LivingTravelHow to get from Bilbao airport to Bilbao and...

How to get from Bilbao airport to Bilbao and San Sebastián

Bilbao airport is the main hub for airlines flying to the Basque Country (although there are now some flights to San Sebastian airport). The airport is close to the center of Bilbao, making connections easy, while there are also regular buses that will take you directly to San Sebastián.

Which destination is better? Most visitors to the Basque Country spend more time in San Sebastián, due to the culture of the beach and the pintxos (tapas). Bilbao also has pintxos, but in most bars they are only served cold. However, Bilbao is better for culture, as the Guggenheim museum is here.

Transfer by bus from Bilbao airport to the center of Bilbao

There is a well-established shuttle bus service from Bilbao airport to the city center that runs all day and is very cheap. The service is run by Bizkaibus and starts early in the morning, in time for the first plane of the day. Many websites say that the service starts at 6 am, but in fact there are earlier buses that coincide with the first Vueling flights.

Take the bus from the following stops:

  • Termibus (Bilbao bus station)
  • Moyua Square
  • Gran Vía 79
  • Alameda Rekalde 14

But if you prefer to be taken directly from Bilbao airport to your hotel (or vice versa), you should consider a private airport transfer.

Direct bus from Bilbao airport to San Sebastián

There are three ways to get from Bilbao airport to San Sebastián: convenient, inexpensive, and scenic. The last two have the possibility to visit the Guggenheim museum as part of their trip. Check out your options and decide which one is best for you.

The bus from the airport to San Sebastián runs all day and takes you to the San Sebastián bus station in less than an hour and a half. Note that the bus says ‘Donostia’ on the front, the Basque name for San Sebastián.

  • Advantages: it is fast and the services are frequent.
  • Cons: It is expensive and the company that runs the service, Pesa, has a horrible website not to mention the airport service, making it difficult to know departure times. The journey is mainly by motorway and you miss out on some of the beautiful Basque countryside.

From Bilbao airport to San Sebastián via Bilbao bus station

The cheapest way from Bilbao airport to San Sebastián is to change at the Bilbao bus station (Termibus). The service to the bus station costs around € 1.50 and runs throughout the day (approximately every 20 minutes). Then you will have to take a bus from Bilbao to San Sebastián, which costs less than € 7.

  • Advantages: this way it is much cheaper than going direct. It also gives you the chance to visit the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao for a little extra scandal. There is a tram from Bilbao bus station direct to the Guggenheim and you can leave your luggage with the museum staff while you explore.
  • Disadvantages: there will not always be a timely connection. If you don’t want to visit the Guggenheim, you may have to wait for your bus to San Sebastian. Again, this is not the most attractive ride as it goes through the highway. For the best experience of the Basque countryside, check out the option below.

The scenic route

If you have a lot of free time, you can take the picturesque Euskotren service. It costs about the same as the cheapest bus route above, but it takes you through some of the beautiful Basque landscapes.

  1. Take the Bizkaibus from Bilbao airport to Bilbao bus station.
  2. Take the tram towards the city center (direction ‘Atxuri’). You will pass the Guggenheim, which for many is more impressive from the outside. Get off here or continue to the end of the line.
  3. In Atxuri, take the Euskotren service to San Sebastián.
  • Pros: This way is cheap (total cost is less than 9 euros) and allows you to see the Guggenheim and some of the beautiful scenery.
  • Disadvantages: This option is time consuming (more than three hours).

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