Comprehensive guide to get around Bilbao and its surroundings
Bilbao offers the perfect blend of modernity, tradition and the natural environment, with hills and incredible beaches sheltering a city with unstoppable growth. From the surroundings of the Basque capital to the port of Santurtzi and the coast of Getxo, Greater Bilbao offers endless options to soak up the local culture and discover an increasingly artistic and innovative profile typical of Bilbao in the new era.
If you are thinking of visiting the town, in this article you will find everything you need to know to get around easily and discover the most surprising places in the city and its surroundings.
Public transport in Bilbao
Although we value the freedom to discover our favourite destination on foot, it can be challenging to get around when our time is limited or when we are travelling with the younger members of the family. So it is essential to know the transport network of the place we are visiting and the best connections for the closest points of interest.
Bilbao has one of the best transport systems in the entire state. The railway network, buses and the cable network already have the support of the Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios or the OCU, the Consumers’ and Users’ Organisation as being the best in terms of punctuality and agglomeration. But of these options, one of the fastest ways to get to know the city is via the subway. Bilbao has three lines covering the entire Greater Bilbao region, an ideal way of getting around the centre and the beach quickly and without waiting long.
How to get to Getxo from Bilbao
Getxo is one of the most attractive places to visit in the region. Mills, palaces and an infinity of green spaces accompany the visitor to the shores of the Cantabrian Sea. Located 12 kilometres from the centre of Bilbao, this coastal town has excellent connections to the capital through its Metro Line 1 and the Bizkaibus interprovincial bus services that depart from the Bilbao Intermodal on route A3414. Whether you travel fast or you prefer to take your time and admire the views through the window, you should not miss the opportunity to discover a municipality with hidden gems such as Algorta and its Old Port or the incredible beaches of Sopela.
How to go from Bilbao to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe
If you have decided to travel to Bilbao by car, you will be able to access one of the top tourist attractions in the province, San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, in just 40 minutes. This natural wonder of the Basque Country is located in the Urdaibai region and serves as an alternative plan to get to know the different coastal municipalities along this stretch of the coast.
Due to the high demand for visits to this enclave, three car parks have been created next to the old access road for private transport. However, in high season it can become almost impossible to find a free space. So the best option is to opt for the ease and tranquillity of the bus service. During the summer months, Bizkaibus line 3517 offers an extension on its route from the centre of Bilbao to the beginning of this islet, with 1 hour and 30 minutes separating the town from the “Gaztelu Begi” stop. But in winter, things change, and the only way to access this place by public transport is through a Taxibus from Bermeo. To get to this well-known Basque port, you can take the Bizkaibus route A3527 by motorway or, if you prefer, the Euskotren line E4. Enjoy the trip!
How to go from Bilbao to San Sebastián
But you do not have to limit your visit to Bilbao to the region and the surrounding municipalities. And, if you travel to Bilbao and have a day off, you should not miss the chance of getting to know an urban area with views of the sea, San Sebastián. This city is renowned for avant-garde, Michelin-starred restaurants and a traditional environment coexisting with the drive for innovation and technology.
To get there, go to the Intermodal de Bilbao, and the Transportes Pesa service will take you to the capital in just 1 hour 30 minutes. Although with a journey time of almost 3 hours, another option is the E1 train line from the Old Town of Bilbao. Choose your favourite option, and enjoy the city of pintxos!
The extensive transport network of a city such as Bilbao is key to one of your trip’s most important points, the accommodation. When you understand the facilities offered by public transport and the options for getting around, all that remains is to choose somewhere to stay in your favourite area of the city. A good option is the tourist apartments in Bilbao Líbere, located on the banks of the estuary next to the Guggenheim. Various spaces defined as apartments or studios from which you can choose the one that best suits your needs and company. The cosy atmosphere, a minimalist design and the incorporation of technology in a new system of unattended apartments, will allow you to adapt the space and enjoy it as if it were your own home.