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Bilbao and the Guggenheim Museum

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in San Sebastián on the morning of your tour and you’ll drive to Bilbao, a journey of just over an hour. Your first stop is the Guggenheim Bilbao, Gehry’s flagship building that was hailed as the first step in Bilbao’s transformation from industrial hub to cultural hothouse.

Your guide will explain a little about the inspiration for the design and give you time to examine the exterior as well as view some of the external artworks before proceeding indoors to see the collection of contemporary art on display. Inside, the vast exhibition spaces host a range of regularly changing temporary exhibitions as well as a permanent collection.

Once you’ve explored the galleries, you’ll continue down to central Bilbao. Here, you have some free time to wander the Mercado de la Ribera, the city’s main market. It’s housed in an Art-Deco-style building by the waterfront and is a good place to grab some lunch from one of the dozens of stalls selling typical Basque dishes or bars serving a variety of pintxos (tapas-style small dishes).

After your free time in the market, you travel with your driver and guide for a scenic 20-minute drive to Vizcaya Bridge. Opened in 1883, the iron giant is an artful combination of utility and refinement and was designed by Alberto Palacio, a protégé of Gustave Eiffel. It’s the world’s oldest transporter bridge, using a hanging gondola to transfer people and cars from one side of the Ría del Nervión to the other. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006.

Following your time at the bridge, you’ll return to your hotel in San Sebastián, a drive of about an hour and a half to two hours.

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