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Costa Verde Express

Scenic Spain on the Costa Verde Express

10-day no-fly rail journey from £3,345 pp


Short description

Visit medieval villages, stunning national parks and unique cities on a no-fly journey across northern Spain

Flexibility Promise + British Airways Sale

The British Airways sale is now on. Book by 22nd June 2021. There's also still time to make the most of our Flexibility Promise, available on all holidays booked by 11th June 2021, for travel up to 30th November 2021. 


  • Explore Bilbao and the world-famous Guggenheim Museum
  • Travel in style in a Grand Class Suite on the Costa Verde Express
  • Discover the prehistoric Altamira caves and the sacred Cavadonga Sanctuary in the Asturias Principality
  • Visit the fascinating towns of Santander, Santillana del Mar and Oviedo
  • Round of your trip in Gijón on the Cantabrian Sea

In Brief

  • 1 Night Bilbao
  • 1 Night Marron
  • 1 Night Santander
  • 1 Night Arriondas
  • 1 Night Candás
  • 1 Night Gijón


Recommended for:
History & culture | No-fly | Off the beaten track | Rail journey

This no-fly journey brings you off the beaten track to some of Spain's most treasured towns and villages. With ferry transfers at either end to bring you across from the UK, you'll take the Costa Verde Express on a scenic rail journey through the country's north, enjoying the comfort of your Grand Class suite and luxurious dining and bar carriages as you go. From the industrial splendour of Bilbao and the famous Guggenheim Museum to the cobbled streets of Santillana del Mar, there's plenty to explore; highlights include the prehistoric Altamira Neocave and the stunning Picos de Europa National Park. It all ends with a stay in a historic Parador in Gijón, on the Cantabrian Sea.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart the UK

No need for crowded airport queues, you'll depart the UK by ferry today for your overnight journey to Bilbao.

Day 2

Today you'll arrive into Bilbao, a city of striking architecture surrounded by green mountains on the banks of the Nervión river. Your accommodation is on the doorstep of the world-famous Guggenheim Museum, its shining titanium structure an icon of 20th-century design. From this enviable location, you're perfectly placed to explore the delights of the city, from the boutiques and cafes of the old town, Siete Calles, to the broad promenades along the river. For unrivalled views over the city, a funicular railway takes you up Artxanda Mountain in just three minutes. Back in your hotel, enjoy a Turkish bath or sauna in the Wellness Centre before a well-earned night's sleep.

Stay: Silken Gran Hotel Domine, Bilbao (Deluxe)

Day 3
Bilbao to Marron/Ampuero

Today you'll board the Costa Verde Express and settle into your Grand Class Suite. Your room features a comfortable double bed, air-conditioning and ensuite bathroom with hydromassage shower, its wood panelling and elegant furnishings inspired by the train's original decor. The lounge carriages offer space for dining and socialising, while the pub coach offers nightly music and entertainment for all guests. Before departing Bilbao you'll enjoy lunch and an included tour of the Guggenheim Museum and a visit to the Portugalete Hanging Bridge. Once on your way, you'll dine on a multi-course meal as you speed towards Marrón, where the train will stop for you to spend the night.

Stay: Costa Verde Express

Meals: B L D

Day 4
Marron/Ampuero to Santander

This morning you'll awake and enjoy a leisurely breakfast onboard. An included tour of Santoña takes you to the Biosphere Marsh Reserve, home to an array of spectacular birdlife, and on to the traditional anchovy and Albacore tuna canning factories, before a boat ride across the bay to visit the picturesque seaside town of Laredo. As lunch is served the train whisks you towards Santander, the capital of Cantabria, an engaging city with grand buildings and a modern waterfront. You'll have time to explore at your leisure, before dinner at a well-known restaurant and a visit to the Sardinero Grand Casino. Return to the train for a night cap in the bar car and another restful night's sleep.

