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Bilbao is the capital of Biscay province and the largest city in the Basque Country of Spain. This port city boasts a population of around 350,000 people within its borders and almost a million in the greater area.
Bilbao was first founded in 1300 by Don Diego and grew slowly over the next couple of centuries, as it slowly swallowed surrounding villages.
In 1511, the Consulate of Bilbao was granted to the town by the royal government. This made Bilbao a major export centre for wool and iron works, such as famous swords, to the rest of Europe. The decline of the Spanish Empire at the end of the 17th century, threw the city into a decline. Bilbao sprung back again in the 19th century during the industrial revolution because of its mines, steel and shipbuilding abilities. By the beginning of the 20th century Bilbao was the wealthiest city in Spain with an economy focused around heavy industry.
During the civil war Bilbao sided with the Republican Government and the city fell to Franco on June 19th, 1937. During the Franco era, Bilbao expanded greatly. This growth was fueled by heavy industry and thousands of immigrants from different areas of Spain. In 1983 the city was besieged by heavy floods that killed several people and did lots of damage to the older parts of the city.
In the last few years the city has undergone a major urban renewal to remove the cities dependence on heavy industry. This includes moving the port away from the city centre and opening up several new areas for tourism. The city has also started a massive planting project to make the city look more green.
The city is divided up into 8 districts and then into several sub neighbourhoods.
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Bilbao has a mild oceanic climate. The average temperatures in January are around 9 °C and in July the average is around 21 °C. Occasionally there can be some extremely hot days in the summer because of strong winds from the south. Temperatures can rise up to 40 °C but usually these days are not common and don't last too long either. Winters can see some frost and the occasional snowflake, but usually it's also above zero during the night. There is roughly 1,200 mm of precipitation per year with most of it coming in the form of rain.
|Avg Max||13.2 °C||14.5 °C||15.9 °C||16.8 °C||20.1 °C||22.6 °C||25.2 °C||25.5 °C||24.4 °C||20.8 °C||16.4 °C||14 °C|
|Avg Min||4.7 °C||5.1 °C||5.7 °C||7.1 °C||10.1 °C||12.6 °C||14.8 °C||15.2 °C||13.2 °C||10.8 °C||7.6 °C||6 °C|
|Rainfall||126 mm||97 mm||94 mm||124 mm||90 mm||64 mm||62 mm||82 mm||74 mm||121 mm||141 mm||116 mm|
Bilbao Airport (IATA:BIO, ICAO:LEBB) is the most important airport in Basque Country and northern Spain. The airport is located 5 kilometres north of Bilbao in the municipality of Loiu. The new terminal, designed by Santiago Calatrava, was opened in 2000 and handles over four million passengers a year. The airport has regular connections to almost every city in Spain, most major cities in Europe and limited service to northern Africa.
To/from the airport:
It is possible to take BizKai public bus 3247 every 30 minutes from Moyua square to the airport and the trips takes 15 to 20 minutes. Currently there is a plan to extend the train to the airport. The bus travels from 5:25am to 21:55pm from Bilbao to the airport, and from 6:15am to midnight from the airport to Bilbao. From March 16 to October 31 the frequency is every 20 minutes.
A bus operated by PESA to Donostia-San Sebastián departs hourly at between 07:45am and 11:45pm. The trip takes approximately 75 minutes.
Bilbao-Abando Railway Station (Estación del Norte) is the main train station in town. It has regional commuter trains, domestic trains and international trains. Check the Spanish Railway website for more information about schedules and prices.
Eurolines links Bilbao with other Spanish cities and other European countries.
