Akademy attracts people from around the world. Travel and accommodation are important considerations for the Akademy Team and for people who are attending Akademy. The first part of July is busy in Bilbao; there is a big music festival taking place from 11-13 July. We strongly encourage you to plan your trip to Akademy 2013 and book your hotel as soon as possible.
KDE e.V. may reimburse Akademy travel costs according to the KDE e.V. reimbursement policy. An online request form will be available soon.
Traveling by Plane
The Bilbao Airport is located approximately 12 km from the city center. There is service to the Bilbao bus station regularly (one bus every 20 minutes approximately and the trip is about 20 minutes).
There are direct flights from many major European airports, such as Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich, London (Heathrow and Stansted), Paris and Rome, and, of course, Madrid and other Spanish airports. The Santander Airport is also near Bilbao (approximately 1 hour by bus).
Bilbao is not very well connected to the rest of the world by train. If you really want to take a train, the best idea is taking the TGV Paris - Hendaya and then a bus from Alsa or Pesa to Bilbao (one hour and a half to Bilbao).
However, there is a geek option here. If you have plenty of time and like the old fashioned travelling, you can take the FEVE train from Santander (3 hours), Oviedo (via Santander, 6 hours) or Leon (8 hours) to Bilbao. These trains use the old narrow gauge and travel through some of the most beautiful places in the area.
Bilbao has a good set of bus connections with Europe. Alsa is the company with the most (if not all) international routes. Of course, you can also travel by bus from almost every city of Spain to Bilbao.
It is even possible to take come by boat. There are ferries from Portsmouth to Santurce (5 min to Bilbao by subway) or from Plymouth, Portsmouth and Poole to Santander. From there you can take a bus to Bilbao.
By bycicle or foot
For the really, really geeky people, there is the option to bike to Bilbao or even walk: just take the St. James Way. The Northern Way will take you from Irún in France through Bilbao, so you can attend Akademy 2013 and then continue the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The local committee will treat anyone to pintxos and potes (food and drink) who comes to Akademy this way :)
Getting around in Bilbao
Bilbao has two metro lines and several bus and tram services. You can find a map and timetable for Metro Bilbao here. The website for the tram services is only available in Spanish, but the trams are an easy way to get around and will take you to our weekend venue, for instance. More information about the bus services can be found here.
Getting from the airport to various places
There is a bus from the airport to the bus station (in front of San Mamés Engineering School) that stops also in Moyua Square (Bizkaia Aretoa). It runs every 30 minutes, and costs 1.30 €. Tickets can be bought from the driver, but he might not take bills that are more than 20 €. The buses run during the hours the airport is open. Check routes and timetables here. More information about how to get to and from the airport can also be found on the website of the Bilbao Tourist Information.
Public transport tickets
Are there multi-journey tickets? If so how much and where to buy?
Creditrans is a travel card system for the Bilbao region. The tickets can be used on the metro (underground), buses and trams. Creditrans tickets are prepaid cards (for 5, 10 or 15 €) that can be purchased or recharged in every metro or tram station and also at some bus stops and kiosks. You can combine public transport journeys with that card and also get a considerable discount if you use the card instead of buying tickets from the driver. Creditrans cards cannot be purchased at the airport.
Sometime prior to Akademy, the Creditrans cards will be replaced with a contactless ticket (Barik) with the same functionality; you will have to spend 3 € to get the card.
Can you change vehicles for the same fare? (i.e. are they time based or single journey)
Yes in the metro system (there are only two lines and they share almost half of the journey). But if you combine different public transport options (every bus line counts as different) and you have used the Creditrans or Barik cards, there will be a low fare (even free if you switch vehicles in less that 45 minutes).
Can you buy tickets on the bus?
Yes. However, if you plan to use the tram you CANNOT buy tickets inside, you MUST buy and VALIDATE at the stop!