¡All aboard! It’s time to get onto the Al Andalus, a palace on rails that travels the southern half of Spain visiting the prettiest and most emblematic cities. Each car is exquisite and elegant, with magnificent lounge cars and suites that transport travellers back to the golden age of the foxtrot and the sophistication of the Belle Époque. Seven days and seven  nights in an Andalusian journey through time aboard one of the most luxurious trains in the world.

Like the Trans Siberian or the Orient Express, the Al Andalus makes train travel a real pleasure. During the journey the train is transformed into a moving hotel where you wake up each morning in a different city. And unlike those famous trains that cross a continent from one side to another, the Al Andalus isn’t just the trip: it includes guided visits, cultural activities, a culinary programme and free time to visit the different destinations.  You just have to get on, go with the flow and enjoy the clattering.

Sevilla is the starting point and destination of the two itineraries that the Al Andalus offers. The first one covers a large part of Andalusia, travelling through Cádiz, Jerez, Ronda, Granada, Linares, Úbeda, Baeza and Córdoba. Seven days of enchantment, flavour, merriment, culture and art while discovering such magic places as the Alhambra or the Alcázar. The second option travels through parts of Extremadura and Castile until reaching Madrid. This seven-day trip includes stops in Zafra, Mérida, Cáceres, Monfragüe, Toledo, Aranjuez and the Spanish capital. The itinerary can also be covered in the opposite direction, with Sevilla as the final point.

Life aboard the Al Andalus between one city and another is calm and highly luxurious. There’s a large buffet breakfast in the restaurant, featuring local specialities. With batteries charged, the day is spent visiting the city with a guide and moving aboard a bus from one point to another. Night is the time to return to Al Andalus, which will leave for the next destination as dinner is served ­–a meal consumed against a backdrop of different musical performances, magic shows, etc.. And before you go to bed, the train will have reached the station so you can enjoy a silent, peaceful rest.

From the very start the Al Andalus train was conceived as a celebration of elegance and comfort. Five of the seven suite cars that make up the convoy were built in France in 1930, part of a series of cars that would transport British royals through France, from Calais to the Cote d’Azur. In addition, the art deco furniture in the cars lend an atmosphere of luxury and distinction characteristic of the Al Andalus.

In this setting and aboard this palace on rails, it’s not hard to feel like a British monarch on a journey through Spain.

Photo: Renfe