Car Rental in Bilbao
Cheapest Car Rental Rates
Most Popular Car Rental Deals
Why rent a car in Bilbao?
Bilbao is one of the most interesting cities in Spain. Sophisticated and modern, yet with a touch of exciting history and some of the best restaurants in the country, it offers something for every visitor. Better yet, its proximity to other cities like San Sebastian and Pamplona, traditional villages, stunning mountains, and some of Europe’s best surfing spots makes it a great hub from which to explore the rest of the Basque region and northeastern Spain.
One-Way Car Rentals in Bilbao
The most popular one-way rental options for pick up in Bilbao and drop off in another city include:
- From Bilbao to Barcelona - 101 offers from $19.09 per day
- From Bilbao to Madrid - 101 offers from $20.32 per day
- From Bilbao to Malaga - 154 offers from $20.32 per day
- From Bilbao to Santander - 61 offers from $17.84 per day
- From Bilbao to A Coruña - 98 offers from $20.32 per day
Top ways to enter Bilbao
- Bilbao Airport: Located just 9km (5.4 miles) north of Bilbao city center, the largest airport in the Basque country hosts many flights to and from Southern and Western Europe, as well as some flights to the northern and eastern parts of the continent. One of the best airports in Spain according to various surveys, it served 5.5 million travelers in 2018.
- Santander Airport: Serving the capital city of the neighboring Cantabria region, Santander Seve Ballesteros Airport is much smaller than its counterpart in Bilbao, yet offers many flights by low-cost carriers. The airport is just an hour’s drive west of Bilbao along the Bay of Biscay.
- Biarritz Airport: Another small and cozy airport near Bilbao, Biarritz Airport is located in nearby France. It offers convenient connections to Paris, Lyon, Geneva, London, and other Western European destinations. Biarritz Airport is just a 90-minute drive from Bilbao, but keep in mind that you’ll be crossing an international border, so first make sure your car rental provider permits it.
- Pamplona Airport: The capital city of the neighboring Navarre region is only served by two airlines, but offers year-long flights to and from Madrid and Frankfurt, as well as seasonal flights to the Balearic Islands. Pamplona Airport is less than two hour’s drive southeast of Bilbao.
- By rail: If you arrive in Bilbao by train, you can conveniently pick up your rental car at Bilbao Train Station, Bilbao-Abando.
- By sea: If you arrive in Bilbao by ferry, you can easily pick up your rental car at the Port of Bilbao.
- Bilbao enjoys an oceanic climate. Its summers are warm (but rarely extremely hot) and quite dry, while its winters are mild and wet. The average temperature is 21°C (69°F) in August, the warmest month, and 9°C (48°F) in January.
- Because of its proximity to the Bay of Biscay, the average altitude of Bilbao is only 19m (62ft). However, there are two impressive mountain ranges nearby, the Cantabrian Mountains to the west and the Pyrenees to the east. Both offer excellent hiking, skiing, and wildlife-watching opportunities.
Top destinations and activities
- Guggenheim Museum. A landmark of Bilbao, it is also one of the most famous modern art museums in the world. Paying homage to Bilbao’s many sailors and fishermen, the museum’s largest gallery was projected to resemble the fins of a fish (and was for a time, indeed, called the Fish Gallery). Works by Mark Rothko, Francesco Clemente, and many other famous artists can be found inside. A visit to Bilbao is incomplete without seeing the Guggenheim.
- La Ria Maritime Museum. Located in the former shipyard of the city, this museum is made up of both indoor and outdoor exhibitions telling the story of the proud Basque seafaring history. Even if you’re not particularly interested in the topic, seeing this unique building is an awesome experience.
- Santiago Cathedral. First built during the 12th century and heavily enlarged over later centuries, this gothic church is named after the patron saint of Bilbao. In the center of a larger architectural complex that also includes a fountain and a square, the cathedral is also an important milestone for those who walk the Way of Saint James (the Camino de Santiago).
- The Basque Museum. Known for a unique culture and a language that’s not related to any other living tongue, the native inhabitants of the Basque region are considered to be one of the oldest cultures in Europe. From archaeological findings to national costumes, this small, but interesting museum is dedicated to all things Basque. In 2021, the museum celebrated its 100th anniversary.
- La Ribera Market. In the heart of the old town, you’ll find Bilbao’s central market which is home to a fantastic food court where you can taste delicious pintxos, similar to tapas, and traditional Basque desserts, such as Carolina pastry.
- Artxanda Funicular. Just a ten-minute walk from City Hall, the Artxanda cable car takes you to Mount Artxanda, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
Traffic and parking
- Speed limits - 30km/h (19mph) for all roads in the city of Bilbao (this started in 2020), 90km/h (56mph) on most standard roads outside of the city, 100km/h (62mph) on standard roads that are either one-way roads, roads with more than two lanes for at least one direction of traffic and roads with shoulders more than 1.5m wide, and 120km/h (74mph) on motorways (called autovías in Spain).
