A focus on: The Blue Train
By Sukie Chapman
15 December 2017
As luxury train rides go, it would be misguided to not consider South Africa's The Blue Train amongst the very best.Read more
The holiday haven of Spain has beauty beyond its sun-kissed shores and bustling bars.
There is another Spain, beyond the endless miles of golden beaches and resorts that have attracted holidaymakers for decades. Let Great Rail Journeys introduce you to a sun-kissed land that is bursting with passion, culture, history and natural beauty on a fabulous escorted rail tour of Spain.
Sit back and enjoy the view as we journey by train to the vineyards and villages of rural Spain. Admire the beauty of the Rioja region before sampling a glass of its famous produce in a rustic wine tavern.
If the lure of the coast proves irresistible, join us on an excursion to the fishing village of Cadaques was a favourite retreat of Salvador Dali.
If your preference is for the buzz and excitement of the city you'll be thrilled by our journeys by train in Spain as you'll visit the architecturally-stunning Valencia with its mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings, the historic and picture-postcard perfect Barcelona and vibrant Madrid, Spain's compelling and cosmopolitan capital which is steeped in art, culture and attractions both ancient and modern.
Spain is a destination that can truthfully claim to deliver all things to all people, and when you join Great Rail Journeys for a holiday in Spain by train we'll show you the very best of this beautiful country.
From the heart of cultural Andalucía, explore the very best this stunning destination has to offer, including the historic streets of vibrant Seville and the overwhelming beauty of Granada's UNESCO-listed Alhambra.… see more
8 days from £1,275 ppView tour details >
Uncovering the hidden gems of one of Spain's finest regions, this tour of the Catalan coast sees us take two wonderful railway journeys into the Pyrenees Mountains, venture to the vibrant city of Girona and see the birthplace of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.… see more
8 days from £1,315 ppView tour details >
The beautiful, unspoilt town of Roses is our base for nine nights on the rugged Costa Brava. Our relaxed itinerary introduces the cultural highlights of the region, including the incredible Cap de Creus National Park, the picturesque fishing village of Cadaqués, Barcelona, Figueres and the Dalí Foundation.… see more
10 days from £2,015 ppView tour details >
Showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Andalucía, this tour takes us from Spain's bustling, fashionable capital city, through the iconic Moorish citadel of Granada's Alhambra, to the elegant city of Seville, via the whitewashed passages of Cordoba's Old Town.… see more
13 days from £3,295 ppView tour details >
Whether you're sampling tapas in Seville, marvelling at the exquisite Alhambra Palace in Granada or browning on the beach at Benicarlo it's because Great Rail Journeys seeks out a selection of the best destinations and excursions for its Spanish rail tour itineraries.
Everything that appears on your varied and exciting itinerary is included in the cost of your train holiday in Spain, as are all the travel arrangements, quality accommodation and a selection of meals. Add in the services of our professional and helpful Tour Manager who is on hand to assist and advise guests whenever needed, and you'll agree that our escorted rail tours of Spain provide excellent value for money.
Good accommodation is essential to the enjoyment of your holiday and we ensure that every hotel we use is the best available in terms of value, location, guest facilities and comfort. We like to choose family-run hotels where possible which typically provide a more personal service and an informal environment in which guests can fully relax.
Spain, Europe's fifth-largest country, is situated on the Iberian Peninsula in south-western Europe and bordered by Portugal to the west and France and Andorra to the north-east. Spain's northern coast faces the Atlantic Ocean, its east coast the Mediterranean Sea.
For the last 35,000 years Spain has been settled, invaded and controlled by various races from the Ancient Greeks and Romans to the Germanic Visigoths and the Moors of northern Africa. Following the reclamation of Spain from the Moors at the end of the fifteenth century, rule of the country alternated between Spain and France for the next three centuries until simmering animosity between Spanish Monarchists and Nationalists eventually resulted in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. The Nationalists won and Spain effectively became a military dictatorship under General Francisco Franco until his death in 1975, when the current monarchy - and democracy - was restored.
The eastern side of Spain benefits from a Mediterranean climate which provides hot, dry sunny summers and mild wet winters. Winter temperatures grow colder towards Spain's central plateau. On the Atlantic coast summers are slightly cooler and heavier rainfall is experienced in winter.
Spain's cuisine is relatively simple and is based on the easy availability of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and particularly seafood. The settlement of different races throughout Spain's history has also influenced its gastronomy, such as the widespread use of olive oil; an ingredient associated with Greek and Roman culture. There are many delicious Spanish specialities to try but among those most commonly available are paella - a stew of shellfish, chorizo sausage and rice, the hearty Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette), Gazpacho, soup of fresh tomatoes and herbs served cold, and Jamón serrano; ham that has been cured and aged. Churros, deep-fried doughnuts, piped in a straight line rather than a circle, are a popular dessert and snack. Spain is famous for its red wines such as Rioja, and the fortified sherry, whilst sangria, a red wine punch with fresh fruit, brandy and sugar is popular, refreshing and available everywhere.
Touring Spain by train it is almost impossible not to be introduced to someone's children and it is here that many visitors show a misunderstanding of Spanish culture. In Spain it is polite to shake everyone's hand starting with the oldest and working down to young children.
Guests on our tours of Spain by train are accompanied by a Tour Manager who arranges for local services including many meals. Should you choose to dine separately at a restaurant of your own choice, it is customary in Spain to tip between 5% and 10% of the value of the meal.