The luxurious pilgrimage – Camino de Santiago on the Al Andalus
The luxurious pilgrimage
Indulge in the cultural highlights of the ‘Camino de Santiago’, and let the train take the strain
Each year the ‘Camino de Santiago’ becomes increasingly popular with more people choosing to walk this famous Way. Yet for those wanting more posh and less penance, then RENFE’s new luxury land cruise, aboard the vintage Al Andalus train is the perfect travel choice.
Starting in Zaragoza, and leisurely heading west, through some of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage cities on the ‘Camino de Santiago’, this new Al Andalus train journey is an unforgettable experience.
After a guided tour of the remarkable Basilica in the historic city of Zaragoza, guests board the train before it heads to Rioja, the verdant wine country. Additional stops throughout the week include the cathedral city of Burgos; the magnificent architectural city of Astorga and finally on into Galicia and its destination of Santiago de Compostela.
One of the world’s great pilgrimage routes, the classic ‘French Way’ of the ‘Camino de Santiago’ crosses northern Spain from Saint Jean-Pied-de-Port just over the border in France to the city of Santiago de Compostela, in the far north east corner of Spain.
Although a major route for centuries for Christian Catholic pilgrims, in recent years it has captured the imagination of even more people, visitors and tourists wanting to experience this beautiful part of Europe. Yet the 800 kilometre Way is a demanding route, unless of course you let the train take the strain.
The Al Andalus vintage train, recently lovingly restored and significantly enhanced with luxurious suites, saloons, dining cars and even WiFi seems to live up to its moniker as a ‘Palace on Wheels’. Many of the Pullman carriages that date from 1928 and 1930 are said to be amongst the most spacious in the world, and were once used by the British Monarchy. It is the luxurious and decadent complement to the simplicity of the ‘Camino de Santiago’.
The Al Andalus land cruise includes sumptuous breakfasts and dinners on-board in the nostalgic dining cars, as well as lunches at selected restaurants along the Way. There are a number of daily excursions too, including day trips to the spectacular ‘City of Wine’ at the Marqués de Riscal winery; a fascinating insight into the archaeological site of Atapuerca, home of the earliest human remains in Europe; visits to historic Galician manor houses and gardens; as well as a boat trip along the stunning west coast of Galicia.
This Al Andalus train adventure unlocks some of the secrets to the mystical ‘Camino de Santiago’, unveiling its cultural highlights and showing the very best in northern Spanish cuisine, architecture and hospitality.
COPY RIGHT ANDREW FORBES
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