Car Hire at Bilbao Airport
This information is correct as of July 2015.
Bilbao is a large city, and northern Spain is even larger. Acquiring a rental car will allow you better enjoy a green mountain scenery and an impressive coastline of sandy beaches without having to rely on public transportation and its time and route restrictions. Save yourself a lot of time and trouble by pre-booking your car rental online and picking the vehicle up at the airport upon arriving. Allow Skyscanner to help!
Where to hire a car at Bilbao Airport
Several car rental companies are permanently located at Bilbao Airport, including Avis, Enterprise, Europcar, Sixt, and Hertz. The service desks can be found in the parking area, opposite the terminal.
What to expect when hiring a car from Bilbao Airport
Bilbao Airport is located nine kilometres north of Bilbao. You can get to the city centre via N-637, via BI-631, or via Larrakoetxe-Derio Hiribidea. On your way back from central Bilbao, go north on Recalde Zumarkalea, heading towards Colón de Larreátegui. Turn right onto N-637 towards Aireportua. Exit at Junction 11 onto N-633, and this should take you to the terminal of Bilbao Airport.
Keep in mind the required amount of fuel in the vehicle before you return it. If you need to refill the tank on your way to the airport, there is a Respol gas station at Carretera Bilbao-Plentzia, Km 5 48014, and another on Calle Viaducto Miraflores-Larreaga, 1 48003 Bilbao.
Driving around Bilbao Airport
The access routes into Bilbao include the AP-8 from Irun/Francia or from Santander in the other direction, the AP-68 from Vitoria or Madrid, and A-636 from Burgos. The most important streets within the city centre include Gran Via, Avenida de Sabino Arana, La Alameda de Recalde, la Alameda de Urquijo, and Avenida Autonomía.
Driving in Bilbao can be quite a challenge due to hilly one-way streets. Frequent road construction projects can also be inconvenient. It is recommended to only use your car rental for excursions outside of the city. Other than that, you can park at the Termibus car park on A-8 Exit 117 and take the tram from San Mamés station to wherever you want to go in the city. Other parking options include the street using pay and display (some of which are reserved for residents only, so make sure to check if you are allowed), or the underground car parks.
Getting to your destination
Balmaseda is a charming Basque nestled in the mountains, located near the border with Burgos. It is often used as a base for exploring the wilderness. Points of interest in Balmaseda include the Palacio Horcasitas, Balmaseda Historical Museum, the Medieval Market (during March), Puente Viejo Roman Bridge, and the Ayuntmiento Town Hall and its impressive columns.
From Bilbao Airport, Balmaseda can be accessed via BI-636, via BI-631 and BI-636, or via A-8. The trip should take less than an hour if traffic is light.
Guernica is another Basque town. It was the first civilian town to experience an airborne bombing attack during the Spanish civil war. Though the old town was destroyed, some parts were spared and the rest were renovated or rebuilt. It now contains the Gernika Peace Museum Foundation, Euskal Herria Museum, Park of the Peoples of Europe, Assembly House and the Tree, and Udetxea Palace.
Guernica is accessible via N-637 and BI-635, BI-2713, or via BI-631.
Sopelana is a suburb of Bilbao near the beach. It comes from a history of primarily farming activities, but its beaches Barinatxe and Arrietara are now known as a good surfing spot. Clothing is optional in Barinatxe. Paragliding is also possible off the hills above the beaches.
There are three routes you can choose from to get to Sopelana from Bilbao Airport: via N-637, via BI-634, or via Gatzarrine Kalea.