The capital of the Basque country owes its rise to the Ria de Bilbao, which is navigable from there all the way to the Bay of Biscay. In the 19th century ironworks and shipbuilding companies settled on both sides of the river, forming a huge industrial agglomeration. In the 1970s industrial decline, high unemployment and abandoned factories dominated the picture. Since 1997 the Guggenheim Museum with its spectacular architecture is the city's new landmark: the building being just as interesting as the art exhibitions on loan from the New York Guggenheim Foundation.
Along the Rio del Nerviòn and past the Guggenheim Museum to the cathedral
This tour starts at the Areatzako bridge over the Ria del Nervión and follows the riverbank past the Guggenheim Museum to the parks. Then it circles back to the historic city center on the other riverbank and passes the Fine Arts Museum on the way. The tour ends at the cathedral. (4 hrs, 10 km, elevation change: 100 m)