Bilbao is known for gastronomy and the architecture of Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum. Combine modern art with the city's world-renown culinary scene, impressive architecture, and quaint historic core. Discover Northern Spain's gastronomy by savoring pintxos, learning how to make wine, or taking a cooking class. Pair a visit to the Guggenheim with a city tour and admire architecture beyond the quirky. Or, explore outside the city center and enjoy the Picos de Europa, a mountain range that rivals the Alps.
Best of Bilbao
No visit to Bilbao is complete without stopping in at the Guggenheim Museum, a triumph of contemporary architecture designed by the legendary Frank Gehry. This glimmering titanium structure looks more like a sculpture than a building, with its sleek lines curving in virtual defiance of physics. Inside, the museum's nearly 260,000 square feet house a treasure trove of works from sensation modern artists such as Andy Warhol, Anish Kapoor, Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, Louise Bourgeois, and Eduardo Chillida.
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Bilbao's hotel scene matches the city's reputation, blending history with eclectic modernity. The best hotels in Bilbao reflect this combination with historic buildings, chic interiors, unique art, authentic decor, and the most sought-after amenity: a view of the impressive Guggenheim Museum. After visiting numerous hotels in Bilbao, kimkim put together this list of the best of the best, from surprisingly stylish budget options to elegant luxury picks.
If you're on a budget and staying in Bilbao, you're in luck—Bilbao has some of the best budget-friendly hotels in Spain. After visiting properties across the city (and country), kimkim created a list of the top standard hotels. And thanks to Bilbao's mix of modernity, history, and eclectic architecture, even these budget picks offer stylish lodgings and central locations. You won't find as many amenities, but some offer perks like on-site bars, breakfast buffets, lounges, and authentic countryside locales.
With its mix of historic and eclectic contemporary architecture, Bilbao is an ideal place to upgrade your stay. The best luxury hotels in Bilbao channel the city's past and present with cushy linens and room furnishings, cozy and hip dining spaces, and rooftop terraces overlooking iconic sites like the Guggenheim Museum and La Salve Bridge. And no luxury stay is complete without amenities like wellness centers, spas, cocktail bars, memorable eateries, and the like.
As an artsy city mixing old and new, Bilbao is an excellent choice for learning about Spanish history and architecture—and staying in a historical hotel only enhances the experience. Kimkim visited Bilbao to find the best historic hotels in the city and settled on this list of six options, ranging from luxury to budget. Sleep among the city's history in rural cottages, 18th-century mansions, and properties built by famous architects.
Bilbao's Casco Viejo (Old Town) is home to some of the city's best mid-range and budget hotels, charming streets, beautiful architecture, and delicious eateries. Kimkim staff visited Old Town and found the best properties, including those with rooftop terraces and rooms with balconies, allowing you to enjoy this historic neighborhood even more.
The Basque countryside is an exceptionally scenic stretch along northern Spain, between the Bay of Biscay and the region's inland hills. If you'd like to pair a city escape in Bilbao or San Sebastián with a rural retreat, kimkim visited and vetted several hotels in the Basque countryside, and some of the best come with incredible views, historical charm, and expansive outdoor spaces. Most of these top picks require a car or private transfer, but your reward is a relaxing stay among nature.
The Guggenheim Museum is one of Bilbao's most famous and important sites, so perhaps you're looking for a hotel near this iconic architectural landmark. After visiting the city, kimkim's staff found the best hotels near the Guggenheim Museum, so you can easily walk to the site and even enjoy views of its famed exterior from your room.
Eight to 10 days is the most popular trip length for Spain travelers interested in visiting both Bilbao and San Sebastián, especially when also including Barcelona. If you're only headed to Bilbao and San Sebastián, you can enjoy a comfortably-paced trip in five to seven days. A fast-paced highlights trip is possible in four days for travelers with limited time. For the best itineraries, including Bilbao and San Sebastián, keep reading below.
Discover the wonders of Spain's northern Basque Country with this elegant six-day itinerary. Take in the gastronomy and viticulture of Bilbao and San Sebastián as you combine the best of the region's art with its stunning natural beauty. Along the way, you'll uncover the treasures of the Guggenheim, explore the rolling vineyards of La Rioja, and set sail to a romantic 13th-century fishing village.
Explore two of Spain's scenic northern regions in your own car, the foodie-centric Basque Country with its scenic coastline and La Rioja, a famous wine region. You'll start in San Sebastián and discover the city's history, culture, and gastronomy, followed by a detour to La Rioja for wine tasting and charming towns. End in Bilbao with hiking, foodie adventures, and visiting the famous Guggenheim Museum.
