Costa Verde Express started in 1983 as a risky and innovative bid, becoming the first tourist train of Spain. The initiative was a success, and after years of improvement, today it is a prestigious product with international recognition.
An evocative and pleasant atmosphere, a first-class crew and a tour through the picture-perfect landscape and vast culture of northern Spain, accentuated with superb cuisine. These are the pillars that make every trip on El Transcantabrico Clasico a real pleasure for the senses. Synonymous of elegance and comfort from the beginning, El Transcantabrico Clasico takes travellers back to the Golden Age of the great railway journeys, accompanied by all comforts and services of the 21st century.
Its lounges are used to serve à la carte and buffet breakfast such as fine dinning and three-course meals designed by our well-known chefs. Magical and evocative area in which you can also enjoy a drink, join in on fun activities or chat with your fellow-travelers, while you are transported back in time.
Day 1, Wednesday
Santillana del Mar - Cabezon de la Sal - Santander
Meeting point and travellers’ reception at 10.15h at the hotel Parador de Santillana Gil Blas (accommodation in the train cabins after lunch). Visit Santillana and its beautifully preserved medieval town. Next stop at the Neocave of Altamira, the finest realistic example of Upper Palaeolithic cave art. After lunch we will travel to Santander, the elegant capital of Cantabria. City sightseeing tour and free time. After dinner, you may choose to visit El Gran Casino at your own pace (entrance included). Overnight in Santander.
* Travellers may also start the journey at 18.00h directly on the platform where El Trancantábrico will be parked at Santander train station.
Day 2, Thursday
Santander - Bilbao - Villasana de Mena
Train trip to the dynamic city of Bilbao, the largest in the Basque Country that has managed to reinvent itself after the decline of its heavy industry. City tour including admission to Guggenheim Museum, epitome of a new Bilbao that blends tradition and modernity. After lunch, enjoy free time. Dinner and overnight in Villasana de Mena/Mercadillo.
Day 3, Friday
Villasana de Mena - Cistierna
Our first visit today will be in Castilian lands, enjoying the stunning scenery of the valley of Villasana de Mena. The morning highlight will be the Romanesque Art in the Palencia villages of Villalcázar de Sirga, Carrión de los Condes and Frómista. Enjoy a traditional lunch and continue to visit the Roman villa of La Olmeda in Saldaña and its superb collection of mosaics. Return to the train and trip to Cistierna, having dinner and spending the night.
Day 4, Saturday
Cistierna - San Feliz - Leon
Enjoy the last breakfast onboard while we arrive at San Feliz, where El Transcantábrico’s coach will comfortably drive us to León. Tour of its old town, full of tradition and home to some of the most important monuments in Spain. End of trip after the tour.
Just over three decades ago saw the birth of what is today the oldest tourist train in Spain: El Transcantábrico. Synonymous of elegance and comfort from its beginning, Costa Verde Express takes travellers back to the golden age of the great railway journeys, accompanied by all comforts and services of the 21st century. Its lounges and cabins, carefully remodelled and decorated, display all their majesty on the winding metre-rail tracks.
Each cabins is a fully equipped to enjoy a comfortable stay onboard. All have independent air conditioning and a full ensuite bathroom.
The comfortable double bed is coupled by other amenities to make your stay even more pleasant: desk, wardrobe, luggage storage, minibar and safe. All suites also feature a complete ensuite bathroom, equipped with hydromassage shower/steam room, hairdryer and a varied set of toiletries with an exclusive fragrance.
These elegant and evocative carriages are used to serve a select breakfast, lunch or dinner, to enjoy a drink or to socialise with fellow travellers.
A la carte breakfast is served daily in these areas, as well as the fine cuisine prepared by our chef for dinner or lunch served onboard. A bar coach is available to guests and is open from dawn to dusk, with a special on call 24-hour service. Every night the pub coach offers parties, music or live performances. The whole train, rooms and common areas are connected internally, allowing the free movement of passengers.
* On the day the trip begins, the access to the suite is not guaranteed until 18:00 h, although other services are already underway. On the last day of the trip, the suite must be left before 12:00 h, although all other services continue until later.
