Risky Cities

Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

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Bilbao, located in the Basque Country of Spain, is a vibrant and culturally rich city that offers a unique blend of history, architecture, and natural beauty. With a population of approximately 345,000 inhabitants as of 2021, it is the largest city in the Basque Country and serves as an important economic and cultural hub.

When it comes to safety, Bilbao is generally considered to be a safe city for residents and visitors alike. However, like any urban area, it is important to remain cautious and take certain precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

In terms of crime rates, Bilbao has experienced a decline in recent years, and the city has implemented various measures to ensure the safety of its residents and tourists. The crime rate in Bilbao is lower compared to other major cities in Spain. However, it is always advisable to stay aware of your surroundings and take necessary precautions to avoid becoming a victim of petty crimes such as pickpocketing or bag snatching, which can occur in crowded tourist areas or on public transportation.

Historically, Bilbao faced significant challenges in terms of crime during the late 20th century when the city was heavily affected by the Basque conflict. However, in recent years, with the decline of violence associated with the conflict, Bilbao has seen significant improvements in its security situation.

While Bilbao is generally a safe city, there are certain areas that might require extra caution. As with any urban environment, it is advisable to avoid poorly lit or deserted areas, especially at night. Particular areas to exercise caution include some parts of the San Francisco neighborhood, as well as certain sections of the city center late at night. These areas are not necessarily extremely dangerous, but it is always best to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions when visiting them.

To ensure personal safety, it is recommended to avoid displaying signs of affluence, such as expensive jewelry or large amounts of cash. Additionally, keeping valuable belongings secure and out of sight, using well-lit and busy streets, and being cautious while using ATMs can help prevent becoming a target for criminals.

When it comes to safe times of the day to be out and about, Bilbao generally has a lively and active atmosphere throughout the day. During daylight hours, the city is bustling with activity, and the streets are filled with locals and tourists alike. The main tourist areas, such as the Casco Viejo (Old Town) and the Guggenheim Museum, are usually well-populated and safe to visit during the day.

As evening approaches, the city center remains lively with restaurants, bars, and cultural events. However, it is always advisable to remain cautious when walking alone late at night, especially in less crowded areas. Utilizing public transportation or official taxi services is recommended when traveling late at night.

The people of Bilbao are known for their warmth and friendliness. Basque culture places great emphasis on hospitality, and locals are generally helpful and welcoming towards visitors. It is always advisable to respect local customs and norms, which can help foster positive interactions with the residents.

Bilbao offers a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, and a metro system, which is generally considered safe and efficient. Utilizing these services can be a convenient and secure way to navigate the city. Taxis are also widely available and considered reliable.

In emergency situations, the general emergency number in Spain is 112. This number can be used to contact the police, ambulance services, or the fire department. It is recommended to have this number saved on your phone or written down for quick access.