Travel Tips & FAQ’s
What are the passport/visa requirements for travel to Spain?
Please ensure that your passport has at least three blank pages and that it is valid for at least six months beyond your departure date from Spain. Please check with your local embassy regarding visa requirements.
When should I plan to arrive?
We recommend arriving at the starting location at least 1 day prior to your tour so that you may acclimate and relax prior to embarking on your exciting rail journey. Instructions regarding the starting point of the journey will be printed on your travel voucher.
What is the capacity of the train?
There are 14 Privilege Suites on the train. The number of passengers really depends on the occupancies sold in that departure. The maximum capacity of the train is normally 28 passengers, but it could also reach 42 passengers using the sofas as triple.
There are 4 suites with Two Twin Beds and 10 suites with matrimonial beds. These are fixed beds and configuration cannot be altered.
Allocations of rooms are made on first come first serve basis. Bookings made first get the rooms closest to the common areas like the dining car and lounge car.
Is there a dress code on board?
There is no official dress code on board, but we recommend comfortable shoes and clothes due to the nature of the visits and excursions.
What kind of food is served on the train?
Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and Castilla y León are, in the opinion of the most fastidious chefs and gourmets, the regions where you can still find the best cuisine in Spain. The cheeses, sausages, meat, vegetables, fish and seafood are all universally renowned.
The restaurants on our route 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 of our menus include a careful selection of wines that blend harmoniously with the ingredients of each lunch and dinner. Coffee and liqueurs are also included.
How are the meals served?
Breakfasts are buffet-style and are served on board the train in the four lounge carriages. Lunches and dinners are taken at restaurants in the cities as mentioned in each day’s itinerary.
Is there a laundry/dry cleaning service on the train?
Yes, laundry service is available at an additional charge. Please see the crew for details.
Is there internet or telephone accessibility on the train?
There is internet access on board the train but also in cybercenters in several cities along the route. Your room on board is equipped with a telephone, which you may use for long distance calls (guest’s own account). Phones will generally get reception, however sometimes this is a bit difficult due to the mountains and tunnels along the way.
Is the train accessible to wheelchairs / physical challenges?
Wheelchairs for sightseeing excursions are available upon request; kindly advise our office as soon as possible and at least 30 days prior to your departure of the necessity for a wheelchair. Please know there are no ramps for entering/exiting the train, and the train’s corridors are too narrow to accommodate wheelchairs. For those with other physical challenges, please contact our office.
Is smoking allowed on board?
No. Since January 2006, it is forbidden by Law to smoke on board the train and in the train stations.
What facilities are available on the train?
The four lounge carriages of El Transcantábrico are the most unusual and beautiful places on the train. They are veritable rail treasures that are much admired owing to their exquisite design, their finish and the interior decorations. The “pub carriage” has a bar and dance floor and is decorated and lit like a small night-club, where lively entertainment is provided every night until the early hours of the morning. Another lounge carriage also has a bar where you can sit back and have a quiet drink. The other two lounges are for other types of entertainment, such as reading, enjoying a board game with your fellow passengers, talking or watching the passing scenery through the big picture windows. And wherever you are, you will always be served by our attentive waiters.
Passengers are offered daily newspapers, magazines, a thoughtful collection of books from the library, television and videos; all that you need to make your journey a pleasure.
Are there different types or sizes of rooms on board the train?
Suites on board El Transcantabrico are specially designed for rest and privacy. You can sleep in comfort as the train will be parked at a station each night. This means that your sleep will not be disturbed by moving and jolting and also gives those who enjoy nightlife an opportunity to go out and savor the atmosphere of each town.
There are 14 luxury Suites with either double bed (150cm x 200cm) and one sofa (86cm x 182cm) or with two twin beds (85cm x 190cm) and one sofa (86cm x 182cm).The large sofa can be turned into an extra bed. The suites measure 128.7 square feet.
All suites are equipped with a television set, VCR, game console, Hi Fi system, PC with a free internet connection, luggage rack, minibar, safe deposit box, wardrobe, writing desk and a telephone with an outside line. The private ensuite bathroom has a hydro sauna, turbo massage and steam bath, hairdryer, bathrobe and complimentary toiletries. The air-conditioning and heating, piped music and lights are all controlled individually. The electrical power is 220 volts.
