Bilbao and the Guggenheim Effect

4 nights starting from
£1299

  • Frank Gehry’s amazing Guggenheim Museum

  • Bilbao’s superb modern architecture – Calatrava, Gehry, Foster, Zaha Hadid

  • Old Bilbao and the excellent Museum of Fine Arts

  • A tasty “pinxtos” tour of the old town’s famous bars

  • Two lectures from Dr Peter Higginson

Bilbao is a city reborn, thanks largely to a single building that kickstarted the revival – Frank Gehry’s 1997 Guggenheim Museum, built in a rundown port area – that was hailed as a masterpiece of the 20th century. It has led to a series of buildings by world-famous architects, some of which we will see on this superb  tour in the company of Dr Peter Higginson, not forgetting the city’s older artistic, architectural and culinary heritage.

Available Departures

From

15 - March - 2023 £ 1299.00 Travel Info Book Now

Provisional Timings

London Gatwick

Departing: 15th March 2023 at 20:05

Returning: 19th March 2023 at 18:35

ITINERARY

Day 1: Bilbao
Fly from London Gatwick to Bilbao and transfer by coach to the hotel for check-in for four-night stay

Day 2: Casco Viejo and Guggenheim
This morning we have our first lecture from Peter – ‘Bilbao: from its origins to the Guggenheim Effect’. We then start our sightseeing with a morning walking tour to see the Casco Viejo (old town) and La Rivera food market before an afternoon to see the shimmering Guggenheim Museum with its permanent and temporary exhibitions, though the building is the star attraction for most visitors. This evening we will have a welcome drink at the hotel followed by dinner with wine.

Day 3: Museum of Fine Arts, Ensanch-Abandoibarra neighbourhood and Modern Architecture tour
A morning visit to the excellent Museum of Fine Arts (including works by El Greco, Goya and Gauguin), before a walk of the 19th century Ensanch-Abandoibarra neighbourhood. This afternoon we will have a coach tour to see the exteriors of some of Bilbao’s stunning modern architecture with work by Calatrava, Gehry, Zaha Hadid and Norman Foster. Evening free.

Day 4: Maritime Museum, Pinxtos tour and time at leisure
This morning we visit the Maritime Museum for a guided tour which puts Bilbao’s history into context. We continue the day with a “pinxtos” guided tour of the old town including visits to three bars with two pinxtos and a drink in each bar. Pinxtos are the Basque form of tapas and the bars a Bilbao institution that no visit to the city is complete without experiencing. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure for you to explore the city independently. This evening we will have a second lecture from Peter – ‘Picasso’s Guernica and its legacy’ – followed by a farewell dinner with wine.

Day 5: Euskal Museum, Guernica and home
This morning we visit the Euskal Museum (Museo Vasco) which tells the history of the Basque people. Opened in 1921 the museum is located in a Baroque-style building and through various exhibits and objects looks at the traditional ways of life of the Basque people learning about the sea, fishing, iron and weapons industries plus traditional trades and crafts. We continue with a visit to the town of Guernica, destroyed by relentless bombing in the Spanish Civil War, which inspired Picasso’s renowned painting of the same name. We will have a guided tour of the town and the Peace Museum. Transfer to Bilbao Airport for the return flight to London Gatwick.

NB: Exact order of excursions may vary according to local conditions and tour manager's discretion.

Please note the maximum group size on this tour is 25 passengers.

INCLUDED

  • Return flights from London Gatwick to Bilbao
  • Four nights’ bed and breakfast at the four-star Catalonia Gran Via hotel, Bilbao, based on shared occupancy of a twin/double room
  • Welcome reception
  • Two dinners with wine at the hotel
  • Two lectures at the hotel
  • Transfers, tours and entrance fees
  • Dr Peter Higginson throughout


NOT INCLUDED

  • Double for sole use supplement
  • Holiday insurance 
  • Meals other than those stated 
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc
  • Porterage and gratuities

HOTEL

Hotel Catalonia Gran Via, Bilbao

Opened in 2021 the four-star Hotel Catalonia Gran Via Bilbao is located in the centre of the city opposite Dona Casilda Park and very close to the Guggenheim Museum plus in a great location for a wide range of local bars and restaurants. The hotel offers an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and terrace, urban garden, wellness and spa and gastrobar. Bedrooms are comfortable with all modern amenities including TV, telephone, wifi and a hairdryer.

