The Grand Tour of Spain By Rail: Rediscover a Much-Loved Destination by First Class Rail
Spain by Rail: a mosaic of cultures
Perhaps a predictable choice for the British holidaymaker, Spain remains at the top of the chart for sunny getaways, and Spain by rail is fast becoming one of the best ways to explore this vibrant country.
It’s no surprise that it’s one of the most visited countries in the world; since the 1960s it has been a holiday haven, welcoming tourists from across Europe as well as further afield. This can be owed to the country’s reliable weather, accessibility and hospitality, along with its broad appeal to a variety of holidaymakers. Whether travellers are looking for a family beach holiday, a relaxed couple’s break or an adventure across the country’s extensive rail network, Spain by Rail is the perfect destination.
Spanish culture can be observed throughout time, its influences playing a significant role across all corners of the globe. The country is fondly described as a mosaic of cultures, blending a wide range of histories, religions, languages and arts. Sun, sea and sand are easily its most defining features for the majority of holidaymakers, thought there’s plenty more to Spain than warm weather and beaches and what better way to discover, than to explore Spain by rail.
The stunning mountainous areas, which are often overlooked, are perfect for visitors craving an outdoor adventure. The Pyrenees, Cantabrian Mountains and Picos de Europa National Park offer activities such as walking and climbing, as well as skiing in colder seasons.
Culture buffs needn’t look any further than Barcelona or Madrid, where they’re guaranteed to be impressed by architecture, monuments, museums and galleries. After all, it’s impossible to consider the history of art without touching on Spain’s very own Picasso, Dali and Gaudi.
This exciting country is home to a wide range of fresh produce and fantastic culinary traditions, making for some of the best food in the world. The delicious Mediterranean diet is renowned for its health-giving effects, with research showing it reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Spain is also the third largest wine producer in the world, following closely behind France and Italy, so you’re guaranteed to enjoy some of the finest bottles of white and red available. when visiting Spain by rail.
Sat at the opposite end of the spectrum, Spain plays host to the world’s party capital, Ibiza. But don’t think that all Spanish nightlife is quite so hedonistic. The likes of Barcelona offer an eclectic mix of quirky little bars and unique venues, while resorts including Marbella offer a sophisticated slice of the Costa del Sol. Fantastic restaurants, wine bars and taverns can be found around every corner, while the calendar is jam-packed with events and festivals. When in Spain, you’re unlikely to experience an evening of boredom or disappointment.
Though a real favourite for holidaymakers of all ages, a Spanish adventure comes with its downsides, most often related to the sheer volume of visitors that head over every week. However, when you travel with Planet Rail, you needn’t worry about busy airports, jam-packed trams and long queues. When you travel by First Class Rail, your whole holiday can be dedicated to relaxation, exploration and memory-making…
Rediscovering Spain by Rail: First Class Rail
Your Spanish holiday begins on the platform at St. Pancras International, where you’ll board the Eurostar and be whisked to Paris. Here, you’ll be transferred to the Gare de Lyon, and continue into Spain by TGV. In no time at all you’ll be checking in to the Gran Hotel Torre Catalunya, ready to commence your Barcelona experience.
We recommend travellers dedicate some time to exploring Barcelona on foot. Though a large city, it is the perfect size for wandering. Stroll down the beach, roam Las Ramblas, discover Park Guell and be amazed by landmarks including the Sagrada Familia, ensuring you make regular pit stops at the city’s cafes and bars along the way. Be sure to opt for small, family-run bistros; here, you’ll enjoy an authentic Spanish experience at a great price, rather than parting with cash at a poor ‘tourist’ restaurant. It’s worth remembering that lunch is generally served between 2pm and 4pm, and dinner from 8pm until late.
After two days in Barcelona, you’ll be transported to Córdoba, a notable Roman city that’s best known for the incredible La Mezquita.
Head to the Alcazar to enjoy beautiful gardens and water features, then lose yourself in the Jewish Quarter’s maze of winding streets. This peaceful town is too often lost amongst Spain’s more famous destinations, but after a day exploring its white washed streets, you’ll realise why this city was once considered the most splendid in the world.
Your Spain by rail journey continues to Granada, where a trip to the Alhambra is very much encouraged. This sprawling hilltop fortress comprises stunning palaces, patios and gardens, showcasing the architectural opulence of medieval Spain. The Basilica de San Juan Dios is also well worth a visit, while the Carrera del Darro offers a pleasant, relaxed walk. Granada presents some of the most interesting food in Spain, serving up Moorish cuisine that includes fragrant paella, salted fish and sweet almond pastries.
Next stop, Seville! Here, you can immerse yourself in the delights of the Andalusian capital, charmed by its delightful cobbled streets and pretty orange blossoms.
The city is full to the brim with monuments and historical architecture, including the Gothic cathedral, the Plaza de Espana and the Giralda Tower. When it comes to having a bite to eat, you should most definitely indulge in ‘ir de tapear’, as Seville is thought to be the true tapas capital of Spain.
Your Spain by rail adventure concludes with two full days in Madrid, and there isn’t a more perfect finale. The golden triangle of art, which features the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, will pack a cultural punch, while the Parque de Retiro is the perfect place to ramble and relax. When stomachs start rumbling, you’ll have plenty of choice: Madrid is rumoured to have one bar or restaurant for every 192 residents!
The Grand Tour of Spain, a delightful trip through Spain by rail, is a diverse, exciting experience, allowing you to rediscover a country that promises deep significance and thrills beyond its stereotype of beaches and bars. To find out more about this journey, or the other holidays on offer at Planet Rail, please get in touch with one of our friendly experts on 01347 825292.