Rent a Car Bilbao: A Comprehensive Guide to Exploring the Basque Country

When visiting Bilbao, a vibrant city located in the heart of Spain’s Basque Country, renting a car can greatly enhance your travel experience. Having the freedom to explore the region at your own pace allows you to discover hidden gems, picturesque landscapes, and charming villages that are often inaccessible by public transportation. In this article, we will delve into the various aspects of rent a car Bilbao, from the best rental companies to driving tips and must-visit destinations.

1. Getting Started with Car Rent a Car Bilbao

Choosing the Right Car Rental Company

When it comes to rent a car bilbao, it’s important to select a reputable car rental company that offers competitive prices and excellent customer service. Some of the popular options include well-known international brands like Avis, Hertz, and Europcar, as well as local providers such as Coches del Norte and AutoUnion.

Required Documents and Age Restrictions

Before renting a car, ensure you have the necessary documents with you. It’s essential to check the age restrictions imposed by the rental company, as some may require drivers to be at least 21 or 25 years old.

Booking in Advance for Better Deals

To secure the best deals and ensure the availability of your preferred vehicle, it’s advisable to book your rental car in advance. Online platforms like and Expedia offer a wide selection of options, allowing you to compare prices and choose the most suitable vehicle for your needs.

2. Navigating the Roads of Bilbao

Understanding Traffic Rules and Regulations

Before hitting the road in Bilbao, familiarize yourself with the local traffic rules and regulations. In Spain, driving is on the right side of the road, and the speed limits vary depending on the type of road. Additionally, ensure that everyone in the vehicle wears seat belts, and never drink and drive.

Parking in Bilbao

Parking in Bilbao can be challenging, especially in the city center. However, there are several parking garages and paid parking zones available. It’s advisable to use public parking facilities or look for designated parking areas to avoid fines or towing.

Exploring Beyond the City

Renting a car provides an excellent opportunity to venture beyond Bilbao and explore the stunning landscapes of the Basque Country. From the picturesque coastal towns of Getaria and Lekeitio to the enchanting forests of Urkiola Natural Park, the region offers a wealth of natural beauty waiting to be discovered.

3. Exploring Bilbao and Surrounding Areas

Discovering the Guggenheim Museum

No visit to Bilbao is complete without experiencing the iconic Guggenheim Museum. This architectural masterpiece showcases a remarkable collection of contemporary art and hosts captivating exhibitions throughout the year. Explore the museum’s unique design and immerse yourself in the world of modern art.

Strolling Through the Old Town (Casco Viejo)

Take a leisurely walk through the charming streets of Casco Viejo, Bilbao’s historic Old Town. Admire the beautifully preserved medieval architecture, visit local shops, and indulge in the culinary delights of traditional Basque cuisine. Don’t forget to try pintxos, the region’s famous bite-sized tapas.

Enjoying Nature in the Basque Countryside

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by venturing into the serene Basque countryside. Drive through rolling hills, lush valleys, and quaint villages, where you can witness the region’s natural beauty up close. Don’t miss the opportunity to hike along the breathtaking trails of the Gorbea Natural Park.

4. Top Tips for a Memorable Car Rental Experience

Familiarize Yourself with the Car

Before setting off on your journey, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the rental car’s features. Adjust the mirrors, test the headlights, and understand how to operate essential functions like the air conditioning, GPS, and entertainment system. 

Plan Your Itinerary and Take Breaks

To make the most of your time in Bilbao and its surroundings, plan your itinerary in advance. Research the attractions you wish to visit, calculate driving distances, and allow for breaks along the way. Taking short breaks not only refreshes you but also allows you to appreciate the breathtaking landscapes of the Basque Country.

Fueling Up and Finding Gas Stations

To avoid any inconveniences during your road trip, keep an eye on your fuel gauge and plan your stops accordingly. Gas stations are readily available along major highways and in urban areas. It’s advisable to refuel when the tank is at least a quarter full to ensure a smooth journey. Read more…

5. Conclusion

Rent a car Bilbao unlocks a world of possibilities, allowing you to explore the rich cultural heritage and natural wonders of the Basque Country at your own pace. From the futuristic architecture of the Guggenheim Museum to the rustic charm of Basque villages, every corner of this enchanting region is waiting to be discovered. So, plan your trip, buckle up, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through Bilbao and its surrounding areas.


  • Can I rent a car in Bilbao without a credit card?
    • While most car rental companies require a credit card for the security deposit, some local providers may offer alternative payment methods. 
  • Are there any toll roads in the Basque Country?
    • Yes, there are toll roads in the Basque Country. Be prepared to pay toll fees when traveling on highways. Cash, credit cards, or electronic toll devices like VIA-T can be used for payment.
  • What are the driving license requirements for renting a car in Bilbao?
    • A valid driver’s license from your home country is generally accepted for renting a car in Bilbao. However, it’s advisable to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) alongside your license, especially if your license is not in English or Spanish.

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