Hoofin’ it is fun and Bilboa isn’t a huge city. If you are there for a short period, you may want to be efficient with your time. Writer Liz Pittgives you The Scoop on transportation in this city of friendly people and great musuems.
By Liz Pitt
Public transportation in Europe is fantastic. Anyone who has ever traveled for even a short time knows that there are usually several options for transportation when visiting any country throughout Western Europe. The same holds true in Spain, more specifically in Bilbao.
While Bilbao isn’t the largest city in Spain (around 1 million in the greater Bilbao area), I think it has some of the best transportation options in the country. Let me break them down for you. Almost all of these transportation options use Creditrans, a ticket that you can buy at most kiosks, tobacco shops, or in the metro stations. Make sure you get the Creditrans, because it is almost double for a single-ride ticket.
Bilbao has one of the most efficient metros in Spain. It has won awards for its stylish design and is one of the few metros in Spain that runs 24 hours on Saturday nights. At the moment, there are two lines that go from the south of the city (Basauri) to the coast (Plentzia and Santurtzi). There are three zones and each has a different price. See a list of current prices here. It is the fastest and easiest way to get around the city.
Alsa and Pesa are the buses that will take you directly to San Sebastian from the San Mamés bus terminal. The tickets cost 6 euros and 10.10 euros (one-way), respectively. Alsa runs less frequently than Pesa, usually four times a day. Pesa runs one bus every hour.
If you catch Bilbao on a rainy day (which is pretty likely), the tram is a great way to see the city while staying dry. The tram runs from the Casco Viejo (Old Town) along the river, past the Guggenheim Museum, and to Calle Autonomia. Make sure you validate at the stop, the police will come on board from time to time and check tickets.
The Euskotrain is a slower alternative to getting outside the city. It goes throughout País Vasco, Basque Country (including many daily trips to and from San Sebastian), so it is convenient and sometimes cheaper than taking a bus. The ticket price varies depending on where you are traveling to.
More information on specific ticket costs with the Creditrans is available here: http://www.creditrans.com/castellano /madre_tarifas_c.htm
Liz Pitt is a Wisconsinite who transplanted to Bilbao. You can check out her stories and photos on her blog, http://www.lizenespana.com/p/who-is-liz.html