The Green Hills of Spain

The Green Hills of Spain overview

Holiday facts

Prices from: £2,400.00
Single supplement from: £630.00
Duration: 15 days
First available departure: 14 Jun 2018
Last available departure: 14 Jun 2018
Find out more about this holiday
The Green Hills of Spain

We combine the northern “Green” coast of Spain, with its spectacular coastline and vibrant cities, with a short visit to south western France. Travel by rail on many metre gauge lines, take the rack railway up to La Rhune and spend time exploring Bilbao, Leon and Santiago de Compostela.

Azpeitia museums 104 - © Ray Smith
Bilbao - © Ray Smith
Bilbao Station

ITINERARY

Day 1 – By Eurostar to France

Mid-morning departure from London St. Pancras to Paris then TGV to Poitiers for an overnight stay.

Day 2 – San Sebastian

We continue our journey and reach the Spanish border at Hendaye. Here we change to the metre gauge train for the short journey to San Sebastian, a thriving coastal town.

Day 3 – San Sebastian to Bilbao

A scenic electrified metre gauge line links San Sebastian with Bilbao, where we arrive around lunchtime. The afternoon is free to relax and explore this famous city using the excellent metro system which makes it easy to get around.

Day 4 – The Basque Railway Museum

Excursion by coach to Azpeitia to visit the Basque Railway Museum with its excellent collection of locos and rolling stock.

Day 5 – West to Santander

The FEVE metre gauge rail network performs all the functions we would normally expect of a busy standard gauge main line – suburban lines around the cities, longer distance passenger routes and lots of freight. Today we have a morning journey from the splendid Bilbao Concordia station to Santander with a free afternoon to explore this busy resort or take an optional trip inland into the mountains on the RENFE main line towards Madrid.

Day 6 – Santander to Gijón

Morning departure from Santander to Gijón. Change trains at the busy junction of El Barron.

Day 7 – Free Day in Gijón

A free day in Gijón with its wide beach and historic old town. Alternatively, use your rail pass to visit nearby Oviedo.

Day 8 – More Coastal Scenery

We continue by local train to Pravia where we change to the train for Ferrol. En route we enjoy more superb coastal scenery and fishing villages. Ferrol is the western extremity of FEVE and, from here, a connecting coach takes us to Santiago de Compostela for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – Santiago de Compostela

A day at leisure to wander the narrow streets and piazzas of this historic pilgrimage city. A visit to the famous cathedral is well worthwhile.

Day 10 – Santiago to Leon

We take a cross country main line train from Santiago to Leon.

Day 11 – FEVE Train to Bilbao

There is just one train per day on this recently reopened cross country line – over 150 miles of wild moorland and mountain scenery. As this doesn’t leave until early afternoon, we have a free morning to relax and take in the sights of historic Leon.

Day 12 – At Leisure in Bilbao

A free day for sightseeing or to explore the very many railway options which radiate from Bilbao.

Day 13 – Bilbao to St. Jean de Luz

We have another chance to enjoy the metre gauge line to San Sebastian and Irun before a short rail journey into South Western France to St. Jean de Luz. Transfer by road to Ascain where we stay for 2 nights.

Day 14 – Rack Railway to La Rhune

Coach transfer to Col St. Ignace where we join the rack railway for the spectacular ascent of La Rhune (2970ft). This line has vintage electric locos and equally vintage rolling stock and a journey time of 35 minutes each way. Time is allowed at the summit where there are the usual refreshment facilities. On our return to Ascain, there will be time to look around the town.

Day 15 – Journey Home

Transfer by road to St. Jean de Luz where we board the TGV service to Paris and Eurostar to London, arriving at St. Pancras late afternoon.

Price Includes

  • All rail travel as stated in standard class
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 15 day Global InterRail pass in standard class (European residents only)
  • Non European residents use a Eurail Pass
  • Excursions as indicated
  • Luggage transfers in Spain
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour