Fastest journey6hr 34m
The train from Barcelona to Bilbao connects two areas of Spain that strongly assert their own cultural and linguistic identity: Catalonia and the Basque region. Direct Alvia trains serve the route twice daily. These trains run west from Barcelona on a high-speed line as far as Zaragoza, beyond which the pace becomes slower as the train heads up the Ebro Valley to Miranda de Ebro. The final section of the route is the most scenic, as the train runs through the hills to Bilbao (known as Bilbo in the Basque language). If you want a little extra comfort on the train, opt for preferente rather than turista class.
Booking for this route usually opens 120 days in advance. It pays to book early if you are looking to get the cheapest tickets. The Spanish rail operator often releases tickets in batches; if you're having trouble finding trains contact us and we'll email you as soon as booking opens.
Barcelona to Bilbao
The two daily direct trains from Barcelona to Bilbao leave from Sants station in the morning and the afternoon, taking 6 hrs 40 mins for the run to the Basque region. In Bilbao, you'll arrive at Abando station, which is a hub for local metro and suburban rail services. The high-speed Alvia trains make eight to 10 stops along the journey, including Zaragoza and Miranda de Ebro.
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Image credits: Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao by Plotnikov