Bilbao’s airport (BIO) is located 12 km north of the city centre. As the largest airport in the Basque Country, it is the easiest way to arrive not only to Bilbao, but to the whole region.
From Bilbao’s airport there are direct flights to 18 destinations within Spain. There are also direct flights to over 20 destinations in the rest of Europe:
To get from the airport to downtown, there are several options:
- The bus line A3247 from Bizkaibus is the most affordable option (3€)
- Taking a taxi or private transfer is a very convenient way of travelling. You will be downtown in about 15 minutes. Expect to pay around 20 - 25 €.
Bilbao is located of the road A-8 (AP-8). This is a toll road between Bilbao and Irun. The toll road AP-68 connects Bilbao with the east and south of Spain, going all the way to Zaragoza. The road A-1 or AP-1 connects Bilbao with Madrid. Here are some average travel times by car:
- Vitoria-Gasteiz - 45 min
- San Sebastian - 1 h 15 min
- Biarritz - 1 h 45 min
- Pamplona - 1 h 45 min
- Madrid - 4 h
- Barcelona - 6 h
Bilbao’s new bus station was just inaugurated at the end of 2019. Formerly known as Termibus, its new official name is Estación de Bilbao Intermodal. It is a modern underground station located next to the San Mamés football stadium.
The metro, tram and train stops with the same name (San Mamés) are also located right next to the bus station.
All of the long distance buses leave from this station. Some of the regional buses within the Biscay province run by Bizkaibus, also leave from here. The bus to/from the airport also stops here.
From Bilbao, there are daily buses to:
- Vitoria in under 1 hour. The company La Union offers at least one bus every hour during the day (from 6 am til 10:15 pm). Price: 6.55€.
- San Sebastian in 1 h 20 min. The company PESA offers at least one bus every hour during the day (from 6:30 am til 10 pm). Price: 12.60€.
- Pamplona in 2 h. The company La Burundesa (part of La Union) offers 6 daily buses. Price: 15.45€.
- Biarritz in little over 2 h. The company PESA offers one bus per day. Price: 19.45€. The same bus continues to Bayonne (total trip duration: 3h / price: 20.50€).
- Madrid in 4 h 30 min. The company Alsa offers at least one bus every 2 hours. There are buses from 7 am til 2 am. In Madrid, while all of the buses stop at the Intercambiador Av. América, some of them also stop at the airport. Price: from 32.21€.
- Barcelona in 7 h 30 min. The company Alsa offers 4 daily buses. In Barcelona, while all of the buses stop at the Estación Nord, some also stop at the Estación Sants. Price: from 36.66€.
The main train station of Bilbao is called Abando Indalecio Prieto, but is known by the locals as Estación del norte (“North station”). It is located in the center of the city, right on the river across from the old town.
Spain's national train service is RENFE and France's is SNCF. From Bilbao, there are daily connections to:
- Madrid in little over 5 h. There are two high speed trains (ALVIA) per day as well as 2 slower options that require changing trains in Zaragoza. Price: 20 - 65€.
- Barcelona in under 7 h. There are two high speed trains (ALVIA) per day. Price: 26 - 67€.
- Paris in little over 14 h. There is one train per day which actually requires changing trains in Barcelona. Price: around 200€. The plane is a much faster way (and probably also cheaper) to travel between Bilbao and Paris.
For short distance trips within the Basque Country there is also the Basque train called EuskoTren. Generally, it runs pretty frequently and is cheap. It also offers lovely views of the countryside. However, the downside is that it is quite slow. Trips take on average twice as long as by bus or car.