Al Andalus Europe, Spain
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- Club discount off the published prices of any journey, for Al Andalus and all other listed trains;
Fay says, "Al Andalus is a beautiful train with some carefully-restored historic Wagon Lits carriages that now operates throughout Spain: romantic Andalucia visiting cities such as Seville, Cordoba and Granada; less-visited Extremadura between Seville and Madrid and, new for 2016, a special south to north journey ending in Santiago de Compostela."
About the Train
The lounge, bar and restaurant carriages of Al Andalus were built in France between 1929 and 1930 by the Wagon-Lits Company, and have now been restored to their original splendour, which is matched by the attentive on-board service. This is the epitome of romantic travel; Belle Epoque charm mingles with the comfort of the modern age, allowing the traveller to revel in the pleasure of the journey that transports one through the wonderful scenery of Spain. The luxury coach is always waiting to take one on the tours. There is a train manager on board for the whole tour; do not hesitate to raise any questions or comments about the train or tour with the manager at any stage.
Al Andalus has seven beautifully renovated sleeper carriages, five of which are original Wagon-Lits carriages dating from 1929. All suites are individually air conditioned, with train stewards available at all times.
There are twelve Standard Suites (junior) suites ( 8 sq m / 86 sq ft), each of which has two lower beds(78 cms x 191 cms / 31" x 75" and 69 cms x 180 cms / 27" x 71"), a safe, a closet and a large bathroom with shaving points and a hairdryer. 360 degree panoramic view of the Junior Suites by night and by day
There are twenty Superior (gran lujo) suites ( 9.9 sq m / 107 sq ft), each of which has a double bed (150 x 200 cm / 59" x 79"), a mini-bar, safe, closet and a full bathroom with shaving points and a hairdryer. Some suites can have a third bed, which is 70 cms wide x 180 cms long (28" x 71"). 360 degree panoramic view of the Superior suite - by night and by day
During the day, beds can fold into comfortable couches ( Note: staff will attend to this on request), so that each suite becomes a private lounge.
Lounge and dining cars
The train has four wonderful lounge cars, dating between 1928 - 1930. These carriages are used as restaurants, saloons and lounges and all have large windows thus ensuring that guests enjoy the spectacular scenery. Music recitals are given in these cars. All the carriages are air conditioned and are available 24 hours a day.
A full breakfast is served each day on Al Andalus. Lunches and dinners are mostly taken at local restaurants, unless on the train travelling between destinations. All meals give one a sample of the traditional cooking of that region, and are accompanied by excellent wines and liqueurs, coffee and tea.
Al Andalus - The Routes
Detailed itineraries, dates and prices are further down the page
The Andalusia itinerary travels through Andalusia in southern Spain, with visits to (amongst other places) Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Ronda and Cadiz, thus taking in a wide sweep of Southern Spain, whilst being transported through stunning scenery from the mountains of the Sierra Nevada to the Atlantic Ocean. Andalucia today is the result of cultural influences that encompasses the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Byzantines and of course the Moors, all before the Christian Spanish era that has become modern Spain. Through March, Seville can be filled with the wonderful scent of Orange Blossom, as the orange trees commence their season, thus a delightful time to visit. Holy Week (Easter) in Spain is the most important festival in Spain, with various processions of floats that are beautifully decorated with flowers, gold, silver, candles and fine fabrics upon which are ancient statues of Jesús and La Virgen María.
Extremadura - Land Of Conquistadors. This itinerary takes one from Seville to Madrid, travelling through a less known region of Spain. Just north of Andalusia, south of Castile and east of Portugal, influences of all these ways of life are present in Extremadura, along with a history dating back past Roman times, that has influenced the architecture of the towns. South America was the destination for Cortés, Pizarro, de Orellana and de Balboa, the conquistadors who were all Extremadurans.
NEW: 22 to 30 September 2016 - Santiago de Compostela to Seville. An unusual route through Spain - north to south - on the Al Andalus. This outstanding and delightful train journey take you to some of the most beautiful cities in Spain: Leon, Avila, Toledo, Córdoba, are some of the highlights of the tour.
