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About Bilbao

Bilbao is a city in northern Spain and is the largest and capital of Biscay, as well as the most important and densely populated city in Basque Country. The city is located on the Nervion River and is the tenth-largest city in Spain. If you have decided to take a road trip through Spain, Bilbao can be a great starting point from which to begin and continue your journey through Spain.

Bilbao offers a whole host of must-see attractions, while also being considered one of the most popular cities among Spain's culinary lovers. As for the city of Bilbao, probably the most famous is the old town of Casco Viesco, which has a colourful appearance and dates back to the Middle Ages. This district is also home to the famous Teatro Arriaga, a neoclassical style opera house and of course the Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art. As in all other Spanish cities, Bilbao hosts many festivals that offer visitors a unique insight into the local culture, excellent food, and entertainment. The most famous festival is Aste Nagusia, the name means in Basque "Holy Week" and lasts 9 days. During all these days there are many cultural events, parties until the morning hours and most importantly you can eat and taste local food and drinks.

On 19 May 2010, the city of Bilbao was awarded the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, awarded by the city-state of Singapore in collaboration with the Swedish Nobel Academy. In 2012, its mayor, Iñaki Azkuna, received the World Mayor Prize, awarded every two years by the British foundation The City Mayors Foundation, in recognition of the urban transformation that the Biscayan capital has experienced since the 1990s. Bilbao was also voted Best European City 2018 in the Urbanism Awards 2018, presented by the international organization The Academy of Urbanism.

Basic info and car hire in Bilbao

  • Location: Northern Spain, Basque Country
  • Population: 345,821
  • Official language: Spanish and Basque
  • Currency: Euro
  • Weather:   Oceanic climate
  • Holidays in Bilbao:   For public holidays in Spain click here
  • Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants, and cafés offer Wi-Fi.
  • Road conditions:  Most roads in Bilbao are in good condition.
  • Car hire in Bilbao:  The most common pick-up point for vehicles in Bilbao is Bilbao airport. Please note that prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to find cheap last-minute car hire. Find the best deal on car hire in Bilbao!

Driving in Bilbao

To drive a car in Bilbao you must be 18 years old, have a valid driver's license, and show valid proof of insurance for the vehicle you are driving. In Bilbao, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. The speed limit on the motorway is 120 km/h (75 mph). On normal roads the speed limit is 90 km/h (75 mph), on urban roads, it is 50 km/h (50 mph), and on all other through roads, there is a speed limit sign.

It's good to know that Spain has strict drink-driving laws, allowing only 0.5 milligrams of alcohol per millilitre of blood - stricter than in the UK, where the limit is 0.8. Novice drivers are effectively banned from driving under the influence with a very low limit of 0.1 mg/l. Seatbelts front and rear are compulsory everywhere.

 One thing: for those not used to roundabouts: There are a lot of them in Spain! And the following rules apply: The driver who is already in the roundabout has the right of way unless there is a traffic light at the roundabout that regulates the flow of traffic. Before leaving the roundabout, you should put on your right turn signal to indicate that you are leaving the roundabout.

If you are caught speeding in Bilbao, the Spanish police act very quickly, and lack of Spanish is not considered an excuse. The police do not mind that you are a tourist on holiday, and fines are often issued immediately unless you can prove that you are a permanent resident in Spain. If you receive a fine, make sure the officer gives you an official receipt and if you pay immediately, the fine is usually reduced by 20%.

The Spanish law on the use of indicators on motorways is strictly enforced. You risk a fine if you fail to signal before overtaking and after overtaking if you move back into the adjacent lane. Traffic coming from the left always has the right of way. If you see a solid white line in the middle of the road, do not cross it. Continue until you either see a dotted white line or look for a sign that says "Cambio de Sentido" where you can safely and legally turn around.

  • Age limits: The minimum age to drive a car in Spain is 18 years. However, most car rental companies require you to be at least 21 to rent a car and at least 25 years to avoid paying an additional young driver fee. 
  • International Driving Permit:  Yes, if you are a non-EU licence holder.  
  • Additional papers:   Identification(passport), a valid driving licence, and valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to buy insurance at the car hire agency in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Spain)
  • Additional requirements:  Glasses (in case you need glasses, you must always have a spare pair in the car), light bulbs (are usually already in the car and are provided by the car rental company), warning triangle (2 are required for all vehicles registered in Spain and 1 if coming from abroad), high visibility vest (recently made compulsory)- First aid kit (not actually compulsory, but we strongly recommend you have it with you, just in case).
  • Children in the car:  If you are travelling with children under 12 or less than 135cm tall, you are required by law to have a child seat in your car. If you do not have your own, most car rental companies will provide one for a fee. However, it is advisable to request such a seat before collecting the vehicle, otherwise one may not always be available.
  • Driving side of the road: Right
  • Lights:  Check that all lights are working, clean, and correctly aimed.
  • General speed limits:  The speed limit is 50 km/h in cities, 90 km/h on rural roads, and 120 km/h on the motorway.
  • Parking suggestions:  Parking is prohibited in Spain in all areas where the curbs are marked yellow. The parking spaces marked in blue usually have a parking meter and you must buy a parking ticket to park in these spaces. You will usually find a machine nearby where you can purchase your parking ticket. Most of these blue areas have a parking limit of 2 hours, but this is clearly displayed on the machine.

