Is Bilbao Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Bilbao, Spain
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 57 / 100 based on 12 user reviews.

Bilbao is the official capital of Vizcaya in the Basque Country, Spain.

The city is often described as a location with a very high standard of living, excellent public services, high levels of cleanliness, moderate climate and some of the best gastronomy in Spain.

Apart from that, living/being here gives you great access to other great cities on Spain’s northern coast and quick access to Southern France.

The city is not as expensive to live as you’d expect, and in general, it is not among the most expensive cities in Spain.

The university students make a bubbly atmosphere and a nightlife vibe, with a varied offer, from classical Latin music to reggae and techno.

Warnings & Dangers in Bilbao

Overall Risk


Bilbao is mostly safe to visit. Apart from the pickpockets, which are common in this country, tourists should encounter no other problems, but you should your common sense and your trip should go smoothly.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Transportation in Bilbao is very safe and reliable, even though taxi drivers might try to overcharge their services or demand a tip. Also, be careful on public transport, as it's the place where pickpockets operate.

Pickpockets Risk


Spain is filled with tourists, and naturally, it attracts a bunch of pickpockets - which applies to Bilbao, too. So watch out in crowded places such as bus and train stations. There is even a message played on repeat at stations, reminding you to be wary of pickpockets. Be careful when carrying your valuables and never leave them out of your sight.

Natural Disasters Risk


There are no threats of natural disasters in Spain altogether and this applies to Bilbao, too, so you can relax completely.

Mugging Risk


Do not fear mugging or kidnapping in Bilbao, since it is a rare occurrence here. Still, do not accept any unsolicited help or drinks from anyone you don't know (even though drink spiking is also not an issue in this country).

Terrorism Risk


There have been recent terrorist attacks in Spain, on 17/18 August 2017, when during 2 terrorist-related incidents, vehicles were driven directly at pedestrians, resulting in injuries and loss of life. You should remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Scams Risk


There are a couple of ways to get scammed in Bilbao. You should avoid gypsy women offering you some rosemary: they will read your future and ask for some money or pick your pockets. Be wary of "trileros" and their "shell game". Always check the bill twice in restaurants and bars since the staff may try to overcharge you or charge for something you did not order.

Women Travelers Risk


Women traveling alone should have no problems in Bilbao. You should use your common sense, and be careful at night, avoid desert and poorly lit streets, and finding yourself alone with strange people in abandoned areas. Apart from that, you should have no safety problems in Bilbao.

So... How Safe Is Bilbao Really?

Bilbao is quite a safe town and you can walk around safely virtually everywhere.

Of course, as in any touristic city, there are pickpockets, so keep your handbags, cameras, etc on sight if you are within a large concentration of people around the most typical tourist attractions.

The area to avoid at all costs is the neighborhood around the streets Cortes and San Francisco since the crime rate there is the highest by far.

Generally speaking, the closest a neighborhood is to the city center – the better.

The rest of the neighborhoods in the center are nice- Indauxtu, Moyua, etc.

And there are some trendy towns outside the center, like Getxo and Sopelana.

Security is felt everywhere, except a street or two (San Francisco, and Las Cortes, where traditionally the low-level prostitution trade was placed), especially at late hours in the night.

During these last years, concerns for granting safety and freedom to women from sex abuse have grown in the media and among people in general up to becoming a top concern.

Unfortunately, this kind of fault is still too common, especially when in crowds at festivals. However, violent crime is very rare everywhere in the Basque Country.

How Does Bilbao Compare?

CitySafety Index
Andorra la Vella89
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information



Most countries do not need a visa to enter Spain for any stays shorter than 90 days. Any longer than that, you will have to obtain a visa. Also, make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your planned date of return. However, if you are not sure about your visa status, contact your local Spanish embassy for further details.



Euro is the official currency in Bilbao. ATMs are widely available throughout the city, and credit cards accepted in most establishments such as hotels and restaurants. Allow yourself a budget of around 150e per day, including accommodation.



The climate in Bilbao is milder than in most other parts of Spain, rarely falling below freezing in winter, or rising above 35ºC in summer. There is also more precipitation in this city.



