Photo Stop In Bilbao Spain

Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

Two Days For A Photo Stop In Bilbao Spain

We were docked in Bilbao, Spain for two days. Unfortunately the weather stayed mostly cloudy and rainy. So we really only did a photo stop in Bilbao when we visited with Oceania Cruises!

Our previous stop was two days in Bordeaux, France. The next planned stop on our itinerary was supposed be St Biarritz in France. St Biarritz was a tender port and the captain watched the weather. After consultation with head office, it was announced that we would skip the St Biarritz stop and go straight to Bilbao in Spain.

With the port in St Biarritz cancelled, we lost our booked excursion to San Sebastian in Spain. We chose the trip to San Sebastian from the French port since it was only a 30 minute drive. The trip to San Sebastian from Bilbao was 2 hours. Since we really wanted to spend some time in San Sebastian, such a short visit in the rain would not really give us the view we wanted. We knew we would be back to see San Sebastian on another trip.

With no excursions booked for Bilbao, we planned to wander on our own. So when the rain finally let up for a bit, we did just a short photo stop in Bilbao.

The Bizkaia Bridge At The Port In Gexto

The ship landed in Spain at the port in Gexto. This was a big port just outside of Bilbao. The long pier jutted into the bay and there was a lighthouse at the end. Many people walked off the ship in the port area. There was a small aquarium close to the port and a strip of port bars.

GetXo Port Pier Lighthouse.jpg

From the dock we saw the Bizkaia Bridge at the mouth into the Bilbao River. At a distance, it looked like a simple truss bridge over the river. But when we walked closer, we saw a gondola suspended under the bridge. It moved from one side of the river to the other.

GetXo Bizkaia Bridge Gondola - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

In 1893 the Bizkaia Bridge was opened and was the first transporter bridge in the world. The bridge suffered damage over the years and had several renovations. In 1999 a walkway was added to the top. An elevator went to the top and provided a great panoramic photo stop in Bilbao. With grey cloudy skies, we passed on a ride to the top.

In 2006, the Bizkaia Bridge was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A Walk Along the River In Bilbao

The rain stopped midway through the second day and we hopped on a shuttle for a quick photo stop in Bilbao. The shuttle bus ride into town was about 30 minutes.

We walked right to the river. There was so much to see as we walked along. The pedestrian bridge across the river provided great views of both sides. Far up in the hills we saw a colourful mural.


River and Bridges.jpg

River and Bridges - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

On the far bank we saw the large sprawling campus of the Deusto University. The trees in front were changing colour and provided a great highlight to the buildings.

Deusto University - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

Deusto University.jpg

Deusto University.jpg

Deusto University.jpg

Our First View Of The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

The view in the other direction gave us our first sight of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The La Salve Zubia Bridge with the great red gate by the French artist Daniel Buren stood beside the museum. We saw the boardwalk and green space beside the museum as we approached.

Guggenheim Museum - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

Guggenheim Museum.jpg

When we looked closer, we saw an interesting mural on the opposite bank under the La Salve Zubia Bridge.

Bridge Art La Salve Zubia - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

Bridge Art La Salve Zubia - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

This was a great spot to start our photo stop in Bilbao!

Guggenheim Up Close On Our Photo Stop In Bilbao Spain

The next point on our photo stop in Bilbao was a close up look at the Guggenheim. The building itself was a work of art. As we walked closer, different facets of the building came into focus. As the sun played in and out of the clouds, the building also changed.

Guggenheim Museum - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

The large pillar of shiny balls provided a reflective surface in the water around the museum. This was the Tall Tree & The Eye statue by Anish Kapoor. The statue included 73 reflective spheres on three axes. The reflective surface reminded me of the The Bean (Cloud Gate) we saw when we visited Chicago.

Guggenheim Museum.jpg

Guggenheim Museum Tall Tree and the Eye by Anish Kapoor - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

Guggenheim Museum Tall Tree and the Eye by Anish Kapoor.jpg

The patio of the museum contained a large colourful display. The Tulips exhibit by Jeff Koons was part of his Celebration collection. It stood more than 2 meters tall and 5 meters across.

Guggenheim Museum Tulips by Jeff Koons.jpg

More Colourful Art At The Guggenheim

At the far end under the bridge we saw a big Maman spider statue by Louise Bourgeoise. This was very familiar to us. We saw a similar statue when we visited Ottawa in Canada and also when we visited the outdoor statue garden in New Orleans.

