(Leon, 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. These are places full of enchantment and history that over the centuries have become living works of art - places like Santiago de Compostela, Oviedo, Ribadesella, Llanes, Santillana del Mar, Santander, Bilbao, Carrión de los Condes and León. 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. Spend time in the majestic city of Leon before boarding your train and explore the city in the company of a private guide. 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 flexibility possible.
Transfer using a local taxi. Please note that this is not included in trip price and is payable locally.
Regardless of whether you are staying at the Parador of Leon, known as the Hostal San Marcos, it is worth exploring the interior of the building.One of the jewels of the city, this magnificent building was originally a hostal built to shelter the pilgrims on the Santiago Way. In the 15th century it was converted into a monastery, in the 17th century it was used as a prison and during the Spanish Civil War served as an army barracks. Today it is one of Spain's most impressive hotels. Part of the building is the Archeological Museum of Leon, and is well worth a visit. Another site worth investigating is the Romanic San Isidoro Basilica in San Isidoro Plaza which has a beautiful façade and an 11th-century baptism font. The spectacular 12th century gothic cathedral sits proudly in the In the Plaza Regla and boasts wonderful tall stained glass windows which are as impressive at night when it is illuminated, as by day. The musuem inside the cathedral has an interesting collection of paintings and sculptures. The impressive modern art gallery of MUSAC holds exhibitions of well-known Spanish and international artists.
The Parador was originally a monastery founded in the twelfth century to provide lodging for the pilgrims travelling to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. This is one of the most beautiful Renaissance building in Spain. There are many public rooms all filled with paintings, carvings and tapestries. Royal halls, large rooms, library and a restaurant offering fine cuisine make the Parador de San Marcos a unique place to stay in the Pilgrim's Way and the Via de la Plata.
Welcome on board the train and settle into your suite.
Enjoy lunch in Leon this afternoon.
Visit the Iron, Steel and Mining Museum of Sabero this afternoon on a shared tour.
Enjoy dinner this evening in Cistierna before your overnight onboard.
Junior Suite a fully equipped room to enjoy a comfortable stay on board. It features: bedroom and bathroom layout, double bed, equipped with wardrobe, luggage rack, desk, safe, climate control, musical tuner, internal telephone, minibar. Functional bathroom with hairdryer and hydro-massage shower/steam sauna.
While having breakfast, the train will cover the distance between Cistierna and Guardo.
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.
Late morning will see you board a coach for a shared tour to discover the Roman Villa of La Olmeda and the Romanesque Art of Palencia: Carrion de los Condes, Villalcazar de Sirga and Fromista.
Enjoy lunch in Villalcazar this afternoon after your morning tour.
You'll travel by train from Mataporquera this afternoon to arrive at Villasana de Mena, by the fascinating reservoir of the Ebro river and the region of Las Merindades.
Relax over dinner tonight in Villasana de Mena.
Enjoy breakfast on board the train and admire the views as you pass through the Mena Valley and Biscay territories enroute to Bilbao.
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.
Bilbao is a fascinating city and well worth doing a guided tour of to get the most out of your time in the city. Enjoy a shared tour around the city including a visit to the Guggenheim Museum and Loizaga's Tower in Galdames, hosting the world's greatest collection of Rolls Royce cars.
Enjoy your lunch on board before your arrival into Santander, the capital of Cantabria, and a city of fishermen which preserves the charm of past times.
Santander is an interesting Spanish Northern city to explore and sights include the marvelous cathedral containing the Christ crypt, the Pereda gardens, maritime boardwalk and beautiful buildings dating to the 17th century that line the Paseo de Pereda. Enjoy a shared city tour this afternoon before boarding the train once again.
The four lounge carriages onboard the Transcantábrico train are the common areas of the train and are veritable rail treasures that are much admired owing to their exquisite design, their finish and the interior decorations. One of the lounge carriages has a bar and dance floor. This is the "pub carriage", decorated and lit like a small night-club, where lively entertainment is provided.
After dinner there is an optional visit to the local casino.
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.
In the morning the train will arrive to Cabezón de la Sal.
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 this afternoon.
In the afternoon the train will journey into Asturias, then to the beautiful fishing town of Llanes, before passing through Ribadesella and Arriondas.
Dinner is in Cangas de Onís this evening and you will overnight onboard in Arriondas.
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 on a shared tour. 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.
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 in 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 to 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.
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.
Each Suite onboard the El Transcantabrico train is especially designed for rest and privacy. One can sleep quietly since the train is completely stationary overnight. This means that your sleep is not disturbed by moving and jolting and and gives those who enjoy nightlife a chance to go out and experience the atmosphere of each place. Each compartment is equipped with a complete set of complementary bathroom accessories. All suites have large windows that allow enjoying the passing scenery. All cars are connected internally for ease of movement.
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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