Spend one week exploring three provinces of northern Spain with a road trip starting in San Sebastián. Enjoy urban walks, hiking, and sailing, then head to La Rioja and Navarra to visit cities like Pamplona and Logroño and enjoy the countryside and its vineyards. End in Bilbao, uniquely known for its eclectic public art and modern aesthetic.
For wine lovers and foodies, this road trip in northern Spain takes you along the incredible Basque coastline with its rugged sea cliffs, charming fishing villages, and gastronomic cities, then into the rolling vineyards and hills of La Rioja and Navarra. Blend city walks with small towns, food tours, and an overnight stay at a winery in Spain's most famous wine region, Rioja.
A road trip through Northern Spain offers a glimpse into the region's rich cultural roots and diverse landscapes, from the coastal heritage of San Sebastián to the rolling vineyards of La Rioja. This 10-day excursion includes opportunities to explore unique traditions, cuisine, and architecture that define this corner of Spain, with stops in historic Pamplona and vibrant Bilbao.
Pack your bags for a 10-day escape to Spain's northern Basque Country. Discover the flavors, history, and culture of this beguiling region by tasting its delicious pintxos on the streets of San Sebastián, exploring the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and crossing the border into France. If that's not enough, you'll visit wineries in La Rioja and hike above the Bay of Biscay to complete the adventure.
Discover the wonders of northern Spain on this luxury weeklong trip. Embark upon a self-drive adventure from Madrid to the lavish vineyards of La Rioja, then continue to Bilbao to sample the Basque Country's tasty pintxos and tour the world-famous Guggenheim Museum. End with a striking coastal drive to San Sebastián, where you'll stay at a lavish hotel overlooking the Bay of Biscay and explore the city's architecture and beaches with a private guide.
Eat and drink your way through northern Spain on this 11-day gastronomic adventure. Begin in Barcelona, exploring the city and its surroundings on a tapas tour, a local organic winery tasting, and a sunset sailing experience. While digesting, experience Gaudí's world-famous architectural delights and sunbathe on city beaches. Take a train to San Sebastián and visit the world's first underwater winery, then wind your way to Bilbao to sample the Basque Country's famous pintxos and Txakoli wine.
Eight days are enough to road trip through northern Spain. On this itinerary, you'll drive from Madrid north through the stunning La Rioja wine country, of course stopping for a tasting or two. The experience culminates on the coast of Basque Country with city tours of Bilbao and San Sebastián, both home to a rich culture and incredible food.
If food and wine are your passions, then this unparalleled 12-day trip through the heart of Spain's Basque Country has your name on it. You'll see Barcelona's highlights — including the Sagrada Familia — as well as the coastal towns of the Bay of Biscay. Tour family wineries, visit shepherds, and hop from pintxos bar to pintxos bar, grazing until your heart's content.
Experience northern Spain through a series of private gastronomic and cultural experiences over nine days. Get to know the world of Spanish wine in La Rioja, tour modernist architecture in Barcelona, try pintxos in San Sebastián, and dine in beautiful Bilbao. Throughout the tour, you'll see these areas through the eyes of a local with knowledgable private guides.
Nine days is enough time to immerse yourself in a couple of areas of Spain, ensuring you get the most out of the experience. This itinerary begins with a road trip from Madrid to wine country for a tasting of Spain's world-renowned varietals. You'll finish the trip on the Basque coast and its most beautiful cities, San Sebastián and Bilbao.
Wine, cheese, tapas, pintxos — this gourmet tour around northern Spain is a treat for foodies! Start in the capital city of Madrid, where you'll go on a tapas tour around local bars to learn the proper way to order small plates paired with drinks. Then hop in a rental car and drive north to the wine country of La Rioja, where you'll tour family-run wineries and blend your own wine to take with you. Continue onward to the culinary hot spot of San Sebastian, sampling pintxos (Basque-style tapas) at traditional bars in the old city. Then finish the trip with a tour of Bilbao and an excursion into the surrounding countryside to see how Basque cheeses are produced.
Immerse yourself in Northern Spain's breathtaking natural beauty, medieval history, and world-class gastronomy on this 13-day road trip. Traverse the dramatic Basque coast, sail to the stunning beaches of the Cíes Isles, and explore the foodie hotspot of San Sebastián. Along the way, you'll discover the world's first winery under the Cantabrian Sea, tour the best of Bilbao's pintxos bars, and marvel at the masterpieces of the legendary Guggenheim Museum.