Shorter (5- and 4-day) Journeys
There are some shorter journeys that allow one to experience this beautiful train even if one has a limited amount of time. Please ask for details.
Seville – Jerez – Cadiz – Ronda - Granada - Linares-Baeza – Cordoba – Seville
7 days/6 nights. Check-in at Hotel Alfonso X111 at 10:30hrs.
Monday: Seville – Jerez. Following check-in from 10:30, and whilst your luggage is being taken to the train, you have time to wander Seville before returning to the hotel for lunch. The capital of Andalusia, Seville boasts the most extensive historic city centre in Spain, home to the Gothic Cathedral with its bell tower named Giralda, the Royal Alcazar and the General Archive of the Indies. After lunch there is a panoramic tour of the city, taking us across the famous Plaza de España before boarding the Tren Al Andalus. There follows welcome cocktails onboard after which you are shown to your suite. Dinner on board as we head to Jerez for the night.
Tuesday: Jerez. Breakfast on board, followed by a visit to a sherry bodega. Afterwards there is a show by the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art: "How the Andalusian Horses Dance", an equestrian ballet with eighteenth century Spanish music and costumes. Lunch in Sanlúcar de Barrameda overlooking the salt marshes of Doñana National Park and river Guadalquivir’s mouth, followed by a walk around Sanlúcar de Barrameda, from where our luxury coach will take us back to Jerez de la Fronter. Dinner is served onboard the train. Overnight in Jerez.
Wednesday: Jerez-Cádiz. This morning the coach takes us to Cádiz, considered one of the oldest cities in Europe. After a tour and some free time to venture around Cádiz, we return to the train for lunch as our journey heads to the stunning city of Ronda, a breathtaking location set on a plateau cut by the deep gourge Tajo de Ronda, through which river Guadalevín runs. Here we have dinner and overnight.
Thursday: Ronda – Granada. After breakfast on board there is a tour of Ronda, followed by some free time prior to lunch. Return to the train as it travels to Granada, a city nestled on the foothills of Sierra Nevada. Dinner and overnight in Granada.
Friday: Granada. After breakfast on board the tour of this beautiful place includes the famously romantic Alhambra and the captivating Jardines del Generalife, followed by free time in Alhambra in which to absorb the Moorish elegance before having lunch in the Parador. In the afternoon, visit the city; the quarters of Albaicin, Sacramonte and its cathedral, the first Spanish Renaissance church. Take advantage of wandering around before dinner at a local restaurant, followed by a flamenco performance. Overnight in Granada.
Saturday: Granada - Linares-Baeza – Ubeda - Cordoba. Whilst having breakfast, we arrive in Linares-Baeza, from where the coach travels through the countryside covered with over 70 million olive trees, to the Olive Oil Museum for a guided visit of this fascinating industry. Then we go to historic Baeza, a city that dates back to the Moorish occupation and is the seat of the International University of Andalucía. Lunch in Úbeda, with its beautiful hand-carved stone and whitewashed facades, which one can wander around after lunch. Returning to the train, dinner is served during the journey to Cordoba. Overnight in Cordoba.
Sunday: Cordoba – Seville. Breakfast on board followed by a tour of this city, that during the 10th century and beginning of the 11th century was the most populous city in the world, and during these centuries became the intellectual centre of Europe. Thus there is a mixture of Roman and Moorish architecture. Of particular interest are the Reales Alcazares, built in 1328, and the incredibly beautiful Mosque / Cathedral of the Juderia. Lunch is served back on board the train whilst travelling to our final destination, Seville. Journey ends: 17:00hrs approx.
Dates and Prices - 2016
April 4,11,18,25. May 2,9,16,23. September 5,12. October 3,10,17,24.
RUTA EXTREMENA - Land of Conquistadors
Seville - Merida - Plasencia - Monfrague - Toledo – Aranjuez - Madrid
6 days/5 nights. Check-in at Hotel Alfonso X111 at 10:30hrs.
