Bilbao, Spain's sixth-largest city, is being revitalised with the help of astounding strides in art and architecture. New life arrived in this commercial/industrial hub via the astonishing Bilbao Guggenheim Museum; the new, sleek glass and steel tube metro system and the stunning glass-decked parabolic arch footbridge above the Nervión River. Bilbao also provides an excellent home base from which to explore the diverse Basque country, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pyrenees.Find Cruises Sailing to This Port
The Guggenheim Museum is the biggest attraction in Bilbao. The internationally-acclaimed design of the building, by Frank Gehry, combines shimmering titanium curves, glass and limestone to create a spectacular, futuristic sculptural effect. Beyond the building itself, the museum features works of art by Andy Warhol, Willem de Kooning, Kandinsky, Picasso, Miró and many others. The collection spotlights 20th-century and more recent European artworks.
The cuisine of the Basque country is widely considered the best in Spain. Regional specialties include bacalao al pil-pil (cod filets in garlic emulsion), kokotxas (cod gill flesh) and cured ham. For a change of pace, visit a sidrería (cider house). The sidrerías tend to be less formal, offer local cuisine such as cod omelettes and grilled garlic beefsteak, and they have plenty of hard apple cider to wash it all down.
When looking for souvenirs, keep an eye out for botas, the wineskins locals drink from at fiestas and bullfights. Or try to convince your friends you ran with the bulls by picking up some pañuelos, kerchiefs that are typically worn during the event. Txapelas (berets) are also popular gifts from the area.
The euro (EUR) is the official currency of Spain. Many shops and restaurants also accept major credit cards, which usually offer you a good exchange rate. When shopping, remember that Value Added Tax is added to most purchases.
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Learn more about this port city with these tourist information guides.