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Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

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Tempe, Arizona
posts: 711
Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

My family is travelling between Barcelona and Bilbao in June/July 2010. I’m looking for pros/cons of travel options. I have researched the options as far as the Renfe, ALSA, Vueling, and Ryan Air websites for costs and schedules. I’d like to hear from those who have travelled this route.

Is this route scenic? Would bus/train be enjoyable for the scenic value?

How comfortable is the ALSA ‘normal” bus? Has anyone taken the overnight bus on this route? I’m somewhat concerned about luggage on the bus- we travel light but luggage storage on a bus seems minimal- under the bus worries me a bit- should this worry me?

How comfortable is the Renfe train on this route?

How much of a hassle is the Vueling flight- when adding in the ground transport in Barcelona and Bilbao?

Thanks,

Mary

Northampton, MA
posts: 2,787
reviews: 31
1. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

The flight is cheap and about an hour. The only hassle is that airports are stressfull and you have to be there about an hour and a half early. The train is remarkably relaxing and about twice as much as the plane. Bus would be my last choice but still, buses in Spain are oddly comfortable compared to the U.S.

Seattle, Washington
posts: 9,275
reviews: 16
2. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

The ALSA normal bus does not have the same level of comfort as the Supra, but storing your luggage under the bus shouldn't be a problem. The bus makes two stops once it leaves Barcelona before arriving in Bilbao, Lleida and Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The train, the ALVIA, offers a compartment for preferente & gran clase passengers for the 6-hour plus trip, and is a bit more comfortable than then bus since you can get up and walk around.

As already noted, flying is the fastest way, but I would choose Iberia/Vueling over Ryan Air. Iberia and Vueling are now code shared and offer more flight options.

The ground transportation in both Barcelona and Bilbao are fairly straightforward. In Barcelona you can take the train, bus or taxi to the airport. In Bilbao the bus service from the airport into the city is very efficient (www.laburundesa.com/).

South Australia
posts: 22,837
reviews: 12
3. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

Airline passenger comments.

www.airlinequality.com

Tempe, Arizona
posts: 711
4. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

Thanks to all for the helpful replies. I had initially planned on flying but airfares on Vueling and Ryanair have shot up for this route for late June/July making the train fare comparable and the bus fare the least expenisive. I feel reassured that either the bus or train would be comfortable.

Any advice on purchase of tickets for bus or train? We are a family group of 7 and we'd like to get seats together. Does this route fill up in late june early July?

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
posts: 34,698
reviews: 77
5. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

Don't knock out the plane option so quickly. Fares fluctuate and they could very well run discounts closer to the actual departure date.

Tempe, Arizona
posts: 711
6. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

Sammyfloyd- good advice- I will keep checking. However as I've just learned that advance purchase train fares are just 24 euros it seems unlikely that air fares can beat that.

South Australia
posts: 22,837
reviews: 12
7. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

…about.com/od/barcelona/qt/to_bilbao.htm

Northampton, MA
posts: 2,787
reviews: 31
8. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

I believe ALSA bus tickets specify a seat. I think most people sit wherever but still they do assign seats.

9. Re: Barcelona to Bilbao: Train, plane or bus?

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