Twelve days to two weeks is a great length for a Spain trip, with stops in Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastián. Travelers with less time can hit the route's highlights in 8 to 11 days, which makes for a fast-paced journey. Or, extend your trip and explore more of the country—some of the best-loved trip extensions include Granada, Laguardia, or Burgos. Get inspired with our Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastián trip ideas below.
Over 10 days, you'll embark on a gourmet road trip from Madrid to Spain's northern Basque Country. This unforgettable excursion is a delight for the eyes and taste buds that includes tapas tours in Madrid, wine tasting in La Rioja, and sampling the great cheese and seafood of the Basque coast. A visit to the famous Guggenheim caps the trip, adding a cultural cherry atop an epic vacation sundae.
Take a luxury 10-day road trip through northern Spain's culture-soaked cities, historic vineyards, and beach-studded coastline. You'll stay at grand palaces and 5-star heritage hotels, enjoying private cultural tours of Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastián. Highlights include wine tasting in lush La Rioja, a gourmet pintxos food tour, visiting the world-renowned Guggenheim Museum, and hiking to the hilltop Guadalupe Fort for panoramic Basque Country views.
Prepare yourself for the road trip of a lifetime. Over 11 packed days, you'll travel from Spain's capital of Madrid to the Galicia region, followed by a coastal drive through the incomparable Basque Country, all while leaving time for an excursion to the Cíes Islands. Little known may they be, these Galician gems are undoubtedly home to what might be the most beautiful European beach: Praia de Roda.
Experience the best of northern Spain and the Basque Country with this 11-day family trip that starts in Barcelona and ends in Madrid. Discover Gaudí, Roman ruins and castles in Catalonia's capital, then fly to Bilbao for family-friendly art and gastronomy. Explore the stunning San Sebastián coast with a cruise and hike along the Bay of Pasaia before discovering culture, royalty, and flamenco in the country's capital.
Travelers who want to experience Spain's legendary culinary scene won't want to miss this 12-day food-forward tour filled with tapas, wineries, olive-oil tastings, and more. Start with a gourmet tour of Madrid, enjoy a homecooked meal in the Cantabrian Mountains, dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant on the Cantabrian Coast, taste txakoli wine in San Sebastián, and end with an architecture and market tour in vibrant Barcelona.
Discover culture, royalty, gastronomy, and more on this epic 12-day family vacation to Spain. Through child-friendly walking and cycle tours, nature hikes, and cooking classes, you'll experience the best of northern Spain, the Basque Country, and Madrid. Marvel at Gaudí's iconic structures in Barcelona, enjoy beach life and art in San Sebastián and Bilbao, and then hop on a plane to the country's capital. You'll round off your trip with sightseeing and flamenco dancing in Madrid!
Spain ranks right alongside France and Italy as one of the great foodie destinations in Europe. On an 18-day tour, you can visit the major regions of this country and indulge in its fine cuisine until your heart's content. This includes sampling the tapas of Madrid and Andalusia, savoring the fresh seafood on the coast, tasting great wines in the Spanish Basque Country, and even taking a traditional Spanish cooking class in Barcelona.
In just a week, you can embark on the road trip of a lifetime from Spain's capital to its stunning Basque Country. The adventure begins in Madrid with city tours before hopping in your rental and driving north to La Rioja, one of Spain's most beautiful wine regions. After a tasting, you'll continue on to Basque Country, where tours of San Sebastián's historic center and Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum await.
Spain's culture is inexorably linked to its cuisine. To visit this country without experiencing its rich gastronomic offerings would render the entire endeavor moot. To avoid this unattractive scenario we offer you a 19-day tour that includes visits to all the historic and awe-inspiring sights of Spain's cities but also includes cooking classes, wine tours, olive-oil samplings, and all the tapas and regional dishes you can eat.
Spain is famous for its dynamic gastronomy, but this rich food heritage extends beyond borders. On this two-week culinary odyssey across the Iberian Peninsula, you'll discover distinct and delicious flavors, from Spain's tapas and olive oils to the wine and food markets of neighboring Portugal. During the adventure, you'll take cooking classes, go on wine tours, dine with locals, and much more.
Discover the highlights of northern Spain and the Basque Country with this 13-day family vacation that combines the perfect blend of culture and fun outdoor activities. Explore castles and Gaudí's famous works in Barcelona, then fly north for scenic hikes and cruises around San Sebastián. Sharpen your taste buds in Bilbao and see spectacular art at the Guggenheim before learning classic flamenco moves and cooking the perfect paella in Madrid.
