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.
Renfe is the national train operator in Spain. It has the widest network of high-speed trains in Europe, linking major cities with AVE, AV-City, Avant, Alvia, and Euromed trains. Long-distance routes are served by Altaria and Talgo trains, while regional routes are operated by Media Distancia, Regional and Express Regional trains. Renfe also operates on international routes to France and Portugal. Renfe trains offer four different travel classes, depending on the train you’re travelling on – Turista (Standard), Turista Plus (Premium Economy), Preferente (Business Class) and Club (First Class).
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.
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!
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 8 hours and 2 minutes, with around 6 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 45 minutes.
Train tickets from Bilbao to Barcelona can start from as little as €23.40 when you book in advance and are usually more expensive when purchased on the day. Prices can also vary depending the time of day, route and class you book.
Yes, it is possible to travel from Bilbao to Barcelona without having to change trains. There are 2 direct trains 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 06:30. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Bilbao to Barcelona leaves at 15:20. 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 291 miles (469 km) during the journey.