125 years of the bridge that isn’t

Puente Bizkaia
Puente Bizkaia

The suspension bridge, which links Getxo with Portugalete, is a unique piece of architecture and engineering in the combination of two techniques: a fixed structure and a mechanical translation system. The design, patent and construction management between 1890 and 1893 was the responsibility of the Biscayan architect Alberto Palacio Elissague.

The Bizkaia Bridge was inaugurated on 28 July 1893 and is considered a work of art for its maximum expression of beauty, creativity and functionality. This icon of industrialisation and the "iron culture" of Bizkaia in the 19th century links the municipalities of Getxo and Portugalete. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.

The construction of this bridge covered the objective of joining the two banks of the mouth of the Nervión without hindering navigation, due to the growing maritime and passenger traffic at the time. It was an innovative infrastructure for its time that provided a solution to an economic and population challenge. Today, its barge continues to be an essential means of transport for passing from one side of the estuary to the other.

Transbordador Puente Bizkaia
Bizkaia Bridge Ferry

Guided tours

Almost since its inauguration, people call it the Suspension Bridge. Although it was originally painted black, today its colour is known as "Vena Rojo Somorrostro" (Somorrostro Red Vein). In order to get to know it from the inside, there are guided tours that allow you to reach the anchor massif, the terraces, the lift and cross the pedestrian deck 45 metres high above the estuary with a view of the upstream on one side and the sea on the other. Reservations are required. And don't worry about your pet: the Bridge is Dog-Friendly.

Since the end of 2018 it has hosted the Industrial Tourism Forum, organised by the Basque Government. In addition, all kinds of events have been promoted: music festivals, folklore, bertsolaritza, literature, plastic arts, regattas, popular races, exhibitions, gastronomic events, etc.

Very busy for someone who is 125 years old.

Other ferries

At the same time as the Bizkaia Bridge, a large number of articulated suspension bridges were built, including the following: Rochefort-Martrou (France , 1900), Dulun (USA, 1905), Newport (UK, 1906), Osten-Hemmoor (Germany, 1909), Middlesbrough (UK, 1911), Osterrönfeld-Rendsburg (Germany, 1913), Buenos Aires (Argentina, 1915) and Warrington (UK, 1916). Some of these bridges are still in use today. And they may be close to your home.

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