How to get there
Here you can find multiple alternatives to travel to Bilbao, many of them in a more sustainable way. Choose the most sustainable and suitable for you! Please, take your time and enjoy the journey.
The DRS «Green» Routes
You can get to Bilbao from different cities, some of them located in important ports, combining public transport, walking and biking.
Another way to combine tourism, cultural activities and traveling is through the famous ‘Camino de Santiago’ known in English as the “Way of St James”: a vast network of pilgrims’ routes that lead to the shrine of the apostle Saint James in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. The Camino de Santiago encompasses several routes on foot through Spain, France and Portugal:
A network of railway lines converges in Bilbao. This, together with its excellent motorways and dual carriageways, makes land transport a good option. The High Speed Train, which will connect Bilbao to Madrid in 2 hours and to Paris in less than 6, will help to improve connectivity in the future – but it’s not ready yet! Current options include: The RENFE – Long distance trains´network connect Bilbao with Madrid, Barcelona, Logroño Zaragoza, Valladolid, Salamanca, Malaga, A Coruña, Vigo, Burgos, Leon and Segovia.
Also, you can travel from France to Hendaye by TGV (high-speed rail service). Hendaye is located 124 km from Bilbao and is connected with the main cities in France, such as Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux…
The Port of Bilbao makes the Cantabrian Sea an authentic highway to the city entrance with a regular ferry from the United Kingdom. The ferries transport people and vehicles three times per week on the Portsmouth-Bilbao-Portsmouth route, with two different ferries: the Cap Finistère and the Baie de Seine. These ferries, operated by Brittany Ferries, moor 20 minutes from the centre of Bilbao on the Zierbena Dock (pier A3). The journey takes 24 or 32 hours depending on the day of the week. There is also a Portsmouth-Roscoff-Bilbao route.
Additionally, The municipality of Getxo, only 10 km away from the centre of Bilbao, houses the new Port of Bilbao cruise ship terminal, located next to beautiful Ereaga Beach and the town’s marina. Accessible by Metro Bilbao (Neguri station) and by Bizkaibus buses (lines 3411 and 3413), it is the port of embarkation and disembarkation for the following companies: MSC Cruceros, with the vessel MSC Ópera, Iberocruceros with the Grand Mistral and Pullmantur with the Empress. Likewise, other vessels and companies use these facilities in Getxo to make a call into Bilbao during their cruises.
Public transport by road is another good option for getting to Bilbao, especially taking into account its privileged location and the excellent road network connecting the city with nearby France, with Madrid and the central Spanish plateau, with Barcelona and the Mediterranean area and with North-western Spain.
All regional, national and international bus and coach lines depart from the Bilbao Intermodal bus station (Gurtubay Street no. 1), which is located in Bilbao. Bilbao Intermodal bus station can be reached via Metro (San Mamés metro stop), Tram (Zunzunegi stop), the RENFE commuter trains (San Mamés stop) and a number of different local bus lines.
If you visit Bilbao by car, a very convenient, quick and economical option is to park your vehicle in one of the many car parks located in the heart of the city or the Park and Ride car parks. The Park and Ride car parks are located at the Leioa, Etxebarri and Ansio (BEC) metro stations.
France: Bilbao is 8 hours from Paris by car, with connections to other important cities along the route: the nearby Donostia-San Sebastián (100 km), Bayonne (150 km), Biarritz (150 km), Pau, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Limoges, Tours…
Madrid and central Spain: Madrid is a 4 hour drive away, passing by the nearby Vitoria-Gasteiz (60 km) and Burgos (150 km).
Barcelona and the Mediterranean: It takes a 6-hour journey to travel to Barcelona, along a route that passes by Logroño (130 km) and Zaragoza or alternatively Pamplona (150 km). The capital of Catalonia opens up Bilbao to the mediterranean axis, both in Spain (Valencia, Mallorca and Ibiza, Costa Brava, Costa del Sol…) and in France (Montpellier, French Riviera…)
Cantabrian (Bay of Biscay) area: Only one hour from Bilbao, travelling westwards, lies Santander (100 km.) with onward connection from there to cities like Oviedo, Gijón, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña and Vigo, very close to Portugal.
Bilbao International Airport, located only 10 km from the city center, offers more than 600 flights weekly, linking directly and in an average of 1 to 3 hours, with Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Istambul, Frankfurt, Geneva, Lisbon, London (Heathrow y Stansted), Manchester, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris (Charles De Gaulle y Orly), Praga, Roma, Stuttgart, Venice…. It also offers connections with the main cities in Spain.
For more information, visit the Bilbao Tourism Office portal here.