(Trans-Cantabrico by Rail, Santiago de Compostela)
Get to know the north of Spain, the area by the Bay of Biscay that lies between steep mountains and green meadows, by beaches and cliffs, and discover the towns and villages of this magical region as you relax onboard the luxurious El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo 7 night travel experience. Spend time in the coastal city of San Sebastian before meeting up with your train journey guide who will accompany you and your fellow passengers to Bilbao where you will board your luxurious train. The places along the train route are steeped in history that over the centuries have become living works of art - places like Bilbao, Santander, Santillana del Mar,Llanes, Ribadesella, Oviedo, Vivero and Santiago de Compostela. On board the train you will have the choice of double or single suites, where you will have all the privacy needed for a wonderful trip as well as the opportunity to socialise in the ample salon, dining carriage and bar onboard. With only 14 all suite cabins onboard, the group size is intimate yet allows for plenty of space for individual needs. After your 7 night train journey, stay awhile and explore Santiago de Compostella and environs with private tours which allow for the most amount of flexability possible.
Meet your driver for a private transfer from Bilbao to your hotel in San Sebastian.
Villa Soro(4*) is a charming 25 bedroom hotel located in a renovated 19th century villa which has been declared a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastian. Villa Soro is an outstanding new address, offering a harmonious balance between the warm and familiar atmosphere of a century-old home and the comfort and services of a luxury hotel. Tranquillity, warmth and courtesy are the main characteristics of Villa Soro. The property has a garden designed by the French landscape designer Ducasse in 1898, with pleasant living areas reminiscing the family atmosphere of this stately home, and a very professional team permanently at your service.
Meet up with the El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo representative in San Sebastian who will be with you throughout your train journey as you make your way westwards to Santiago de Compostella. Enjoy a tour of San Sebastian and lunch. San Sebastian is the home of tapas - be sure to try out a few while you are here!
Ideally situated on an excellent spot on the Bay of Biscay , San Sebastian is surrounded by verdant mountains. the city poscesses no less than three beaches - the laid-back Ondaretta, the casual and friendly Playa de Gros, and the popular Playa de la Concha .
You'll travel from San Sebastian to Bilbao where your train awaits you. Board the train and get settled in. Tonight the train will pull up to Mercadillo to spend the night.
The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo multi-day train journey was created with the most discerning of clients in mind. Traveling between San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostella (in both directions), the completely refurbished train now boats panoramic lounges with large windows and luxurious decor. The 14 all-suite cabins on board are well appointed and have either a double or two twin beds with the option of an extra bed.
Daily newspapers, magazines, a thoughtful collection of books from the library, television and videos are all on offer throughout your train journey to make your journey as comfortable as possible.
Upon your arrival in Bilbao, you'll get oriented with the city before enjoying a vist of the world famous Guggenheim museum.
Bilbao is a city of contrasts and rapid regeneration. Little more than an industrial wasteland not so long ago, the city has emerged from the ashes with the construction of the Guggenheim and hasn't looked back since. Although 'the gleaming silver waves of Frank Gehry's creation' is the star attraction of Bilbao, it's in no way the only one. The old city shipyards have been developed as a centre for art and culture. In the historical centre, medieval streets wind their way around the pretty Plaza Nueva, the city's main square, where people congregate day and night to sample pintxos (Basque tapas) and watch the world go by.
Enjoy your lunch on board while the train continues towards Santander, a serene and beautiful city in the province of Cantabria. The casino as well as the "El Sardinero" beach are both worth strolling by as they are two of the city's icons.
Enjoy dinner before overnighting in Santander this evening.
Good food plays an important role on the your train journey through Northern Spain. The cheeses, sausages, meat, vegetables, fish and seafood of this region are all universally renowned. The restaurants that you will have meals at throughout the trip not only select the highest quality raw materials and have them prepared by the greatest professionals; they are also the ideal setting for tasting the local cuisine. All included menus include a careful selection of wines that blend harmoniously with the ingredients of each lunch and dinner. Coffee and liqueurs are also included.
