8 Days - 6 to 13 April, 2024 or11 Days - 5 to 15 April, 2024Location: Spain

Join us for a 7 or 10 night tour of Galicia, Spain’s undiscovered province in the far north west of the country. A region of spectacular mountains, fertile valleys and a rugged coastline producing the best shellfish in Europe. We will visit the historic cities of Santiago de Compostela, Vigo and A Coruña as well as the Isles of Cies, one of Spain’s National Parks.

The railway lines in the region take us through some of the most fantastic coastal and mountain scenery in Spain to places that just cannot be seen by road, making the train the ultimate way to see this fascinating area. This trip is made all the more special as we stay in luxury Paradores – buildings of historic interest which have been converted into luxury hotels.

It could be the last chance to ride on the “old lines” as they are being superseded by high speed lines leaving only a skeleton service on the historic lines. Rumour are that these original routes are to be closed.

PTG Tour Manager on this tour will be Marion. Any questions feel free to email Marion at marion@ptg.co.uk

Group size limited to 8 couples – so book early to avoid disappointment.

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Tour Highlights


  • Pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela
  • Luxury Paradores (converted historic buildings)
  • Beautiful Cambados
  • Lugo and Pontevedra
  • Breakfast and most dinners included
  • Beautiful unspoilt region
  • Exclusive tour group of just 16 people (max)
  • Leisurely days. No early starts or late finishes.
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices & Options
  • Booking
  • Gallery
  • Transport & Accommodation

Day 1 Friday 5 April 2024

Flights from various UK airports to Madrid, or overland from St Pancras by Eurostar and TGV. Overnight in 4-star hotel in Madrid.

Day 2(1) Saturday 6 April (B,D) – 13:00 to 17:00

In the morning we will have an optional visit to the national railway museum in the fabulous old Madrid-Delicias station.

We leave Madrid on the 13:15 high-speed train from Madrid which will get us into Ourense at 16:17 and have dinner at the parador. Those flying out today will take the 13:15 direct Vueling flight from Gatwick to Santiago de Compostela for transfer to the parador for dinner.

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Parador de Santo Estevo (Alamy)

Set within the Ribiera Sacra region and by the Miño and Sil Rivers, this converted monastery boasts a fabulous spa and beautiful central courtyard. Enjoy regional cuisine in the fine dining room and relax in the gardens.

The listed Benedictine Monastery dates back to the 10th century and in true Parador fashion has been beautifully transformed into a chic and unique luxury hotel. Admire historic features such as stone archways, carved window frames, and the monastery’s 3 original Baroque, Romanesque and Renaissance cloisters.

Day 3(2) Sunday 7 April (B,D) – 09:45 to 19:00

Our tour bus returns us to Ourense where we catch the new highspeed line to the pilgrim city of Santiago de Campostela. We have a guided walk of this beautiful city which is the capital of Galicia. We visit the Cathedral, with its Baroque twin towers, built between the 11th and 13th centuries and dominating the centre of Santiago. Inside the Cathedral we can visit the tomb of St. James the Apostle. Then we will walk through the narrow cobbled streets and squares to appreciate the beautiful granite buildings that surround the Cathedral. Later you will have free time for lunch and your own exploration. We now catch the 17:25 train, along the old Iberia Gauge line to arrive back in Ourense at 18:06 for our tour bus transfer back to Santo Estevo parador for our dinner and second night at this wonderful location.

PS Santiago Cathedral lowres
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (P.Spracklen)

Day 4(3) Monday 8 April (B, D) – 08:45 to 17:30

After breakfast our bus transfer to Ourense for the 09:26 train, a very picturesque journey partly along the River Mino, which is the border between Spain and Portugal. At Salvatierra look across the river to see the Portuguese town of Monção. This town was severed by a Portugal Railways branch line (from Valença) which closed as late as 1990. The Spanish line we are riding on today still hangs on to life, but with just one train each way a day, its days as a passenger line are numbered, but might hang on with freight traffic. Our destination is the port of Vigo (Guixar station) where we arrive at 12:05. Time to explore this town or maybe, if there is time, take a boat across to the Isles of Cies. These magical islands sit out in the Atlantic being beaten on the west side by the Atlantic breakers whilst protecting the waters into Vigo. On the east side there are long white sandy beaches and crystal clear warmer waters. Leaving Vigo Urzaiz at 17:08 for a fast train back to Ourense where our tour bus will be waiting to take us back to Santo Estevo for our third, and final, night.

