Metros in Spain: Bilbao Metro

Bilbao is a city in northern Spain, belonging to Basque Country. Besides Spanish, people also speak Basque in the city. Bilbao has a population of around 300,000 people. The city received a prize from Singapore because it considered Bilbao as a role model in city construction. Bilbao was founded in the 13th century, and it had a booming trading economy because it had funding from Castilla to do commerce in the city's ports. In the 1800s, Bilbao became the second most industrialized city in Spain. The city's economy is currently focused on services.

Bilbao's international airport is Bilbao Airport. The means of public transportation in the city includes buses, trains, and the metro. Among the buses available in the city are Bilbobus, which is a suburban bus, Bizkaibus, which is an intercity bus. The buses meet at Termibus station. Among the train services offered are Artxanda's Funicular, Euskotren Trena, Renfe Cercanías and Euskotren Tranbia. The final means of public transportation, Bilbao Metro, is a public underground train system owned by the government via the institute Consorcio de Transportes de Bizkaia.

History

Plans to construct a metro system in Bilbao were made since the 1920s, but the government waited to announce the construction plan until 1977. Many politicians opposed the idea, which further delayed the construction of the metro. Bilbao Metro's construction was finally approved on 1987, and began construction in 1988. The metro was opened to the public on November 11th, 1995, with the opening of Line 1. The first station to be opened was Moyua. Then, the stations of San Inazio and Deusto were built. The metro's tunnels and stations were built by the architect Sir Norman Foster.

The original plan was to make only two lines. Line 1 would have a route similar to that of Euskotren Trena's trains. Line 1 would go from San Inazio to Plentzia. Line 2 would share stations with Line 1 in Basauri, and in Echévarry. Line 2 would separate from Line 1 when arriving to San Inazio.

Gobela station opened on June 24th, 1996, and later that year, Casco Viejo station also opened. Casco Viejo was the first station to make connections to a different public transportation service (to Euskotren Trena.) The stations Santutxu, Bolueta, and Basarrate were opened in 1997, the same year where Line 2 began construction. San Mamés station, which allows connection to Cercanías, Renfe, and Euskotren Tranbia, began construction in 1999. Line 2 was opened on April 13th, 2002. This line finished its expansion with the inauguration of Kabiezes station on June 28th, 2014. 

Lines and stations

Bilbao Metro has two lines: Line 1 and Line 2. Line 1 has 29 stations and Line 2 has 27 stations. Line 2 is split into two branches: the first branch has 25 stations, and the second branch has two stations. The stations for each line are the following:

Line 1: Its stations go from Etxebarri to Plentzia. Its stations are: Etxebarri, Astrabudua, Erandio, Lutxana, Areeta, Leioa, Lamiako, Aiboa, Gobela, Neguri, Bidezabal, Algorta, Sopelana, Berango, Larrabasterra, Urduliz, Santutxu, Bolueta, Basarrate, Moyua, Abando, Casco Viejo, Indautxu, Sarriko, San Mamés, Deusto, Urduliz, San Inazio, Plentzia

Line 2, branch one: This branch goes from Basauri to Kabiezes. Its stations are the following: Basauri, Ansio, Ariz, Gurutzeta/Cruces, Urbinaga, Barakalda, Sestao, Bagatza, Peñota, Abatxolo, Santurtzi, Portugalete, San Inazio, Sarriko, Indautxu, San Mamés, Deusto, Bolueta, Santutxu, Casco Viejo, Moyua, Abando, Basarrate, Etxebarri, Kabiezes

Line 2, branch two: This branch of Line 2 has only two stations: Mamariga, Santurtzi

Connections

Bilbao Metro makes connections with buses and trains from other companies. The metro makes connections to the following train services:

  • 1. Euskotren Trena
  • 2. Euskotren Tranbia
  • 3. Renfe
  • 4. Feve
  • 5. Cercanías

Bilbao Metro can make connections to buses from Bizkaibus and Bilbobus at the Termibus bus station.

Connection to the airport

The metro does not go directly to Bilbao Airport. The closest metro station is San Mamés. The trip from the airport to San Mamés lasts 24 minutes. From the airport, go to Llegadas (arrivals.) Then, go to Termibus bus station (22-29, 1 Nasak/Andenes 22-29, 1.) Take bus A3247 from Bizkaibus towards Alameda Recalde 14, and get off at Moyua Plaza (Subdelegación del gobierno.) Walk to Moyua station, and ride on the metro towards Kabiezes, and you will finally arrive at San Mamés station. From here, you could ride in either Line 1 or Line 2 trains. 

