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El Transcantábrico

10 days From £7,495 per person

Spain's oldest tourist train, El Transcantábrico

This is an independent non-escorted holiday

2024 Tour code: QET24

About the tour

Spain's oldest tourist train, El Transcantábrico, is a 5-star luxury journey that takes guests across the north of Spain to some of the country's most historic and culturally significant sights. Whilst onboard, take in fantastic views across the surrounding countryside from the elegance and charm of 1920s Pullman carriages.


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What’s included


Day 1 - London to Santiago de Compostela

Fly from London to Madrid then continue by rail to Santiago Compostela, where a private transfer to your four-star hotel awaits. If you like, you can add a night in Madrid before continuing your journey.

Day 2 - San Sebastian

Spend some time in the elegant Basque resort of San Sebastian, on the Bay of Biscay. You might like to explore the picturesque old town or stroll along the town's famous beaches before settling down to lunch in this gastronomic hotspot.

From here, you are transferred to Bilbao, where Spain's oldest tourist train, El Transcantábrico, will be waiting. The train will start its journey to Carranza as you enjoy a welcome drink and then a luxurious dinner on board.

You spend your first night in your luxury cabin, getting acquainted with all the mod cons this luxurious hotel on wheels has to offer.

  • Dinner
Day 3 - Bilbao and Santander

Start your day with the first of many leisurely breakfasts aboard El Transcantábrico, with both á la carte and buffet options available. The train returns to Bilbao, where you alight to explore this dynamic cultural hub via guided tour, with entrance to the world famous Guggenheim Museum included.

Return for lunch onboard on the way to Santander. Here, the train stops to let you explore the elegant Cantabrian capital on your own terms, perhaps taking in its iconic royal palace, the Palacio de la Magdalena. After dinner onboard, there's a chance for a night on the tiles with a visit to the Gran Casino de Santander.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Sightseeing around Unquera

The train stops at Unquera, where you alight and continue to Potes via coach. En route, you cross the breathtaking La Hermida Pass for views down the jagged limestone gorge, before arriving at La Hermida Spa for some thermal rejuvenation and a little lunch.

Spend the afternoon exploring the eye-catching and vibrant El Caprichio - a colourful 19th-century palace built by the renowned Catalan modernist architect Antonio Gaudi, famed for his design for the iconic Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

In the evening, the train continues to Cabezón de la Sal, where you have dinner onboard and stop for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Santillana del Mar

Your first port of call is Santillana del Mar, considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. The fantastically preserved historic centre dates back to the medieval period - spend some time exploring the cobbled streets and charming old buildings.

Your next stop is the Altamira museum of Paleolithic cave art, with a focus on those found in the nearby Altamira cave complex. The museum's Neocueva is a stunning full-sized recreation of Altamira's Polychrome Hall chamber, featuring black and ochre bison paintings using natural rock relief.

After lunch, the train continues to Arriondas, where you have dinner and stop for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Picos de Europa National Park

Alight the train and transfer to the Picos de Europa National Park via coach. Your guided tour begins with a visit to tranquil Lake Enol in the remote Cantabrian mountains. After a stroll along the shore, you continue to the Sanctuary of Covadonga, a religious centre in the mountains featuring a hidden holy cave and stunning Basilica.

Return to El Transcantábrico, to take lunch on board while travelling to Oviedo. This regional capital boasts some fabulous examples of Asturian pre-Romanesque architecture, including the unique 9th-century church, San Julián de los Prados. Spend some time discovering the city for yourself before returning to the train for the evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Avilés and Gijón

Start the day with a visit to the historic port city of Avilés. Explore the old cobbled streets and take in the striking curves of the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre before continuing to the coastal city of Gijón, situated on the Cantabrian Sea and brimming with cultural activities and events.

Return to El Transcantábrico for a scenic journey along the coast to Luarca, a charming whitewashed fishing town, where the train stops for the night. Enjoy a guided tour of this archetypal Asturian town, taking in the atmosphere and picturesque old harbour.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Ribadeo and Viveiro

Explore Ribadeo, a historic Galician town known for its beaches. Las Catedrales Beach is one of the most spectacular in the world - take in its striking geological structures before a panoramic tour of the rest of the city.

Continue on El Transcantábrico to Viveiro, your final stop on your epic eight-day journey. After an initial guided tour, you have time to explore on your own, perhaps taking a wander on the beach or exploring the relaxed, traditional Galician bars in the town centre. You spend your last night onboard El Transcantábrico, complete with a final dinner to send you off.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Santiago de Compostela

After a final breakfast on board, alight at Ferrol, where the El Transcantábrico bus will pick you up and take you to Santiago de Compostela.

Your final day is spent exploring this historical and religious centre, which has been a destination for pilgrims for over a thousand years. In the morning, a guided tour takes in some of the cultural highlights, including the famously magnificent cathedral, before time to explore by yourself in the afternoon.

Transfer to your four-star hotel for the final night - feel free to relax after an exhilarating trip, or to head out in the evening and make the most of your final night.

  • Breakfast
Day 10 - To London

Transfer from your hotel to the airport, where you'll fly back to London via Madrid.

Additional information

Please note

The itinerary above is just a suggestion and you are free to make adjustments to suit your exact requirements. Please call 01904 734 358 to speak to one of our Tailor-Made Holiday Specialists about tailoring your holiday with GRJ independent.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


El Transcantábrico

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