Santander-Llanes on the FEVE train, 3 August

train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

Early train from Santander to Llanes, 75 km further along the coast to the west.

pintxes women FEVE station cafe Santander 816 fruit machine.JPG

The FEVE station café at Santander is kept by a sharp-eyed pair of older men, white hair and moustaches and uniforms, serving up breakfast with keenness to travellers, like these women and like us.

SD man with bag FEVE station cafe Santander 816.JPGA gentleman with a red bag came in, walked around the café and went out. The TV showed 70s and 80s pop songs with Spanish videos featuring bizarre costumes.

RENFE (the national train operator) runs trains south from the coastal cities to Madrid, while FEVE runs along the coast. They have separate, adjacent stations. They merged, recently.

The FEVE train is slow. I prefer it to the bus because you can move about, and I can read, and not get travel sick. But it is true that it goes at half the speed of the bus.

train map FEVE station cafe Santander 816 2 stagecoach.JPG

This map, on the wall of the FEVE station at Santander, shows half of the journey from Santander (at the top right) to Llanes. I like how the stagecoach is held up for the train.

Although we were not the first to get on, we got the comfiest seats with plenty of leg room for the two hour journey. It turned out, however, that because our seats were fully at the front we got the full benefit of the train’s much-blown horn. It is used to draw the attention of any possible stagecoaches to our approach.

(In the Bob Dylan song, is it a futile or a feudal horn that the one eyed undertaker blows? Both would feel appropriate here.)

hills from train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

Though the line parallels the coast, you rarely see the sea. There’s a fold of land between the mountains and the sea cliffs. that’s where the railway runs, with this picture looking towards the mountains. There are small rivers; the line crosses them more than it follows them.

river from train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

Thin layer of brown river over bright white stones.

flats, tintoreria from train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

Occasional towns.

house for sale train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

House for sale.

Transcantabrico train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

At Urqueno we came across the posh Transcantabrico. I’d love to travel on it along this long little line, dining and sleeping and looking out the window.

Llanes train Santander-Llanes 816.JPG

At Llanes you climb out of the train and walk across the track to get to the station. Less than a five minute walk, in heat, to our hotel.



  km mode of transport kph €/km
Brussels-Paris, 29 July 263 metro, metro, train, taxi 87 0,34
Paris-Santander, 29-30 July 764 walk, night train, coach, taxi 41 0,21
Santander-Llanes, 3 August 75 taxi, train, walk 25 0,15

Published by

Paul Hodson

Head of Unit "EnergyEfficiency" at European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy

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