Schedule, timetables, and calendar

The schedules for the following routes will be shown: From Etxebarri station to Bidezabal station and from Sopela station to Etxebarri station for Line 1, and from Basauri station to Kabiezes station for Line 2. The times shown will be the opening times for the first station and the closing times of the last station. The waiting time between trains will also be shown.

1) Line 1:
1.1) From Etxebarri to Bidezabal:
1.1.1) Monday through Fridays, and holidays’ eves: Etxebarri opens at 6:05 am, and Bidezabal closes at 11:06 pm. There are trains available each five or 10 minutes.
1.1.2) Saturdays: Etxebarri opens at 6:04 am, and Bidezabal closes at 11:08 pm. There are trains each 10 minutes.
1.1.3) Sundays and holidays: Etxebarri opens at 6:04 am, and Bidezabal closes at 11:05 pm. There are trains every 10 to 20 minutes.
1.2) From Sopela to Etxebarri:
1.2.1) Monday through Friday, and holidays’ eves: Sopela opens at 5:47 am, and Etxebarri closes at 11:10 pm.
1.2.2) Saturdays: Sopela opens at 6:07 am, and Etxebarri closes at 6:50 am of the following day.

2) Line 2: From Basauri to Kabiezes
2.1) Monday through Fridays, and holidays’ eves: Basauri opens at 5:57 am, and Kabiezes closes at 10:37 pm. There are trains every five to 10 minutes.
2.2) Saturdays: Basauri opens at 5:57 am, and Kabiezes closes at 11:09 pm. There are trains every 10 minutes.
2.3) Sundays and holidays: Basauri opens at 6:17 am, and Kabiezes closes at 10:51 pm. There are trains every 10 to 20 minutes.

Prices, tickets, and cards

Besides tickets, Bilbao Metro also offers the Barik card. Prices will be listed in Euros.

Tickets: They can be divided into Occasional Tickets and Season Tickets.

