Conference venue

Hotel Ercilla and Alhondiga Conference Center
Hotel Ercilla phone number: 34-94-470 5700
Fax: 34-94-443 9335

Getting To Bilbao

Bilbao is the main city in the northern Basque region and is accessible by virtually every means of transportation possible. It’s at the convergence of several major highways, on the tracks of the Spanish national railway and easily reached by bus. Also, being a port city, Bilbao can be reached by ferry from the UK. In addition, there’s the Bilbao International Airport, which receives flights from all over Spain and many parts of the world.

By car

An extensive network of major highways converge on the city of Bilbao, making it easy to reach the city by car. From the French border and the towns of Donostia and San Sebastian, Bilbao can be reached via the A8 motorway. Other major arteries leading into the city include the A68, which connects with Barcelona, and the A7, which runs along the Mediterranean coast. From Burgos, you can take the A68 to Bilbao, a journey of about 1 hour, 30 minutes. From Valladolid, take the Castile Freeway, which also connects to the Northern Freeway, leading to Madrid. From Santander, the Cantabrian Freeway runs straight into the city, a journey that takes about an hour.

By rail

While trains are not the ideal way to travel around the Basque region, it is possible to reach Bilbao by direct train from Madrid’s Chamartin Station. Most long-distance trains use the Estacion del Norte, while trains to San Sebastian and Hendaye run from Estacion de Amara. Within the Basque region itself, many of the main towns are connected via RENFE short-distance trains (tel: +34 94 423 86 35). There are three main RENFE stations in Bilbao: Abando Station, Santander Station and Atxuri Station. A regional company called FEVE runs a charming narrow-gauge train that winds through some lovely countryside between towns near Bilbao.

By bus

Bilbao has excellent bus service to other cities around Spain and farther afield. The city’s main bus station is the bus terminal Termibus (tel:+34 94 439 5077), which is next door to the San Mames exchange station. From Termibus, it’s possible to access RENFE trains, the tramway and the San Mames Metro. (San Mamés is the name of the legendary Football Stadium in Spain. The stadium is home of “Athletic de Bilbao”, known as the Lions of San Mames. Built in 1913, is the oldest football stadium in Spain, condition that has granted its nickname “La Catedral” (The cathedral). Continental Auto (tel: +34...) runs nine daily direct buses to Madrid, from where you can connect to every other city in the country. Alsa Enatcar (tel: +34 902 4222 42) operates long-distance buses between Bilbao and many European cities. Alsa Grupo (tel: +34 902 422 242) runs coaches to most of the towns in northern Spain. For more local services, PESA (tel: +34 902 10 12 10) runs frequent buses between San Sebastian and Bilbao from the Estacion de Buses de Garillano. La Union and Bizkaibus also serve a lot of the regional Basque towns such as Lekeitio and Guernica.

By air

Bilbao International Airport is located 12 kms outside of the city and handles flights from dozens of domestic and international destinations. Buses run into the city every 20 minutes and taxis are readily available. Several car hire companies also have offices at the airport, which make for an easy drive into the city via the A8 motorway.

By ferry

A ferry service runs twice a week between Bilbao and Portsmouth, England, from the port of Bilbao, 15 kms west of the city. P&O Ferries (tel: +34 : 944 839 494) run the ferries, which take about 24 hours to complete the journey. Boats are often booked far in advance during the peak summer months, including early September, so call ahead for reservations. Important: Travelling after 27th September 2010? P&O are withdrawing their Bilbao route in September 2010. The only alternative to northern Spain after this date is the Brittany Ferries Santander route.