As soon as you step off your train from Bilbao to Barcelona into the large and bustling Barcelona-Sants Station, you'll get a taste of the vibrancy that is Barcelona. With the city's excellent local transport network of both local and metro trains as well as buses, you'll soon be sampling its tourist delights. Put a stroll down the Ramblas and a tour of Gaudi's spectacular La Sagrada Familia Cathedral right at the top of your itinerary.
With both morning and afternoon departures and direct servicea, taking the train from Bilbao to Barcelona is far less stressful than long motorway drives. There's very little security to worry about so check-in times are brief and once in your comfortable Alvia train, you can watch the ever-changing Spanish countryside whisk by.
Seats slide to face the direction of travel and you'll have your own power socket, light, footrest and table. You'll be amazed by the reasonable ticket prices! Keep reading for an extensive list of useful route information, including journey FAQs, or bypass the questions and book your ticket straight away to enjoy the cosmopolitan delights of Barcelona.
It takes an average of 9h 7m to travel from Bilbao to Barcelona by train, over a distance of around 292 miles (469 km). There are normally 5 trains per day travelling from Bilbao to Barcelona and tickets for this journey start from €17.45 when you book in advance.
From 6h 30m
292 miles (469 km)
5 trains per day
Direct trains available
|Train and bus operators|
Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It operates trains on the longest high-speed railway network in Europe, and the second-longest in the world. The country's major cities are linked up by the high-speed AVE and Avlo trains, while other long-distance routes are served by Altaria, Talgo, Alvia and Euromed trains. Renfe also operates cross-border services into neighbouring Portugal and France. Depending on which service you are travelling on, you'll usually find two classes on Renfe trains - Estándard (Standard Class) and Confort (First Class). Fare types range from the cheapest (but least flexible) Básico fare, to the more flexible Elige fares, to the Premium fare for seats in Confort carriages.
Renfe's Alvia services combine high-speed tracks with lower speed sections, reaching speeds of up to 155 mph (250 km/h) on international lines and 125 mph (200 km/h) on conventional lines. These trains connect the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante with the other main Spanish cities. Alvia offers two types of classes – Turista (Second Class) and Preferente (First Class). The latter has wider seats, carriages with fewer seats, offers complimentary food and drinks, free newspapers, and access to parking and Club meeting rooms.
Travel in Alvia's Estándar Class (Standard Class) and you'll enjoy many amenities, including air-conditioning, at-seat power sockets and footrests.
Upgrade to Alvia's Confort Class (First Class) and enjoy comfier seats, more legroom, an at-seat catering service and access to Renfe's Club lounges.
On Alvia trains you can take up to three pieces of luggage on board, provided that they are less than 290cm long and weigh less than 25kg in total. Pushchairs and instruments smaller than 30 x 120 x 38 cm are also classed as hand luggage.
Most Alvia trains have an onboard café-bar, as well as an at-seat trolley service with a wide selection of food and drinks.
On board Alvia services, you can connect to PlayRenfe, a platform offering free WiFi and hours of entertainment.
Children under 4 travel free on Alvia services with a free child's ticket. Plus, passengers under 14 get a 40% discount on their chosen tariff.
With Alvia, folded bicycles that are less than 180cm long and are stored in a case count as hand luggage. If your bike is larger than this, it will count as special luggage and must be no larger than 120 x 90 x 40 cm - you must also detach the pedals and rotate the handlebars 90 degrees.
You can take your pet with you if they weigh less than 10kg, travel in a carrier no larger than 60 x 35 x 35 cm, and have a pet ticket. In Elige Confort a pet ticket is free, while in Básico a pet ticket costs 25% of the price of a ticket.
Alvia has an assistance service for passengers with reduced mobility or a disability. To arrange assistance, you can call (+34) 900 400 555 (international calling charges may apply).
Most of the train companies across Europe release their tickets around three to six months in advance, many of which can be cheaper the earlier you book. If you know the dates you want to travel, you may be able to find some cheaper train tickets from Bilbao to Barcelona by booking early.§
Many of the train services in Europe are also popular commuter services, lots of train companies increase ticket prices during “peak hours” (generally between 06:00 – 10:00 and 15:00 – 19:00 on weekdays). If you can, consider travelling outside of peak hours to find lower priced tickets.
On some of the busier routes, you might also have the option to take a slower or connecting train. It may take a little longer than some high-speed or direct services, but if you have a little extra time on your hands, you might find a cheaper fare. Plus, you'll have more time to enjoy the view of the countryside!
Take a look at our handy guides to find out when train operators release their special deals and offers to see if you can find cheap European train tickets for your journey.
For specific information about how to get your hands on cheap tickets, check out our European train tickets hub.
The average journey time by train between Bilbao and Barcelona is 9 hours and 7 minutes, with around 5 trains per day. The journey time may be longer on weekends and holidays, so use our Journey Planner on this page to search for a specific travel date.
The fastest journey time by train from Bilbao to Barcelona is 6 hours and 30 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Bilbao to Barcelona can start from as little as €17.45 when you book in advance. The cost of tickets can vary depending on the time of day, route and class you book and are usually more expensive if you book on the day.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Bilbao to Barcelona without having to change trains. There is 1 direct train from Bilbao to Barcelona each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Bilbao to Barcelona leaves at 07:00. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Bilbao to Barcelona leaves at 17:35. Trains that depart in the early morning hours or very late evening may be sleeper services, time and services may also vary during weekends and holidays.
Trains travelling from Bilbao to Barcelona cover a distance of around 292 miles (469 km) during the journey.