    1) Occasional Tickets: Recommended for people who barely ride the metro. The ticket can be transferred to someone else. This category of tickets is divided into Occasional, Return, and Day.
  • 1.1) Occasional: Works for one ride. Valid until prices change. The price varies depending on the number of zones travelled. You can ride in the train for up to two hours. The prices are: 1 Zone: €1.50, 2 Zones: €1.70, 3 Zones: €1.75.
  • 1.2) Return: Works for two rides. Valid until prices of tickets change. You can be travelling in the trains for up to two hours. Prices are: 1 Zone: €3, 2 Zones: €3.40, 3 Zones: €3.50
  • 1.3) Day (€4.60): Works and expires in a day. It goes to one, two, or three zones. It allows unlimited rides. This ticket is for a single passenger only. It allows a maximum travel time of two hours.
    2) Season Tickets: These tickets require additional purchase of the Barik card. This category of tickets is divided into: Super 50, Monthly Ticket, Youth, Gazte, Combination Tickets with Euskotren, and Group Ticket.
  • 2.1) Super 50: Works for 50 rides for a month. It can only be used by person who bought it. It requires a Kide or Giza Barik card. Only allows for rides up to two hours per day. Its prices are: 1 Zone: €30.40, 2 Zones: €35.70, 3 Zones: €40.15
  • 2.2) Monthly Ticket: Gives unlimited rides for a month. Only works for the buyer of the ticket. It requires the Giza/Kide Barik card. Its prices are: 1 Zone: €35.30, 2 Zones: €42, 3 Zones: €47.80
  • 2.3) Youth: It gives unlimited rides for a year for people aged 26 and under. Only the buyer can use it. It requires the Kide Barik card. It can only be bought in offices from Customer Service. If the user is 25 years old, the card expires when they turn 26. Its prices are: 1 Zone: €225, 2 Zones: €260, 3 Zones: €300
  • 2.4) Gazte: Gives unlimited rides for a month for people aged under 26, who live in Bizkaia. Only works for the buyer. It is available at vending machines. It requires a Kide/Giza Barik card. If your Barik does not have money, you need to refill it in order to buy this ticket. You cannot get two Gazte tickets at the same time from Bilbao Metro and from another company (such as Bizkaibus.) Its prices are: 1 Zone: €29, 2 Zone: €34, 3 Zones: €39
  • 2.5) Combination tickets with Euskotren: Works for rides in both the metro and for the Euskotren train service. It requires a Giza/Kide Barik card or Euskotren card. It is only valid for the buyer. It is valid until the indicated date on the ticket. It comes in types: CM Monthly Combined Ticket, and CJ Yearly Combined Ticket.
    • 2.5.1) CM Monthly Combined Ticket: Works for unlimited rides for a month. It is sold at the Bilbao Metro's vending machines, and at Euskotren's vending machines.
    • 2.5.2) CJ Yearly Combined Ticket: It gives unlimited rides for a year. It is only sold at Euskotren.
  • 2.6) Group Ticket: Ticket for a group of at least 20 people. Works for both one-way rides and rides with a return trip. The price varies depending on the zone. It is only sold via contacting Customer Service. It is valid until the date printed on the ticket. Even children below five years old require to pay for this ticket. It does not require a Barik card. 
    3) Cards: The cards offered to pay the fares are the Barik cards. They can only be purchased by contacting Customer Service, which is located in c/ Ibaigane 17 in Areeta. Customer Service is also located in the following stations: Casco Viejo, San Inazio, and Ansio. The Barik cards are divided into the following types: Kide, Giza, Creditrans, Hirukotrans, and Gizatrans. If you have a Gazte or Youth ticket, you can pay €3 to change it for a Barik card.
  • 3.1) Barik Kide card (€3): In this card, you can load three passes: Monthly pass, Youth Monthly pass, and Creditrans or Hirukotrans pass. To buy this card, you need your ID or passport, and a photograph of yourself. You can apply for discounts if you come from a large family, but you need a certificate proving the number of relatives in your family. The discount could be either 20% off or 50% off. 
  • 3.2) Barik Giza: Similar to the Kide card, but the passes that you can load in this card are: Monthly pass, Youth Monthly pass, and Gizatrans pass. You require your ID, your picture, and a certificate of belonging to a large family if you want to apply for a discount. People with disabilities can also apply for a discount, but they need to provide proof of suffering disabilities.
  • 3.3) Creditrans card: This card allows you to travel in groups of up to 10 people if you have a standard card, or for one person only if you have a personal travel card. You need to put enough money to pay for the fare of at least one zone to use this card. You can insert money by inserting the Barik card in a vending machine. It can be used in the following transportation services:
    • Trains: Metro Bilbao, Feve, Renfe, Euskotran, and Euskotren.
    • Funicular/Cable train: Artxanda Funicular, Ereaga Lift, Transporter Bridge, and Larreineta Funicular.
    • Buses: Kbus Barakaldo, Etxebarri Bus, Bizkaibus, Bilbobus, Erandio Bus.
    • Other services: Etxebarri and BEC carparks, Leioa, Mancomunidad Uribe Kosta bicycles.
    Its prices are: 1 Zone: €0.90, 2 Zones: €1.07, 3 Zones: €1.18
  • 3.4) Hirukotrans Barik: It only gives rides to people of large families. Requires the Kide/Giza Barik card. It can be used in the same transportation services as in the Creditrans card. Depending on the family size, your status is either Special Status or General Status. The prices are:
    • a) General Status: €0.72 for 1 Zone, €0.86 for 2 Zones, and €0.94 for 3 Zones.
    • b) Special Status: €0.45 for 1 Zone, €0.54 for 2 Zones, €0.59 for 3 Zones.
  • 3.5) Gizatrans (€0.35): Gives rides only to senior citizens aged 65 and older, and people with disabilities. Requires Giza Barik card or the Discounted Fare Euskotren Travel card. It goes to the same transportation services as Hirukotrans and Creditrans.

Rules in Metro Bilbao

Be respectful to other passengers. Do not eat nor drink in the metro. If you want to listen to music, please use headphones.

Children four years and under travel for free, but their legal guardians need to show proof of age. It is important for everyone else to pay for their ticket because the ticket's fare gives you insurance in case of an accident.

Stay away from the doors and let people get out of the metro first before entering. This prevents obstructions at the doors. When you are using the escalator, please stand and remain on your right. This will allow people to walk on the left.

Please respect areas reserved for senior citizens, pregnant women, people with disabilities, people with strollers, and for people with large luggage. These areas are located in the first and last wagons of each train.

You can bring pets, but their weight must be a maximum of 8 kilograms. Dogs and cats need to be on cages or kennels. Dogs are requires to be on a leash. Pets cannot be on the floor, so they need to be carried. Police dogs and guide dogs do not follow these restrictions. You do not require to pay extra to bring in pets to the metro.

When the trains' doors are about to close, do not run to get in nor out of the train. Otherwise, this may cause injuries or may delay the metro. Do not run to get to the train since you can injure yourself or other people waiting for the metro.

