El Transcantábrico operates Gran Lujo luxury coach service between Santiago de Compostela and San Sebastián. Four original 1923 vintage Pullman lounge cars travel the old tracks of the La Robla trains, which once brought coal from León to Biscay. The 8-day journey includes lunchtime and overnight stops, with visits to the Guggenheim Museum, caves, and to medieval towns and villages along the way for sightseeing, shopping and fine dining. The views are spectacular from the panoramic lounge and the bedroom suites and services resemble those of the finest hotels. Live music and parties are on offer nightly, and daily papers, TV and internet access can keep you in touch (should you want). Prices run from 37 to 75 hundred euros per person.
The destruction of this town in the hills to the east of Bilbao was the inspiration for Picasso's legendary painting. The 1937 raids by German aircraft, during the Spanish Civil War were in support of Nationalist forces moving to take Bilbao from Republican government control, but also took place during a time of Luftwaffe experiments with "terror bombing" of civilian populations.
Santimamiñe (Kortezubi) Cave paintings in this valley, comparable in quality to those of the famous ones at Altamira, indicate this valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times, from 13 to 18,000 years ago. Various civilizations followed one another until Gernika was founded in 1366.
At the Casa de Juntas del Señorío de Vizcaya (meeting hall of the gentlemen of Vizcaya), the Basques would once meet under the tree, to decide on issues of concern in the community.
Also of interest: the “juradera” church of Santa María, the Museum of Euskalerria and the Parque de la Paz with giant sculptures by Eduardo Chillida and Henry Moore. The nearby Urdaibai Nature Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
To this small and pretty Biscay coastal fishing town, 53km northeast of Bilbao, tourists come in summer months to relax on Isunza Beach, walk to the offshore island of San Nicolás at low tide, and visit the church of Santa María, a gothic basilica from the 15th century. Around the church are the elegant mansions of the old Basque aristocracy. Lekeitio is also the birthplace of Resurrección María de Azkue, one of the most important Basque scholars of the 19th century. People here have a strong sense of Basque cultural identity, singing and dancing with passion during the fiestas at town center. In the nearby town of Mendexa there's another beach called Carraspio. Green countryside and rolling hills surround the coastal area, the people are friendly and welcoming to visitors, and food is good and fresh. Hotel space is limited however, so book ahead if you plan to stay overnight. For more information see the official city website here, the Spanish Tourism Lekeitio site (in English), or the blogspot below:
This museum of modern and contemporary art, designed by Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, built by Ferrovial, is located in Bilbao, the Basque Country, Spain, alongside the Nervion River. One of several museums belonging to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, it features large-scale, site-specific works and installations, and the permanent and visiting exhibits of contemporary works by Spanish and international artists.
Among the most admired works of contemporary architecture, the building has been called a "signal moment in the architectural culture", representing "one of those rare moments when critics, academics, and the general public were all completely united about something." The building's exterior curves are intended to appear random, and designed to catch the light. The interior has a large, light-filled atrium with vistas of the river estuary and surrounding hills. The atrium, nicknamed The Flower for its shape, is at the center of the building.
The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao also offers a choice of two extraordinary culinary experiences: Nerua, an haute cuisine restaurant (one Michelin star) run by Josean Martínez Alija; and Bistró Guggenheim Bilbao, with less formal fare and a menu that varies with the time of day.