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Getting from Madrid to Bilbao (and return)

Bilbao is the capital of the Biscay province in Northern Spain’s Basque Country region. Home to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao breaks the Spanish stereotype and seduces with a subtle tinge of aloof elegance. For architecture-lovers, Bilbao is a must- see. You can easily pack Bilbao, Barcelona and Madrid into one artistic tour.
Although Bilbao is located in the far north-central part of Spain, it is easily accessible from Madrid and other parts of Spain. Depending on how far in advance you are planning the trip, you can choose either the train or plane to get from Madrid to Bilbao. It is quite a long distance to drive from Madrid to Bilbao, but with a few stopovers in Central Spain, the journey is rather enjoyable.

By plane

Bilbao is served by an airport located at 12 km from the capital of the Vizcaya province, in the city limits of Loiu. Carriers offering flights from Madrid to Bilbao are Iberia and Air Europa. The journey takes about 1 hour and there are over several daily departures. Depending on when you are purchasing the ticket, you can fly RT for as low as €87 per person.
Start searching for flights from Madrid to Bilbao here:

By train

There are two trains a day departing from Madrid Chamartin to Bilbao. The journey takes 5 hours and a tourist adult ticket costs €45.10 one way. Trains depart at 8 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m., daily.
>>the schedule and prices can be found here

By bus

The buses to Bilbao are run by Alsa . They depart from Avenida de America Bus Station and the journey takes approximately 5 h 15 min.
Tickets cost between €63.58 per person , one way on a normal bus and €85.60 per person, one way on a supra+ bus (excluding the €2 administration cost). They are cheaper than the trains and take about the same time to get there.

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By car

If you prefer the independence of driving, renting a car in Spain is a lovely idea. There are three possible routes between Madrid and Bilbao. They take anytime between 4 h and 5 h 30 min. The shortest route is on A-1, AP-1 and A-8. Parts of these roads are toll roads.
Here’s a map (with the shortest route marked) to help with directions:

View Larger Map
* search the route on Google Maps exactly as mentioned above, otherwise you’ll get the directions to a different city.

Other related information:

>>Airports in Spain
>>Getting from Madrid to Barcelona
>>Getting from Madrid to Toledo
>>Getting from Madrid to Salamanca
>>Getting from Madrid to Lisbon
>>Getting from Madrid to Malaga
>>Getting from Madrid to Seville
>>Getting from London to Ibiza
>>Getting from Madrid to Valencia
>>Getting from Madrid to Ibiza
>>Getting from Barcelona to Tenerife
>>Going from Madrid to Algeciras or Tarifa
>>Getting from Barcelona to Mallorca
>>Getting from Spain to Morocco
>>Getting from Madrid to Segovia
>>Getting from Barcelona to Fuerteventura
Photo credit: Flickr photo by el Taverner