- Despite being close to the sea, Bilbao is a surprisingly hilly city. Many of its streets are very steep and narrow, so be extra cautious, especially if you’ve chosen a large vehicle.
- The car’s registration and insurance documentation always have to be inside the vehicle.
- The driver and all passengers are required to wear seatbelts.
- Children up to the age of 12 and measuring less than 135cm traveling in the front seat of a car must be seated in a child restraint system adapted to their size and weight.
- Unnecessary use of audible warning devices (horns) is prohibited.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05% for experienced drivers and 0.02% for novice drivers.
- The emergency number is 112.
Most of the roads in Spain are toll-free. Toll roads are called ‘carretera de peaje’. On maps and road signs, all toll roads have to include a letter P after the road type. The acceptable payment methods may vary depending on the road, but most will accept cash. Regardless of the region, the average estimated price is €9.5 ($11.25) per 100km by car. See the official website for prices and more information.
Ideas for day trips
- San Sebastián. Located on the French border and also known by its Basque name Donostia, this city is famous not only for having the most Michelin three-star restaurants per person in Europe, but also for its long impressive promenade, history of human settlement dating back as far as 25 thousand years, and as an important center for Basque language and culture. San Sebastián is about 100km (62 miles) east of Bilbao, a distance that can be traveled by car in a little more than 1 hour.
- Vitoria. Also known as Gasteiz, the capital of the Euskadi Province gets less attention than its other two cities, Bilbao and San Sebastian. It is nevertheless a charming and relaxing place to visit thanks to its Medieval town center, modern museums, and many cultural events. Located just a 45-minute drive south of Bilbao, it’s easy to go there and see for yourself.
- Mundaka. An otherwise calm, pretty, and quiet place like many other small towns in Spain, Mundaka also offers some of the best surfing opportunities in Europe. The impressive waves coming from the Bay of Biscay have set some serious records and are an impressive sight to behold, let alone surf; however, beginners can also find plenty of opportunities in the area. Mundaka is just a 40-minute drive northeast of Bilbao.
- Pamplona. Home of the Running of the Bulls and the capital of the neighboring Navarre region, Pamplona is one of the most interesting cities in northeastern Spain. The famous festival takes place during the second week of July, but there’s also plenty to enjoy during the rest of the year, including the city’s interesting architecture that includes the Pamplona Cathedral, a gem of Gothic architecture. The drive from Bilbao takes about an hour and 50 minutes.
- Santander. An hour and 10-minute drive from Bilbao, Santander is a tranquil but beautiful city to explore on a day trip. Some of the main attractions are the Centro Botín, Santander Cathedral, and Palacio de la Magdalena. If you visit in summer, Santander also has incredible golden sand beaches.
Most popular cars
The most popular rental cars in Bilbao are the Nissan Pulsar, the Ford Fiesta, and the Opel Corsa, while the most popular rental car types are compact, economy, and intermediate.
- Cantabria. Less populated and more remote than the neighboring Basque Country, Cantabria is famous for its beautiful natural areas, from its long, pristine beaches to the green Cantabrian mountains that have wildlife like European bison, brown bears, and wolves. More than anywhere else in Spain, it feels like true wilderness. The area also has a unique culture and set of beliefs that are still alive in small villages and can be learned about in its towns. Santander, the region’s capital, is just 100km (62 miles) west of Bilbao.
- Biarritz. Located in the Basque country, but on the other side of the border, Biarritz feels both similar and different to places like Bilbao and San Sebastián. While undoubtedly Basque, its French influences are also clearly noticeable when it comes to food, buildings, and lifestyle. Traveling further up the coast, you’ll soon reach France proper, starting with the famous city of Bordeaux. Coming from Bilbao by car, Biarritz can be reached in 1 hour and 40 minutes. Keep in mind that you’ll have to cross a national border, so first, ask your rental car provider if they permit it.
- Madrid. Large and modern, Madrid is one of the very few European capitals that can also feel extremely cozy and accessible. Come here in June or July when most local inhabitants are away on their summer vacations, and you’ll have the city’s impressive boulevards, museums, and churches practically all to yourself. Madrid is exactly 400km (250 miles) southwest of Bilbao and can be reached by car in four hours.
- The Pyrenees. Forming a natural frontier between Spain and France, the Pyrenees is a stunning place to visit. A large part of the mountain range is located inside Basque Country and can be easily reached from Bilbao. Other attractions, like the Valles Occidentales and Ordesa y Monte Pedro National Parks, are a three-to-four-hour drive away.
Car Rental Prices in Bilbao
- Station wagons - from $33 per day
- Large cars - from $29 per day
- Medium cars - from $5 per day
- Vans - from $11 per day
- Premium cars - from $15 per day
- Small cars - from $4 per day
- SUVs - from $9 per day
Try these tricks to get a great car rental deal in the Basque Country:
- Compare the rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit during the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Bilbao is the cheapest in January when renting a car is about 70% cheaper than the yearly average and an entire 85% cheaper than renting a car in April. Come visit the Basque coast in winter!
