Settle in for a peaceful ride on the five-hour train from Bilbao to Madrid. With so much going on in the city, day and night, you’ll be glad you preserved your energy.
From sport to shops, cafes to culture – Madrid has it all, and within easy reach of the train station, too. If you’re one of the many visitors making the pilgrimage for the football, the stadium is just 20 minutes away by public transport.
The reliable Renfe service offers a choice of four trains a day, operating from 06:30 to 17:00. Upgrade your ticket to Turista Plus and you’ll enjoy all the perks of a premium carriage. Better still, book a First-Class ticket and you can benefit from lounge access and at-seat table service on board. There’s also a generous luggage allowance of up to three items, without any extra charge.
Once you’re ready to book, or to find out more, consult our helpful information below including FAQs.
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 Madrid 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 Madrid is 6 hours and 18 minutes, with around 4 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 Madrid is 5 hours and 8 minutes.
Train ticket prices from Bilbao to Madrid can start from as little as €17.80 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 Madrid without having to change trains. There is 1 direct train from Bilbao to Madrid each day. Though there may be fewer direct services available depending on your exact departure date.
The first train from Bilbao to Madrid leaves at 11:32. Times and services may vary during weekends and holidays.
The last train from Bilbao to Madrid leaves at 08:20. 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 Madrid cover a distance of around 201 miles (323 km) during the journey.