Bilbao and Barcelona are 290 miles (470 km) apart, on opposite coasts of northern Spain. To travel between them, you can opt for an hourlong direct flight, a 6.5-hour train journey, or a road trip that can take up to a whole day if you stop at the towns and vineyards along the way.
If you're interested in the food and culture of both cities, this 9-day itinerary will give you a taste of the region with a stop in Álava for wine tasting, and this 12-day itinerary will take you on a culinary adventure through Madrid, Bilbao, San Sebastian, La Rioja, and Barcelona.
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes, plus travel to/from airports
Vueling and Iberia operate several direct daily flights between Barcelona and Bilbao. Take a taxi, private transfer, or shuttle bus from Barcelona to the Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN), which takes about 30 minutes (8 miles/12 km). Shuttle buses depart from Plaça Catalunya and Plaça España every 5 to 10 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight.
Once you land in Bilbao you can take a taxi, private transfer, or bus into the city, which is 3 miles (5km) away and takes about 15 minutes to reach by car (the road into the city is 8 miles/13 km long).
Duration: 6.5 hours
Trains leave from the Barcelona Sants train station for Bilbao several times a day. The easiest way to reach Sants is by taxi or private transfer; if you'd prefer to take public transportation, the L3 and L5 subway lines both stop there.
The Bilbao train station is centrally located in the Abando district, which makes it easy to grab a taxi or private transfer to your destination.
Duration: 6 hours
If you decide to drive from Barcelona to Bilbao, take the AP-7 highway and then the AP-2 towards Zaragoza. Once you pass Zaragoza, continue on AP-68 highway. If you want to break the drive up Zaragoza is a good halfway point, or you can make a small detour to La Rioja and visit a vineyard (some require advance booking).