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Spain's Iconic El Transcantabrico

(Tour code: ELJ17)Experience the elegance and style of Spain’s oldest tourist train

Experience the elegance and style of Spain's oldest tourist train, El Transcantábrico, on its journey from León to Santiago de Compostela. Explore the glorious coastline and discover the culture and food of northern Spain.


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Tour Highlights
  • Biarritz
  • 7 nights on board El Transcantábrico
  • Historic Avilés
  • Luarca
  • Ribadeo
  • Las Catedrales Beach
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • Madrid
What’s Included (Full details)
  • 7 nights on board the El Transcantábrico
  • 4* Hotel Accommodation
    Breakfast Every Day
  • Optional Bag Concierge

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Day 1

To Biarritz

We begin at our dedicated Departure Office in St Pancras International and take the Eurostar to Paris. In Paris we transfer to the high-speed TGV for our onward journey to Biarritz. On arrival we check-in to our hotel, the Mercure Centre Plaza Biarritz. This stylish town overlooking the rocky Atlantic Coast was Napoleon's preferred location to entertain dignitaries and the French and European aristocracy.

  • Dinner
  • Eurostar Meal
Day 2

At leisure in Biarritz

Today you enjoy a full-day at leisure in sparkling Biarritz. With its rich and varied history, the town boasts many interesting landmarks including the Russian Orthodox Church which was a frequent meeting point for Russian nobility prior to the Soviet Revolution. You may also like to indulge in the razzmatazz of the casino and chance your hand. Alternatively, one of the focal points of Biarritz is its fabulous beach, the 'Grand Plage': a golden expanse of sand fringed by the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. The famous promenade is an ever popular attraction, where you can follow in the footsteps of Frank Sinatra and Ernest Hemingway and enjoy the views over the beach and out to sea.

  • Breakfast
  • Free Day
El Transcantabrico Train
Day 3

To León & joining El Transcantábrico

We leave glamorous Biarritz behind this morning, travelling by coach to León in northwest Spain, where we join El Transcantábrico, our home for the next seven nights.

Journey on the incredible El Transcantábrico train

Our train, El Transcantábrico, is the epitome of style and elegance, boasting beautiful interiors rich with polished wood and sumptuous furnishings. The saloon cars are original 1920s Pullman carriages, restored to offer the highest quality of comfort and elegance on board, and include a lounge car, a tea room, bar, and restaurant coaches, as well as a superb panoramic car to make the most of the wonderful scenery just waiting to be discovered. After a welcome drink and time to settle in, our train continues to Cistierna, where we enjoy dinner on board this evening.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4

La Olmeda and Villasana

Today our train stops at Guardo, where we board a coach to Saldaña, home to La Olmeda, an impressive Roman villa known for its well-preserved mosaics. Our excursion continues, as we explore three of Palencia's villages, absorbing historical Romanesque architecture along the way. Afterwards, our train continues to Villasana, where we overnight this evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5

Bilbao and Santander

After breakfast on board, we pause today at Bilbao, the unofficial capital of Spain's Basque Country, which we explore on a guided city tour. Later, we continue to Santander, where we overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Santillana del Mar
Day 6

Santander to Arriondas

Today we head out to explore the town of Santillana del Mar with its beautifully preserved medieval old town. Later, we continue by train to the coastal village of Ribadesella with free time to explore, before continuing to Arriondas, where we enjoy a sumptuous dinner, and stay overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Picos de Europa
Day 7

The Picos de Europa & Oviedo

After breakfast on board, we begin our day in the Picos de Europa National Park, exploring the magnificent scenery of this wild corner of Spain. We head to the Shrine of Covadonga, considered to be where King Pelayo began the Christian Reconquest of Spain, and which holds a very special spiritual meaning for the Asturian people. We pass the Lakes of Covadonga, two glacial lakes at the centre of the National Park, as we continue to Cangas de Onis, a pretty medieval town. We continue by train to Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region, with time to explore the historic centre full of Romanesque monuments. We enjoy dinner and stay overnight at Candas.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8

Historic Avilés, Gijon & Luarca

Today begins with a visit to historic Avilés where we see the enchanting Old Town before continuing to Gijón.Whilst here we spend time to capture the city's charm and admire its fantastic position by the Cantabrian Sea. After lunch in Gijón we continue our journey to Luarca. Known as 'the white town on the green coast', Luarca boasts a quaint harbour decorated by rows of whitewashed houses which lie between the mountains and the sea.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Las Catedrales
Day 9

Ribadeo and Las Catedrales Beach

Our train visits Ribadeo today, home to one of the world's most spectacular beaches; Las Catedrales. The beach is so named due to its striking, cathedral-like arches which dominate the shore. We take lunch in Ribadeo before moving on to the historic town of Viveiro this afternoon. We enjoy dinner here and stay overnight.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Santiago De Compostela
Day 10

Santiago de Compostela: ‘Field of the Star’

This morning we take our final breakfast aboard our train as we journey to Ferrol. Here we transfer by coach to Santiago de Compostela, one of the holiest sites in Spain. Santiago heralds the end of the famous Catholic pilgrimage 'Camino de Santiago' or the 'Way of St James', dating back to the 9th century, and is a city steeped in history. It is the fabled final resting place of Saint James the Great who was said to be the apostle who brought Christianity to the Iberian Peninsula. Today thousands of people flock here to experience its Old Town and the magnificent Baroque cathedral that dates back to 1211. The name of this city comes from the Latin Campus Stellae; 'Field of the Star' though it is still hotly disputed. What isn't disputed at all however is the importance of the city, which was lavished with UNESCO status in 1993 and as the capital of Galicia remains a magnetic tourist draw and world-wide centre for pilgrimage. We enjoy a city tour of Santiago and have time at leisure this afternoon to explore further. This afternoon we check in to our hotel, the excellent Parador de Santiago for a two night stay. Situated in a 15th century building overlooking the main square of Santiago, the hotel is a unique combination of history and comfort. Many of the original features are still intact and complement the rooms perfectly. The hotel's superb restaurants feature exposed stonework and stunning candelabras, whilst the menus offer traditional Galician dishes.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Madrid Plaza Mayor
Days 11-12

Santiago to Madrid

Today we enjoy a day at leisure in Santiago. On Day 9 we transfer from Santiago to the train station and make our way to Madrid. On Day 10 we get to know the capital of Spain. Madrid is a city of grand boulevards and refined urban parks, and is known for its sublime art scene. Our discovery of Madrid begins in Madrid de los Austrias - Madrid's old core. Built by the wealth of the Habsburg dynasty, this part of the city is famous for its expansive squares and fine architecture. Following our tour you are free to discover more of Madrid at leisure. Perhaps you'd like to visit the Museo Nacional del Prado, Spain's most prominent art museum, with a collection ranging from the 12th century to the early 19th. It is widely considered to be one of the finest collections of European art. We enjoy a final night dinner in a local restaurant.

  • Day - 8 Breakfast, Dinner
  • Day - 9 Breakfast
  • Day - 10 Breakfast, Dinner

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour features the same excursions, they may not necessarily be in the order listed above.


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