Both in the dining cars or in the distinguished restaurants along the route, the gastronomy is the responsibility of the most renowned kitchens and chefs of northern Spain, an area already ranked among the best in Europe for the quality of both its professionals and its products.
The journey itself is a tour of the gastronomic identities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country and Castile and León, where different cultures have inhabited, each leaving their own trait on the typical flavours of Northern Spain. A culinary tradition renewed and reworked by internationally famous chefs, which travellers will enjoy along the route.
Our buffet breakfast is complemented by the personalised attention of our waiters. Local specialties will be presented during the tour in the form of sweets, tortillas, pies, cheeses, cold meats, etc., thereby ensuring that every day is different and original - even at the breakfast table.
Lunches and dinners will be served both in the elegant train dining cars and at respected restaurants that make up our selection of restaurants during the journey. The innovative cuisine of Northern Spain and the traditional recipes of Castile are the centrepieces of this culinary and cultural trip. Dishes like Asturian fabada (stew), mountain cocido, baked fish, desserts like frixuelos (local crepes) or San Marcos tart, renowned Galician seafood and anchovies from Cantabria, or the Castilian lamb are just a small sample of the extensive and mouth-watering culinary offerings onboard Costa Verde Express. All of this paired with the finest wines from different wine regions in northern Spain.
Menus are set in advance, seeking a balance between the traditional cuisine of each area, the creativity of our professionals, and the innovation that has made Spanish chefs famous internationally. Nevertheless, special food requirements due to health or personal choice shall be addressed without prejudice to the quality of meals on offer. All you need to do is notify us - preferably at the time of booking - to ensure that your culinary needs are catered for on the journey.
OTHER SERVICES AVAILABLE AT CLIENT'S EXPENSE:
• Door to door luggage: pick up and delivery of luggage and belongings from the customer's home and train. Available at national level only.
• Laundry service
LIFE ON BOARD:
For seven nights and eight days the Transcantábrico Clásico will become your living room, your means of transportation, your socialising place, your bar, your bedroom: a hotel on wheels in which you sleep and wake up in a different place every day. The landscape passing by the window of your suite or the lounge where you are having a coffee is never the same. That simple fact makes the trip itself unique and unlike any other experience.
To ensure passengers a good night’s rest, the train will remain parked at a station at night. The train lounges are especially designed for relaxation and unfettered enjoyment of the evocative ambience, also offering the chance of sharing the company of fellow travellers. Many friendships have been formed over a drink onboard El Transcantabrico.
After dinner, an evening of entertainment. Every night is party night, with various live performances throughout the trip. Given the length of the train, these will not affect those who prefer retiring earlier to the privacy of their suite. You can also choose to have a quiet drink on one of the other saloon cars, or go for a stroll in whichever town we are spending the night. The train will remain parked at the station until the next morning.
In general, comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended for the daytime when we will be out and about on our excursions, while at night you can opt for more formal attire, although no particular dress code is required at any time. The only exception is for gaining access to El Gran Casino de Santander on the routes that include that city, where there is a requirement for more elegant dress (suit and tie are not required, but shorts or trainers, for instance, are not allowed).
INFORMATION FOR THE JOURNEY:
All travellers must have documents confirming their identity. For foreigners, the documentation required for travelling by train is the same as that required to enter Spain from the country of origin. Spanish citizens may use their national ID cards or passports.
The legal currency in Spain is the Euros. There is no obligation to tip.
MEDICINES AND HEALTHCARE:
In Spain, medicines are purchased at pharmacies. Travellers from EU countries or states that have agreements in place with Spain, will benefit from the same pharmaceutical benefits as Spanish citizens. All trains have a first aid kit onboard, and the crew has been trained to use it. Furthermore, we are in continuous contact with health centres located along the different routes, in the case a traveller needs special medical attention.
No vaccination is necessary in Spain; nevertheless, as anywhere in the world, it is advisable to have had a recent tetanus jab and have undertaken the official immunisation vaccines.