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Train following the Minho River (Alamy)

Day 5(4) Tuesday 9 April (B, D) – 09:00 to 19:00

Before saying goodbye to Ourense we have a couple of hours this morning to explore this interesting regional capital. Ourense is another old Roman City with thermal springs, and the “Font as Burgas” still spouts out water with a temperature of 150 degrees. In the old part of town is the Plaza Mayor where we will see the Cathedral which was rebuilt between the 12th and 13th centuries. On the triple-arched doorway are carved figures reminiscent of the Portico de la Gloria at Santiago.

Our train departs at 12:30 and we arrive in Lugo at 14:16. There are only four trains a day to Lugo and we don’t want to miss a guided tour of this fascinating old town. Located on a hill on the banks of the river Miño, the city of Lugo preserves major remains of its Roman past, among them its ancient wall, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Inside the walls, the city conserves quiet pedestrian streets, wide squares and spacious gardens, where buildings such as the Cathedral, the Archiepiscopal Palace, and the City Hall stand out. After around four hours for exploration, our tour bus will be waiting to whisk us off to the Parador de Vilalba where we stay for 2 nights. This impressive tower from medieval Galicia, now converted into a hotel, dominates the landscape of this town, centre of the “Terra Chá” area, which originated from this fortress, home of the Andrades, the counts of Vilalba. The hotel offers cosy, welcoming spaces with a medieval air; in the tower, 6 bedrooms share this medieval style with the Salón de los Andrade, with frescos and coats of arms. In the shadow of the tower, the new stone building is in the style of a pazo, the Galician country house, housing the remaining 42 bedrooms, the restaurant and bar.

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Lugo Old Town (Alamy)

Day 6(5) Wednesday 10 April (B,D) – 07:45 to 19:00

Our only early start of this holiday this morning as we have to catch the 08:15 train north from Lugo in order to complete our journey over this line. If we miss it there is not a train until 21:48! Our destination is A Coruña. When we arrive, there will be a transfer by our tour bus along the coast to the Torres de Hercules, the oldest working lighthouse in Europe. The Tower of Hercules has served as a lighthouse and landmark at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. After our visit we take our tour bus back to the centre for our guided walk through this city, sometimes known as the city of glass because of the glass enclosed balconies, built as protection against the strong winds. At 17:20 we take a train north along the branch line to the porto of Ferrol. Another fine coastal line with great views. Our tour bus will return us to the Parador de Vilalba for our dinner and second night here.

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Tower of Hercules, A Coruna (Alamy)

Day 7(6) Thursday 11 April (B,D) – 11:00 to 18:00

Again a leisurely day as at 11:00 our tour bus returns us to A Coruna so we can enjoy the rail journey south to Pontevedra (arriving 13:04). Pontevedra lies inland at the head of the Ria de Pontevedra and north of Vigo. The city was founded by Teucer of Troy and was a very busy city until the middle of the 17th century, with its own mint and fueros (local law code) granted by Saint Ferdinand lll, King of León and Castile. Pontevedra has beautiful historic buildings for us to explore in this typical old Galician town. We will enjoy a guided walk through the cobbled alleys and tiny squares with their granite buildings, as well as seeing the arcades and many flower-filled balconies of this ancient town and medieval port. After time for lunch and a couple of hours for exploration, our tour bus will take us on to the Parador on the coast at Cambados for our two night stay.

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Parador de Pontevedra (P.Spracklen)

Day 8(7) Friday 12 April (B,D) 

Today is set aside as a free day for your own relaxation, enjoyment of the parador and town. Cambados is located in the Rias Baixas on the banks of the Arousa estuary on the west coast of Galicia. The city has a historic site declared an Asset of Cultural Interest that was created from the merger of three old villages that still retain their original character. Fifinans with a marked noble character; Cambados with its beautiful squares, streets and ruins of the cemetery and sacred monument of Santa Marina Dozo; and the eminently seafaring character of San Tomé. Cambados is known for its seafood, and when the tide is out there are large groups of seafood collectors gathering clams and cockles. The town is also known for its Albarino wine and  we will have a walk through the town before a tasting of this local, slightly sparkly wine. The evening is free for you to enjoy one of the local restaurants or relax in the Parador by the pool before exploring for yourselves the beauty of this lovely coastal town.

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Cambados (Alamy)

For railway enthusiasts, you may want to complete the final section of Galician railway line and the crossing into Portugal. This does mean an early start as we will arrange for the tour bus (or taxi if less than 4 want to go) to take you to Vigo to pick up the morning south bound International train (one of only two a day) at 08:58 which arrives into Valença (Portugal) at 08:35! Yes, you arrive before you left as Portugal is on the same time as the UK, so one hour behind Spain. You have a break at Valenca until 09:57 before catching the morning north bound International train to Vigo and then back to Pontevedra (arriving 13:01) where tour bus (or taxi) will return you to the parador. There is a small railway museum at Valenca which now only seems to open “on request” and we can request this for you with our contacts in CP (Portugal Railways).