Like Italy and France, Spain is defined by world-class cuisine and stunning locales. Over 20 days you'll visit the highlights—including Madrid, Barcelona, the Basque Country, and Andalusia—while enjoying delicious food every step of the way. To complement the experience you'll also enjoy wine tours and visit olive groves where you'll learn the secrets to great Spanish olive oil.
Explore northern Spain's highlights with a side trip to Barcelona on this two-week luxury tour. Exclusive adventures include VIP seats to a Real Madrid soccer match, a sunrise hot-air balloon ride over La Rioja's lush vineyards, and kayaking along the Costa Brava. Stay at 5-star heritage hotels and palaces, soaking up culture on city walking tours and private trips to UNESCO-listed treasures, from Gaudí's La Sagrada Família to the medieval town of Ávila.
Spend a delectable three weeks traveling through Spain from north to south and enjoying its world-class food and wine as you go. This 21-day gastronomic vacation will take you from Barcelona across the nation to Basque Country. From there, travel to the capital of Madrid and finally down into Andalusia, the birthplace of flamenco. Throughout, you'll dine on regional specialties like tapas, plus enjoy vineyard tours and guided visits to olive groves.
Embrace Spanish culture and ease into the Mediterranean outdoor lifestyle with this 15-day family trip to Spain. Discover gastronomy in Barcelona and Madrid with child-friendly cooking classes, and experience the Basque Country's stunning scenery and history with cycle tours around Bilbao and San Sebastián. There'll be plenty of beach time, too, with a self-guided trip to the Costa Brava and the perfect blend of activities, relaxation, and sightseeing to make the most of your Spanish adventure.
Starting in Barcelona, this 16-day trip to Spain ticks all the boxes for active families searching for the perfect blend of sightseeing, excursions, and beach time with the kids. See Gaudí's iconic works in Catalonia's capital before discovering Dalí in the Costa Brava. Next up is the Basque Country, where you'll feast on pintxos, marvel at the Guggenheim and sail around foodie hotspot San Sebastián. Finish your vacation in the cultural capital of Madrid, where you'll learn to flamenco and master the art of paella!
The northern region of Spain is just as rich in culture and beauty as anywhere in Catalonia or Andalusia. You'll see this for yourself on a 12-day road trip that takes you from Madrid into the Galicia region, known for its delicious seafood, beautiful coast, and historical and religious pilgrimage sites. It all culminates with a gorgeous drive through Basque Country and a couple of days in the cities of Bilbao and San Sebastián.
There are ways to do Spain differently; this 13-day self-drive road trip is a perfect example. While it begins in Madrid, after two days, you'll leave the glitz behind for the pastoral tranquility of the Ribera del Duero wine country. You'll then continue to Galicia's fantastic food and historical sites before winding up on the rocky Cantabrian coast and the incomparable resort city of San Sebastián.
Spain is so much more than its famous cities. Over two weeks, you'll see its hidden gems as you drive from Madrid north through wine country to historic sites in the lesser-visited Galicia region. The adventure culminates on the Atlantic coast and a stay in the beautiful seaside city of San Sebastián.
On this 15-day excursion through Spain, you'll take the road less traveled but filled with incredible scenery. After a couple of days in Madrid, you'll drive north to wine country and follow the pilgrims' route into beautiful Galicia. You'll sample delicious regional cuisine and visit historic cathedrals before hitting the Cantabrian coast for an unforgettable stay in San Sebastián and day tours to rural Basque Country.
On this 16-day road trip, you'll see some beautiful regions of Spain, many of which are off the tourist trail. The adventure begins in Madrid, from where you'll hop in a rental car and proceed to the Ribera del Duero wine country and into the river canyons of the Ribeira Sacra. You'll continue to Galicia, a region famous for delicious food and natural beauty, before ending up on the stunning coast of the Spanish Basque Country.
Discover the highlights of Spain's cities and nature on this tour, starting in Picos de Europa National Park near Bilbao, and heading into Madrid via the UNESCO city of Segovia with its ancient Roman aqueduct. Visit the region of Andalucía, exploring the cities of Granada, Seville, and Ronda, plus hiking the Caminito del Rey, exploring the white villages, and enjoying an optional beach day. End your trip on the island of Mallorca, discovering its historic inland villages and coastal harbors, as well as its caves, mountains, and wineries.
Madrid · Andalusia · Catalonia · Barcelona · Seville · Granada · Basque Country · Málaga · San Sebastián · Balearic Islands · Córdoba · Costa Brava · Ronda · Menorca · La Mancha · Canary Islands · Toledo · Mallorca · Valencia · Santiago de Compostela · La Rioja · Ibiza · Marbella · Pamplona