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Catalonia and the Little Trains of the Pyrenees

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Experience the shining peaks of the Pyrenees on captivating train journeys and enjoy the sparkling coast of Catalonia from the charming seaside town of Roses

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

Mobility Rating 2

2025 Tour code: 25FRS

About the tour

From the relaxing seaside town of Roses, discover the glistening Catalan coast and ride into the Pyrenees, taking in the stunning scenery of France and Spain on this relaxing Spanish vacation.

Experience the delightful Núria Valley Rack Railway on a journey through a peaceful valley and ride the Little Red Train from Rivesaltes to Axat in France's Pyrenean foothills.

Explore Catalonia's historic towns and cities, including picture-perfect Besalú and medieval Girona.

Uncover the surreal world of artist Salvador Dalí on a visit to his exuberant museum in the pretty town of Figueres.

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Unforgettable Experiences

Ride the charming Little Red Train through the French Pyrenees
Ride the charming Little Red Train through the French Pyrenees
Passing châteaux, sloping vineyards and dense forests, this 100-year-old heritage railway takes you on an enjoyable journey to the gorgeous Pyrenean foothills with the option of looking out from open-air carriages.
Journey to a pilgrimage site on the scenic Núria Valley Rack Railway
Journey to a pilgrimage site on the scenic Núria Valley Rack Railway
Taking a picturesque route high up into the Pyrenees, this enchanting railway passes beautiful gorges and valley scenery before arriving at the impressive Sanctuary of the Virgin of Núria and a peaceful lake.
Experience pretty Figueres and the Salvador Dalí Museum
Experience pretty Figueres and the Salvador Dalí Museum
A classic Catalan town in its own right, Figueres contains the largest surrealist object in the world – the Dalí museum that contains the largest collection of works by the town’s most revered son.
Stay in relaxing Roses on the shimmering Catalan coast
Stay in relaxing Roses on the shimmering Catalan coast
Your base for the week is idyllic Roses on the northern edge of the Costa Brava, a historic fishing town that now exudes a laid-back charm, with a promenade stretching along two miles of golden sandy beaches.
Explore the historic old town of beautiful Girona
Explore the historic old town of beautiful Girona
Home to the second-widest church nave in the world in its spectacular cathedral, Girona’s old town is a delight to discover with a labyrinthine Jewish Quarter and colorful buildings which cling to the riverbanks.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Meeting up in the seaside town of Roses, Catalonia

Our Catalonian vacation begins when we meet our Tour Manager and the rest of our group at our hotel in the pretty seaside town of Roses. This beautiful coastal town lies at the head of the Costa Brava in the Cap de Creus Natural Park, nestled between glistening sea and sun-baked hills.

Our hotel provides a comfortable and relaxing base from which to discover this beautiful part of the world and, after checking in, we dine with our group this evening.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 2 - A day to explore beautiful Roses

Your day is free to explore the lovely coastal town of Roses, set between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains. With a laid-back atmosphere and white-washed buildings, the town center contains the church of Santa María and an ornate Modernist house, Casa Mallol, while the Bay of Roses has several blue flag beaches, just a short walk from our hotel.

Once a Greek colony, the town has a fascinating history, with monuments from the Roman, medieval and even neolithic periods. In the hills above the town lies the remains of Puig Rom - a Visigoth fortress. Near our hotel is the Ciutadella de Roses, the site of a fortress used by Greeks, Romans and Visigoths. At the other end of the town is the Trinitat Castle, an old hilltop fortress which has great sunset views.

As a working fishing port, the town has many excellent restaurants and bars, the best of which are to be found along the coast, some having terraces so you could enjoy a lunch of freshly caught fish or some tasty tapas with a panoramic view.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Riding the Núria Valley Rack Railway up the Pyrenees

Today is a highlight of our vacation as we drive to the village of Ribes de Freser to board the Núria Valley Rack Railway, which transports tourists and pilgrims up to the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Núria.

On our way up this vast Pyrenean valley, we may spot deer or marmot as we travel between the verdant mountains and rugged gorges. The railway is the only way to access Núria, and its car-free status makes it an oasis of serenity. At the top, the Sanctuary of the Virgin of Núria looks out on to a crystalline blue lake, with the Pyrenean peaks behind.

Legend has it that Saint Giles arrived here around 700AD and crafted an image of the Virgin Mary, which he hid in a cave when forced to flee persecution. A pilgrim found the image 300 years later, after a prophetic dream, and Núria has remained a place of pilgrimage since.

