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 latest addition to the world’s luxury trains, 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.
On my recent trip to the principality of Asturias, 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.
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.
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!
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. 🙂
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! 🙂