Fastest journey5hr 6m
Direct Alvia trains from Bilbao to Madrid normally operate twice-daily on this route. The first half of the journey is slow but scenic: once past Valladolid your train joins a new high-speed line that skirts Segovia and then tunnels under the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains to reach Madrid.
Booking for this route normally opens 90 days in advance, which is when you'll find the cheapest tickets. Note, however, that the Spanish rail operator often releases tickets in batches, so if you're having trouble finding trains, contact us and we'll email you when booking opens.
If the timings of the direct Alvia trains from Bilbao to Madrid do not suit your plans, you may find additional options requiring one change of train at either Zaragoza or Miranda de Ebro.
Bilbao to Madrid
The direct high-speed Alvia trains from Bilbao to Madrid leave from Abando station, one in the morning and the other late afternoon. That's handy as Abando is the principal hub for Bilbao's metro and suburban rail services. The journey takes five hours and trains stop five times along the way, including Burgos and Segovia. In Madrid, the trains terminate at Chamartin station, which is in the northern suburbs of the Spanish capital. Chamartin is well served by Madrid's efficient Cercanías (ie. local train) network.
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Image credits: Royal Palace, Madrid © Lucavanzolini