What is the Bridge Route?
Bilbao through its bridges
The waterway flows through Bilbao and ceases to be a river to blend in with the sea
Travel along the path of river estuary of Bilbao, knowing its most emblematic places. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the estuary, immersed in a latent city, cosmopolitan, modern and ancient. Know its streets, its customs, its people. A hallmark in its gastronomy, culture and art.
San Antón´s Bridge
For centuries it was the only point of union between both banks of the Ría de Bilbao.
It has turned into one of the emblems of Bilbao to be part of its shield, although the situation of this bridge, on the shield, reflects the ancient bridge of the fifteenth century built at the foot of the tower of the church of San Antón.
The construction of the current bridge dates from 1937 because the one that existed then was destroyed during the Civil War.
Also known as the San Francisco Bridge, it dates from the post-Civil War era, as did all the bridges in Bilbao, its construction in 1939.
It is a one-eye pedestrian bridge that connects the two banks of the Ría de Bilbao.
Several bridges existed before the present, perhaps the most popular is the one that existed between 1827 and 1852: a bridge suspended by iron chains. The old suspension bridge referred to by the popular song “There is no hanging bridge in the world, more elegant than Bilbao, because they have done it the bilbainitos, which are very fine and very salty”.
La Merced Bridge
Of simple design and spartan forms, the Merced bridge was built in 1937 on the previous one, destroyed during the Civil War, with two asymmetric sections resting on a central pilaster.
It takes its name from the convent of La Merced, currently Bilborock Hall, where concerts and social events are held.
Eight casting lampposts flank the bridge adorned with pairs of winged beings. These beings, recovered from an ancient legend that goes back to the year 1400: they lived in the forests that then populated the environment. They always approached as a couple those who were alone and helpless. By rubbing them with their backs or with their chest they transformed the mood of the people, making them feel happier.
Built in 1940 in reinforced concrete, it is the last of a series of bridges, reformed and destroyed by different causes.
The first bridge that occupied this place in 1845 was cast iron, being the first of this type built in Spain.
City Hall Bridge
Built in 1934 and again in 1940 having been destroyed during the Civil War.
Formerly this bridge cohabited with an iron walkway a few meters from the current and private property. Charging a toll to cross it, this catwalk whose name was Rotating Iron Passage, was known by “Perrochico” because the toll was of five cents and this denomination was popularly named to this coin. Both allowed the passage of boats.
The footbridge pivoted on its axes on both banks while the current did so rising in two halves. When it was built in iron lost its characteristic of drawbridge in 1969 sealing to prevent its opening.
Designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, since its inauguration it is one of the symbols, together with the Guggenheim, of the new Bilbao of the 21st century.
It joins the Campo Volantín with the Uribitarte dock with access to the Isozaki towers, being one of the walking routes to the Guggenheim Museum. Its glazed surface has generated many controversies, today we see it covered with a non-slip carpet.
La Salve Bridge
Opened in 1972, its official name is that of Princes of Spain. It was the first in Spain to be built with braces and is one of the few with an iron cover. The braces are anchored on two masts of 60 m in height and hold the deck of 270 m in length.
On the right bank, in Campo Volantín, there are two elevators that allow to climb the bridge as well as stairs.
The two red arches that we see integrated into the structure of the bridge are the work of the French artist Daniel Buren, “L’arc rouge” (The red arch) and was inaugurated on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Guggenheim Museum. This work aims to integrate the bridge with the curved forms of the museum.
Pedro Arrupe´s Bridge
Dragonfly shaped bridge that joins the Paseo de Abando Ibarra with the Avenue of Universities. Built in steel and covered in wood inside to give the feeling of climbing on a boat. Designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, it is 70 m long and 4 m wide.
It bears the name of the Bilbao priest Pedro Arrupe, renovator of the Society of Jesus.
Lleva el nombre del sacerdote bilbaíno Pedro Arrupe, renovador de la Compañía de Jesús.
A través de el llegarás al Paseo Abandoibarra y a la Universidad de Deusto.
A bridge designed as a draw to allow river traffic, inaugurated in 1936 and subsequently destroyed in the Civil War, it was rebuilt in 1939. It has a length of 500 m and has been restored in 2008. The bridge can be accessed from the Churruca pier by lift and stairs, from the other shore by Ribera de Botica Vieja the access is by stairs.
Travel along the path of river estuary of Bilbao, knowing its most emblematic places.
Enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the estuary, immersed in a latent city, cosmopolitan, modern and ancient.
Know its streets, its customs, its people.
A hallmark in its gastronomy, culture and art.