Bilbao has an excellent health-care system.
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Before You Go
We strongly recommend that you don’t leave home without travel insurance. Find out in advance if your insurance plan will make payments directly to providers or reimburse you later for overseas health expenditures (many Spanish hospitals and doctors expect payment up front). It’s also worth making sure that your travel insurance will cover repatriation home or to better medical facilities elsewhere. Your insurance company may be able to locate the nearest source of medical help, or you can ask at your hotel.
In an emergency, contact your embassy or consulate. Your travel insurance will not usually cover you for anything other than emergency dental treatment.
No jabs are necessary for Spain. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all travellers should be covered for diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio, regardless of their destination. Since most vaccines don’t produce immunity until at least two weeks after they’re given, visit a physician at least six weeks before departure.
For emergency treatment, go straight to the urgencias (casualty) section of the nearest hospital.
Farmacias offer valuable advice and sell over-the-counter medication. In Spain, a system of farmacias de guardia (duty pharmacies) operates so that each district has one open all the time. When a pharmacy is closed, it posts the name of the nearest open one on the door.
Medical costs are lower here than many other European countries, but can still mount quickly if you are uninsured. Costs if you attend casualty cost upwards of €80.
- Tap water The water in Bilbao is of excellent quality and safe to drink.