The most striking symbol of Bilbao’s transformation from decaying industrial backwater to hip international metropolis is the Guggenheim Museum.

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Harriet, Kate L and Molly are here to help give you the inside track.

Key Stats

Flight from London London

2:15 hrs

Time Difference

GMT +1 hr

The Guggenheim Museum with its shimmering titanium shell, moored like a ship on the banks of the Nervión River acts as a nod to the city's ship-building past. Outside the museum sits Jeff Koons' iconic and kitsch floral sculpture of a giant puppy.

Some have argued that the building completely overshadows the quality of the art inside, but with a building this special that's no great shame, and often the exhibitions of contemporary art on display are of a very high quality. Original Travel can pre-book tickets or arrange private guided tours.

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Where to stay

Exterior design at Hotel Marques de Riscal, luxury hotel in Spain

Hotel Marqués de Riscal

The Hotel Marqués de Riscal is the design hotel to trump all others, designed as it is by the renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry, who revitalised Bilbao with his Guggenheim Museum.

Exterior at Miro Hotel, luxury hotel in Spain

Miro Hotel

The hotel is located just a couple of hundred feet from two of the city’s top attractions: the famous Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Villa Soro, luxury hotel in Spain

Villa Soro

Villa Soro is a charming 25-bedroom hotel housed in a renovated 19th century villa which has been declared a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian.

Hotel Iturregi, luxury hotel in Spain

Hotel Iturregi

An old Basque farmhouse turned boutique hotel, Hotel Iturregi is a gem in the hills above the coastal town of Getaria, with views across the vineyards to the sea beyond.

Maria Cristina

Maria Cristina

The grande dame of San Sebastian hotels, the Maria Cristina has occupied a stately building on the banks of the Urumea River in the heart of the town since 1912. Surrounded by promenades and attractive landscape gardens the hotel oozes luxury and as such has attracted a wealth of aristocrats and royalty over the decades, making it the favoured accommodation for international high society (in layman’s terms– it’s dead swanky).

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Harriet, Kate L and Molly are our Bilbao, San Sebastian and Rioja experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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