I'm planning a trip which returns home via ferry from Bilbao. I have the option of either arriving in Bilbao on the day and going straight to the ferry terminal, or getting there a day early and spending some time looking around the city. Is there anyone here who anyone knows Bilbao, who could offer some thoughts?
Definitely worth a day. Obviously, there's the Guggenheim Art Museum but beyond that Bilbao is a Spanish city with strong Basque character. Not pretty but not dull either. Kind of like Liverpool with better food and better looking locals.
Bilbao easily deserves a look around. The Guggenheim is the lynchpin of course and it is an astounding building, probably better than most of the art inside it but you have to go in as the building's interiors are as unmissable as its outside. The museum restaurant is also stunning! The river that runs through the city has some parks and bridges that are good for a mooch on a sunny day (nb. Bilbao has lots of rainy days so don't bank on sun). There's a swish tram system that'll get you around the city and great shops. Drink some pacharan (sloe/aniseed liqueur)!
Which reminds me... the other factor to be taken into consideration is that my Spanish is embarrassingly non-existent. Much as I'd love to sample whatever this drink is, I wouldn't know how to ask for it.