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Northern Spain by train

Falmouth, United...
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Northern Spain by train

Hi All

I am planning to go to Northern Spain to ride the FEVE from Santander to A Coruna in June (not done anything like it before). We can fly to Bordeaux and travel by train to Dax for an overnight stop then by bus and train to San Sebastian where we would stay two nights. Then it's a bus ride to Santander for a couple of nights. This leaves us with nine days to trundle along the FEVE stopping off at nice places. After A Coruna we would like to go to Santiago and we can fly back from there. The questions are;

1. Is that enough time or should I reduce the nights at San Sebastian and Santander?

2. Which places on the line should not be missed? My list is far too long to fit everything in.

The reasoning behind this trip is that we want to ride the train, we want to have a holiday without the car for a change and we've not been to the north before.

Thanks for any help given.

Irene :)

Asturias
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1. Re: Northern Spain by train

Hi Irene,

A coincidence as I am doing the FEVE trip at the end of this month but in reverse …. from Ferol to Santander. It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for years.

I see the Galicia and Cantabria crew have sorted you out already ...... so here's the Asturias version.

The approach I took to planning was … decide what time you’re up and dressed …. add some time to wander to a local bar / café for coffee ……. look for trains departing from this time onwards …… where will that train be around luchtime …… identify a nice place to eat …. see what else is in that place of interest …. if all OK then that’s the lunchtime stop and a bit of sightseeing ….. decide how much more time you’re prepared to travel ……. identify the area that the next train will be in after that travel time ……… identify some accommodation / place to eat / sights to see …… that will be your train, plan to enjoy the evening, have a good night’s rest and then repeat the cycle.

So first things first, the planning tools you need are:

FEVE Timetable -> www.renfe.com/viajeros/feve/horarios.html

FEVE Map -> www.renfe.com/viajeros/feve/mapas/index.html OR this one if you like it all joined up -> feve.es/recursos/…lineas-feve.pdf

ALSA timetable if you want to take a shortcut via bus -> http://www.alsa.es/en/

Map with enough detail to see if the station is in town or miles outside -> http://sigpac.mapa.es/fega/visor/

On the last item above, using the example of San Vicente de la Barquera …… zoom in on San Vicente (turn off photos and get to a map resolution of 1/25000) …… FEVE Stations are marked as black oblongs …. You’ll see it just outside the village of La Acebosa, about 2.5km south of San Vicente. If you want to see if the beaches are large / small etc. then turn on the photos. Photos are better resolution than Google.

In terms of choices on where to stop ,and not knowing what appeals to you e.g. museums, beaches, shops, monuments, food, architecture etc. below are places that are in Asturias that MAY amuse:

Aviles - an interesting medieval centre.

Cudillero - lots of colourful houses surround the port.

Gijon - the largest city in the region is surrounded by industry but once in the centre the city is pleasant, has good beaches and nightlife.

Llanes - an excellent seaside town on a rugged stretch of coast and with the Picos de Europa providing a backdrop.

Luarca - a very attractive town surrounded by cliffs and with a really excellent harbour. Has a marine museum.

Oviedo - the cultural capital of Asturias is a lively university city. It has a medieval centre and in the city and around are lots of examples of Pre-Romanesque architecture. Particularly noteworthy is the church of Santa Maria del Naranco.

Ribadesella - a lovely seaside town and holiday resort. Visit the nearby Caves of Tito Bustillo which have lots of prehistoric drawings. Pre-booking advised.

Salinas - seaside resort and one of the longest beaches in Asturias, which is divided into 3 parts: Salinas, The Espartal and San Juan. Most famous restaurant is http://www.realbalneario.com

Possible nice stops in Galicia are:

O BARQUEIRO with food at MESON O FORNO http://www.hostaloforno.com/meson.html , Puerto del Barquerro 1, 15337 Manon

VIVEIRO with food / rooms at 1) BOA VISTA http://www.boavistahotel.com Carratera LU 862 E – 27863 Celeiro OR 2) NITO http://www.hotelego.es/ - 27850 Celeiro

FOZ with food at 1) RESTAURANTE O MAR Tel: 982 132 812 Calle Eduardo Pondal 24, 27780 Foz OR 2) RESTAURANTE XOINA Tel: 982 140 944 Calle Corredoira 5, 27780 Foz

RIBADEO with food / rooms at BALASTRERA http://www.balastrera.es/ Calle Carlos III 17, 27700 Ribadeo OR 2) SAN MIGUEL (Rest Only) http://www.restaurantesanmiguel.org/ Puerto Deportivo, 27700 Ribadeo Tel: 982 129 717

Possible nice stops in Cantabria are:

SAN VICENTE DE LA BARQUERA (will need taxi to/from station)

SANTANDER

Regards,

Mike

Edited: 13 March 2013, 16:04
Asturias
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2. Re: Northern Spain by train

Do spend time in Coruna ..... very slow paced for a city (I like it) ......... and of course SdeC (has to be done)

Regards,

Mike

Falmouth, United...
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3. Re: Northern Spain by train

Thank you so much for all that information. It would be really nice to play it by ear and book as we go but I expect accommodation will book up quickly in June so we will have to decide our stopovers before we go. We are both in our 60's and enjoy churches, buildings coastline ports, food (of course) and most things really. We are used to taking our car when travelling but wanted to try without so this will be a first for us.

