Transcantabrico Gran Lujo luxury train photo

There’s something about luxury trains that never fails to capture the imagination. Aside from passing through some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, trains like the Orient Express or the Blue Train transport their guests to a bygone era that exudes luxury and romance. The Transcantabrico Gran Lujo, traverses the majestic landscapes of northern Spain and fits the bill perfectly for a dash of indulgence and a whiff of nostalgia.

El Transcantabrico

Transcantabrico Gran Lujo luxury train in northern Spain

On my trip to the principality of Asturias (map), I had the privilege of being one of the first people to experience the luxurious wonders of the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo. The train is operated by FEVE, a company which has operated the sister line, Transcantabrico Clasico, for 27 years, as well as other touristic trains in northern Spain. The Gran Lujo is the jewel in the crown of the FEVE lines, offering spacious suites (there are only two suites in each carriage) with a luxurious decor, stately lounges, haute cuisine and customised excursions. Upon our arrival at the station, we were greeted by and personally introduced to each of the Gran Lujo staff.

A friendly welcome by the staff of the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo
The stately dining car of the Gran Lujo
The beautiful lounge car

The Gran Lujo takes its guests from San Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela at a leisurely speed, crossing the provinces of Biscay (Bizkaia), Cantabria, Asturias, Leon and Galicia in 8 days and 7 nights. Along the way, guests are treated to views of stunning coastlines, gushing rivers, picturesque meadows and impressive mountains. Excursions are organised every day and encompass visits to the historic towns of San Sebastian, Cantabria and Oviedo, world-famous attractions such as the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the spectacular Picos de Europa national park.

Read more about things to do in Asturias

The Gran Lujo passes the verdant landscapes of Asturias
and past the foothills of the Picos de Europa
and the lovely Asturian coast

On board the Gran Lujo, guests can sit back and enjoy the views from their suites or the beautiful lounge. The well-appointed suites are surprisingly spacious (it helps that there are only two suites in each car). The beds are incredibly comfortable and the bathroom, albeit rather small, has a shower cabin that doubles as a steam spa. The Gran Lujo pulls into a station for the night so guests get a good night’s sleep – I slept very well in that luxurious bed!

The luxurious suite
I slept very well on board the Gran Lujo!
The shower cabin has an impressive array of functions!

Meals are served in an original 1923 Pullman carriage that was specially renovated for the Gran Lujo. The food and wines on board the Gran Lujo are top notch and reflect the various local specialties of northern Spain. I especially enjoyed the Cudillero hake with spider crab stew. 🙂

The delicious hake and spider crab

Our stay on board the Transcantabrico Gran Lujo was part of a blog trip through Asturias, hence we didn’t get to experience the entire itinerary. I was, however, very impressed by the quality of the service, the food and wines, and the general sense of grand luxury. Add to that the stunning natural beauty of this part of Spain and what you get is a promise to return some time soon! 🙂

Note: A big thank you goes to Transcantabrico Gran Lujo for hosting us and to the Tourism Board of Asturias and Tourism Spain for making this trip possible. As always, my opinions expressed above are mine, and mine only.


8 Responses

  • Really nice post about the train. I like the post so much and also the picture of the dishes. I think it was awesome for all.

  • […] host region for leading travel blog conference TBEX. Elsewhere in Spain, a key element of the 2011 trip to the Asturias region was a trip on luxury train, El Transcantabrico.But in general trains are perhaps a largely untapped […]

  • Transcantabrico Gran Lujo is one of the world’s finest trains; only problem is that if it gets the attention it deserves, there won’t be space for us!

  • Wow, I am really curious about trains. Love riding them but have not been able to enjoy a journey on one of the famous luxury lines. This one looks amazing. I watched a show last night on The Orient Express and it looked equally impressive.

  • Keith, what can I say? My jealousy is such that I may have to kill you! 😉 Looks amazing and what a great idea to dock the train overnight. One more journey for the ever-expanding wishlist! Great account too, cheers.

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