The train will travel towards Unquera this morning where you will then transfer to a waiting coach to take you to Potes and the Saint Toribio of Liebana santuary. Located in the Cantabrian Mountains in northern Spain, the monastery which was founded prior to the 6th century, is one of the five places of Christianity that, together with Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compostela and Caravaca de la Cruz, has the privilege of perpetual indulgences.
Enjoy lunch in the pleasant little market town of Potes this afternoon (included).
This afternoon the train will bring you to Cabezon de la Sal.
The crew onboard is led by a trip supervisor, who, like the captain of a ship, will bring this rail cruiser safely into port. A guide will accompany you on all the shared tours throughout the journey and will become an inseparable companion of the group, even going with you to the various restaurants that we have chosen for lunch and dinner.
Enjoy a shared tour by coach to the beautiful city of Santillana del Mar which dates back to the middle ages, and visit to the Unesco heritage designated Neo-cave of Altamira. The paintings in this cave were created some 14,000 years ago and the site has an irregular shape and is some 270 metres in length. It has an entrance hall, main gallery and side hall, and contains some of the world’s best examples of prehistoric rock art.
Enjoy lunch in Santillana del Mar (included).
Santillana del Mar is a historic town situated in Cantabria, Spain. Certain features of this historical town includes Altamira Caves (Cuevas de Altamira) and many historic buildings, attracting thousands of holiday-makers every year.
This afternoon, the train will take you as far as Arriondas - the destination for tonight. Enjoy a great dinner this evening before settling into your cabin for the night.
Today will find you in the heart of Asturias! From Arriondas, you'll be taken by coach to the National Park 'Picos de Europa', the Covadonga Lakes, the Sanctuary of Covadonga and Cangas de Onís. Cangas de Onis lies in very close proximity to the popular tourist village of Cavadonga, the scene of an historic battle, as well as being on the edge of the Picos de Europa mountains and is well worth a visit.
Onboard the train you will find a daily laundry service, as well as a medical service. Provisions are made for train passengers who require a special diet and this should be requested on trip confirmation.
You will have lunch onboard the train today.
This afternoon, the train will continue towards Oviedo, the capital city of the Principality of Asturias, which you will get to visit.
Enjoy dinner this evening in Oviedo.
From Oviedo, admire the changing scenery as the train makes its way to Candas and then to Gijon, a seaside city on the coast.
Enjoy lunch and a tour of Gijon this afternoon.
The afternoon's destination is Luarca, the 'White Town' of the Green Coast.
Enjoy dinner in Luarca this evening.
Today you will leave Asturias and enter into the province of Galicia, and the first stop will be at Ribadeo, where the Eo River runs into the sea.
Stretch your legs as you discover the amazing natural beauty of Cathedral Beach. Chiseled by the waves into the rugged Galician coast, is a stone Atlantis that rises from the depths and gets swallowed by the sea—daily. As the tide recedes, it lays bare the lower parts of the majestic rocks lining the shore. You can walk down the concrete staircase, the only man-made architectural object you will see on the beach, and wander between the wet sand-paved natural hallways, black walls glistening in the sun; leftover seawater trickling from the caverns; arches that resemble cathedral buttresses reflected in the leftover pools of water. After a few hours, foaming waves return to claim their sculptures, like menacing clouds gathering above cathedral peaks, only these are working their way up.
Sit down to lunch in Ribadeo.
In the afternoon you will arrive by train at Viveiro.
Enjoy dinner this evening.
You'll transfer from Viveiro to Ferrol by train this morning.
From Ferrol, you'll be transfered by coach, to Santiago de Compostela, the final destination for the Jacobean pilgrims, where the Obradoiro's Square, the Platerias and the Cathedral stand like a jewel. Enjoy exporing the city with its winding pedestrianised streets with many shops and bars.
Your train adventure onboard the El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo will come to an end this afternoon after your city tour in Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the north west of Spain in the province of A Coruña, it was the "European City of Culture" for the year 2000. The city's Cathedral is the destination today, as it has been throughout history, of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James.
The Parador Hostal dos Reis Católicos (5*) combines history, art and tradition. The goal of pilgrims and the emblem of St. James, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, together with the cathedral forms one of the world’s most remarkable, and most visited, urban settings. The Hostal, which first saw life as a Royal Hospital in 1499 to house the many pilgrims arriving in Santiago, today still invites the traveller to enjoy this universal and fascinating city. Considered the oldest hotel in the world, it is also one of the most luxurious and beautiful. It has four extremely beautiful cloisters, elegant public rooms, spectacular bedrooms and a luxurious dining room.