Stay: Costa Verde Express

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Santander to Arriondas

This morning you'll leave Santander and head west for Cabezón de la Sal, where you'll take a luxury coach to Santillana del Mar. This historic town has an incredibly well-preserved medieval quarter and is home to the Colegiata de Santa Juliana, a 12th-century Romanesque monastery with beautiful carvings in its cloisters. You'll also visit the site of the famous Altamira 'Neocave', where Palaeolithic paintings dating back to between 14,000 and 20,000 years ago were rediscovered in 1868. The cave itself is accompanied by a museum and scientific reproduction, as visitors are restricted into the original cave to prevent deterioration of the paintings. After lunch, your train will return to Ribadesella in Asturias, with a tour, dinner and overnight stay in Arriondas.

Stay: Costa Verde Express

Meals: B L D

Day 6
Arriondas to Llanes

Savour another delicious breakfast on board while the train glides into the heart of the Asturias Principality. Today's excursion will take you to the magnificent Picos de Europa National Park, an adventurer's playground of jagged peaks and deep valleys criss-crossed by accessible walking trails. You'll ascend to the shores of Enol Lake before stopping at the Covadonga Sanctuary, a sacred place full of tradition and legends, and Cangas de Onís, the first capital of the Asturias Kingdom. After lunch on the train, inspired by the International Descenso de la Sella festival, you'll enjoy a tour and overnight stay in Llanes, a coastal town known for its rugged limestone cliffs.

Stay: Costa Verde Express

Meals: B L D

Day 7
Llanes to Candas

Enjoy a leisurely and scenic breakfast as the Spanish countryside whips past your window on the way to your next stop, Oviedo. Capital of the Asturias Principality and the heart of pre-Romanesque Asturias, this characterful town is home to such treasures as the 9th-century San Julián de los Prados church and the fascinating Archaeological Museum of Asturias. You'll have free time to explore the bustling streets at your leisure, before boarding the train to continue onwards to Candás in the afternoon. You'll pause in Avilés, an ancient town with a beautifully preserved and valuable historic centre, before enjoying dinner and an overnight stay on board in Candás, perhaps with a stop in the pub car for some live entertainment.

Stay: Costa Verde Express

Meals: B L D

Day 8
Candas to Gijón

Today you'll be served a final breakfast on board before saying farewell to the train and transferring by luxury coach to Gijón. This maritime city is wide open to the great Cantabrian Sea and is full of authentic Spanish charm. An included tour of the highlights of the city concludes with a traditional lunch at the Gijón Parador, your accommodation for the night. Occupying a converted mill set among the verdant Isabel la Católica Park, this historic property is perfectly located near the beaches and botanical gardens if you wish to take an evening stroll.

Stay: Gijón Parador, Gijón

Meals: B L

Days 9-10
Return to the UK

This morning you'll transfer from Gijón to the Port of Bilbao, ready for your overnight ferry back to the UK.



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

10-day no-fly rail journey from £3,345 pp

No-fly itinerary

Low Season

from £3,345 pp.

High Season

from £3,350 pp.


  • Portsmouth to Bilbao return foot passenger crossing with Brittany Ferries
  • Overnight ferry cabin accommodation - Premier Outside 2 berth Finistere Club cabin with TV and ensuite facilities
  • 1 night accommodation in Bilbao on a B&B basis
  • Accommodation in Grand Class Suite with double bed and ensuite bedroom on a FB basis including wine, water, soft drinks and coffee
  • Welcome drink and End-of-trip party
  • Toilet bag and toiletries and slippers
  • Mineral water in suite's minibar
  • Onboard activities: live music and performances, parties in the club car
  • Tickets for museums, monuments and shows
  • Programmed trips and tours
  • Daily newspapers and magazines
  • Accompanying guide throughout the trip
  • Guided tours
  • 1 night accommodation in Gijon on a B&B basis
  • One way transfer from Gijon to Bilbao Port

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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