Bilbao Airport Transfers

Having guarantees that the arrival to a new city is something simple within the logistical planning of a trip is quite important. Therefore, in this publication I detail all the alternatives that you have at your disposal to move from the terminal of the international airport of Bilbao to the center of the city.

Keyvis Montilva

Keyvis Montilva

10 min read

Bilbao Airport Transfers

Inside Bilbao airport | strange angel

When you are planning a trip to the Basque Country it is very likely that you are interested in knowing what are the best things to see or do in Bilbao, since these are the fun and entertaining aspects of the trip. However, it is also true that it is imperative that you know what are the transfers that you have at your fingertips to get quickly from the airport to the center of this beautiful city. So you are guaranteed that you will not waste your time looking for means of transportation that do not really exist.

So I invite you to continue reading this informative compilation that I have prepared for you, as I have taken care to find out what are the different transfers that you could pay to get comfortably and quickly to the center of Bilbao. This after landing your flight at the airport located north of the city.

1. A private transfer, comfort and exclusivity

Waiting for the transfer| ©Andy Aldridge
Waiting for the transfer| ©Andy Aldridge

Comfort, exclusivity and speed are characteristics that can be found in the same service. If there is a place that knows how to group these three distinctions is Bilbao Airport, since it has facilities designed by Santiago Calatrava, in the best style of this city that balances modernity and antiquity along its entire length. Therefore it is quite appropriate that you can arrive at your hotel in a vehicle that will be waiting for you at the departure gate to take you directly to your destination with the privacy you need.

This type of private transfers work in a standardized way, as they have a fixed rate for 4-seater cars and also have specific prices for larger vans that could transport up to 7 people. That means that you could perfectly book a private transfer from the airport to the center of Bilbao for your whole family group of 5 or 6 people. All this while the price would be fixed on a per trip basis and not per passenger, as in the case of public transport.

At the same time, you should know that this alternative is available for you from 6 am to 11 pm. This means that you could book a direct transfer from the airport to your hotel in the center of Bilbao in order to quickly take advantage of your arrival to join some of the plans to do in Bilbao at night. You also have to keep in mind that this type of transfers are appropriate for the entire region of the Basque Coast and a couple of other cities of this Spanish autonomy.

And if you wanted to, you could book these private transfers for other places like the city of Vitoria, San Sebastian, Pamplona and even the north of La Rioja. Although clearly a car trip to these places, which are also ideal places for day trips from Bilbao, are more expensive than a simple transfer to the center of Bilbao. Which is a scant 12 kilometers from the airport terminal.

Details of interest:

  • Price: the approximate price of a private transfer from the airport to the center of Bilbao scales according to the type of car offered. Almost always a 3-passenger car is priced at 90 euros, while a 4 to 7-passenger car is priced at 150 to 160 euros each way.
  • Duration: taking as a reference the famous Plaza Moyua in the center of Bilbao as your destination, it can be calculated that a transfer by private car usually takes between 15 to 18 minutes. Sometimes a route is chosen that goes exclusively along highways, while others combine streets, avenues and highways. It all depends on the exact address of your accommodation.
  • Advantages: with a private transfer there are no waiting times, as you reserve the pick-up at the airport gate for the approximate time you would be departing from your flight. That means that your driver will be waiting for you for a short trip that offers security, privacy and exclusivity like no other alternative.
  • Disadvantages: this kind of trips can be a bit more expensive than the other alternatives and that could be a real inconvenience when you have financial limitations.

2. Using Bilbao's bus system to get to the city center

Bilbao Bus| ©Iñigo Arranz
Bilbao Bus| ©Iñigo Arranz

Bilbao's public bus system is also a good alternative to get from the airport to the city center. Of all the options available it is the most economical, the most environmentally friendly and also the most practical from a tourist perspective. For the truth is that it is a first encounter with the public transport system that you will surely continue to use throughout your trip to go from one point to another within the city.

To get by bus from the airport to the center you will have to take the A3247 line that belongs to the Bizkaibus, the name given to the bus network of the entire region of Biscay. This vehicle connects you to the center of Bilbao in a relatively direct way in about 25 minutes. Keep in mind that a ticket costs 3 € and that makes it an extremely economical trip. However, the luggage issue can make this option inconvenient if you are traveling with too much luggage.

Note that a bus leaves from Bilbao to the airport every 15 minutes from 5:15 in the morning until 11 at night. In turn, from the airport to the center of Bilbao another bus leaves every 15 minutes from 6:15 in the morning until about midnight. Which is advantageous, because you have an economical and safe way to get to the city no matter what time your flight lands in Bilbao.

I emphasize the fact that this bus has four stops on its route being Alameda Recalde the first, there are two others in the Gran Via and the last stop is the Intermodal Station of Bilbao, formerly known as the Termibus of Bilbao. So if your hotel is not in these places you would have to take a cab to get there directly from the bus stop, but you probably won't spend more than 10 euros extra if you are in the central part of the city.

Details of interest:

  • Price: as I was telling you, this intercity ticket costs about 3 euros if you pay the single fare from the airport to Bilbao Intermodal Station. However, with the Barik public transport card the fare goes down to 1.14 euros. So you might be interested in buying it for the return trip to the airport and you could do it at any metro station in the city for only 3 euros.
  • Duration: this trip on average usually takes about 20 minutes. This means that within an hour you could be in your hotel room ready to go out on some of the best tours in Bilbao or even to start an excursion to some of the best villages outside Bilbao.
  • Advantages: the low price of this public bus transfer makes the arrival to the area of your accommodation a cost saving experience. That money can be used for any other entertainment in the city or also for a shopping session in some of the stores in the center of Bilbao.
  • Disadvantages: being on a bus with several suitcases and a whole family group can be a chaotic experience for most people. In fact, this option is really only recommended if you are someone traveling with carry-on luggage or with suitcases that are maneuverable.

