In a world of high-speed jet liners, rail travel offers an incomparably romantic and leisurely way of coming into contact with a particular part of the world. While the Orient Express is probably the best-known luxury train – partly due to Agatha Christie – the El Transcantábrico is a superb example of the genre. It offers a scenic journey through the northern coast of Spain, traveling in 5-star accommodation, with an 8 day/7 night tour of sights that include prehistoric cave paintings, natural wonders, fine cities and modern marvels. El Transcantábrico follows the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Way of St. James, which leads to Santiago de la Compostela, passing through the provinces of Castilla y León, País Vasco, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.
El Transcantábrico is a luxury train with all the amenities and comforts of a cruise ship. It has different suites (double, triple or privileged), fully furnished to the highest standards of comfort, including double beds (some have the option of an independent upper bunk), private bathroom with whirlpool bath, and a large panoramic window to admire the view. The trip has been designed so that travelers sleep while the train is at the station, ensuring a restful night, and enabling passengers to enjoy the nightlife of the city if they so wish. The train itself offers a lively social scene, with lounge cars that have seen many friendships forged, a pub car, a bar, and lounges for relaxation, contemplation, conversation, cocktails and so forth.
Traveling by day makes sense because of the scenery. Northern Spain is absolutely spectacular, and the train represents the ideal way of admiring breathtaking views of forests, coasts, and mountains. Local stops enable passengers to discover the charm of towns, cities and their cuisine – after all, this is Spain, a rich store of culinary delights, including cheeses, meats, fish, seafood, and a vast selection of fine Spanish wines and spirits. The eight days of the journey comprise a complete program of excursions, museum visits, sightseeing and food tastings, to make the most of your time.
Whether you depart from León to Santiago de la Compostela or the other way around, the journey is always enchanting. Highlights include the lovely coastal town Viviero, the ancient town of Oviedo with churches dating back to pre-Romanesque times, the wonderful beaches of Ribadesella, the picturesque fishing village of Llanes with its imposing mountains in the background, and the caves formed by the waters of the Cantabrian sea. Artistic gems of the trip include the prehistoric cave paintings in the Altamira Caves near Santillana, the modern marvels of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Medieval and Renaissance treasures in the Moorish city of Carrión de los Condes, hometown of El Cid. Finally passengers will reach their destination at Santiago de la Compostela. This city, capital of Galicia, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for its Old Town with a tour through the city and its beautiful cathedral. In past centuries, Santiago was a centre of Christian pilgrimage secondary only to Rome and the Holy Land, for its possession of the remains of St. James, found at the place where the Cathedral was built.
El Transcantábrico offers itineraries starting at León, Santiago or San Sebastiano, with different types of suite, and the possibility of a triple with a child below 12 years of age. For information, phone +34 902 555 902, or visit www.transcantabrico.com
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