Future expansions

New lines for the metro will be built, which will add 23 new stations. These lines will be Line 3, 4, and 5. Line 1 will have a new station in the region of Getxo. Another station will be made in Basauri, which will allow trains from Lines 1 and 2 to make connections to Feve and Euskotren Trena. Line 3 will have 7 stations, and is planned to open in March 2017. Line 3 will connect to Line 1 and 2 in Basauri station. This line will also allow rides to Bilbao Airport via a connection with Euskotren Trena. Lines 4 and 5 do not have a date of construction yet. Line 4 will add 7 stations, and will connect the regions of Matiko and Rekalde. Line 5 will add six stations, and will go to the regions of Etxebarri and Usánsolo.

Tips and advices

In the Termibus bus station, there are staff that speaks in English, in case you do not speak neither Spanish nor Basque. The staff can explain you in which platform you can ride a bus that transfers to the metro, and can tell you the price for different tickets.

Remember that you need to validate your card both at the beginning and at the end of each ride, which you can do at the entrance and at the exit of each station.

Most touristic attractions in Bilbao are located in Zone 1. Therefore, you could buy tickets for one zone to travel to touristic destinations while saving money.

You can get panoramic views of beaches if you go in Line 1 towards Plentzia.

If you plan to visit the Puente Colgante bridge, then use the metro towards Portugalete and get off here since the bridge is in a steep hill. Afterwards, you can walk downhill from the bridge to Areeta station to take the metro for your return trip. If you plan to go shopping and visit restaurants, go to Moyua and Aband stations.

Fun facts

  • All of the trains have air conditioning system. 
  • You can go to the beach in Bay of Biscay if you go to Larrabasterra station.
  • The pre-recorded voices in the metro's speakers say the name of most stations in Basque only. However, at transfer stations, the voices say the name of the station in both Spanish and Basque.
  • When the train's doors close, the train makes a loud sound. But when the train's doors open, the train makes a weak, high pitched sound.
  • The metro's wagons are from the same manufacturer as the metros in the following cities: Washington, Medellín, Brussels, Algiers, Sao Paulo, Palma de Mallorca, Delhi, Mexico City, Istanbul, Rome, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Madrid, and Santiago.
  • Entrances to the stations are tube-shaped and are enclosed in glass, called Fosteritos. This name is in honor for the stations' architect, Norman Foster.
  • Otl Aicher made the metro's logo.

Nearby attractions

Since San Mamés station is the closest station to the airport, it will be taken as a reference point to go to the local touristic attractions. From the metro, you can visit the following attractions:

  • 1) Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao: The trip lasts 12 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a train in Line 1 of the metro towards Basauri, and get off at Moyua. The metro ride will last five minutes. Walk 7 minutes to Plaza del Museo, 2.
  • 2) Euskal Museoa Bilbao: The trip lasts 11 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a train on Line 1 towards Basauri, and get off at Casco Viejo station. The metro trip will last five minutes. Then, walk six minutes to Plaza Miguel Unamuno, 4.
  • 3) Guggenheim Museum: The trip lasts 14 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a Line 1 train towards Etxebarri, and get off at Moyua station. The metro trip lasts three minutes. Then, walk 11 minutes to Avenida Abandoibarra, 2. This is the most visited touristic attraction in Bilbao.
  • 4) Basilica de Begoña: The entire trip lasts 16 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a Line 1 train towards Basauri, and get off at Casco Viejo. The trip on the metro lasts five minutes. Walk 11 minutes to Calle Virgen de Begoña, 38.
  • 5) Parque Doña Casilda de Iturrizar: The entire trip lasts 12 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a Line 1 train towards Etxebarri, and get off at Indautxu. The metro trip lasts three minutes. Then, walk 9 minutes to Parque Doña Casilda de Iturrizar.
  • 6) Archaeology Museum: The entire trip lasts 9 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a Line 1 train towards Basauri, and get off at Casco Viejo. The metro trip lasts five minutes. Then, walk four minutes to Calzada de Mallona.
  • 7) Mercado de la Ribera: The entire trip lasts 15 minutes. From San Mamés station, take a Line 1 train towards Basauri, and get off at Casco Viejo. The metro trip lasts five minutes. Walk 10 minutes to Mercado de la Ribera, 22 Bis Ribera.

Metro map of Bilbao

Metro map of Bilbao Full resolution
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Bilbao metro map

  • Passengers/Day 238000
  • Fares: gates
  • 24h operation: Sat night
  • Air Conditioning: Yes
  • Walk between platforms: Yes
  • Driverless trains: No
  • Screen Doors Platforms: No
  • Operator: Metro Bilbao S.A.
  • 1
  • Bilbao Metro Official Website
  • Tlf: +34 94 425 4025
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