Monday: Seville - Zafra. Following check in and whilst your luggage is being transferred to the train, there is a guided tour of Seville, with the opportunity to learn more about many of the wonderful historical building, after which one joins the train for a welcome cocktail before lunch, whilst the train travels to Zafra. A tour of this beautiful historic city is followed by dinner. Overnight in Zafra.
Tuesday: Zafra – Mérida. While breakfasting, the train travels to Mérida, capital of Extremadura, and a town that has one of the most outstanding collections of Roman ruins and art in Spain. Here we spend the day visiting an Iberian pig farm, Proserpine Lake, Milagros Aqueduct and the Roman temples of the city. Following lunch we visit the National Museum of Roman art, the amphitheater and Roman theatre, after which there is free time before dinner and overnight in Mérida.
Wednesday: Mérida- Cáceres. During breakfast the train arrives in Cáceres. There is a tour of this amazing city, the historic battles between Moors and Christians being reflected in its architecture, which is a blend of Roman, Islamic, Northern Gothic and Italian Renaissance styles. Of the 30 or so towers from the Muslim period, the Torre del Bujaco is the most famous. After lunch there is free time, or an optional visit of the Vostell Museum or the Helga de Alver Foundatin. Dinner on board and overnight in Cáceres.
Thursday: Cáceres - Monfragüe. Whilst breakfasting, we travel to Monfragüe, where a morning is spent in the Natural Park. Then lunch is served on board following which there is a visit to Plasencia. This walled market city was founded in 1186, and consequently has a wonderful collection of architecture, along with the remains of a Roman aqueduct, and Las Catedrales, a complex of two cathedrals. After lunch there will be the chance to spend some free time in the city. Dinner on board the train and overnight in Monfragüe.
Friday: Monfragüe - Torrijos - Toledo - Aranjuez. During breakfast we travel to Torrijos, from where we travel to Toledo by bus. This city is located in the heart of the Iberian Peninsula and has been inhabited since the Bronze Age, with a strong Roman, Jewish, Christian and Arab influence. Therefore there is some fabulous architecture as a consequence of their influences. Free time followed by dinner on board. Overnight in Aranjuez.
Saturday: Aranjuez - Madrid. After breakfast on board, we visit Aranjuez, for a tour of this town that was a leisure town for Spanish kings, reaching its magnificence under the Bourbon dynasty in the 18th century. There is also a tour of the Carlos 111 winery, followed by lunch on board as the train travels to Madrid. Journey ends: 17:00hrs approx.
Dates and Prices 2016
2016: June 17
CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA to MADRID, OR REVERSE
Santiago de Compostela - A Coruña – Pontevedra – Ourense Monforte de Lemos - Astorga - León - El Escorial - Segovia - Madrid
7 days/ 6 nights. Check-in 11:00hrs at Santiago’s Parador de los Reyes Católicos hotel or Check-in 11:00hrs at Madrid Chamartin Station.
Saturday: Santiago de Compostela-A Coruña. Following check-in at Santiago’s 16th century Parador de los Reyes Católicos hotel, a former Royal Hospital for pilgrims, lunch is served at the hotel, followed by a tour of Santiago. This town has been a pilgrim's destination for over a thousand years and features breathtaking places such as the Cathedral or the Plaza del Obradoiro. Then one is transferred to the Al Andalus train, for a Welcome drink and time to settle in as the journey continues to A Coruña in the evening. Dinner and overnight in A Coruña.
Sunday: A Coruña – Pontevedra. Following a delicious breakfast on the train, we will visit A Coruña, an historic port with an elegant and vibrant city that preserves a great collection of treasures from its past. Lunch onboard while we travel to Pontevedra, where our luxury coach will take us to Vigo, Galicia's economic powerhouse. Alternatively, you may remain in Pontevedra and enjoy free time at your own pace. Return to the train for dinner and overnight in Pontevedra.
Monday: Pontevedra – Ourense. The day starts with a visit to the internationally known spa island of La Toja. From the port of O Grove, we will board a catamaran with underwater windows, on a tour through the Ria de Arousa, where we will be shown the traditional platforms where seafood is grown, in addition to being served delicious mussels. Sail to Cambados, an historical town carved in granite, following which there a visit of a typical Galician palace (pazo) and tasting of Albariño wine. Lunch and return to the train, heading to Ourense, where we may enjoy an exclusive spa session in the river Minho or optionally free time in Ourense. Dinner and overnight in Ourense.
