Bus tickets (PESA) from Donostia (San Sebastian) to Bilbao Loiu Airport

If like us, you figured that you don't need a car in San Sebastian (Donostia), you are absolutely right. The last thing you need in San Sebastian is a car! But, then of course, you realize that you flew into Bilbao Airport and now you need to get to that airport. The solution is absolutely to take the bus!

Confused? Don't be!

We spent some time googling, and one of the confusing things is that when you look for PESA, the bus company, you find some location on the outskirts of San Sebastian. This got us trying to figure out how to get there to take the bus. Red herring!

San Sebastian Bus Station / PESA

All you need to know is that you can:
  • Buy tickets at the bus station in the city
  • Take the bus straight from the central bus station 
If you are like us, you are in a HomeAway or AirBnB apartment and while you have wifi, you won't have a printer. So ordering on line is a bit of an issue because you need a printed ticket to get onto the bus!

We simply went to the bus station (maps location - a 10 to 20 minutes walk from nearly anywhere in the city proper), go down the ramp or stairs or elevator and then follow the arrows to where the busses depart. This is one more level down. Once there, you will see the bus bays, and probably a line of people in front of a ticket office. That tends to be the wrong line!

Look for the PESA window to the right of the main bus line window. Buy your tickets there and you are all set.

Should I buy my Ticket early?

Kind of up to you. Busses - in summer - go every 30 minutes or so. Our experience was that when we did this in early July, you can just buy the ticket and board the next bus (note that tickets are for a SPECIFIC bus & time combination).

Since we were in San Sebastian for a few days, we decided to buy the tickets (for 3 people) a day in advance. That works beautifully as you can really plan your journey. Since we couldn't quite figure all of it out, we decided to also check out where the station was etc.

Our bus turned out to be 40% full or so. So we could have easily gotten the tickets just before departing.

What does a ticket cost?

Well, ours cost Euro 17.00 per person. Again, this was on the 4th of July 2018. And we bought if for the 5th. There are no additional surcharges as far as I can tell. We did ask around, and the bus is really the cheapest and easiest way to go to the airport.

If you have a printer, and you can go online, PESA seems to have recently updated their site. You can now easily order the tickets without knowing to look for Bilbao - Loiu. See below (note the Bask names on the tickets):

PESA on-line tickets Donostia to Aireportua Bilbao
You can see the arrival times on the app screen shot above. When we rode the bus (11:00 am departure), it was very smooth and the one stop the bus makes is really short. In our case the bus didn't even really stop, as there was no one at the bus stop. Traffic on the freeway / highway is not at all bad, so the timings should hold in most cases.

Bagage

There are no fees for bags, you simply go to the bus bay (keep an eye on the monitors) once your bus arrives, and load your bag into the bus. You are in charge, so don't just park the bags next to the bus. No one will load them, except you. In terms of carry-ons, this is a typical "touring car" bus, and space in your seats is not big enough for you and your bags. So just load them, unless they fit between your legs.

At the Airport

Bilbao airport is pretty small. Depending on the airline, lines can be long, as some of the domestic airlines service multiple cities as well as European cities. Seating area in the departure area is limited, as are dining options. So balance your arrival times with all of that and your airline's particulars on checking in on time...

All information current as of July/August 2018.



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