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Transcantábrico itinerary

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Transcantrabico route mapEach 8 day, 7 night Transcantabrico journey goes either from León Santiago de Compostela or from Santiago de Compostela to León. The route swings East to include Bilbao in the Basque Country.

Westbound
León - Santiago de Compostela

Side view of the Transcantabrico trainDay 1, Saturday. Rendez-vous in León, ancient Roman city, dominated by its Cathedral of glass and Romanesque frescoes, elegant boulevards and chic shops. Enjoy lunch in León, then depart for Cistierna aboard the Transcantábrico. Dinner and overnight in Cistierna.

Day 2, Sunday. Breakfast aboard as you travel to Guardo, from where you'll explore Roman and medieval towns and sights along the 1000-year-old pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. Lunch in Villacázar de Sirga, then on to the Romanesque church of Fromista. Back aboard, the route winds past the Canal de Castilla and along the Ebro River marshes, to Sotoscueva. Dinner on the train.

Day 3, Monday. Welcome to Basque Country. Visit the emblematic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (the museum is closed on Mondays, except in July and August); lunch in this city of famous chefs, before continuing your journey to Santander, ancient maritime capital on the Cantabrian Sea. Before dinner, visit the city; later perhaps, try your luck at the Casino.

Santillana del MarDay 4, Tuesday. After breakfast, transfer to Santillana del Mar, known for its Altamira neo-Cave Museum, Colegiata Church with remarkable capitals and Renaissance buildings. Lunch in Santillana del Mar. Continue along the coast past Llanes to your overnight in the fishing town of Ribadesella, with its Baroque old quarter . Sleep soundly in the fresh sea air.

Day 5, Wednesday. Traverse Spain's little Switzerland, the Picos de Europa National Park. Travel winding roads through mountain passes, apple orchards with grazing goats and sheep, down the Sella River Valley, to Lakes Enol and Ercina, to slate-roofed villages with craft centers, to the Covadonga Sanctuary and on to the mountain town of Cangas de Onís for lunch. From Cangas, continue to Gijón, with its beautiful beaches and historic fishing quarter. Dinner in Gijón.

Cudillero - the townDay 6, Thursday. Imagine Romans, Visigoths, and early Christian kings when Oviedo was capital of the Kingdom of the Asturias. Explore the city's old quarter, designated a UNESCO heritage site-markets, museums, palaces and pantheons. Sample local specialties over lunch, then travel to Cudillero, an unusual fishing village sheltered against the mountains. At Luarca, stroll the medieval streets of this white town on the Green Coast before dinner.

Day 7, Friday. Enter Galicia, land of rivers and manor houses, vineyards and granaries, and a powerful drink/queimada to ward off witches/meigas. Descend Ribadeo's steep cobbled streets to the port, and lunch. Continue to Viveiro, at the foot of Mount San Roque; board a yacht to sail the Ria Eo, a rich source of marine life, reminder of what attracted the Romans here two millennia ago. Enjoy dinner where river, mountains, forest and sea merge.

The Botafumero swings on special occasion in the Santiago CathedralDay 8, Saturday. Enjoy the last stretch by train to Ferrol. From there, transfer by coach to Santiago de Compostela, end of your pilgrimage at the great Cathedral, shrine site for over a thousand years. After a tour of the Cathedral and its plazas, retire for a farewell lunch.

Meeting point and time for Day 1: Parador Nacional de San Marcos, Plaza de San Marcos, 7, León, 12:00 noon.


Eastbound
Santiago de Compostela - León

Day 1, Saturday. Rendezvous in Santiago de Compostela. Tour the great Cathedral, shrine site for over a thousand years. Enjoy a welcome lunch before traveling to Ferrol to board the Transcantábrico. Savor the cuisine of Galicia as the coast rolls past en route to Vivero.

Day 2, Sunday. This morning sail the Ría Eo, a rich source of marine life, reminder of what attracted the Romans here two millennia ago. Afterwards, continue to Ribadeo and descend cobbled streets to the port for lunch. Travel on to Luarca for dinner--a white town of medieval streets in Green Spain.

CudilleroDay 3, Monday. Enter the ancient Kingdom of Asturias. Explore Cudillero, an unusual fishing village sheltered against the mountains. Continue to Oviedo and walk the old quarter, designated a UNESCO heritage site-markets, museums, palaces and pantheons. Sample local specialties over lunch, then continue to Gijón, with its beautiful beaches and historic fishing quarter, your dining destination this evening.

Canga de Onis - Church porch detailDay 4, Tuesday. Traverse Spain's little Switzerland, the Picos de Europa National Park. Travel winding roads through mountain passes, apple orchards with grazing sheep, down the Sella River Valley, to lakes, villages, Covadonga Sanctuary and the mountain town of Cangas de Onís for lunch. From Cangas, continue to the coast at Llanes, and dinner.

Day 5, Wednesday. After breakfast, transfer to Santillana del Mar, known for its Altamira neo-Cave Museum, Colegiata Church and Renaissance architecture. Lunch in Santillana del Mar. Continue along the coast to Santander, ancient maritime capital on the Cantabrian Sea. Dinner features regional favorites.

Detail of the Guggenheim Museum in BilbaoDay 6, Thursday. Welcome to Basque Country. Tour the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, then lunch in this city of famous chefs, before continuing your journey to Sotoscueva. Dinner on the train.

Day 7, Friday. Traverse the Canal de Castilla and explore the Camino de Santiago in old Castilla-Romanesque art and Gothic churches. Lunch in Villacázar de Sirga, then on to the pilgrim halt at Fromista, amidst fields of wheat. From the Roman town of Olmeda, continue to Cistierna and dinner.

Day 8, Saturday. Step down in León, ancient Roman city, dominated by its Cathedral of glass and Romanesque frescoes, elegant boulevards and chic shops. Enjoy a farewell lunch in the city of Legions and Knights

Meeting point and time for Day 1: Parador Nacional de Los Reyes Católicos, Plaza del Obradoiro, 1, Santiago de Compostela - 12:00 noon.

Return to the Transcantábrico main page
Transcantábrico Clasico schedule and rates
Transcantábrico Gran Lujo schedule and rates
Practical information about the train and the journey

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