With a centrally located train station, excellent connections to Barcelona and Madrid, as well as options to travel from even further afield, Bilbao is a great city to visit by train. Direct services run from plenty of international airports, and Renfe's services are comfortable and reliable, making rail travel a superb option.
All trains to Bilbao will arrive at Bilbao Abando Station. Famed for its beautiful stained glass windows, Abando is well situated to start sightseeing, being on both of Bilbao's Metro lines. Renfe's suburban rail services run to nearby towns and coastal resorts (including San Sebastian), while local buses serve all parts of the metropolitan area.
Almost all rail services to Bilbao are provided by Renfe. Spain's national carrier operates a dense network of services, including direct connections from Madrid-Barajas Airport, and Barcelona El Prat. Travelers starting in Paris can also use SNCF services to reach the French border, then transfer to Renfe services to complete the journey.
Whether travelers are coming from North America, or they are hopping between European cities, trains will always be a useful way to reach Bilbao. The Basque city has daily direct connections to cities with international airports, including Madrid and Barcelona. Both cater to American visitors and are within three or four hours of Bilbao. Renfe is also a reliable operator and provides plenty of onboard services, including free WiFi, so it's possible to work, check social media, or research Bilbao's sights. Finally, trains are always faster than buses and compete well with regional flights to Bilbao.
Bilbao hit international headlines in October 1997 when the Guggenheim Art Museum opened its doors. It's still a huge attraction, hosting exceptional collections of modern art and wowing visitors with its striking design. However, there's more to Bilbao than superstar galleries. Visitors should definitely spend a day in Casco Viejo (the Old Town), which is home to the city's cathedral and excellent Archaeological Museum. La Ribera market is a foodie paradise, while Azkuna Zentroa is a temple to modern design and less heralded than the nearby Guggenheim. Whether visitors want fine food, art, cutting edge design, or history, Bilbao has it all.