Fastest journey6hr 49m
The train from Bilbao to Barcelona connects two areas of Spain that strongly assert their own cultural and linguistic identity: the Basque region and Catalonia. Direct Alvia trains serve the route twice daily, taking 6 hrs 40 mins. These trains cut inland through the hills behind Bilbao, passing along the way through pretty countryside. At Miranda de Ebro the route joins the Ebro Valley, following it downstream as far as Zaragoza. Beyond Zaragoza the pace increases as the train speeds along a new high-speed line to Barcelona. If you want a little extra comfort on the train from Bilbao to Barcelona, opt for preferente rather than turista class.
Booking for this route usually opens 120 days in advance and 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.
Bilbao to Barcelona
The direct trains from Bilbao to Barcelona leave from Abando station in the Basque city. That's handy as Abando is the principal hub for local metro and suburban rail services. In Barcelona, these trains terminate at Sants station. The Alvia services which ply the Bilbao to Barcelona route stop eight to 10 times along the way, always including stops at Miranda de Ebro and Zaragoza. The two daily trains leave Bilbao in the early morning and in the afternoon, each taking about 6 hrs 40 mins for the journey.
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Image credits: Sagrada Familia by Andrew E. Larsen