The Green Hills of Spain & La Rhune

Holiday Highlights

  • Scenic journey between San Sebastian and Bilbao
  • Journey on the metre gauge FEVE network
  • Luggage transfer between hotels in Spain
  • Basque Railway Museum
  • Petit train de la Rhune Rack Railway
  • Time to explore Bilbao, Santander, Gijon, A Coruña and León
  • A mix of coastal, moorland and mountain scenery
  • 15 days from £3,140pp
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Tour Dates:
Thursday 13 June to Thursday 27 June 2024

We combine the northern “Green” coast of Spain with its spectacular coastline and vibrant cities with a short visit to south western France. Travel by rail on several metre gauge lines, take the rack railway up to La Rhune and spend time exploring Bilbao, Gijon and A Coruña.


Day 1 – By Eurostar to France

Mid-morning departure from London St. Pancras to Paris, then TGV to Poitiers for an overnight stay.

Day 2 – San Sebastian

Our journey continues by rail to the Spanish border at Hendaye. Here we change to the metre gauge train for the short journey to San Sebastian, a thriving coastal town. Our late afternoon arrival allows for a trip to the beach, a walk through the cobblestone streets of the old town or a leisurely evening enjoying tapas at one of the many 'Pintxos' bars.

Day 3 – San Sebastian to Bilbao

We take the scenic electrified metre gauge line linking San Sebastian with Bilbao and arrive around lunchtime for a 2-night stay. The afternoon is free to relax and explore this famous city where an excellent metro system makes getting around easy. For art and architecture lovers, the Guggenheim is only a short walk away from our hotel.

Day 4 – The Basque Railway Museum

Excursion by coach to Azpeitia to visit the Basque Railway Museum. Discover the history of Basque railway companies, from steam trains to modern Metro Bilbao units. The museum houses an excellent selection of rolling stock and there should also be the opportunity to enjoy a 10km steam train ride that runs through the green fields of the Urola valley.

Day 5 – West to Santander

The FEVE metre gauge rail network performs all the functions we normally expect of a busy standard gauge main line – suburban lines around the cities, longer distance passenger routes and lots of freight. Today we have a morning journey from the splendid Bilbao Concordia station to Santander with a free afternoon to explore this busy resort or take an optional trip inland into the mountains on the RENFE main line towards Madrid.

Day 6 – Santander to Gijón

Morning departure from Santander to Gijón. Change trains at the busy junction of El Barron and arrive mid-afternoon. The afternoon is free to visit the Railway Museum of Asturias, which is a 10-minute walk from our hotel or take a stroll in one of the nearby parks.

Day 7 – Free Day in Gijón

This city is the capital of the Green Coast and has developed from its industrial roots into a vibrant and engaging metropolis, with plenty to offer the leisure traveller. Alternatively, use your rail pass to visit nearby Oviedo.

Day 8 – More Coastal Scenery

We continue by local train to Pravia where we change trains for Ferrol. En route we enjoy more superb coastal scenery and fishing villages. Ferrol is the western extremity of FEVE, so from here, a Renfe train takes us to A Coruña for a 2-night stay.

Day 9 – A Coruña

A day at leisure to enjoy all that this diverse city has to offer. The centre is located on an isthmus straddled by the port on its southeast side and the main ocean beaches on the northwest. Our hotel sits in the heart of this area, 3-minutes walk away from the Picasso Museum and the Gardens of Méndez Núñez. Walk to the harbour front and the medieval district, or hop on a local bus to the famous 'Tower of Hercules' lighthouse.

Day 10 – A Coruña to León

We take a cross country main line train from A Coruña to León, arriving mid-afternoon.

Day 11 – FEVE Train to Bilbao

There is just one train per day on this cross country line – over 150 miles of wild moorland and mountain scenery. As this doesn’t leave until early afternoon, we have a free morning to relax and take in the sights of historic León.

Day 12 – At Leisure in Bilbao

A free day for sightseeing or to explore the very many railway options which radiate from Bilbao.

Day 13 – Bilbao to St. Jean de Luz

We have another chance to enjoy the metre gauge line to San Sebastian and Irun before a short rail journey into south western France. Transfer by coach to the charming village of Ascain in the heart of Basque Country. Our hotel for the next 2 nights is located in the picturesque central square, next door to the traditional church with its three balconies and Baroque-style altar.

Day 14 – Rack Railway to La Rhune

Coach transfer to Col St. Ignace where we join the rack railway for the spectacular ascent of La Rhune (2970ft). This line has vintage electric locos and equally vintage rolling stock and a journey time of 35 minutes each way. Time is allowed at the summit where there are the usual refreshment facilities. On our return, there will be time to look around St. Jean de Luz before we return to Ascain.

Day 15 – Journey home

A TGV service to Paris and Eurostar to London sees us back at St. Pancras in the early evening.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Le Grand Hotel, Poitiers

Silken Amara Plaza Hotel, San Sebastian

Hotel Silken Indautxu, Bilbao

NH Ciudad de Santander, Santander

Hotel Silken Ciudad, Gijón

Eurostars Blue Coruña, A Coruña

Barceló León Conde Luna, León

Hôtel de la Rhune, Ascain

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • All rail travel as stated in Standard Class
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 15-Day Global InterRail Pass
  • Travel from your home station to London and return (on first and last date of tour only)
  • Excursions as specified
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel in Spain
  • Private transfers between railway stations in Paris
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £3,140
Single room supplement: £740
Deposit for this holiday: £200

Booking form

Download your tour booking form here.


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