Travel to Bilbao

Flying to Bilbao

Airlines operating flights to Bilbao from the UK include easyJet, British Airways and Vueling Airlines. Flights are generally quite cheap but it’s best to book in advance to avoid price hikes during major holidays such as Christmas. For cheaper flights, an alternative route is to fly to nearby Santander with Ryanair and complete the journey to Bilbao by bus or train.

Flight times

From London - 2 hours; New York - 10 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles - 13 hours 30 minutes (including stopover); Toronto - 11 hours 15 minutes (including stopover); Sydney - 28 hours (including stopover).

City Airports: 
Telephone:+34 91 321 1000

Madrid-Barajas Airport is located 12km (8 miles) northeast of Madrid.


Madrid-Barajas Airport has two banks, one in Terminal 2 and another in Terminal 4. There are also currency exchange services and ATMs dotted throughout the airport.


Lost property offices are situated in terminals 1 (tel: +34 91 393 6119) and 4 (tel: +34 91 746 6439), while left-luggage facilities (tel: +34 917 466 065) can be found in terminals 1, 2 and 4.

Travel by road


Bilbao traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 years old. Speed limits are 120kph (74mph) on motorways, 100kph (62mph) on major roads and 50kph (31mph) within towns, unless otherwise stated. A valid driving licence and third-party insurance are required to drive in Spain. National licences from EU countries are accepted, although drivers are advised to obtain an International Driving Permit. A Green Card is strongly recommended for all visitors, although it is not compulsory if bringing your car from another EU country.

You can obtain motoring information from Real Automóvil Club de España (tel: +34 900 100 992;

Emergency breakdown service:

Real Automóvil Club de España (tel: 900 112 222, in Spain).


A network of motorways and highways converge on Bilbao. You can reach the city via the A8, which is connected to San Sebastian and the French border at Irun, and by the A68, which joins with Barcelona and the A7 along the Mediterranean coast. Bilbao is connected to Burgos by the A68 and to Valladolid by the Autovía de Castilla (Castile Freeway). From there the Autovia del Norte (Northern Freeway) leads to Madrid. Bilbao is connected to Santander by the Autovía del Cantábrico (Cantabrian Freeway).

Driving times:

From San Sebastián - 1 hour 10 minutes; Santander - 1 hour 10 minutes; Burgos - 1 hour 40 minutes; Valladolid - 2 hours 45 minutes; Madrid - 4 hours; Barcelona - 5 hours 45 minutes.


Bilbao's main bus station is the bus terminal Termibús, next to the exchange station of San Mamés. Termibús connects with the San Mamés metro station, the tramway and the Renfe short-distance rail lines.

ALSA ( runs to most of the cities in Spain and has routes between Bilbao and many of the major cities across Europe.

PESA (tel: +34 902 121 400; operates the bus connection between Bilbao and San Sebastian, while La Union (tel: +34 94 427 1111; operates the routes from Vitoria, Pamplona and Logroño. Bizkaibus (tel: +34 902 222 265; is a bus network connecting Bilbao to all the districts in Vizcaya.

Travel by rail


Bilbao is well connected to other cities in Spain by an extensive rail network, which is regular, reliable and modern. The city has three railway stations: Abando station, located at Plaza Circular 2, La Concordia station at Calle Bailén 2 and Atxuri station at Calle Atxuri 6-8. All are within the city and walking distance from the old and new towns.


Renfe (tel: +34 902 320 320;, Spain's national railway company, offers services from Abando station to a range of destinations including Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and Valladolid. Renfe has also integrated the former Ferrocarriles Españoles de Vía Estrecha (FEVE) network, otherwise known as the Spanish Narrow Gauge Railway, which runs from Concordia station to Santander and León.

Euskotren (tel: +34 902 543 210;, operated by the Basque government, offers services from Atxuri station, connecting with Durango, San Sebastian and the coast of Biscay via Gernika and Bermeo.

Journey times:

From Barcelona - 6 hours 50 minutes; Madrid - 4 hours 55 minutes; Valladolid - 3 hours 45 minutes; Zaragoza - 4 hours 30 minutes.

Travel over water


The Puerto de Bilbao (Port of Bilbao) is 21km (13 miles) northwest of the city in the small fishing village of Santurtzi.

Ferry services:

Brittany Ferries (tel: +44 330 159 7000; links Bilbao with Portsmouth in the UK. There are several services weekly, departing from the Terminal de Brittany Ferries at Puerto de Bilbao. The crossing lasts between 28 and 33 hours.

Transport to the city:

Travelling by car, take the N644 from the port onto the AP-8, which runs directly to Bilbao. Line 2 of the Bilbao Metro also runs to the port area. Santurtzi is the final stop on the northbound route.

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.