Thanks again

Irene

Falmouth, United...
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4. Re: Northern Spain by train

Many thanks to everyone who has given me help on this one. I have now made a start with bookings and thought I'd let you know.

We are going to Bristol by train and then flying to Bordeaux. From there it will be Jet bus to the railway station and a train to Dax for an overnight stay. Next morning train to St Jean de Luz for lunch, then the bus or train to Hendaye depending on times. Hendaye to San Sebastian for two night stay, travelling by Eskotren.

Next stage will be train from San Sebastian to Bilbao and then the FEVE train to Santander for a three day stay. While we are in Santander we can visit Santillana, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera by bus as suggested by RatonCantabria.

At the other end we have booked two nights in Santiago de Compostela prior to flying from there to Gatwick.

Now all we need to do is fill in the middle bits.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help and advice especially Mike M for your links to so many useful websites.

Irene :)

Cantabria
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for Cantabria
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5. Re: Northern Spain by train

Let us know how both of your trips go, like you Mike, I've been wanting to do it for years, but never quite had the time!

Asturias
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6. Re: Northern Spain by train

St Jean de Luz is a lovely little place to explore, so allow (on top of your casual lunch) time to wander.

If you've never been in that area before, then it's worth considering for a future holiday as that whole area to the east is great ... St Jean Pied de Port, Pau, Pyranees National Park ... all the way east up to Lourdes and down to the Ordesa Nation Park (Spanish side of border and stunning). If you also want to mix in a bit of Glitz and Glamour ... you could also include Biarritz.

San Sebastian is a mecca if you're a foodie but you can easily let your budget run-away as those world famous restaurants also have a price tag to match.

Edited: 21 March 2013, 23:21
Falmouth, United...
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7. Re: Northern Spain by train

Thanks Mike M, we do know that area which is why we wanted lunch at St Jean de Luz rather than pushing on. We've had some good holidays in that area including one near Pau from where we did quite a lot of the Pyrenees. Also saw a visitor/ education centre for the Griffon Vultures which I'd recommend to anyone interested in wildlife.

I'm off to buy a map and up to date guide book today then next week I should be able to plan the middle part of the trip.

Irene :)

Oviedo, Spain
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8. Re: Northern Spain by train

If you stay a few days in Oviedo, I recommend you take a FEVE train to COLLANZO. In about 1 hour it will take you high up into the Cantabrian Mountains. The little trains run at every hour from the main station and are comfortable, you can perceive from them an amazing change of landscape as they ride into the mountains. In the village you have a few bars open all day where you can eat, a shop and pharmacy and two recreative areas where you can sit in the open air. There is another nice village down the road CABAÑAQUINTA with beautiful walks around, the trains run down at every hour . Everything is fully Spanish. It is a flabbergasting change of landscape you can enjoy just from the train. People in the village are nice and friendly.

Falmouth, United...
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9. Re: Northern Spain by train

That sounds rather nice Marta R. I will look in to it.

Many thanks

Irene

Oviedo, Spain
3 posts
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10. Re: Northern Spain by train

I think your plan for Asturias should be getting a steady hotel in Oviedo, which is the capital city of the region of Asturias, it is a modern bustling town of 200. 000 inhabitants and it is very well located exactly in the middle of the region. These two factors mean that from there you have got lots of buses and trains to all the minor villages and towns of the rest of the region. You can have one day outings to these places that would take you one hour or one hour and a half , sight see the village you go to visit, have a snack and come back to Oviedo at any time you like becouse the frequencies to these places are quite good on week days, to some of them hourly. It allows you to enjoy the landscapes from the train without the stress of the traffic and you are free to decide for how long you want to stay in the place and when you decide to come back to the comfort of the town. If you have to wait a bit for a train there are bars at all these places but the timetables are quite good because people of the area use them a lot. It is like an underground system, you just have to be careful because sometimes you have to make one change on the way, ask other tavellers. the prices are cheap, it depends on where you go. Posible destinations to visit could be Collanzo or Pola de Laviana or Pola de Lena in the mountains and Candás or Cudillero on the coast.