Top 20 Cities near Bilbao
Santander Car Rentals from $18.74 per day74.8 km / 46.5 miles away
San Sebastian Car Rentals from $19.84 per day75.8 km / 47.1 miles away
Pamplona Car Rentals from $25.78 per day115.5 km / 71.8 miles away
Burgos Car Rentals from $25.19 per day120.9 km / 75.1 miles away
Leon Car Rentals from $22.12 per day231.0 km / 143.5 miles away
Valladolid Car Rentals from $24.16 per day237.1 km / 147.3 miles away
Oviedo Car Rentals from $14.23 per day238.2 km / 148.0 miles away
Zaragoza Car Rentals from $23.05 per day245.4 km / 152.5 miles away
Asturias Car Rentals from $16.01 per day253.9 km / 157.8 miles away
Madrid Car Rentals from $3.97 per day318.0 km / 197.6 miles away
Salamanca Car Rentals from $28.25 per day343.4 km / 213.4 miles away
Lugo Car Rentals from $16.85 per day379.2 km / 235.6 miles away
Reus Car Rentals from $18.52 per day412.3 km / 256.2 miles away
Salou Car Rentals from $57.00 per day414.6 km / 257.6 miles away
Castellon Car Rentals from $19.09 per day438.2 km / 272.3 miles away
A Coruña Car Rentals from $15.45 per day442.3 km / 274.8 miles away
Santiago de Compostela Car Rentals from $5.27 per day449.1 km / 279.1 miles away
Barcelona Car Rentals from $5.13 per day466.8 km / 290.1 miles away
Valencia Car Rentals from $4.21 per day469.7 km / 291.9 miles away
Vigo Car Rentals from $19.69 per day481.4 km / 299.1 miles away
Top 20 Locations near Bilbao
Bilbao Airport Car Rentals from $3.78 per day
Downtown Car Rentals from $16.68 per day5.0 km / 3.1 miles away
Santander Airport Car Rentals from $18.74 per day74.8 km / 46.5 miles away
Burgos Train Station Car Rentals from $28.25 per day120.4 km / 74.8 miles away
Zaragoza Train Station Car Rentals from $23.05 per day245.4 km / 152.5 miles away
Asturias Airport Car Rentals from $16.01 per day253.9 km / 157.8 miles away
Madrid Airport Car Rentals from $3.97 per day318.0 km / 197.6 miles away
Madrid Chamartin Train Station Car Rentals from $14.63 per day320.9 km / 199.4 miles away
Madrid Atocha Train Station Car Rentals from $9.40 per day328.4 km / 204.1 miles away
Reus Airport Car Rentals from $18.52 per day412.3 km / 256.2 miles away
Castellon Airport Car Rentals from $48.94 per day423.6 km / 263.2 miles away
A Coruña Airport Car Rentals from $15.45 per day442.3 km / 274.8 miles away
Santiago de Compostela Airport Car Rentals from $5.27 per day449.1 km / 279.1 miles away
Barcelona Airport Car Rentals from $5.13 per day466.8 km / 290.1 miles away
Barcelona Train Station Car Rentals from $15.05 per day466.8 km / 290.1 miles away
Downtown Car Rentals from $20.97 per day467.1 km / 290.2 miles away
Barcelona Rambla de Catalunya Car Rentals from $33.03 per day467.7 km / 290.6 miles away
Valencia Airport Car Rentals from $4.21 per day469.7 km / 291.9 miles away
Valencia Train Station Car Rentals from $7.67 per day476.3 km / 296.0 miles away
Vigo Airport Car Rentals from $19.69 per day481.4 km / 299.1 miles away
Map of Car Rental Locations
What is the cheapest month to rent a car in Bilbao?
This information can help you identify the low season. But these are only average numbers. How much your car rental will cost will depend on the type of vehicle you rent, how long you’ll rent it for, and how far ahead you book. Simply enter your dates in the form at the top of the page to see the exact prices.
What’s the usual rental length in Bilbao?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Bilbao?
Car Rental Information
|Car rental locations||5|
|Popular suppliers||RentByCar, Record-go, Alamo, Centauro, Ok Mobility|
|Popular car categories||Small cars, Medium cars, SUVs, Vans|
|Lowest price||$4 per day|
Most Popular Car Models of Rental Suppliers
|RentByCar||Renault Clio||5||2||Small cars|
|Record-go||Fiat 500||3||1||Small cars|
|Record-go||Opel Corsa||5||1||Small cars|
|RentByCar||Fiat 500||3||1||Small cars|
|RentByCar||Renault Clio||5||2||Small cars|
|RentByCar||Fiat 500||3||1||Small cars|
|Record-go||Fiat 500X||5||3||Medium cars|
|Drivalia||Citroen C1||3||1||Small cars|
|Centauro||Fiat 500||3||1||Small cars|
Our Customers' Reviews
Because we want to make sure each review listed here is left by a real customer, we don’t have an option to post a review here. Instead, we ask each and every customer to leave a review after they return their rental car. This way, you know that all reviews are authentic, verified, and trustworthy.