Getting there & away
Bilbao’s main bus station, Termibus (San Mamés), is southwest of the centre. You can get to virtually anywhere in the city by metro, Renfe train and the Eusko Tran from right outside the Termibus. From Termibus there are regular services operating to/from Madrid (€24.70, 4¾ hours), Barcelona (€38.10, seven hours), Burgos (€10.90, two hours), Vitoria (€4.95, 50 minutes), Pamplona (€11.60, 1¾ hours), Logroño (€10.90, two hours), Irún and the French border (€7.40, two hours), Santander (€5.85, 1½ hours) and Oviedo (€17.60, five hours). Pesa (902 10 12 10) operates services every 30 minutes to one hour to San Sebastián (€8.65, one hour) and also serves Durango–Elorrio and Oñati.
Bizkaibus (902 22 22 65) travels to destinations throughout the rural Basque Country, including coastal communities such as Lekeitio and Bermeo.
The Renfe (902 24 02 02; www.renfe.es) Abando train station is just across the river from Plaza Arriaga and the Casco Viejo. There are two trains daily to Madrid (€32.80, 6¼ hours) and Barcelona (€38, nine hours). Other cities served include Valladolid (€21.90, four hours) and Burgos (€16.70, three hours).
Next door is the Concordia train station with its handsome Art Nouveau façade of wrought iron and tiles. It is used by the FEVE (944 23 22 66; www.feve.es) private rail company for running trains west into Cantabria and Asturias.
The Atxuri Station is about 1km upriver from Casco Viejo. From here, Eusko Tren (902 54 32 10; www.euskotren.es) operates services every half-hour to Bermeo (€2.25, 1¼ hours) via Guernica (€2.25, one hour) and Mundaka (€2.25, 70 minutes) and hourly to San Sebastián (€6, 2¾ hours) via Durango, Zumaia and Zarautz.
At the time of writing a new ferry service between Santurtzi, about 14km northwest of Bilbao’s city centre, and Portsmouth had just been set up by the Spanish company Acciona Trasmediterránea (www.acciona.ferries.org) running three ferries a week in July and August, and two ferries a week the rest of the year. Prices are about 10% less than P&O Ferries.
P&O ferries (944 23 44 77; www.poportsmouth.com; Calle de Cosme Echevarrieta 1) leave twice weekly, except November to March, for Portsmouth, from Santurtzi. Tickets prices vary due to special offers, but a guide is €61 per passenger and €488 per car and passenger. Departures from Portsmouth/Bilbao take 33/30 hours.
Bilbao’s airport (944 86 96 36; www.aena.es) is near Sondika, 12km northeast of the city. Services are excellent. There’s a first class tourist information office (944 710 301; 7.30am-11pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-11pm Sat & Sun), a medical centre, ATMs, shops, cafés, a restaurant, and car- hire offices. Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) have cheap flights between London and Bilbao although booking well ahead is advised.