Car hire in Bilbao
Hiring a car in Bilbao
The Basque city of Bilbao is like no other destination in Spain. The city has carved its own niche in the tourism market, cementing itself as a cultural masterpiece in art and architecture.
Formerly suffering as an industrial region, Bilbao benefitted from the opening of the Museo Guggenheim and the spotlight this shone upon its quirky character and unusual architecture, both of which have come together to allow it to grow into its well-earned position as one of Europe's most thriving centres in the art world. It's well worth a visit for anyone who wants to see a different side of Spain…
What you need to know
Architecture and art is the main order of the day in Bilbao, and this means that the best way to see everything that the city has to offer, from the range of different buildings to the art galleries, is to hit the road and discover the city by car. You can save money on your car hire by booking with Holiday Autos before you travel, securing yourself the best deals and value through use of our easy to navigate booking tool. We offer free cancellation, no credit card fees as well as a customer care team available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, should you need our assistance.
Where to pick up your car
When you arrive at Bilbao Airport (BIO), the busiest and most important airport in the Basque region, and in fact the whole of Spain, you can collect the keys to your hire car by heading down to the car park on the bottom floor.
To get to the car hire desks, when you get to the main terminal of the airport, head across the connecting glass gallery and towards the P1 car park. From there, go down to the ground floor and you will find the car hire desks from our range of leading providers, all of which offer you the best service and the best prices and value available.
“The pick-up was easy, it took 5 minutes from arriving at the desk to driving out the car, and the return took even less time.
Where to go
Once you've picked up the keys and relevant documents for your car hire, the only thing left to do is to plan how you want to spend your time in Bilbao.
No matter if you want to simply enjoy the Guggenheim and the other delightful centres of culture and art that bring Bilbao to life, or if you would rather experience the wonderful range of Basque cuisine that the city has to offer, Bilbao will have so much for you to do that you'll be spoiled for choice throughout your time in the Basque capital.
Although Bilbao itself is a major European centre for art and culture, travelling to nearby towns allows you to broaden your understanding of what this has added to the Basque region in the past few decades. For example, head to Barakaldo, a mere 10km away, to enjoy street sculptures and beautiful green botanical gardens that manage to continue the artistic feel of the region, but with a difference, making it feel a world away from the industrial Bilbao.
Another way to enjoy something a little different in the Basque region is to head around 40 minutes south of Bilbao to the Gorbea Natural Park, a truly breathtaking experience. With a typically mountainesque climate, you won't feel like you're in Spain, but rather in a different, beautiful world. Take the time to visit Gorbea mountain itself to see the crosses located high on the peak, or walk to the stunning Gujuli's waterfall for one of the most picturesque views around.
Bilbao has many things to see and do as you experience the alternative European art heavyweight, but that doesn't mean you need to spend your entire holiday there. Car hire from Holiday Autos means you can take the time to explore the Basque region in its entirety with the freedom it offers.
Take advantage of this chance to visit somewhere away from Bilbao by adding a little variety to your break. San Sebastian (or Donostia in Basque) is located 100km east of Bilbao, and offers something more akin to a traditional Spanish destination. From the cool Playa de la Concha beach the historic old town, there's so much to see in San Sebastian, and that's before you even start to explore the nightlife and local cuisine. Michelin Stars are liberally sprinkled across the city, and you'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to eating out.
A similar distance from Bilbao is Santander on the northern coast of the country. This is a popular summer destination for Spanish people, and as such it is well worth a visit. Bustling shopping streets and trendy urban beaches are the order of the day in Santander, and both make it well worth a visit to this more modern coastal city.
Top attractions to visit in Bilbao
Any trip to Bilbao will mostly be taken up by exploring the artistic side of the city, and the freedom that comes from having your own car means you can see so much more during your time in the city.
When it opened in 1997, no one could have forecast the impact the Guggenheim would have on Bilbao, single handedly bringing the city to life and turning the attention of the art world upon it as a major player. The building itself, created by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, is stunning with its glimmering canopies, cliffs, promontories, ship shapes, towers and flying fins, and must be seen by anyone with even a passing interest in art. And that's before you even get inside. Once you make it inside, you'll find permanent exhibits on the ground floor focused on modern metalwork art and mazes, while upstairs you will discover a range of temporary exhibitions, which have in the past included work from artists such as Yoko Ono.
It might be known as something of an industrial city, but that doesn't mean that's all Bilbao has to offer. The Casco Viejo old town is a great way to see the other side of Bilbao. Some of the buildings here date back to the 1400s, and it's always worth taking a drive here just to see some of the quirky structures and shops that line its narrow streets.
Basque history is probably some of the least well known outside the region itself, so visitors should always make time to head to Euskal Museoa, the most complete collection of Basque history that can be found anywhere in the region. From prehistory all the way to the modern age, this museum is the best way to explore the complete history of what it is to be Basque. It's a must see for anyone with an interest in the region, although the lack of English translations means it is probably best for those with at least conversational Spanish in their repertoire.