Book the best tours in Bilbao

3. Paying for a cab or an Uber, the more unpredictable option

Ordering an Uber| ©
Ordering an Uber| ©

Ordering a cab at the airport exit is also a traditional formula that could work depending on how comfortable you feel using this means to get to your accommodation in an unfamiliar place. For your peace of mind you have to know that during most of the day, that is, from 7 or 8 am until 10 or 11 pm there are usually cabs from the airport line waiting for passengers arriving without any alternative transportation. This is much more likely to happen during the high seasons.

On the other hand, you also have the alternative of requesting an Uber or any other transfer on a private platform that would take you to your hotel just like a conventional cab. And is that in this case you could request the transfer from your smartphone, you also have the alternative to choose the style of car you prefer and you have some data checks. Such as the driver's information, his car and the use of security codes to ensure that this is a viable alternative for your personal integrity.

In the case of a cab there is no guarantee of how much you could pay for the transfer, as everything depends on what the meter indicates. On average, a cab transfer from the airport to the center of Bilbao is usually between 20 and 25 euros. On the other hand, with Uber and other similar applications the fare is adjusted according to the supply of the number of drivers available and according to the demand of the number of people requesting a ride at the same time as you.

Keep in mind that with both options you will be at the entrance of your accommodation in about 20 minutes at the most if it is in the central area of Bilbao. However, the waiting time will always depend on the number of tourists who have also had the same idea as you. In any case, the waits are not usually significant at any time of the year and therefore in a maximum of 35 minutes you will be able to manage to go out to participate in the best wine tasting in Bilbao as well as to start the search for the best pintxos in Bilbao.

Details of interest:

  • Price: on average, a cab or Uber transfer from the airport to the center of Bilbao will always be around €25 to €35 at most. Although high season demand may readjust the rates and you may get a couple of euros extra.
  • Duration: in both options the trip will take 25 minutes maximum. This would be under circumstances with significant vehicular traffic. If it were a shared trip with another passenger everything would change and will depend on the route planned by both.
  • Advantages: a trip in this type of vehicle is more intimate than a bus and is still cheaper than a private transfer with advance reservation. In addition, cabs are always the best mobility alternative according to many people's perspective to ask for recommendations about a new place you are getting to for the first time in your life.
  • Disadvantages: having to wait for an Uber that is willing to take you or having to stand in line to order a cab can be distressing after a long trip of several hours without sleep. Especially due to the fact that there is never any certainty when these waits will be over.

Enjoy the best wine tasting in Bilbao

4. Renting a private car

Rent a car| ©Obi
Rent a car| ©Obi

Renting a car on your own is the last alternative you have at your disposal if you want to get from Bilbao airport to the city center. Just like in the rest of the airports in the world, there is a car rental center at this airport. This is very convenient for the region knowing that this is an important tourist destination in the north of Spain and knowing that a vehicle implies that the visitor will have mobility beyond Bilbao.

This airport has 6 different car rental companies and they are all located in the lobby of Parking P1 on floor 0. This place is accessible without having to go outside the building, as you can reach it from a subway gallery that is already outside the baggage claim area. That means you can get directly to the car without having to walk around too much carrying all your luggage and without having to call a cab to a car rental center on the outskirts of the city.

Also, for your convenience, this car rental center has a large enough fleet of vehicles for you to find an alternative that fits your needs. Whether it is a car for 4 people or for 6, an electric car or a car with off-road traction. If you rent the car in this site, you will have the possibility to return it at the end of your trip under the pre-established conditions of the contract you will sign.

Having a car will be convenient, as you will be able to visit other tourist sites in the region and you could organize a short trip from Bilbao to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and other nearby destinations on the Basque Coast. In addition, having a car will allow you to move with your family from one place to another in the Basque Country in a comfortable and safe way. Which means you will be able to enjoy some of the activities to do with kids in Bilbao just outside the city without any logistical inconvenience.

Details of interest:

  • Price: the airport transfer ceases to have a specific price, as the amount will now have to do with the daily rate of the car rental. The average of this service is usually about 30 euros per day at least for a modest and conventional car, but you must add the rates of fuel refills that are necessary throughout the trip.
  • Duration: driving will take you the same time as the cab driver and the Uber and therefore in about 25 minutes at most you should be in the center of Bilbao. As you will be driving you will probably do it more cautiously, while looking at the GPS and that can give you a few minutes delay.
  • Advantages: a car is an extremely useful resource if you intend to leave Bilbao to tour the surrounding area, which is advisable knowing that the Basque Country is one of the most beautiful regions in all of Spain. To move around the city would be impractical, as public transportation is very good, there are not many parking places and walking is the best idea to admire the beauty of Bilbao.
  • Disadvantages: the main problem with renting a car to get from Bilbao airport to the city center is that you will need parking, which is a scarce resource in this area of the city. Therefore, it is only advisable if your accommodation has one available and you have to take into account that the average cost of parking a car in private facilities is about 18 euros per day.