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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To cross the river there are two options. Upper part: two visitor lifts installed in two pillars of the bridge...
...that allow walking over the bridge's platform, from where supposed to be a superb view of the port and the bay...
...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".
Thus I preferred the bottom gondola part.
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.
Getting on board is easy.
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.
I told you, it's just like a metro - scan your QR code and get it.
Cars and bicycles enter in the middle, on the special platform.
Inside is quite spacious and comfortable.
On the other side it looks like this... Can you imagine living in the apartment with such neighbourhood.
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.
The buildings along the promenade are gorgeous.
Las Arenas and the bay view is calm, peaceful and quiet.
The docks area starts once you get onto the pier.
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.
Las Arenas side has a nice small beach...
...and port, where people also having their perfect Sunday walking, good time to spend with family and kids.
I liked the place very much, surely suggest to take a chance to visit it, if you're somewhere nearby.