Discovering the Basque Country by bus

10 Jul , 2016 offers comprehensive information on transport services available on the Basque Coast. This information is currently limited to the Bayonne/San Sebastián corridor, however a greater area will be covered in the future (we’re working on it!). Among all the options available, one particular mode of transport has stood out in recent months, and that is BUS TRAVEL, thanks to favourable legislation north of the border and highly efficient bus companies in the south. Yes, you heard that right! For some, bus travel is synonymous with discomfort, pollution and endless journey times, but don’t be fooled, apart from being one of the most environmentally-friendly options, travelling by bus is easier and more affordable than ever, with comfort levels comparable to those of rail travel. Add to this incredible offers and bus travel is set to explode over the years to come… and why not in the Basque Country? Bus travel is also recommended by the, platform grouping all tourist information on the Basque Country, and we are delighted to have collaborated with the site on this blogpost.

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Where can you go by bus? Well, to put it simply, you can visit the entire Basque Coast and the 7 capitals of the historic provinces in the Basque Country. Bus travel is ideal as it is affordable, easy to use and guarantees smooth connections with the majority of destinations.

The region to the north of the border has a public bus network known as Transports64. One of the main lines is the 816, and it has recently been modernised to offer 15 daily return services with high-comfort new vehicles and comprehensive passenger information. Journeys on this line were sometimes slow at rush hours and cross-border communication was patchy, but all this changed in January 2015, effectively creating an extension of the line over the weekend that runs for the most part on the motorway and takes passengers all the way to Irún, with potential updates to the line in the future. And what is the line called? The 816 Euskadi Express. A ticket costs €2, regardless of the length of your journey. In July 2015, a combined ticket with Euskotren was also created, allowing passengers to make a return bus/Topo journey for €5, in a scheme known as the Passeusk.

Travelling along these lines (the 816 and 816 Euskadi Express) and all the other lines to Mauleón, Cambo and Saint Palais will allow you to discover countless itineraries and routes suggested by Basklink. This is our top recommendation.

If you’re familiar with San Sebastián and wish to visit the cities and towns in the Basque Country in order to experience their traditions and customs, the good news is that the Basques have a highly efficient bus network known as Lurraldebus. This comprehensive service connects all of the municipalities on the coast and inland by means of roads and motorways, with the lines linking up with Renfe and Euskotren trains to jointly guarantee efficient connections with towns and their historic centres. The bus network also allows passengers to reach coastal towns without good rail connections, such as Hondarribia. Use of the Mugi card also makes Lurraldebus an affordable choice, thanks to great discounts for users, particularly through their regular use of network lines.

Lurraldebus is a very good option for travel from San Sebastián to the Geoparque on the Basque Coast, for example, or to Astigarraga, home of Basque cider. And why not make use of the public bus network in the region to discover the “Green Basque Country” as recommended by Basklink?

Regular lines are also provided by private bus companies throughout the Basque Country (with several operating on a local level, others on a regional level and even several on an international level). Three are worthy of mention, as they provide cross-border services between Bayonne, Biarritz, San Sebastián and even Bilbao: Pesa, Alsa and Starshipper. Pesa is an operator from Gipuzkoa offering daily connections between Bayonne and Bilbao, as well as seven daily connections between Bayonne/Biarritz and San Sebastián throughout the year. Alsa offers similar services, however the service is more focused on summer and holiday travel (with extra vehicles in circulation on these dates). Pesa also offers various night-time services for party animals! Finally, Starshipper (a group formed by French bus companies) has recently launched two daily connections between Toulouse-Pau-Bayonne and San Sebastián, with fares starting at €10. The service is ideal for students living in Toulouse wanting to enjoy what San Sebastián has to offer (or vice versa). And to make the journey even more straightforward, the three operators all allow passengers to purchase their tickets online, which you can also use via our ticket comparison site page, thanks to our partnership with Comparabus.

Another itinerary with our stamp of approval is taking a Pesa line bus from Bayonne to Vizcaya to discover “Bilbao and the surrounding region”, according to Basklink’s recommendation, or stopping in San Sebastián, or taking an Alsa bus from Biarritz. This will help you get a great overall idea of the top places to visit on the Basque Coast.

And one more thing… As of 2016, all of these bus services will be integrated into our route planner alongside train services, in order to offer users the most comprehensive range of collective transport services available.

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