Day 9(8) Saturday 13 April (B,D) – 12:45 to 18:00

Today we start our journey back to Madrid but again at a leisurely time. We will take the 13:36* train back to Ourense and the onward to the junction station at Monforte de Lemos (arriving 17:20) where our tour bus will be waiting to whisk us to the Parador de Monforte for dinner and overnight stay. Housed in a 17th-century Benedictine Monastery, this Parador sits on the highest point of the town of Monforte de Lemos, in northern Galicia. Enjoy locally-caught game in the elegant restaurant.

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Parador de Monforte de Lemos (Alamy)

Built around the property’s main cloister, the Parador de Monforte de Lemos’s bedrooms are luxurious, spacious and well-lit. Admire careful decor which is in harmony with the Monforte de Lemos’s neoclassical style. You can enjoy a stroll around the pretty gardens of the property and take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool in the summer. Sit down with a good book in the pleasant setting of the Monforte’s covered terrace – with garden views.

For those leaving us today, our tour bus will take you to Santiago de Compostela airport (one hour journey) for the 18:15 flight back to London Gatwick (arriving 19:15 BST)

Day 10 Sunday 14 April (B) – 10:00 to 14:00

After breakfast our tour bus returns us to the railway station so we can board the 10:35 Monforte de Lemos to León service. This is now the only train of the day on this wonderful rail journey – listed as one of the most scenic in Spain (and Europe). León is a wonderful city, combining stunning historical architecture with an irresistible energy. Its standout attraction is the cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Spain with some of the finest cut glass windows you will see anywhere. We will stay at the fine NH Collection hotel, also in a building of historic interest, in the centre of León, close to the cathedral and the Palacio de los Guzmanes.

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San Marcos Monastery, Leon (Alamy)

Day 11 Monday 15 April (B) – 09:15 to 12:15

We take the 09:51 train to Madrid (arriving 12:01) for transfer to the airport for return flights to the UK. Alternatively, if you want to return by rail, alight from this train at Palencia (10:34) and take the 12:29 train from Palencia to Irun (arr 17:35) for overnight stay in Irun/Hendaye. Tuesday 25 April (B) take the 09:36 TGV from Hendaye to Paris Montparnasse (arriving 14:26) and then depart Paris Nord Eurostar at 16:13, arriving into London St Pancras at 17:30.

Tour Bus: Our luxury 24 seater bus will be with us for the whole time in Galicia and will take our luggage between the paradores for us. Our longest journey is 1 hour. We will need to take our luggage on the train from Madrid to Ourense and from Leon to Madrid – for those on the full 11-day trip.

Holiday Prices (per person)

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Full 11-day holiday including flight from UK: £2,350*
  • Full 13-day holiday overland by rail via Eurostar: £2,625
  • Full 11-day holiday joining in Madrid: £2,090*
  • 8-day holiday (Saturday-Saturday) with flights from UK: £2,050
  • 8-day holiday (Saturday-Saturday) joining in Santiago: £1,750

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £440 (10 nights), £330 (7 nights)
  • Upgrade to Superior rooms at Paradores, where available: £POA and earlier you book the lower the price is likely to be.

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £1,000
  • Own travel: £750

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Accommodation in luxury “Paradores”
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted from London

* with flight price confirmed at time of booking. Supplement applies to some of the Heathrow flights.

Online Booking

Please note that you cannot book a flight inclusive trip on our website but if you select the flight option you prefer then we will contact you with the flight details and convert your booking into a flight inclusive package.

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Travel from UK

Direct flights to Madrid from most major UK airports

For 7 night Option

VK7109 13:45 London Gatwick to Santiago de Compostela
VK7108 12:00 Santiago de Compostela to London Gatwick

Overland from London St Pancras

4th April

Eurostar 10:26 London St Pancras to Paris Nord (arr 13:50)

TGV at 16:08 from Paris Mont. To Hendaye (arr 20:47)

Overnight at Hotel Restauarant Santiago in Hendaye (a very short taxi ride from Hendaye Station)

5th April

Short taxi ride from the hotel to Irun Station – Hendaye (France) and Irun (Spain) are only around 500m from each other.

RENFE 08:45 Irun to Madrid (arr 13:56)

15th April

You are with the main group on train from Leon to Palencia

RENFE 12:29 Palencia to Irun (arr 17:35)

Overnight at Hotel Restauarant Santiago in Hendaye

16th April

TGV 09:36 Hendaye to Paris Mont. (arr 14:21)

16:13 Paris Nord to London St Pancras (arr 17:30)