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Between soaring mountains, across arid deserts, parched plains and valleys of fruit orchards and olive groves, down glittering coastlines and along viaducts towering above plunging ravines… there is no better way to see Spain than by train.

Rail enthusiast Tom Chesshyre, author of Slow Trains to Venice, Ticket to Ride and Tales from the Fast Trains, hits the tracks once again to take in the country through carriage windows on a series of clattering rides beyond the popular image of “holiday Spain” (although he stops by in Benidorm and Torremolinos too).

From hidden spots in Catalonia, through the plains of Aragon and across the north coast to Santiago de Compostela, Chesshyre continues his journey via Madrid, the wilds of Extremadura, dusty mining towns, the cathedrals and palaces of Valencia and Granada, and finally to Seville, Andalusia’s beguiling (and hot) capital.

Encounters? Plenty. Mishaps? A lot. Happy Spanish days? All the way.


If you ever need convincing that it's better to take the train than to fly, this is the book that makes a persuasive case. Follow Tom Chesshyre as he meanders through rural Spain on local and regional train services, stopping off here and there in small communities that are normally by-passed by tourists. A fine read, and a book that will be valued as much by armchair travellers as by those actually planning on visiting Spain.
Nicky Gardner, hidden europe
A book for our time... It's a lovely read, take it with you on a long, slow train journey; you'll be entertained and inspired.
Richard Hammond, Green Traveller
By turns humorous and sharply insightful, he affectionately paints a vivid portrait of a deeply divided and contrasting country, bringing to life its characters and landscapes like few other travel writers can. Always curious, witty and intelligent, his writing style and subject matter are deeply rewarding - even cathartic - especially at times when we can't travel ourselves. This is armchair travel at its satisfying best.
Francisca Kellett, travel writer
In the spirit of Laurie Lee in As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and in the manner of Philip Larkin chronicling his slow southward journey in The Whitsun Weddings, Chesshyre takes us on a wondrously hypnotic meander across Spain. His attention to detail and unwillingness to be rushed, either as passenger or author, make this a highly relaxing and subtly addictive read.
Glen Mutel, National Geographic Traveller