Pamplona is just 96 miles (155 km) from Bilbao, making it a great day or overnight trip from Basque Country. The fastest and most convenient way to travel between the two is by car, either rental or private transfer. The drive takes just under two hours and passes through Basque Country’s picturesque capital city, Vitoria-Gasteiz.
You can also travel by public transportation, as both buses and trains are available. The bus is slightly faster, offering a direct route in 2-2.5 hours. The train requires a connection in the city of Miranda de Ebro, reaching Pamplona in about three hours.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 2 hours
The fastest and most convenient way to travel between Bilbao and Pamplona is by car, either rental or private transfer. The two cities are separated by rural hills and mountains, so the fastest route wraps around the area via highway AP-68. You’ll pass by the scenic Gorbeia Parke Naturala, a great detour for leisurely day hikes or viewpoints.
At the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz—the capital of Basque Country—you’ll connect with the A-1 highway and head east. Vitoria-Gasteiz is a great stopping point. The city’s old town is quite picturesque and offers many cafes and bars to grab pintxos, Northern Spain’s version of tapas.
Eventually, you’ll connect with highway A-10 and turn south on AP-15 to Pamplona. If you have a little extra time, you might be interested in extending your drive slightly past Pamplona on AP-12 to visit the picturesque towns of Estella and Puente La Reina.
Duration: 2 - 2.5 hours
The bus takes a similar route as driving, following the same highways through Vitoria-Gasteiz. The fastest direct buses are operated by the company La Union and depart regularly, arriving in Pamplona in about 2-2.5 hours.
Duration: 3 hours
Trains are also an option, although it is the slowest way to get from Bilbao to Pamplona. This is because one connection is required in the city of Miranda de Ebro. The train station is just a short walk to Miranda de Ebro’s old town, so you can have a coffee or try some tapas while you wait.
As you leave Bilbao, you’ll catch glimpses of the foothills and mountains of Basque Country. Grab a seat on the left for the best views.