fbpx

SEARCH

Cruise Line Recognized by US Customs and Border Protection
Cruise News
411 views
411 views

Cruise Line Recognized by US Customs and Border Protection

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 27, 2020

Learn What’s to Love in Bilbao and Spain’s Basque Country

You Got It, Euskadi!

It’s been said that Frank Gehry’s dazzlingly designed Guggenheim Museum is what really put Bilbao on travelers’ radar, and there is some truth to that. But bringing in that museum was part of a larger plan to turn a rough former industrial city into a handsome model of urban planning and cultural development. In 2010, Bilbao won the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize (a sort of “Nobel prize of urbanism”) and, in 2018, became the Academy of Urbanism’s European City of the Year, beating out Vienna. Part of that development was a 5.5 million-euro upgrade to the cruise terminal that included an expanded cruise berth and a welcoming maritime station.

Bilbao’s port is in the town of Getxo, where the winding Estuary of Bilbao meets the Bay of Biscay on Spain’s northeast coast. So cruisers are just 9.5 miles from both Bilbao Airport and the city center, and an efficient highway system makes the rest of Basque Country easily reachable on shore excursions. Rioja winery tours? San Sebastian by the sea? Even Pamplona to see the running of the bulls? You’ve come to the right port.

Basque Country

The Basque have a strong cultural identity, distinct culinary traditions, and a language quite different from Spanish (though pretty much everyone does speak Spanish). Their roots in Europe go back at least as far as the Neolithic Period, and the culture has endured everything from Roman occupation to the oppressive 36-year rule of dictator Francisco Franco. Today, even though the lands lie within the borders of Spain, this is Euskadi: the Basque Country, an Autonomous Community. And your gateway to it is Bilbao, its largest city.

Bilbao Design Destination

Bilbao is surrounded by low mountains and rich forests. Its temperate summer weather, pedestrian areas, and promenades make the city center ideal for walking tours. Fine architecture abounds, from the stately banks and stylish shops along the Gran Via in the commercial district Ensanche to the historical landmarks in Casco Viejo — often referred to as the Seven Streets — the old city. Once encircled with walls, this pedestrian-friendly zone is home to the 14th-century Gothic Cathedral of Santiago, the Teatro Arriaga opera house, and the 1510 Church of Saint Anthony the Great.

RELATED: 6 Must-Sees In Cadiz, Spain

Accuse it of showboating, but it’s a gem: The Bilbao Guggenheim Museum is itself a captivating work of art, completed in 1997 on the redeveloped industrial wharf along the estuary and beckoning passersby with its curving panels of titanium. The wonder of architect Frank Gehry’s design continues inside, leaving about half of the space for exhibits, which tend toward modern works.

Follow the promenade upstream to see Santiago Calatrava’s pedestrian bridge, Zubizuri (Basque for “white bridge”). This span across the estuary connects, by another footway, to the steps of Japanese architect Arata Isozaki’s housing development known as Isozaki Gate. Pass between the two tall towers of that project and you enter the Ensanche district, the elegant 19th-century “expansion” of the old city.

Not to be overlooked, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, at the edge of the city’s Doña Casilda Iturrizar Park, has a broader collection arranged like a children’s ABC book. Each gallery has a unifying theme word — F is for Friendship, H is for Heriotza (‘death’ in Basque) — and the art works are grouped accordingly, no matter the artist, medium, or style, from Romanesque to avant-garde.

RELATED: A Taste of Spain on Windstar

Before you even leave the Getxo port area, visit Vizkaya Bridge, also known as the “Hanging Bridge,” listed by UNESCO as a bit of World Heritage. A gondola suspended by cables from the high steel expanse crosses the estuary at street level, leaving the channel open for boat traffic. This was the world’s first transporter bridge and one of fewer than a dozen still being used. There’s an elevator to the top for great views. The bridge was designed by Alberto Palacio, a Basque-born architect and disciple of Gustave Eiffel.