There is time to explore the tranquility of this delightful sanctuary before taking the Núria Valley Rack Railway back to Ribes de Freser and returning to Roses in time for dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Discovering the impressive old town of historic Girona

After breakfast we drive to Girona to enjoy some free time in this well-preserved medieval Spanish city. Its old town is a maze of winding alleys, colorful buildings, galleries and museums, located to the north-east of its modern center.

Standing on a hill once occupied by Capuchin monks, historic Girona was attacked and conquered many times. The old Jewish Quarter, a labyrinth of cobbled streets, ancient synagogues and cafes, is close to the city's cathedral. The impressive Cathedral of Saint Mary of Girona stands at the top of a grand Baroque staircase, with a Romanesque cloister and a nave that is the second widest in the world - only St Peter's Basilica in Rome is wider.

One of the defining images of Girona is the colorful buildings that cling to the riverbank, which can be viewed from several bridges, including the metallic Pont de les Peixateries Velles, designed by Gustave Eiffel.

After sightseeing, you could relax at one of the many cafés or restaurants and try some classic Spanish dishes or authentic tapas. A Catalan specialty is 'pa amb tomàquet' - crispy bread topped with tomato and drizzled with olive oil and salt.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Relaxing Roses and the calm costa

Today you have the opportunity to relax or explore further. Your hotel is well equipped with everything you may need for a laid-back day of lounging in the sun, taking an occasional dip in one of the pools, and enjoying a refreshing drink from the pool bar.

If you feel like a change of scenery, there are two miles of golden sandy beaches almost on your doorstep. Walking along the palm-lined promenade beside the Bay of Roses, you are never far from a good spot to stop for refreshments or a delightful view of Roses, backdropped by the wild Cap de Creus Natural Park.

Roses, an authentic Spanish fishing port, exudes laid-back charm. There is plenty of history in the hills surrounding Roses, but a gentle stroll to one of the town's squares is rewarding. Whatever you choose to do, it is worth finding a quiet café to soak up the atmosphere with a coffee or a cool glass of wine.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - A journey on the Little Red Train into the French Pyrenees

It's a customers' favorite for a reason, and today we transfer by coach to Rivesaltes near Perpignan, France, to board the fantastic Little Red Train. Known officially as the Train du Pays Cathare et des Fenouillèdes (TPCF), the line was constructed more than 100 years ago to connect Rivesaltes and Carcassonne.

Nowadays, tourists travel in red carriages which stand out against the dense green of the majestic Pyrenees on the journey from Rivesaltes to the small town of Axat, high in the Aude Valley. Our train chugs past vineyards, verdant forests and rocky outcrops as the route climbs higher. Look out for historic Cathar fortresses perched in the mountaintops. Maybe head to the open-air carriages to fully immerse yourself in the passing scenery; breathe in the fresh mountain air and soak up the views on this charming railway as it clings to the cliffs and winds its way over valleys. 

On arrival in Axat, there is time to explore this delightful rural valley village - a huddle of rustic houses nestled between imposing peaks - before boarding a coach back to Roses, returning in time for dinner. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 - Ancient Besalú, artistic Figueres and the Salvador Dalí Museum

This morning, we visit Besalú, a well-preserved medieval town at the foot of the volcanic Garrotxa Natural Park. Accessed by a 12th-century Romanesque bridge, the town has many ancient buildings, pretty squares and cobblestone alleys. There is a free morning to explore before we continue by coach to Figueres.

In Figueres we visit the largest surrealistic object in the world - the Dalí Theatre-Museum. This joyous pink building contains the largest collection of Salvador Dalí's works in the world. Born in Figueres in 1904, Dalí became one of the best-known figures of the Surrealism movement in the late 1920s. His most famous work, the 'Persistence of Memory', depicts melting clocks with a background inspired by the nearby coastline.

After visiting the museum, there is time to wander round this classic Catalan town with an impressive 11th-century church at its heart, as well as several cafés, tapas bars and gelaterias. The nearby Sant Ferran Castle is the largest 18th-century bastioned fortress in Europe, providing excellent views of the area.

We return to our hotel by coach with time to relax before the final dinner of our vacation.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Homeward bound

After breakfast our holiday draws to a close as we say our goodbyes and check out of the hotel. As we continue our journey homewards there is time to reflect on our vacation and recall the incredible contrasts of Catalonia. From its pristine Pyrenean wilderness and charming towns to the glistening coast around Roses and the playful art of Salvador Dalí, Catalonia is an incredible feast for the senses.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Hotel

Hotel Mediterraneo Park

Hotel Mediterraneo Park, Roses

View hotel

Trains

Nuria Valley Rack Railway
The Red Train