Are rooms pre-assigned or can you choose your own room?
The rooms are assigned on site. If you have any specific room requirements, please contact us at least one month prior to departure so that we can send your request to our Operations Team.
Is there a hairdryer in each bathroom? Are toiletries provided?
Yes, there is a hairdryer provided in every bathroom, along with a dental set, comb, eau de toilette, shaving set, shower cup, shoe polish and more.
Is there bottled water available?
Yes, bottled spring water is provided free of charge throughout the tour.
What is the weather like?
Northern Spain experiences a mild oceanic climate, with not too many extreme temperatures. Please bring along a jacket or coat for chilly evenings, and sun protection for warm afternoons.
Do I have to stay aboard all seven nights?
You are not required to stay aboard the train for seven nights. However, as the train follows a fixed itinerary, you will be responsible for your own transportation to/from your points of embarkation/disembarkation, for any hotels you use during the journey, for meals taken while separated from the group, etc. There are no refunds for unused portions of the tour. Therefore, should you choose to shorten the journey in any way, you are still required to pay for the full seven-night tour.
Are doctors available at all times?
The train carries a first aid kit, and El Transcantábrico has contacts with various health centers along the train route.
What expenses will I have during the trip?
El Transcantabrico is a very inclusive experience, so you will not need to pay for any meals, beverages during lunch/dinner, sightseeing, monument entrances or accommodations. You will incur additional cost if you choose to purchase any additional beverages on board; laundry services; camera fees at monuments; transfers, additional sightseeing, or other services in San Sebastian or Santiago de Compostela; gratuities; and/or souvenirs.
How can I settle my expenses on the train?
You may settle your onboard expenses by paying in Euros or by major credit card.
How much should I expect to tip?
Tipping is not mandatory, and is left to the sole discretion of the traveler. This is a decision that should be made based on your enjoyment of the journey and the service.
Frequently Asked Questions
|1 . How big are the suites?
The suites on the El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo are 12m2
|2 . What size are the beds in the suites?
The size of the beds depends on the suite you reserve
|3 . Will I have internet connection on the train?
The El Transcantabrico train does have wifi in the lounge of the train, although the signal is not strong and may not reach outside of the lounge car. (The signal is also best when the train is stationed.) You may use the computer in the lounge provided for guests’ convenience, or you may connect to the train’s wifi using your personal laptop, tablet or device.
|4 . I am a US Citizen. Do I need a visa to go to Spain?
Citizens of the United States do not need a visa for Spain at the time of this writing. Travelers should check with the local Spanish consulate for Visa requirements. Palace Tours does not provide Visa service.
|5 . How many travelers can fit in each room?
In a deluxe room, two people can sleep comfortably. If you need more room, you may upgrade to a suite to comfortably service three people. This option is especially attractive to parents travelling with a child. If you are travelling with more than one child or more than three people, you will need to reserve two rooms.
|6 . Are the cities wheelchair accessible?
Yes, they are. Many cities have cobblestone streets and the person with the wheelchair would need someone who is able to help them on these more difficult streets. The monuments are wheelchair accessible, but many do not have elevators and if there is a floor higher than ground level it may not be accessible.
|7 . Is the cuisine in Spain dietary restriction friendly? Spanish cuisine’s staples are often ham, seafood, and wheat products. While being a vegetarian in Spain is not easy, it is doable! One classic dish from Spain is the Spanish omelets, which is made with eggs and potatoes. Now vegetarian restaurants are popping up all over Spain to accommodate more people. You can find other classic dishes made without meat, such as paella and cocido. Before ordering a drink in Andalucia, where a complimentary tapa is customary, be sure to mention any dietary restrictions you may have.|
|8 . What type of clothes should we pack?
This depends on the time of year you are going. All year long we suggest packing comfortable walking shoes, and in the spring and fall to wear layers. In those seasons it’s often chilly in the morning and warm in the afternoon sun. Sunglasses are recommended as well, as the sun in Spain is very strong.
|9 . Is it customary to tip people in Spain?
While the tipping culture is nothing like the United States, it is typical to tip a euro or two at a restaurant if you are a) a large group of people dining, or b) you really loved the service and the restaurant!