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About Bilbao

Bilbao is the tenth largest city in Spain. With a population of 345 141 inhabitants, it is the most populous area in northern Spain. Bilbao is known for being one of the creative cities in the world; it has more than a dozen museums, covering a range of fields, including art, science and sport.

Cheap flights to Bilbao are now available for a limited period of time, so get ready to enjoy the city’s beautiful landscapes. Bilbao is home to Bilbao Airport (BIO), which is located on a 10-minute drive from the city centre. Bilbao Airport serves a multitude of airlines – including Iberia, Lufthansa, British Airways, KLM and Air France. Popular international flights depart from Cape Town and Johannesburg. Flight duration from Johannesburg to Bilbao is 12 hours and 40 minutes.

Why visit Bilbao

football crowd walking

Football

Bilbao is home to the football club, Athletic Club de Bilbao. Football is the pride and joy of the Basque nation, the atmosphere at San Mamés stadium is sensational.

matador bullfighting bull

Festivals

Semana Grande is the biggest renowned festival in the city. The festival attracts people from around the world. Celebrations include strongman games, bullfighting and firework displays.

sailboat on water

Sailing

Bilbao, located by the sea affords you the opportunity to become a sailor for a few hours. Discover beautiful spots and coastal landscapes that make up the fabric of Bilbao.

General information

Essential details you need to know before your trip

Country Spain
Currency Euro
Exchange Rate 1 ZAR = 0.073 EUR
Language Spanish and Basque
Hub Airport Bilbao Airport
Airline Iberia
Time Zone GMT +1
Travel Adaptor Type F

Best time to visit Bilbao

Being a coastal city, you can expect mild temperatures throughout the year. Bilbao has the ideal weather as winters are not too harsh and the summer months are never uncomfortably hot. From May to October, the city’s beaches are filled with eager swimmers. The coldest months in the city are January and February. To fully experience the vibrancy of the city, plan to visit in August. Festivals and events are held during this time; enjoy the city fiesta with local music, street theatre and fireworks. You can witness the city come to life.

Weather & Climate in Bilbao

Average temperature (°C) & rainfall (mm) per month

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Low °C 5.7°C 5.6°C 7.15°C 8.39°C 11°C 15°C 16°C 16.°C 14°C 12.3°C 8.2°C 5.5°C
High °C 13.3°C 14°C 17°C 18°C 20.68°C 24.°C 25.2°C 24.01°C 24°C 22°C 16°C 13.2°C
Rainfall (mm) 14 10.2 11 12.6 10.2 6.4 6.9 8.1 7.8 10.4 14.4 13.3

Overview

Bilbao boasts the most incredible architecture. The otherworldly designs are a delight for the mind. The buildings draw the attention of passers-by and make you question the thought process behind the unique and beautifully strange architecture.

The city is a marvellous gem for avid hikers. Mount Pagasarri is a definite wonder to be experienced. Along with Bilbao’s beaches, the city has incredible parks too. Totalling 200 hectares of greenery, the city's natural aesthetic is a wonderful destination to relax and enjoy serene views.

World renowned museums are located in the art district; it is a great cultural resource and makes the city very interesting, allowing visitors to envision and understand the old and modern Bilbao.

Compare several airlines, and book your cheap flights to Bilbao online at Travelstart.

Visa & Customs

South African Passport holders require a Schengen Visa as Spain is a Schengen country. The documents that you will require include – proof of financial means, copy of passport, and copy of flight and accommodation details.

Contact details for the Consulate General of South Africa in Bilbao, Spain are:

South African Honorary Consulate General in Bilbao, Spain

Las Mercedes, 31, Edificio Abra, 48930 Las Arenas.

Telephone: (+34) 94 464 1124 / (+34) 94 480 0328.

Fax: (+34) 94 464 1124.

Email: clerchundi@cgac.es

Health & Safety

There are no serious health risks to be concerned about. Visitors to Bilbao do not require any vaccinations and the food hygiene is good. In cases of minor incidents, there are pharmacies across the city that will be of assistance to you. There are suitable hospitals too, if a serious injury occurs, during your visit. Medical aid is quite expensive in Spain. Take precaution and ensure that you have medical cover before leaving for Bilbao.

Bilbao is not known to have a high crime rate but it is always best to be cautious in unfamiliar territory. There is the obvious risk of being pickpocketed. Be sure to be aware of your valuables when walking around the city. Maintain vigilance of people in groups as they may be trying to engage you in conversation as the next person takes your wallet or other valuables.

Cost of Living

Item Cape Town Johannesburg Bilbao
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant R 100.00 R 100.00 R 165.00
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) R 25.00 R 25.00 R 41.00
Cappuccino (regular) R 22.00 R 22.00 R 20.00
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) R 10.00 R 10.00 R 28.00
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) R 37.00 R 37.00 R 68.00

Where to stay?

Tapas heaven, Casco Viejo is an old town with incredible winding streets and old buildings. It is packed with cafes and shops including one of the largest retail markets in Europe, Mercado de la Ribera. It is quite lively and loud.

If you are hoping for a neighbourhood that is relatively quiet, Abando is the ideal area. The upscale neighbourhood runs along the river and is a short distance from the Guggenheim Museum.

Depending on your budget, visitors have the option of staying in a high – priced or cheap hotel. Hostels and renting apartments are also available for the convenience of your holiday in Bilbao.

Get Around

On foot and strolling through the streets is perfectly great in Bilbao, as the main tourist attractions are reasonably close together. The train services can be used to get to the beaches and villages. The metro covers the main points of the city and runs from 6am every day.

The urban bus network covers all the districts in the city, operating from 6am to 11pm. Tourists can also hop on board Bilbao’s Eusko Tren tramline which runs between Basurti, southwest of the city, and the Atxuri train station.

Main attractions in Bilbao

Flower Dog

Flower Dog

Nervion River

Nervion River

Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo

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