The Suspension Bridge of Bilbao, the oldest ferry in the world

The Suspension Bridge of Bilbao, also known as the Vizcaya Suspension Bridge, joins since 1893 the banks of the Nervión estuary at the height of the towns of Portugalete and Getxo. But we are not talking about a place of passage, it is much more. So much so that it is declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

The Suspension Bridge of Bilbao, symbol of an era

Bilbao Suspension Bridge Ferry

At the end of the 19th century, Vizcaya had become one of the great industrial centers of Spain. It was a very dynamic and active territory, and that is why it is not strange that the first iron-structured ferry bridge across the planet was built here.

Therefore, it is always very interesting to know something about the history of the Bilbao Suspension Bridge before visiting it.

About its creator

Bilbao Suspension Bridge

The architect who designed this work was Alberto de Palacio y Elissague. A very valuable character for engineering and design, but also tenacious and stubborn. And it was not easy to carry out the project of the Suspension Bridge of Bilbao.

He made sure that his efforts came to fruition, he even had his work reviewed by Gustave Eiffel himself. A) Yes achieved a work that is still in use, being the oldest of its kind.

Even though if you travel the world you will see some structures similar to this. One is in Germany, in Osten. You will find another one in Newport, in British territory. Also in France there is a similar construction, that of Rochefort-Martrou. Although perhaps the best known is the bridge of the neighborhood of La Boca in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds."

-Alexander Graham Bell-

Some facts about the Bilbao Suspension Bridge

Upper part of the Bilbao Bridge- Saül Gordillo /

The first question when contemplating the Suspension Bridge of Bilbao is how tall it is. And the answer is 45 meters. Why is he so tall? Also the answer is simple. Under him had to pass the large ships that were made in the Bilbao shipyards, upstream of the estuary. Very close to where today is the famous Guggenheim Museum.

And once the height is known, its width of more than 160 meters must be assessed. A width that it can be saved by walking on the top of the bridge or flying over the Nervión waters on the ferry. By the way, a ferry that is running continuously: every day and 24 hours a day.

The fact is that the time savings to cross on both banks is huge, since if you had to go from Portugalete to Getxo by road, the journey can take half an hour easily. And instead, with the Suspension Bridge of Bilbao it crosses in 90 seconds. And yes, our car can also go on the ferry, in addition to another 200 passengers.

On both banks of the estuary

The experience of climbing the Suspension Bridge of Bilbao is already worth it, since it is not always possible to use a work that is a World Heritage Site in the most daily way. But it also allows you to enjoy the charms on both sides of the estuary. So below We tell you what awaits you on one side and on the other.


Portugalete town center

The population of Portugalete, Portu for locals, is one of the most monumental that await us in the area. In its urban plot, always in slope, there are monuments like the basilica of Santa Maria, the Salazar tower or the music kiosk in the lower part.

And above all, there are numerous bars, bars and restaurants Where to check if the fame of Basque cuisine is true.


From Portu there is a parallel walk to the estuary where we are going to find the Bilbao Suspension Bridge. Well, a little past the ferry begins the core of Santurce. There it is also worth leaving pintxos and take the opportunity to visit its Museum of the Sea created in an old fishing boat stranded by the port.


Getxo view

And if we choose to take the Bilbao Suspension Bridge and visit the other shore, there Getxo awaits us. One of the most elegant and select locations in all of Biscay. Especially in its area closest to the beaches, known as Las Arenas.

The big advantage is that you don't have to choose between one shore and another. Thanks to the Bilbao Suspension Bridge,in a moment it is in both margins and for a very economic price.

Video: Things not to be missed in Bilbao Spain bizkaya bridge transporter bridge ferry in action (January 2020).