Bilbao Airport is a public airport serving the city of Bilbao. It is located some 9 km north of Bilbao, in the municipality of Loiu, in Biscay. It is the largest airport in the Basque Country and northern Spain,

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

Just like anywhere else, we recommend getting travel insurance when traveling to Bilbao, since it covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Bilbao Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 8° C
Feb 9° C
Mar 10° C
Apr 12° C
May 14° C
Jun 17° C
Jul 20° C
Aug 19° C
Sep 19° C
Oct 15° C
Nov 11° C
Dec 9° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Spain - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Andorra la Vella89
Canary Islands81
Las Palmas74
Palma de Mallorca57
San Sebastian56

Where to Next?

12 Reviews on Bilbao

  1. My fiance has just come back from his stag in bilbao where he got separated from the group and some guy swung at him with a Stanley knife, cutting his favourite top but not him.

  2. C
    Charles says:

    Safe city

    Bilbao is perfectly safe. Safer than all of US cities, and it has a score of 52. So in your opinion ¿is it more dangerous than many cities in Mexico? You can walk through the whole city, which is something you can’t do in most US cities. There is absolutely no risk at all. Ridiculous analysis in my opinion.

    1. C
      Charles ( another one) says:

      Incorrect!! The neighborhood along San Francisco is not good. I was robbed there. Be cautious just like any city.

    2. L
      Lived There says:

      Sightsee during the day and leave

      Says who? I lived there for a while, and in many other places. Bilbao is possibly one of the most unsafe places I’ve ever been to in Europe. The massive amounts of immigration has been damaging to the safety of the city, and the justice system is utterly unable to deal with the situation.

      Stray from a handful of a select spots on a night out and you will get your drink spiked, mugged, or have a knife/machete pulled on you.

      It’s not JUST San Francisco and it’s ridiculous to say “just like any city”. Plenty of cities in Europe of a comparable size don’t require you to stay in a handful of spots in the city to be safe, that’s ridiculous.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised if there were Latin American that were safer, they do a far better job at complete segregation, hence you can have places that are assuredly safe.

  3. Dangerous

    I was robbed one night at gunpoint near the San Francisco street in Atxuri
    It’s safer during the day, but I recommend only avoiding these places at night.

  4. Dangerous

    Yes it is Safer than cities in America but I have already been robbed here at gunpoint 2 years ago So avoid places like San Francisco, Atxuri.

    1. Most American cities are a lot safer.

  5. T
    Traveller says:

    Ridiculous score

    A score of 52 is insane. Probably one of the safest cities in Spain. Of course you will find victims of a crime and it is likely that those who comment are those who are most affected by it, but seeing Bilbao with a score of 52 (the same as Quito, for instance, or even lower than Dallas -!!- and other US cities) is ridiculous. Seriously, there is no way Bilbao is more dangerous than any US city. No way.

  6. S
    Sebastian says:

    In which world Bilbao is Medium. It is the basque country one of the richest regions in Spain. Beside the usual tourist traps like everywhere else it is absolutely safe.

  7. K
    Kcsmyle says:

    I wouldn’t bother

    We traveled all over Spain. This city we felt very unsafe and unwelcome. It’s a very pretty city. Go out during the day only though even then we had issues. Stay on busy roadways. Not sure if it was because were from America and/or tourists, but on multiple occasions we had trouble walking down the street. Men would throw items at us, spit at us, or make rude gestures. We tried going into a couple pubs, but it was so uncomfortable with how visibly upset the bartenders would be to serve us. We did find one nice restaurant and the service etc was fantastic. We departed here early. Much better places to visit in Spain to waste a day here. Museum building is cool, but nothing that interesting inside. Spain had much better museums elsewhere.

    1. Men threw items at you? where on earth were you? I have been to almost every big city in America and have seen bad and threatening behavior almost every time. Far worse than I have seen in Bilbao in the last 6 years

  8. Bilbao is a gem in Spain with a lively vibe and delicious food. While it’s mostly safe, like in any touristy city, it’s good to watch your pockets in crowded spots. Definitely worth a visit!

Bilbao Rated 2.83 / 5 based on 12 user reviews.

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