Guggenheim Museum Maman Spider by Louise Bourgeoise.jpg

Guggenheim Museum Maman Spider by Louise Bourgeoise - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

The view of the main entrance of the Guggenheim Museum was much less artistic. Although we found an interesting dog statue called Puppy by Jeff Koons. The statue was covered with colourful autumn flowers. We figured this meant the look of the statue changed throughout the year.

Guggenheim Museum Puppy by Jeff Koons - Photo stop in Bilbao Spain.jpg

We ran out of time and weather so we did not visit inside the Guggenheim on this trip.

Just A Photo Stop In Bilbao

When we visited Spain in June, we planned to visit Bilbao and San Sebastian. That trip was cut short before we hit the north coast of Spain.

This second trip to Bilbao did not give us the view of the north coast of Spain that we wanted. We really had just a short photo stop in Bilbao. But even on a short stop, we found so many interesting pieces of art at the Guggenheim and thought the city. There was certainly much left for a return visit.

The next stop as we cruised along the coast of Western Europe was in Ferrol, Spain. From there we took a tour of the Galicia region of Spain. It was just another taste test and left us wanting more.

Did you do a photo stop in Bilbao? Did you find the Guggenheim to be a work of art?

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About TravelAtWill 748 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!


  1. Despite many trips to Spain, I haven’t been to Bilbao yet. The city is on my top must-see list. It is perfect for photography thanks to its architecture and art. I dream of seeing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Although you haven’t had great weather, your photos are fabulous!

  2. I’ve always heard of the Guggenheim, but I didn’t realize where it was. I love that they have street art, too – that’s one of my favorites! I adore finding out about new towns, and I hope to visit Spain in 2022! 🙂

  3. You definitely had a fun trip to Bilbao! I visited Spain twice but haven’t been to the Northern area yet. The architecture and art in Bilbao look really unique and creative, especially the Maman spider statue. I love the Puppy statue too, so cute!

  4. I love the modern art! That spider statue caught my eye right away. I love the mural on the side of the building too. Great photos.

    • In addition to the great building architecture, there really was a lot to see outside if the Guggenheim. We figured the inside would be equally as interesting.

  5. Bilbao looks like its got some great photo opportunities. I really like the Guggenheim, it’s so cool and artistic. I would have never imagined this was even in Spain, it looks so different to what I’d expect. Really interesting though.

  6. Such a pity that you encountered bad weather but it seems you made the most of it. Guggenheim Museum definitely seems like the perfect place for a photo stop. I wouldn’t personally be interested in going inside the museums as I am not into museums much but the architecture itself calls for a visit. A walk along the river also sounds like a great plan!

    • We were glad the weather cleared enough for a walking tour in Bilbao. We would have been interested to go inside to see what interesting design features we might find.

  7. These are some really interesting pictures. Art at the Guggenheim looks really cool and trippy. Would like to visit this part of Spain someday.

    • We had been wanting to visit the north of Spain for some time so great to get this first look at our stop in Bilbao. And happy we saw the interesting building that is the Guggenheim.

  8. What a fascinating place! All of the sculptures look incredible! Although the giant spider looks terrifying! I love the mural under the La Salve Zubia Bridge. What a wonderful gem! Thanks for the great guide!

  9. Well, I think you had a wonderful time in Bilbao even though it’s a short trip. You got to see lots of beautiful places and street arts. I remember seeing the Spider in one of your post about Canada. The dog statue is cute. I wonder what kind of flowers they put there during spring and summer.

  10. Love the architecture and art in this city! The giant spider looks quite scary but unique in its own way. It’s a pity that you didn’t have time to visit Guggenheim museum on this trip. I’m sure it would be nice too.

  11. It’s so unfortunate to visit a place when the weather is bad, especially if you have limited time there. But it seems like you made the most of your stay in Bilbao. The artworks and sculptures look fascinating.

  12. How interesting. I didn’t realize there are five Guggenheim museums. The Puppy statue must be a huge undertaking to maintain the seasonal floral displays. Thank you for the post and wide variety of photographs.

    • This was the first of the Guggenheim museums we visited but we will know to look for them in other places. I wonder if the architecture is as interesting in all the spots. The Puppy was fun to see but would be interesting to see as the flowers change through the year.

  13. I love the detail you have provided and the photos are wonderful (love the street art)! I haven’t visited Spain yet but its on my list.

