El Norte by Rail

El Norte by Rail

Day 1 Madrid

Arrival in Madrid where you are met and transferred to your hotel for check-in. Settle in and relax. Madrid's main attractions include three internationally famous art galleries, a royal palace, grand public squares and many museums filled with the treasures of Spain's history.  Overnight.

Day 2 Madrid

This morning enjoy a tour of the city including a visit inside the famous Museo del Prado. From the Plaza Mayor to the Paseo del Prado, we enjoy a walk through Madrid’s most popular shopping district, admiring the beautiful and regal architecture. This area was shaped by enlightened monarchs and influenced by modernism that inspired the change of the financial district in the early twentieth century. This tour will include a visit inside the great Prado Museum which contains the world's greatest assembly of Spanish painting - especially works by Velazquez and Goya - ranging from the 12th to the 19th century. Free afternoon at leisure. Overnight.

Day 3 Madrid - San Sebastian

Head to the station today to take the train north to San Sebastian, Spain’s gastronomic capital and one of the country’s prettiest cities. Spend an afternoon strolling along the beachfront promenade and enjoying the city’s special atmosphere. San Sebastian became a smart resort in the late 19th century and has been popular with the Spanish aristocracy ever since. Overnight.

Day 4 San Sebastian

A free morning at leisure to explore. This afternoon, join a Pintxo walking tour. A special small group dining experience, sampling the very finest pintxos (tapas) in San Sebastián. Using expert, up to the minute knowledge, you will be guided on an informal and inspiring culinary experience, hopping-from-bar-to-bar on an evening of eating and drinking your way around the old town of San Sebastián. Overnight.

Day 5 San Sebastian - Bilbao

Pick up from your hotel for your transfer across to Bilbao by private vehicle. Arrival and settle in. The casco viejo (old quarter) by the river was built in the 14th century and is the most attractive district of the city. Highlights include the Teatro Arriaga, the Gothic Catedral de Santiago, the Plaza Nueva and the Mercado de la Rivera. Overnight.

Day 6 Bilbao

A day to explore at leisure. You will also visit the Guggenheim museum (tickets prereserved). Frank O. Gehry was chosen to design the Bilbao museum since his concept reflected the potential of the project by successfully blending it to the architecture of Bilbao. Gehry's design is like a singular-line sculpture made up of amazing materials. The permanent collection found in the Museum Guggenheim Bilbao mainly includes works by the most prominent artists in the last forty years. Overnight.

Day 7 Bilbao - Burgos

Head to the train station today for the short train ride south to Burgos. Arrival and make your way to the hotel. The main bridge into the city, is the Puente de San Pablo where a statue commemorates the city's hero, El Cid. Not far from the bridge stands the Casa de Cordon, a 15th century palace. A plaque declares that this is the spot where the Catholic Monarchs welcomed Columbus on his return, in 1497. Its most outstanding monument is the Cathedral, built in the flamboyant - Gothic style and founded in 1221 by Bishop Mauricio under Fernando III. Overnight.

Day 8 Burgos - Leon

Back to the station to travel to the elegant city of Leon, on the St James pilgrim’s route.  Afternoon free to explore. León's major attraction is the 13-14th century Cathedral, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Another grand piece of architecture is the Romanesque Collegiate Church of San Isidoro, built over a pre-Romanesque temple. Overnight.

Day 9 Leon

Free day. The streets between the Plaza Mayor and the Market Place are the best for sightseeing. Modern León is where the House of Botines stands, built by Gaudí towards the end of the 19th century. Overnight.

Day 10 Leon - Oviedo

Return to the station for your train north to the University city of Oviedo. Oviedo is a university city and the cultural and commercial capital of Asturias. The nucleus of the medieval city is the stately Plaza Alfonso II, bordered by a number of handsome old palaces. On this square is situated the Flamboyant Gothic cathedral with its high tower and asymmetrical west facade.  Enjoy strolling the streets of the old quarter and perhaps enjoy dinner in one of the city’s many wonderful cider houses. Overnight.

Day 11 Oviedo - Madrid

Your last train journey today as you return to Madrid after your northern Spain adventure.  Arrival in Madrid and make your way to your hotel for a final night in the capital. Overnight.

Day 12 Madrid

Farewell the city as you are transferred to the airport.