El Transcantabrico Clasico: Journey from Santiago de Compostela to León
Day 1-Tour Santiago de Compostela and travel to Viveiro
Welcome to Santiago de Compostela, whose Cathedral was the destination of the important 9th century medieval pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James. Santiago is like a jewel in a crown, with the Plaza del Obradoiro, the Platerías and its famous Cathedral. Enjoy lunch in Santiago before boarding the coach to Ferrol, where El Transcantabrico, your hotel on wheels for the next seven nights, awaits. Settle in to your comfortable cabin as your railway cruise begins, traveling to Viveiro, a lovely walled city. Enjoy dinner and stay overnight in Viveiro.
Day 2-The majestic beauty of Ribadeo
After breakfast on board the train, depart for Ribadeo, located on the border between Asturias and Galicia. After lunch in Ribadeo and a visit to 'Catedrales' beach, admire the awe-inspiring landscape, called the "Rias Altas" or "Upper Estuaries," as you journey to Luarca, the White Village on the Green Coast. Dinner and overnight in Luarca.
Day 3-Journey to the elegant city of Oviedo
The train departs this morning in the direction of Candas and then Gijón, an impressive city on the Asturian seaboard. After your delicious lunch, continue onwards by rail to Oviedo, capital of the Asturian Principality. It is a city of great elegance known for its gastronomic delights and some of the finest Pre-Romanesque monuments in Europe. Dinner and overnight in Oviedo.
Day 4-Deep into the heart of Asturias
On our way to Arriondas, we reach the heart of Asturias, the Picos de Europa National Park. Climb up to the beautiful Lake Enol, the Sanctuary of Covadonga, and finally, Cangas de Onís. After lunch, return to the train and follow the route of the International Descent of the River Sella to Ribadesella. Continue to Llanes, a marvelous fishing village in Eastern Asturias. Enjoy the charming atmosphere, dinner and an overnight stay in Llanes.
Day 5-Travel back in time to Santillana del Mar
Enjoy breakfast on board as the train travels to Cabezón de la Sal. Disembark the train for a coach transfer to Santillana del Mar, a picturesque medieval village captured in time. The tour includes a visit to the Neocave Museum at Altamira which incorporates a replica of the nearby Stone Age caves famous for their prehistoric paintings. After a delicious lunch in Santillana, continue on to Santander, capital of Cantabria, a beautiful coastal city with an enchanting past. Enjoy a city tour followed by dinner. There is an optional excursion to the local Casino after dinner.
Day 6-City tours of Bilbao and Galdames
After breakfast on the train, arrive in Bilbao, a modern city where the estuary meets the sea. Enjoy a visit to the city and the Guggenheim Museum, a modern architectural wonder designed by Frank Gehry. Today’s lunch is served on board the train as you travel to Galdames to visit Torre de Loizaga which houses the largest private collection of Rolls Royce vehicles in the world. In the afternoon, journey to Balmaseda, the oldest town in all of Biscay, and Villasana de Mena in the north of the province of Burgos. Dinner and overnight in Villasana de Mena.
Day 7-Admire the masterpieces of Carrión de los Condes
This morning after breakfast, depart by coach from Mataporquera to visit the Canal de Castilla and view fine examples of Palentine Romanesque art in Carrión de los Condes, Frómista and Villacázar de Sirga. Lunch is served in Villalcázar before your trip to Guardo for a tour of the Roman Villa of Olmeda. Visit the Steelworks and Mining Museum in Sabero, then depart to Cistierna for dinner and overnight.
Day 8-Your journey ends in León
On our last day, the train crosses the lovely rivers and valleys of the mountains of León to the provincial capital. Explore several of the monumental buildings for which the city is known, including the Real Colegiata de San Isidoro, San Marcos, Casa de Botines, Cathedral and the Old Quarter. Bid a fond farewell to the train and to your newfound friends as this memorable journey comes to an end.
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