Tuesday: Ourense-Monforte de Lemos-Astorga. After the guided tour of Ourense the coach will take us to Santo Estevo to visit the magnificent monastery, followed by lunch. Next we travel to Monforte de Lemos for the tour of Ribeira Sacra, a picturesque region famous for its natural attributes, consisting of an extensive ecosystem rich in green and scenic assets. It is also famous for being a wine region, producing the “mencía” wines (deriving from the mencía grapes), very appreciated in traditional in Galician cuisine. In the evening, while dining onboard, the train continues to Astorga. Overnight in Astorga.
Wednesday: Astorga-León-El Escorial. We start the day with a visit to Astorga, a Roman city with monuments such as the Cathedral and its Episcopal Palace, a modernist masterpiece by Antonio Gaudí. After lunch, discover León, home to some of the most valuable monuments in Spain: the Gothic Cathedral, the Romanesque frescoes in the Basilica of San Isidoro and the impressive Plateresque facade of the Hospital of San Marcos. Back on the train, enjoy dinner while travelling to El Escorial, where we overnight.
Thursday: El Escorial-Segovia. After breakfast, our coach takes us to Segovia for a tour of this historic and beautiful city. Return to San Lorenzo de El Escorial for a tour of its Monastery, a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance. Dinner onboard and overnight in El Escorial.
Friday: El Escorial-Madrid. Enjoy breakfast onboard while travelling to Madrid. Once in the capital, there is a tour of the Royal Palace which is a beautiful 18th century architectural jewel, and of Madrid’s old town (Madrid of the Habsburgs) before returning to the train, where the crew will be waiting for the farewell.
Dates and Prices 2016
Madrid to Santiago de Compostela: July 9. August 6
Santiago de Compostela to Madrid: July 16. August 13.
AL ANDALUS NORTH TO SOUTH
Santiago de Compostela - Ourense - León - Avila - Toledo - Córdoba - Seville
An unusual route through Spain - north to south - on the Al Andalus. Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs and other peoples have created a unique cultural landscape. This outstanding and delightful train journey traverses through Spain, taking one to some of the most beautiful cities in Spain amidst the luxurious comfort of the Al Andalus. The reverse is possible with German-speaking guides. Die andere Richtung ist möglich, mit deutschsprachigen Guides.
9 days/ 8 nights. Check-in latest 17:00hrs at Santiago’s Parador de los Reyes Católicos hotel
Day 1 Santiago de Compostela. The tour starts with two nights in the Parador Santiago de Compostela hotel, dinner included. Santiago de Compostela is the final stop of many pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, to visit the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great.
Day 2 Rias Baixas. Rias Baixas is the name of the region where the Atlantic Ocean goes deep into the country. This part of Galicia is not only characterized by its unique natural beauty with its fjord coast and numerous offshore islands but also by its deep-rooted traditions. During a boat trip to the mussel beds where the world's best blue mussels and scallops are cultivated, you get the chance to taste the freshly prepared seafood. In fine weather one can take an excursion to the Cies Islands, the gem of the Islas Atlanticas National Park. Afterwards, visit the historical fishing village Combarro, where one can see a fine example of Galicia's traditional architecture. Overnight in Santiago de Compostela (BLD).
Day 3 Santiago de Compostela to Ourense. Enjoy a city tour through the historic Center after which we join the beautiful Al Andalus train to begin our journey. During lunch the Al Andalus is rolling southbound and reaches Ourense in the afternoon. Overnight on board the train. (BLD)
Day 4 Galicia – Fine wines and wild nature. Welcome to Ribeira Sacra, a Spanish wine-growing region close to the Portuguese border. Enjoy a visit to a bodega where one can taste the wines, followed by a river cruise through the spectacular Sil canyon with its 500m deep gorges. Overnight on board (BLD).