Car Hire in Bilbao

Most popular car hire at Bilbao

The most selected hire car in Bilbao is Ford Fiesta, with Renault Clio and Seat Ibiza also being a popular option. The most popular car types in Bilbao are mini, economy, and compact.

Popular Driving Routes

Popular One-Way car hire from Bilbao

Want to rent a car for a one-way trip? No worries! Orbit Car Hire offers a variety of one-way Car Hire options in many locations outside of Bilbao. One-way car rental is ideal for cross-town or cross-country travel, saving time by not returning to your original location. Start your reservation with Orbit Car Hire and find great options on one-way car hire at locations across the Spain.

  • Bilbao-A Coruna (542,5 km with approximately 5 hours drive)

  • Bilbao-Barcelona (468 km with approximately  4 to 4,5 hours of drive)

  • Bilbao-Santander (101 km with approximately 1h 10m of drive)

  • Bilbao-Madrid (282km with approximately  3 to 3,5 hours of drive)

What to see in Bilbao

The City Hall of Bilbao

Located on the banks of the Nervion River, it is a popular tourist attraction in Bilbao. Mainly because of its elegant, but at the same time powerful and robust appearance. Of course, the interior is also very interesting, consisting of detailed furniture, wall paintings, beautiful chandeliers, vases and various decorations made of wood, ivory, etc.

Begoña Basilica

It was built on the site of an ancient sanctuary, which is believed to be the 16th century Virgin Mary. Among the local population, this basilica has a special status and is one of the most popular basilicas in this part of Spain. It is worth visiting both the exterior and interior of this beautiful architecture, especially the Camarín de la Virgen (the Virgin's chamber). 

Cathedral of Santiago

It is considered the oldest building in the city and, like the Begoña Basilica, was built on the site of an ancient sanctuary. It is built in the Gothic style. The interior of this cathedral consists of three naves with fascinating ceiling paintings. The exterior, or more precisely the façade, was restored and redesigned in the 19th century and is interesting in that it is actually in two styles, Renaissance and Neo-Classical. 

Guggenheim Museum

This avant-garde building houses magical works of modern and contemporary art. The flower sculpture of a dog by Jeff Koons, located outside the museum, is the most internationally known symbol of Bilbao. Otherwise, the museum houses work by world-famous artists such as David Salle, Chillida, Jeff Koons, Louis Bourgeois, Robert Rauschenberg, and many others. 

Ribera Market Market

Built in 1929, the market is considered the largest covered market in Europe with its 10,000 square meters of space. Besides its unique appearance, it is also characterized by its extremely rich offer of fresh fruits, vegetables, tib, meat, spices and other products. Special attention was paid to the light in the construction of the market, as the sun penetrates through the floors and windows, creating unique light patterns that give the market a special aura.

  • Visit Bilbao

    Explore Spain 

    Drive your rental car beyond Bilbao

    If you have decided to rent a car and get to know the culture, villages, cities, architecture, food, drinks, and hospitality of this beautiful country, Bilbao is definitely one of the most suitable places to start your road trip. A drive through Basque Country is a special experience. The roads and highways in this country are known for being some of the most beautiful in Spain. You are surrounded by beautiful nature, beautifully laid out roads and along the way, there are small villages where you should definitely stop. You will encounter world-class cuisine, cider cellars, and very hospitable people. Popular places to stop include San Sebastian, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Biscay, Navarre...

    A very popular route to drive through the Basque Country is also the road along the Basque coast. Many positive surprises await you on this route as well. The cuisine is a little different from inland and seafood lovers will definitely enjoy it. Also on this route, there are many attractive places where you can shop, eat, spend the night, see the surroundings and then continue your journey. One such place is definitely Hondarribia, where you can spend a wonderful day. Another interesting town that is worth a stopover is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. One of the main attractions of the town is the lighthouse, which stands on a small island and is connected to the mainland by a stone bridge. Besides the lighthouse, the town of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe is also interesting and will definitely please you during a visit.

  • Explore Bilbao

    Enjoy the culture in Bilbao

    Where to eat, drink, and party in Bilbao

    The Basque Country, especially Bilbao and San Sebastian, are considered one of the best gastronomic areas in Europe. The Basque Country, with a rich culinary history that is highly regarded and at the same time enhanced with modern approaches, is, therefore, a must for all lovers of good food. The surrounding nature has a great influence on Basque cuisine and is part of this beautiful land. Excellent local ingredients allow the chefs, of which there are really many here, to reach their full potential.

    One of the most famous dishes is certainly the pintxos. You know it in all possible combinations of ingredients. However, this is a wooden stick on which different snacks are arranged. Of course, pintxos are just a snack with a drink with the main course, and of course, you are waiting in the restaurants you have on every corner.