Smoking is prohibited in Spain in all enclosed public spaces (including public vehicles and public transport). Therefore, while on board, according to the current legislation travellers must refrain from smoking. However, each train journey stretch do not exceed 3-4 hours.
Overall, Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe for tourists. Our trains have a security service and a safe on board, in addition to security surveillance at all stations along the way.
The El Transcantábrico Clásico train has WiFi Internet and a computer in their social carriages so travellers can access the Internet, check email, etc. All cabins in the El Transcantabrico Clásico also feature WiFi connection (subject to coverage).
If you want to call abroad from Spain you must dial 00 followed by the country code and telephone number. If you wish to call a number in Spain from abroad, dial +34 (the country code for Spain) and then the 9-digit telephone number.
We recommend that foreign travellers wishing to use their mobile phones contact their operator to activate the international roaming service and enquire about costs.
In Spain travellers may also buy a pre-paid SIM card, useful for short stays.
Travellers on the Luxury Tourist Trains are only covered by the Compulsory Passenger Insurance (SOV in Spanish). Therefore it is advisable to take out specific travel insurance to cover cancellation, accidents, illness or similar incidents, as recommended by your travel agent or insurer.
Although all our Luxury Tourist Trains are refurbished and equipped with the latest technology, they are still vintage pieces; their interiors are laid out in a way that makes it impossible to move around on wheelchairs or walkers.
Nevertheless travel would be possible for a person with reduced mobility who is reasonably self-sufficient or travelling together with another passenger, and who only requires the support of a wheelchair once off the train. In this case, if so desired and giving reasonable notice when booking, a wheelchair can be made available to the client. It is however important that such persons do not travel unassisted, and that their travel companion is available to help on and off the train, pushing the wheelchair etc, as there is no dedicated staff available for this purpose.
When travelling with a child, a supplement or set price depending on the chosen train, will be charged. The Reservation Centre for Tourist Trains will be able to inform you of the possible accommodation arrangements and special prices in these cases.
No pets are allowed, other than guide dogs accompanying their owner.
The power supply in Spain is 230V 50Hz, with Type F round 2-prong plug outlets.
The crew consists of a team of professionals trained and ready to provide a perfect and personalised attention in different languages.
The team is led by the Trip Supervisor, who is responsible for bringing this rail cruise safely into port. This person can count on the help of all the other crew: the driver, guide, head waiter, cooks and waiters, music and entertainment organiser, maintenance personnel, bus driver and security staff, who will all make sure that passengers have nothing to do other than enjoy their journey.
The Trip Supervisor and the guide will become inseparable companions of the group, accompanying travellers throughout the journey and offering whatever information and advice they may need. The varied entertainment schedule onboard, in turn, will ensure an engaging and enjoyable time, encouraging the active participation of passengers.
All our crew, in coordination with the Trip Supervisor, are available for travellers 24/7, ensuring the same high level of quality and personal attention inside and outside the train.
VISITS AND EXCURSIONS:
During our journey we will visit and explore places by the sea or in the mountains, charming squares and streets, museums, cathedrals, wine cellars and ports; many stories will be revealed by our multilingual guides, accompanying us on each trip. Lunch will be the central event of the day, and in the afternoons we will alternate more excursions with activities on board the train, or just enjoy the scenery passing by before our eyes.
• Accommodation onboard in Standard Suite.
• A la carte and buffet breakfasts every day.
• All dinners and lunches, with the finest cuisine aboard the train or in top restaurants (including wine, water, soft drinks and coffee).
• Welcome drink and snack.
• Farewell dinner – gala party.
• Traveling toiletries bag (with amenities and slippers).
• Free mineral water available in the cabin’s minibar.
• Activities on board: music and live performances, parties in the pub car, show cooking and cocktails, dancing, etc.
• Tickets to museums, attractions and shows.
• Excursions and scheduled tours.
• Luxury coach accompanying the train along the trip.
• Two Renfe train tickets with a 50% discount: one to the starting point and the other back from the end of the tourist trip.
• Taxes and services.
• Daily newspapers and magazines.
• Security service.
• Multilingual guide throughout the tour.
• Excellent crew available (Expedition Leader, guide, waiters, cooks, technicians, etc).