Consider any number of optional private tours today including; a half day taking in some of the latter parts of the famous St. James pilgrim route in the company of a guide, enjoy a cooking class and learn how to prepare some local dishes, spend the day exploring the neighbouring coastline, countryside and interesting towns as you sample local tapas, wines, and take in a visit a market to experience Galician food and culture. Alternatively, explore the wine country of the Albarino taking in some historical sites along the way such as La Toja - a luxurious spa and tourist resort since the 19th century. The centre of the island still retains a virgin dense pine grove where the San Martiño church is located which is totally covered in seashells. Following your visit, take in a beautiful river cruise to admire the most extensive and rich landscapes of the Ria de Arosa. Please speak to your Sales Advisor if any of these private tour options are of interest.
Meet your driver for a private airport transfer.
February 19, 2014
"Lynne Pettit is a particularly good tour planner and contact person because she is knowledgeable, patient, and thorough. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want to get from your trip and plans the tours accordingly. In my case, she was right on the mark!"
Ann Saxon ,
November 06, 2013
"Our trip was fantastic!!! I cannot say enough good things. Lianne worked with our exact dates and time frame beautifully.Our drivers were prompt and friendly. The private guides were so knowledgeable. We left with an appreciation of the history, the culture, and the beauty of Andulasia. We were very pleased and will certainly recommend your company to friends and family."
Edwards Family ,
November 28, 2013
"People do not know what they are missing by not going to Romania. The landscape: beautiful, clean, untouched. The people: People exceeded friendly! Super safe. Wherever we went, we received the reception of "Welcome, welcome! You are our guest", by everyone. Food & Drink: Everything had such incredible flavor! They use only the freshest ingredients and everything is organic. Every meal was a new, exciting experience to our palettes. Architecture: The beauty, intricacy, history. One cannot help but appreciate the abundance of castles, churches and buildings boasting such incredible architecture. Experience Romania sooner than later! You’ll be so glad you did! Once again, Kensington Tours, and special thank you to Claudia.
Coby Scherr ,
November 05, 2013
"Everyone involved in our Portugal trip made it terrific. Exactly as advertised. Every event on time and most pleasant. Guides were well-informed, courteous and friendly. Really made for a great journey every time. Each hotel was clean, upgraded and staffed with knowledgeable and friendly folks. Breakfasts were complete -- almost too much to eat. It will always be a wonderful memory thanks to Kensington Tours."
Mike Mikkelsen ,
November 15, 2013
"Lianne Kim did a great job for us (on our tour of Spain). Most enjoyable - thanks for all you did."
November 09, 2013
"My trip to Holland and Belgium was a lifelong dream and Kensington Tours made it greater than my dream. I was treated like royalty, even when I missed some of my connections. They quickly solved any problems that U had. All the drivers were courteous and helpful. My accommodations were top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a better tour experience. Thanks to Richard Racicot for booking the best fo me."
Couples Dellinger & Hubbell ,
November 06, 2013
"We've been raving to everyone about the food, the friendliness of the people and the amazing history and sites in Turkey. Yes, we want to go back."
John Edstrom ,
October 22, 2013
"Overall, our tour in Spain was very enjoyable, and well planned and executed. Our private tour of the Alhambra was excellent. Virginia, tour guide for royal palace ruins outside of Cordoba, was also excellent. In Seville, we went to the Flamenco Show/dinner, and the Flamenco was outstanding!"
Kevin Wilshere ,
October 19, 2013
"Great trip to Spain! Thanks again for all your help, Lianne. The destinations, hotels, guides and everything were all top notch."
Chery lWestlund ,
November 07, 2013
"My husband and I took a 3 week vacation to southern Europe and North Africa and had a great time. All the guides were very knowledgeable and bend over backwards to accommodate us. The arrangement made by Kensington went off without a hitch. This is our second trip with Kensington (we went to Peru in 2009) and we will certainly book with them again."
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