A tiny bit of history
Bilbao needs no presentation, but anyway, here are some hints!
It is the capital of Bizkaia, on the northern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It is the most populated city in the Basque Country, with 345.821 inhabitants.
The Nervion estuary is the main artery of Bilbao, and it was the backbone of the city’s economy, making it one of the most important ports in the Peninsula.
During the 19th century, with the arrival of industrialization, the city became the economic hub of the Basque Country: important iron and steel companies like “Altos Hornos de Vizcaya” were established, boulevards and promenades were built in the new expansion district, and some of the city’s most emblematic buildings (e.g. the new town hall, Arriaga Theatre and Basurto Hospital) were erected at the time.
Despite the efforts and struggles of workers, part of that industrial legacy was lost during the restructuring process the city underwent in the eighties. The steelworks and shipyards at the river banks gave way to several museums and works by famous architects.
This transformation began in 1995 with the inauguration of Norman Foster’s metro, and it continued its expansion through the Abandoibarra area with the opening of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, the Euskalduna Conference Center and Concert Hall, Calatrava’s Zubizuri bridge, the tramway, Iberdrola tower…
In the 21st century Bilbao has become a great tourist attraction: a city famous for its gastronomy, culture and architecture, in perfect balance between tradition and modernity. A lovely place to enjoy a couple of days wandering around its old town and expansion district, to taste delicious pintxos with a nice txakoli, or to discover the city’s down by the riverside past.
How to get to Bilbao
It’s one of the main cities in the north of the Peninsula, so there are plenty of transport options. You can choose between plane, train or bus, depending on where you’re coming from.
Bilbao Airport, located in Loiu, is about a 15-minute-ride away from the city center on public transport.
3247 route of the Bizkaibus buses connects the airport and the city center. Buses run every 15 minutes from 6:20 (am) to midnight, departing from the airport, and from 5:20 (am) to 22:00 (10 pm), departing from Bilbao.
The bus station in Bilbao is called TermiBus, and it is located in San Mamés, close to the Nervión estuary and within the city limits. Estimated travel time from Madrid is 4 to 5 hours, and from Barcelona, 7 to 8 hours.
If you choose to travel by train you will arrive at Abando station, at the very city center. It takes a little less than 5 hours to get from Madrid to Bilbao, and roughly over 6 hours if you are travelling from Barcelona. You can check all the information and buy your tickets at Renfe’s web.