  14. I’m planning a trip to Bordeaux this fall, and was considering a stop in Bilbao…now I’m DEFINITELY stopping there! It looks really beautiful and so interesting.

    • You will love the north coast of France and Spain. My posts on Bordeaux are coming up in the next few weeks. Hope you love Bilbao and that part of Spain.

  15. Beautiful pictures!! I find the spider statues all over too! They’re very cool, even as a non-spider lover. I have only passed through Bilbao but look forward to spending more time in the area to check out all these stunning sights!

  16. I found Bilbao to be very industrial but the Guggenheim is the star attraction. The exhibits and the building itself are a feast for the eyes. The tapas bars were awesome too.

  17. I liked the vibes of Bilbao through your posts and photos. I think that it is an ideal city for a slow travel. It has the calming vibes to it. After going through you post, I have realized that the city offers various photo spot for photographers. Loved reading about it.

  18. Wow! The Guggenheim Museum looks It is truly a work of art. The dog statue also looks so cool. I appreciate on how much effort they put to building something this huge and temporary. Would love to see this up close.

    • We were continually surprised by the art and architecture as we wandered around the Guggenheim. It was a lovely way to cheer up a great day in Balbao.

  19. Wow, the Guggenheim is truly magnificent! I also think the shiny balls remind me of The Bean in Chicago. A little creeped out by the spider statue, but so cool that you got to see two of them in two different places!

    • The reflective balls reminded me of The Bean too. And the Sibelius Monument in Helsinki too! We did not expect the spider statue here. But cool to see it in so many different places.

  20. Bilbao was my first stop in Spain, as I flew in there en route to Logroño, and it’s a great introduction. I found it quite a contrast, an old, tired, industrial city trying to turn things around with things like the Guggenheim, which to me seems like a gimmick, sorry. I saw the Guggenheim of course, but only from the outside, didn’t seem worth it to go in when I had so little time (a day and a half), but I can recommend something much more local, the Museo Vasco (Basque Museum).
    Bilbao was where I was introduced to pintxos, not just tapas, and the food is amazing. I hope you got a chance to eat, not just taking photos! An area called the Sept Calles (7 streets) is full of places.

    • We had a rushed day in Bilbao. But enough to know we want to go back and spend more time in that region. We will definitely check out the Museo Vasco on our next trip. And sample many plates of pintxos.

  21. I love these casual walks and loved walking with you. I would probably love to stay there for a night as there is so much to visit. One reason certainly would be the Guggenheim Museum as I love spending time in them. The building itself looks so out of the ordinary. Love the street art too. Although the weather looks dull, I still love the feel with the pictures of yours.

    • We definitely did not get to see all there was in this area. And will plan to go back and see so much more on a return visit. But a nice first taste test.

  22. The Bizkaia Bridge is really cool, especially with a Gondola hanging underneath it! Wow, what a spectacular sight the big red gate on the bridge is, propped up next to the Museum. I love the contrast of the two and of course the Maman Spider just below. I’m glad the rain held off enough and didn’t ruin your whole experience.

  23. I’d love to see the dog statue in person. It’s huge! I feel like I’ve seen the Maman spider statue before at a museum in Arkansas…it also reminds me of the show “Stranger Things” 🙂

  24. What an incredible destination! I’ve got a ticket to Europe for November (fingers crossed!) but I haven’t decided for sure where to go. Spain was definitely one option I was considering, and visiting an artsy city like Bilbao sounds appealing! I feel like I could spend a whole day exploring the Guggenheim Museum and La Salve Zubia Bridge nearby. The red arch is so distinctive!

    • It would be hard to pick just a few spots to visit in Spain. This was our first visit to the north coast and it was great to get a first taste test. we will definitely go back. Will be interesting to see where you go in Europe.

  25. You managed to see some great art despite the cloudy and rainy weather. I love the puppy sculpture, it’s one I’d like to see in person. The Guggenheim is such an iconic building in Bilbao, I hope to return again soon and explore more of the new exhibits.

    • We were glad we got to see the iconic Guggenheim on our visit. But next time want to plan enough time to go inside. It was indeed great to find so much colourful art on a grey day.

  26. Bilbao is way up high on my list because of the Guggenheim. However, since at this moment I don’t want to visit any other place in that region, it has to wait. Albeit, I need to check how far it actually is from Bordeaux since I have friends there so that I could squeeze in a day trip across the border…

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