Best restaurants in bilbao

Casa Leotta

Bar Roma


La Gavilla

ad hoc Cascanueces



What you need to know about renting a car

How to make a booking with Orbit Car Hire?

You can easily book your vehicle with Orbit Car Hire. First, you have to choose the date and location of your rental in our booking form. In the next step, you can pick out the vehicle you want from the list provided. After filling out the personal information form there is a step where you choose the payment method and you simply fill in your credit card information. In the end, you can print out your voucher, which is needed at the time of pick-up.

What are the charges for security deposits?

Every car rental has its security deposit policy. You will find the information about the security deposit while booking the vehicle or on your voucher. 

What if I would like to change my booking?

If you need to change your booking you have made through Orbit Car Hire please contact our customer support team at customerservice@orbitcarhire.com or by phone at +354 823 0165. You can cancel your booking free of charge at least forty-eight hours before your rental is due to start. For further information please read the Terms of Use. 

How do I cancel my booking?

You can cancel your booking free of charge at least forty-eight hours before your rental is due to start. For further information please read the Conditions of Use. Our customer service team will address your requests in due time:

When do I pay for the rental car?

You pay a small deposit when making the booking as a guarantee. The remaining balance is paid when you pick up your rental vehicle. Please keep in mind that the payment at the counter is paid in local currency. 

What is included in the price?

Most of the reservations made by Orbit Car Hire include unlimited mileage, local tax, mandatory fees, and collision damage waiver. In steps 1 and 2 in the booking process or on your voucher, you can see all the details about your booking inclusions.

Are there any hidden fees?

There are no hidden charges! All mandatory surcharges and fees are presented in the 3rd step of the booking process and our Terms and Conditions. Please note that additional charges may apply for some rentals in case of:

  • Out of hours surcharge (when picking up the vehicle out of office hours),
  • One way fee (when returning the vehicle at a different location),
  • The service charge for fuel (prepaid fuel policy),
  • Young/senior driver fee (this condition is set by the car hire company and is usually not about the regulation of the specific country),
  • Excess and deposit amount (before hiring you to need to make sure your credit card limit is high enough for the deposit amount to be blocked which usually equals the excess amount or higher).

We advise our clients to read the Terms and Conditions carefully before the rental to avoid any surprises. Our knowledgeable customer service agents will gladly help you with any questions via phone, email, or live chat during our opening hours.

What is a voucher and why do I need it?

A voucher is a document that confirms your booking, the price for your booking, and the payment of your booking. It is mandatory to have your voucher with you at the time of pick up. If you do not have the voucher with you at the time of pick up, the vehicle provider may refuse to release the vehicle to you or can change the price of the rental.

What is an airport or premium location fee?

Premium location/airport fee is a fee that covers the location service costs. This fee is usually included in the price but may still occur at some locations and is charged locally.

What is Premium Coverage and how does it work?

Premium Coverage is an optional service by Orbit Car Hire which, if accepted, covers your financial accountability for damage or theft to the hired vehicle. This is not insured with a car hire company that reduces the excess amount, but a cover that refunds you in case the car hire company charges you for damage or theft. With this option, you will be reimbursed up to 3000 EUR. For more information, you can read the Terms and Conditions or contact us.

How do I get the cheapest car hire?

Prices vary frequently. It is best to book a car 3 to 8 weeks in advance of your desired pick-up date - this will ensure you get the cheapest rental rate. Alternatively, it is also possible to find cheap last-minute car hire. Find the best deal on car hire in Alicante!

How many countries does Orbit Car Hire compare?

We at Orbit Car Hire compare car hire prices in over 140 countries, including popular destinations within Europe such as Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Iceland, Croatia, Malta, France, Slovenia, Germany. 

What currency should I use to pay for the car?

You can pay the confirmation fee on Orbit's page in EUR, GBP, ISK and USD. When you pick up your car hire you will pay the remaining balance in the currency that is in the country of pick up. 

Can I rent a car from inside the terminal?

You can hire a car from inside the terminal. When you compare our offers, you can filter "In Terminal" to see all the offers we have that are inside the terminal. 

What is the cheapest car to rent?

The cheapest car to rent is the Fiat 500, Volkswagen Up and Fiat Panda. 

Can I add an additional driver to my booking?

You can always add an additional driver to your booking when you are finding your deal on Orbit Car Hire. If you have already made a booking, you can contact us to add the additional driver. You can also add an additional driver to your booking when you pick up the vehicle. 

What payment methods are accepted by Orbit Car Hire

You can pay with a debit card and credit card when making a booking with Orbit Car Hire. We accept Mastercard and Visa. 

Can I drop off my car at a different location?

Yes, you can. When you look for car hire deals on our webpage you can press "Yes" to "Different drop off location" and you will see all the best deals for a one-way car hire. 

Find The Best Car Hire Companies In Bilbao

  • Ace Rent A Car
  • Alamo Car Hire
  • Car Hire with Keddy by Europcar
  • Centauro
  • Enterprise Rent a Car
  • Europcar
  • GoldCar Rental
  • National
  • OK Mobility
  • SurPrice

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