FREE trip to the must see Puente Colgante Thursday 23rd March

20 Mar 2017

This Thursday, 23rd March, we are offering trips to the Viscaya Bridge(Puente Colgante). It is an impressive and fascinating transport bridge linking the towns of Portugalete and Getxo, stretching over the mouth of the Nervion River.

The bridge is known locally as Puente Colgante (meaning suspension bridge) and is seen by the locals as an emblem of the growth and triumph of the region. Designed by Alberto Palacio, a student of the great French architect Gustave Eiffel, the bridge is truly a piece of engineering brilliance. It is made from iron mostly mined from the Vizcaya region and stands at an impressive 45 metres high and 160 metres long.

The Vizcaya Bridge was built in 1893, making it the oldest transport bridge in the world. It was a difficult thing to design as it was supposed to connect the towns of Portugalete and Getxo without disrupting the maritime traffic around the Port of Bilbao. Therefore, Palacio had to think of a design that could transport passengers and cargo while allowing ships to pass through unaffected all at a reasonable cost. He undoubtedly achieved this.

The bridge has a gondola that can transport six cars and several dozen passengers across in one and a half minutes. It operates every 8 minutes during the day and once an hour at night and has been more or less uninterrupted since its creation, transporting an estimated four million passengers each year. The only instance when its service had to be stopped was during the Spanish Civil War when the upper section was dynamited. Rumour has it that Palacio saw the incident from his deathbed in his house in Portugalete.

On July 13 2006 the Vizcaya Bridge was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is the only Spanish monument in the Industrial Heritage category. The organisation justified its decision by claiming it to be a perfect combination of beauty and functionality. Furthermore, it was revolutionary in the sense that it was the first bridge to use a combination of iron technology and new steel cables, initiating a new bridge construction that has been copied throughout the world.

If you would like to take part in the many free activities that we offer our students then do not hesitate to join us at Instituto Hemingway. Our school has morning and afternoon classes designed to help you improve your Spanish quickly and enjoyably. If you have any questions then please email us at

We hope to see you soon!

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