|Bilbao Akelarre Hostel||Calle Morgan 4-6||Hostel||84|
|Hostal Central||Alameda Recalde 35 A 1||Guesthouse||75|
|Pension Don Claudio||Hermogenes Rojo 10||Guesthouse||80|
|Hostal Ria de Bilbao||Ribera de Deusto 32||GUESTHOUSE||71|
|Hotel Bilbao Jardines||Jardines No 9 48005 Bilbao Vizcaya||HOTEL||82|
|Hotel Bilbi||Miribilla 8||Hotel||80|
|Hotel Petit Palace Arana Bilbao||Bidebarrieta, 2 (opposite Teatro Arriaga)||Hotel||-|
|Husa Spa Jardines de Albia||San Vicente 6||Hotel||-|
|Lopez de Haro||Obispo Orueta 2||Hotel||-|
|Pensión Arias||Pablo de Alzola 13, 1o||GUESTHOUSE||77|
|Residencia Blas De Otero||C / De Las Cortes, 38||Hostel||81|
|Hotel Artetxe||Carretera Enekuri-Artxanda Km7||Hotel||87|
|Barcelo Nervion||Campo de Volantin 11||Hotel||84|
|Hotel Sirimiri||Pza. Encarnación 3||Hotel||-|
|Blas de Otero University Residence||Cortes 38 (Esquina calle Arnotegi)||Hostel||81|
|Hostal Gurea||Bidebarrieta 14 - 3||Guesthouse||-|
|Petit Palace Los Tamarises Hotel||Muelle de Ereaga 4 Neguri||Hotel||-|
|Barcelo Hotel Avenida||Zumalakarregi Etorbidea 40||Hotel||-|
|AliciaZzz Bed and Breakfast Bilbao||c/Sombrerería, 1 - 1A||Guesthouse||79|
|Hostal Mardones *||Casco Viejo Str Jardines nº 4, second& third floor||Guesthouse||79|
|Surf Backpackers Bilbao||Luzarra 18 bajo Deusto Bilbao||Apartment||81|
|Ganbara Hostel||Prim, 13-bajo||Hostel||85|
|Bilbao Apartments Mirasol||Conde Mirasol, 4 - 1º Izq||APARTMENT||-|
|Botxo Gallery - Youth Hostel Bilbao Gallery Two||Avenida de las Universidades, 5||Hostel||74|
|Bilbao Apartments Alhondiga||San Francisco, 83 - 6A||Apartment||-|
|Hurtado Apartment||Hurtado Amezaga,40||Apartment||-|
|paratene||san jose 1 Erandio Vizcaya||Hotel||-|
|Pension Bilbao **||Amistad 2 - 4 izquierda||Guesthouse||87|
|OldCity Barrenkale / Euskadi Apartmentamentos||C Barrenkale 13||Apartment||-|
|Bilbao Apartments Guggenheim||Alameda Mazarreda, 49 - 1E||APARTMENT||-|
|Hostel Manarikua||Calle de Larrauri, 1C - 2A Derio||HOSTEL||-|
|BBK Bilbao Good Hostel||Av. Miraflores, 16||HOSTEL||82|
|HOSTAL BEGOÑA||Amistad, 2-1º||Guesthouse||-|
|Surfbackpackers Bilbao||Calle Luzarra 18. bajo||GUESTHOUSE||80|
|Bilbao Apartments Old City Catedral||Carniceria Vieja,11 -1||APARTMENT||-|
|Old Town Bilbao House||Calle Nueva,2||HOSTEL||-|
|Pil Pil Hostel||Av. Sabino Arana 14||HOSTEL||81|
|Moon Hostel Bio||Calle Luzarra 7||HOSTEL||79|
|Bilbao Aterpetxea Hostel||Carretera Basurto-Kastrejana 70||HOSTEL||80|
|Central / Sunny close to Guggenheim||Lehendakari Agirre Etorbidea 61||APARTMENT||-|
|Comfy and Sunny Apartment||Calle Canciller Ayala, 1||APARTMENT||-|
|Bright Penthouse in Casco Viejo||C/Barrenkale 25, 5ºA Vizcaya||APARTMENT||-|
|Bilbao Holiday Apartment||Uribarri 2||APARTMENT||-|
|Sercotel Coliseo Bilbao||Alameda de Urquijo, 13||HOTEL||-|
|Hotel Palacio Munatones||Barrio San Julián/ Muzkiz Bizkaia||HOTEL||-|
|Pension La Salve||Calle Artasamina 16||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Hotel Seminario Bilbao||c/ Larrauri nº 1- 48160 Derio-Bizkaia c/ Larrauri nº 1- Derio-Bizkaia||HOTEL||-|
|Gran Hotel Puente Colgante||Maria Diaz de Haro, 2||HOTEL||-|
|Moana Surf Hostel||Elortza Auzoa 5 Urduliz||HOSTEL||-|
Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.
In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.
The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.
If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.
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