Culinary Exploration

Bilbao is a city for eating. In Basque Country, the equivalent of tapas are pintxos (the Basque ‘tx’ is pronounced like an English ‘ch’ as in church), and bars in all directions serve these slightly larger — and arguably more delicious — versions of tapas. One particularly common morsel is the gilda: an olive, anchovy, and pickled pepper on a toothpick. Guided walking food tours are common but service is friendly if….


This is only an excerpt. To read the full article, subscribe to Porthole Cruise Magazine.

By Kevin Revolinski


Photo: Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy Stock Photo

Cruise Line Recognized by US Customs and Border Protection
Cruise News
411 views
411 views

Cruise Line Recognized by US Customs and Border Protection

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 27, 2020
Cruising to Cologne: How to Spend the Day
Featured
207 views
207 views

Cruising to Cologne: How to Spend the Day

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 27, 2020
Floats My Boat: Saltwater Painter Stephen Card
Cruise Magazine
151 views
151 views

Floats My Boat: Saltwater Painter Stephen Card

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 27, 2020
Discovering the Canadian Rockies by Rail
Featured
2916 views
2916 views

Discovering the Canadian Rockies by Rail

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 26, 2020
10 Reasons to Buy Art on a Cruise Ship
Cruise Shopping
5515 views
5515 views

10 Reasons to Buy Art on a Cruise Ship

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 26, 2020
River, Ocean, And Now — Viking <i>Expeditions</i>!
Cruise News
1383 views
1383 views

River, Ocean, And Now — Viking Expeditions!

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 24, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week – January 24, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week
777 views
777 views

Cruise Deal of the Week – January 24, 2020

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 24, 2020
Sailing into a New Year!
Cruise Views
576 views
576 views

Sailing into a New Year!

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 23, 2020
Adventures By Disney Announces New European River Cruises
Cruise News
596 views
596 views

Adventures By Disney Announces New European River Cruises

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 23, 2020
<i>Cuadro 44</i> by Anthony Sasso Coming to Windstar
Featured
562 views
562 views

Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso Coming to Windstar

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 22, 2020
Ketchikan: a Cruiser’s Guide to Alaska’s Gateway City
Cruise Tips
795 views
795 views

Ketchikan: a Cruiser’s Guide to Alaska’s Gateway City

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 22, 2020
Come Sail Away on the Royal Clipper
Featured
607 views
607 views

Come Sail Away on the Royal Clipper

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 22, 2020
<i>Silver Shadow</I>: From Sea to Silversea
Cruise Magazine
406 views
406 views

Silver Shadow: From Sea to Silversea

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 20, 2020
A Cruiser’s Guide to Key West
Featured
835 views
835 views

A Cruiser’s Guide to Key West

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 20, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week – January 17, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week
1002 views
1002 views

Cruise Deal of the Week – January 17, 2020

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 17, 2020
MSC Collaborates to Save Coral Reefs (VIDEO)
Cruise News
956 views
956 views

MSC Collaborates to Save Coral Reefs (VIDEO)

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 17, 2020
Taking a Bow:<i>Norwegian Encore</i>
Cruise Magazine
633 views
633 views

Taking a Bow:Norwegian Encore

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 16, 2020
What to Do in Amsterdam
Featured
1283 views
1283 views

What to Do in Amsterdam

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 15, 2020
Eco Oceans: Sustainability by the MSC <i>Seashore</i>
Cruise Magazine
760 views
760 views

Eco Oceans: Sustainability by the MSC Seashore

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 14, 2020
5 Things to Do in Cartagena
Featured
1140 views
1140 views

5 Things to Do in Cartagena

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 13, 2020
Let us know your comments!
<i>Silver Shadow</I>: From Sea to Silversea
Cruise Magazine
406 views
406 views

Silver Shadow: From Sea to Silversea

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 20, 2020
A Cruiser’s Guide to Key West
Featured
835 views
835 views

A Cruiser’s Guide to Key West

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 20, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week – January 17, 2020
Cruise Deal of the Week
1002 views
1002 views

Cruise Deal of the Week – January 17, 2020

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 17, 2020
MSC Collaborates to Save Coral Reefs (VIDEO)
Cruise News
956 views
956 views

MSC Collaborates to Save Coral Reefs (VIDEO)

Porthole Cruise Magazine - January 17, 2020