Bilbao Airport (tel. 90-240-47-04) is 8km (5 miles) north of the city, near the town of Erandio. Flights arrive from Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Arrecife, Fuenteventura, Las Palmas, Málaga, Palma, Santiago de Compostela, Sevilla, Tenerife, Valencia, Vigo, Brussels, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Milan, Paris, and Zurich. Iberia's main booking office in Bilbao is at the airport (tel. 90-240-05-00), open daily from 5am to 10pm. From the airport into town, take bus no. A3247 to the heart of the city for 3€.
The RENFE train station, Estación de Abando (tel. 90-224-02-02; www.renfe.es), is on Plaza Circular 2, just off Plaza de España. From here, you can catch short-distance trains within the metropolitan area of Bilbao, and long-distance trains to most parts of Spain. Two trains per day run to and from Madrid (trip time: 7 hr. on the afternoon train, 9 hr. on the night train). Two trains per day run to and from Barcelona (trip time: 9 1/2 hr.), and one train per day goes to and from Galicia (trip time: 12 hr.). There are also two night trains per week to and from the Mediterranean Coast: one toward Alicante and Valencia (daily during the summer months), and the other toward Málaga (three times a week in summer).
PESA, at the Estación de Buses de Garillano (tel. 90-210-12-10; www.pesa.net), operates more than a dozen buses per day to and from San Sebastián (trip time: 1 1/4 hr.). Continental Auto, Calle Gurtubay 1 (tel. 94-427-42-00; www.alsa.es), has nine buses per day from Madrid (trip time: 5 hr.). If you'd like to explore either Lekeitio or Guernica by bus, use the services of Bizkaibus (tel. 90-222-22-65). Fifteen buses per day go to Lekeitio Monday to Saturday and two on Sunday. Trip time is 45 minutes. Ten buses run each weekday to Guernica (trip time: 45 min.). On weekends, only five buses per day go to Guernica. For general bus information, call tel. 94-439-50-77.
Bilbao is beside the A-8, linking the cities of Spain's northern Atlantic seacoast to western France. It is connected by superhighway to both Barcelona and Madrid.
The tourist office, at Plaza Ensanche 11 (tel. 94-479-57-60; www.bilbao.net), is open Monday to Friday 9am to 2pm and 4 to 7:30pm.
Festivals often fill the calendar, the biggest and most widely publicized being La Semana Grande, dedicated to the Virgin of Begoña and lasting from mid-August until early September. During the celebration, the Nervión River is the site of many flotillas and regattas. July 25 brings the festival of Bilbao's patron saint, Santiago (St. James); July 31 is the holiday devoted to the region's patron saint, St. Ignatius.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.