The trains in Spain run mainly on the plains

Story and photos by Bob Schulman

High-speed AVE trains zip across Spain.Take three of Spain’s most colorful cities, link them by super-high-speed trains, find some upscale hotels to stay in between train rides, allow lots of time for sightseeing and then let a savvy tour operator put everything together for you. Oh, and you can schedule your week-long tour to start just about any day you like this year. And you can add more cities to your stay, and more days, too.

Such uncommon flexibility is the hallmark of a 12-year-old tour company called Railbookers (www.railbookers.com). Unsurprisingly, the company specializes in rail-based vacations (in Europe, for instance, you can opt to ride on one or more of some two dozen rail lines).

One of Railbookers’ current hotties is “Spanish Highlights” (us.railbookers.com/vacations/-/spanish-highlights-vacation), a seven-night tour starting on the country’s Mediterranean shores at Barcelona.

After a couple of days of moseying around the city’s iconic Las Ramblas walkway and checking out the architectural masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi, you’ll hop on an AVE train for a speedy trip south across the country to a spot known as “the most Spanish of all Spanish cities.” That would be Seville, of course, where you’ll spend two nights before you ride the AVE again, this time to the Spanish capital at Madrid for some more sightseeing. (Be sure to visit famous places like the Prado Museum and the Royal Palace during your two-night stay there.)

Prices for the Spanish Highlights tour start at $1,015 per person, not including your air hops from home to Barcelona and back across the pond from Madrid. You’re on your own for lunches and dinners, too.

Train station in MadridRailbookers specializes in what it calls “custom made” vacations – meaning in addition to the rail segments and stayovers on your itinerary you can hook on the likes of river cruises and overland trips by rental cars, plus more cities to explore and more days to do it in. As a Railbookers spokesman puts it, “Just decide where, when and how long you’d like to stay, and then call us toll-free at 1-(888) 829-3040 and we’ll set everything up for you.”

The company offers rail-based vacations in some 30 countries around the world. It has offices in London; Los Angeles; Auckland, New Zealand; and Sydney, Australia.

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