• сhristinabutorina

2019 #BasqueCountry | Vizcaya Bridge

Updated: Jan 8, 2020

The Vizcaya Bridge is a fantastic suspension #bridge that links the towns of Portugalete and Las Arenas in Bizkaia province, crossing the mouth of the Nervion river. The bridge is the World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO in 2006, who considers it to be a perfect combination of beauty and functionality. It was the first to use a combination of iron technology and new steel cables which began a new form of constructing bridges which was later imitated throughout the world. The bridge is located just 20 min driving from Bilbao city and worth visiting obviously.


First of all, the construction is really impressive. Take a walk along the river side to be able to get the full view of the bridge from the longer perspective, to catch the idea how great it is and how much deep this construction incorporated in the residential surroundings.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

It stands just between the houses where local people live and it looks a bit like a lego made thing. Actually, when you see it for the first time, it looks a bit unrealistic, you think first kind of how people can built this kind of thing just in the middle of a teeny tiny town with so limited space in it.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

The structure is made of four 61 meter towers which are the pillars and stand on the river banks. The towers are braced by iron cables to the crossbeam and are parallel to the river and by cables following the line of the bridge into the hill behind (on the #Portugalete side) and the ground (on the Las Arenas side). The upper crossbeam which lies horizontally, rests between two towers by 70 suspension cables. They also help support a great amount of weight and are supported in the corbels which helps balance the weight.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

The #bridge is in use, local people use it daily, simply like you use normal transportation as bus or metro in your city. It is 45 meter high and 164 meters long, made of iron. The gondola transports vehicles and moves along the rails through the horizontal crossbeam, it can transport six cars and several dozen passengers in 1.5 minutes. Crossing the river by this bridge is a must - one of the opportunities should never be missed, believe me.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

There are 7 more transportation suspended bridges like Vizcaya bridge in the world. Those are Rochefort in France, Warrington, Newport and Middlesbrough in UK, Osten and Rendsburg in Germany, Boca in Argentina. All of them are the traveller's catch.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

To cross the river there are two options. Upper part: two visitor lifts installed in two pillars of the bridge...

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

...that allow walking over the bridge's platform, from where supposed to be a superb view of the port and the bay...

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

...but looking at it from the bottom I've considered it a bit "too much" for doing (at least for this time). Actually I'm not the one having a height scary problem, I can climb onto any high point, bridge or skyscraper with no problem: Eiffel Tower, Shanghai's TV tower, NY Empire State building, etc. but, seriously guys, this one looks too much thin, too much narrow, too much open-aired, too much unsolid and too much insecure, from my perspective.


Apparently I'm not trying to convince you to do not do it, just sharing my personal thoughts. Just look at it, do you think it's safe on kind of 50 meters height walking on a 1 meter width "path" made with those super thin plates even not connected each other very well. So while I was standing there on the ground and carefully looking at it, thinking whether I want to climb up or not, my answer to myself was "no, thanks".

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Thus I preferred the bottom gondola part.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

It operates every 8 minutes during the day (every hour at night), all year round, with different fares for day and night services. An estimated four million passengers and half a million vehicles use the bridge annually, quite busy transportation hub I can say.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Getting on board is easy.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Ticketing machine works 24h as bridge operates day and night. Day time fare for one person is 0.45 euro one way. Click to a couple of buttons and you're right there.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

I told you, it's just like a metro - scan your QR code and get it.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Cars and bicycles enter in the middle, on the special platform.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Inside is quite spacious and comfortable.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

On the other side it looks like this... Can you imagine living in the apartment with such neighbourhood.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

I suggest to spend some time walking on Portugalete side, it has a beautiful promenade along the river with nice views to Las Arenas and the bay. Lazy Sunday's walk is a good idea though.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

The buildings along the promenade are gorgeous.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Las Arenas and the bay view is calm, peaceful and quiet.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

The docks area starts once you get onto the pier.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

When you've finished your enjoyable walk in Portugalete, getting back into Las Arenas side exactly same way is just a matter of another 1.5 minutes.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

Las Arenas side has a nice small beach...

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

...and port, where people also having their perfect Sunday walking, good time to spend with family and kids.

Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country
Vizcaya bridge, Basque Country

I liked the place very much, surely suggest to take a chance to visit it, if you're somewhere nearby.