or sweater, as evenings can get cooler, especially near the waterfront.


3. Learn a few Basque phrases: While many locals in Bilbao can speak Spanish, they also take pride in their Basque culture and language. Learning a few basic phrases in Basque, such as greetings and polite expressions, can go a long way in showing your appreciation for the local culture and making a positive impression.


4. Sample Basque cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to indulge in the culinary delights of Basque cuisine. Try the local specialty of pintxos, small bites that are often served in bars. Explore the diverse flavors of Basque cuisine, including fresh seafood, delicious cheeses, and hearty stews.


5. Be mindful of siesta time: In Spain, it’s common for shops and businesses to observe a mid-day siesta, typically from around 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. During this time, some smaller shops and restaurants may be closed. Plan your activities and dining accordingly to ensure you don’t miss out on anything.


6. Respect local customs and traditions: Basque culture is rich in traditions and customs, and it’s important to be respectful of them during your visit. Familiarize yourself with basic cultural etiquette, such as greeting people with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek, and respecting personal space.


7. Stay hydrated: Bilbao’s climate can be warm, especially during the summer months, so it’s essential to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, especially if you’re going to be out exploring the city or taking excursions.


8. Keep an eye on your belongings: While Bilbao is a safe city, it’s always advisable to be cautious and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas or public transportation. Be aware of your surroundings and use common sense to ensure your personal belongings are secure.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can maximize your enjoyment and make the most of your time in Bilbao. Remember to embrace the local culture, savor the flavors of Basque cuisine, and explore the diverse attractions that this enchanting city and its surroundings have to offer.



As we bring our journey through the Port of Bilbao to a close, we hope that you have gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for this captivating destination in Spain’s Basque Country. From its seamless cruise ship facilities and vibrant cultural scene to its picturesque landscapes and delectable cuisine, Bilbao offers a wealth of experiences for every traveler.


With its strategic location and excellent transportation options, the Port of Bilbao serves as the perfect gateway to explore the city and its surrounding attractions. From iconic landmarks like the Guggenheim Museum to charming neighborhoods like the Casco Viejo, there is no shortage of things to do and see in Bilbao.


Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the world of art, indulge in the flavors of Basque cuisine, or explore the natural beauty of the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, Bilbao will leave a lasting impression on your travel memories.


We hope that the information provided in this guide has been helpful in planning your visit to the Port of Bilbao. By following the suggested tips, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience as you embark on your journey through this enchanting part of Spain.


So, get ready to be captivated by the blend of tradition and modernity, the warm hospitality, and the breathtaking landscapes of Bilbao. Whether you’re disembarking from your cruise ship for a short visit or exploring Bilbao as a port of call, this vibrant city promises to offer a truly immersive and unforgettable experience.


Thank you for joining us on this virtual tour of the Port of Bilbao. We hope to see you soon, ready to explore all that this exciting destination has to offer!