Hotel Website

MORE INFO - Please click here to see full details of this tour

Your lecturer and tour guide - Dr Peter Higginson

Dr Peter Higginson specialises in the art and culture of early modern Europe, and the modern period. He has taught numerous university courses abroad and has wide experience in leading cultural tours to different parts of Europe including Bilbao, Rome, Venice, Florence, Paris and further afield to Cuba. His enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment have earned him rave reviews from the many clients who have travelled with him on a Travel Editions’ tour over the past seven years.

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Overall Impression

An exciting programme packed with action and stimulation and led with enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment. Terrible weather intervened but didn't halt the success. A friendly group created a good atmosphere for solo travellers. It was just a pity that an awkward virus has held me back from filling in this form till now!

Review by Grimshaw who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

A wonderful holiday in spite of heavy rain and a hail storm. We braved the elements to stand outside to look at buildings. Peter was once again superb in his dual role as tour manager and cultural guide. He is so caring and thoughtful about everybody's needs, and he shares his knowledge and incites in an inspiring and captivating way. The local guides were also excellent.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

Abundant rain did nothing to dim the pleasure of being introduced to the vision and creativity that has produced the C21 st. reincarnation of Bilbao. Our tour was well-paced from an excellent location and Dr. Peter Higginbottom shared his wonderful knowledge with passion, patience and pizazz. I learned so much and was wowed by the intellectual spirit of Bilbao , and was humbled by Guernica. On a lighter note, the Pintzos bar crawl was a genius idea as an end to the tour. I would recommend that everyone should take the fuernicula ride from just behind the hotel as it reinforced all we had learned. We had visited so much! Thank you.

Review by Cooper who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

Rain was persistent which meant that spare time was more difficult to fill. This gave the overall impression that the tour did not have quite enough content. More time at Azkuna Zentroa would have been welcome and perhaps less time at Guernica where the local guide was charming but rather dull.

Review by Pickup who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

Bilbao exceeded our expectations and this was in no small part due to Peter's enthusiasm and tour management skills. The sightseeing tours would have warranted an excellent if it were not for a couple of minor points. The visit to the Maritime museum, which focussed largely on the historic development of Bilbao would have been better earlier on the programme. It was important background information but Peter had already covered it in one of his evening lectures. We loved the scenery around Guernica (we may return for a walking trip) and found Javier's information fascinating but could the next tour have the lunch break earlier - with the early flight many were in dire need of food before we visited the Peace Museum. We would have preferred to make our own way around the latter - the guide was clearly more used to taking school children round. Shame about the weather the last 2 days, I found the organised lunch on the last day a bit of an ordeal because of the cramped conditions and the noise - my own fault - I should have opted out and gone somewhere quieter. Overall a very good holiday which I will recommend to others.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

This was a very interesting trip and I have good impressions of Bilbao and it's wonderful buildings. My only criticism would be of the Peace Museum in Gernica where the guide was very preachy. Bilbao is an easy city to walk around and so clean.

Review by Anonymous who travelled 13-November-2019


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Review by Jones who travelled 13-November-2019


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Review by Anonymous who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

Only my second Travel Editions tour, but this was even better than the first. Even the heavy rain did not dampen our enthusiasm for a splendid, and particularly well paced, tour. I doubt the tour would be as good without Peter Higginson as our leader. Terrific enthusiasm, charming personality and so knowledgeable and happy to share it.

Review by Caws who travelled 13-November-2019


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Overall Impression

Brilliant tour.Peter was superb and itinerary was perfect. Local guide excellent. Everything went like clockwork. Addition of Guernica was a bonus. Hotel food was not brilliant especially considering the reputation of the area for food.

Review by arnott who travelled 13-November-2019


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