Day 5 León and Avila. León, one of the most important stops of Jacobean pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Here a visit to the gothic Cathedral is a must. Afterwards the train continues towards Avila, with its huge fortification from the 11th century that belongs to one of the best preserved and most complete medieval fortifications in the world. This beautiful Castile has gothic manors, narrow winding streets, great Romanic churches and a 2.5 km long city wall with 28 towers. Avila is also a centre for Spanish handicraft, especially leather and ceramics. Overnight on board the Train (BLD).
Day 6 Toledo. Toledo is called the “City of three cultures” as Christians, Moors and Jews have left their influence creating a city of churches, palaces, oriental style houses, narrow streets and an overall romantic atmosphere. A tour takes one to the monastery of San Juan de los Reyes, the synagogues of Santa María la Blanca and El Transíto as well as the famous painting “The Burial of Count of Orgaz“ by El Greco in the church San Tomé. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon before relaxing on the train, having dinner whilst the train continues towards Córdoba. Overnight on board (BLD).
Day 7 Córdoba. Upon arrival in Aranjuez, one of the summer residences of the royal family since the 16th century, enjoy a walk through the city. Afterwards, the day is dedicated to the city of Córdoba, where the Moorish Spain experienced its intellectual, cultural and economic zenith. A guided tour through the old town leads one to the most important building of the city – the Mezquita, with its beautiful pillars creating an awe inspiring symmetry. Following a visit to the Alcázar that is surrounded by wonderful gardens and a stroll through the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter, one rejoins the train. Overnight on board the train. (BLD)
Day 8 Sevilla. Upon arrival in Seville, there is a city tour that brings to life the figures from famous operas, such as "Don Juan", "The Barber of Seville", Count Almaviva from "The marriage of Figaro" and "Carmen", before visiting the biggest gothic cathedral in the world. Next to this is the Giralda, the former minaret of the Almohaden Mosque and the Alcáza, all wonderful examples of Andalusian Mudéjar architecture. Overnight in Hotel Alfonso XIII. (BLD)
Dates and Prices 2016
2016: 22 to 30 September 2016
Deposit payment 40% of total price to reserve
Balance payment 60% at least 15 days prior to departure
In Euros: Prices per person
Cancellations: Up to 30 days before departure: refund less 15% registration and guarantee fee. Between 30 and 15 days : less 25% of the total. Between 14 and 5 days: less 50% of the total. Between 4 and 1 day(s): less 80% of the total. Less than 24 hours or failure to turn up: No refund, 100% of the total is payable.
Dress Code: Comfortable day wear and comfortable shoes for walking (many towns have cobbles), perhaps a rain coat and a warm layer depending on the time of year, because it can be cool in the mountains. Smart casual is recommended for the evenings. There is also an end of tour party on the train.
Included: Accommodation as noted in the tours. Breakfasts on the train and lunches/ dinners on board or at restaurants. High quality wines, liquors, coffee and tea with meals. Accompanying hostess throughout the journey. Guided excursions with a coach for transfers and visits. Musical performances and entertainment. All entrance fees. Toiletries and bathrobes provided; towels changed daily. Superior also includes: A choice of two lunches/dinners in your suite; all extra non-alcoholic beverages; the crew may unpack your luggage into the wardrobe on arrival and repack on the last day.
Not included: Gratuities. Drinks ordered outside of meals, or from the mini bar in the suite. Laundry and ironing service - advised on the train.
Wifi: The Al Andalus has Wifi, in the lounge car. However it is the most reliable when the train is static in stations.
Unforeseen events: The itineraries may be subject to modifications for reasons outside the control of the organiser or as a result of problems which may cause changes in the operation of the rail network. In these cases, the organisers will adopt the necessary solutions to continue with the trip, without any extra cost to passengers. If passengers continue the trip under the new circumstances, they tacitly accept the solutions as proposed.
Flights: It is not advisable to book flight within a few hours of the approximate departure or arrival times, in case of delay. It is best to consider arriving the day before and leaving the day after the tour.
Terms and Conditions: Go here for the Terms and Conditions of RENFE Viajeros sa, which owns and operates this train.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Go here for some answers to questions other passengers have raised.
Booking & Reservations
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