Most big cities offer a number of different ways you can experience them and the Basque city of Bilbao is no different. Here are our top 10 Bilbao city tours, from bike tours and walking tours, to free tours and foodie tours.
Not content with seeing the city from the streets, why not tour it from the water instead? Bilboats offers two types of city boat tours, along the River Nervión. The first lasts one hour and passes sights such as the Town Hall, the Zubizuri Bridge, the Guggenheim Museum and the Maritime Museum. The second tour does the same route as the first and then continues into the estuary, where the city meets the sea, and takes visitors to see the Portugalete Suspension Bridge.
If you want to keep fit while you’re away, Running Tours Bilbao offers the ideal solution to stay in shape while discovering the city. Choose from a 10km run or a 15km run, and select your own route and pace. Tours include a private guide, pick-up from your hotel, water, a hat, and digital photos of your tour. How about running through the Casco Viejo (Old Town) or past the Guggenheim Museum?
Although tourist buses are not everyone’s cup of tea, they can be a great way to get to explore a city, especially if you’ve got limited time. A typical hop-on, hop-off type bus, the Bus Turístico Bilbao takes a one hour route around the city, taking in all the most famous sights. From the Guggenheim Museum, it passes through the centre of the city, down to the Azkuna Zentroa, redesigned by Philippe Starck, then round along the River Nervión and into the Casco Viejo (Old Town).
From four wheels to two – Tourné offers the best bike tours in the city. City bike tours last three hours and are conducted in groups of two to twelve. The Tourné Viva tour visits all the famous sights that have put Bilbao on the map, while the Tourné Underground tour visits the lesser-known parts of the city. The company also offer private bike tours, and rent bicycles out, so that you can explore the city on your own time.
Bilbao City Tour is the city tour created and run by locals. The three-hour private walking tour shows you not only the city’s most famous sights, but also the little hidden corners of the city, known only by locals. You will begin in the Casco Viejo (Old Town), then head to La Ribera, the largest covered food market in Europe. The tour continues to the Ensanche neighbourhood, the well-heeled bourgeoisie area and the central business district. Finish the tour at the celebrated Guggenheim Museum.
This is the city tour for foodies – a foodie guide to the best pintxos in Bilbao. Basque Taste will pair travellers with an expert guide who will take them to some of the most picturesque quarters of the city, sampling some of the finest gourmet pintxos in Bilbao. The tour lasts three hours and includes all food, wines and a multilingual guide. Basque Taste also offers private tours of the Guggenheim Museum.
Those who want to mix history and food, won’t want to miss out on Foodie & Tours Historical Walking Tour and Pintxos Dinner. The three-hour walking tour with a local guide, will take visitors to discover the historical centre of the city, exploring some of its most interesting sights, including La Ribera food market and Santiago Cathedral, while stopping for pintxos along the way. Some of the most typical pintxos you will try include ham and goat’s cheese with walnuts or roasted red pepper with anchovies.
Visitors on a budget will be happy to know that there are free city walking tours. Available during the summer months only, the tours are run by Irati, a secondary school and English teacher who works on a tips-only basis. Choose from two different tours – Essential Bilbao, visiting all the major sights, and Old Town Bilbao, exploring the 7oo-year-old Casco Viejo.
Tours by Basques is run by Mikel, a part-time university teacher, passionate about Basque history and culture. The company offers three different private Bilbao tours – Undiscovered Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum, The Real Pintxos Experience Bilbao and Bilbao Bike Tour, so whichever way you wish to discover the city, Mikel has something for you.
Want to go beyond the usual tourist sights and get underneath the skin of the Basque city? Secret Bilbao runs three such tours – Pintxos Route, One Day in Bilbao for Foodies and One Day in Bilbao. Run by the enthusiastic and friendly local Miguel, they enable visitors to really get to know the city and share in Miguel’s passion for it.