- Difficulty: Moderate+
- Category: Cycling, self-guided
- Duration: 7 nights, 8 days
- Recommended time of year: 1st April- 31st October
Discover the unique and unforgettable experience of cycling the ancient pilgrim route, the World Heritage Camino de Santiago
This is not a standard cycling tour! The Camino de Santiago is an ancient pilgrimage of great historical, cultural and spiritual significance which continues to be shared by pilgrims from all walks of life. It is the only long-distance route to have been awarded World Heritage recognition.
- Experience the cultural exchanges with fellow pilgrims as they wish you a 'buen camino' on this internationally acclaimed age-old route.
- Recreate the magic of a bygone era as your pilgrimage takes you across the same rivers, up the same hills and past the same villages, chapels, churches and cathedrals as countless pilgrims before you.
- Cycle the final stages of the Camino starting in Astorga with its famous episcopal palace designed by Gaudi.
- Explore quiet country lanes on a hand-picked route that mirrors the original walking route.
- Encounter the stunning medieval village of Molinaseca.
- Be rewarded by the breathtaking views from O´Cebreiro, an ancient mountain village which has provided shelter to pilgrims for centuries.
- Experience the elation as you cycle into the main square of Santiago de Compostela with its awe-inspiring cathedral.
...The Camino is more than a journey across the Spanish landscape. It is a personal journey which unites people from many parts of the globe, all of whom decide to undertake this pilgrimage.
Which airport should I fly to? Madrid or Santiago International Airports.
How do I get to the Starting Point?
- MADRID TO ASTORGA. The bus company ALSA runs a daily service from Madrid to Astorga (most buses leave from Madrid south station “estacion sur” but some buses also leave from the airport, terminal 4). There are typically 5 buses each day and they take between 4 and 5 hours and cost is around 25€ per person.
- LEON TO ASTORGA. Several trains (RENFE) each afternoon taking 30mins and costing 10€ per person. The bus company ALSA runs many buses to Astorga, taking 50mins and costing around 4€ per person.
- SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA TO ASTORGA. RENFE run one early morning train (9:25) taking just over 5 hours and costing around 32€ per person. The bus company ALSA runs one early morning bus (8am) taking 6 hours and costing around 27€ per person.
How do I get back? From Santiago airport back home directly or via another airport.
Day 1: Arrival to Astorga
Arrival to Astorga and a chance to explore this interesting city with its walled city centre, episcopal church designed by Gaudi and beautiful Cathedral.
Day 2: Astorga to Molinaseca
Today you will cycle into the Maragatería area, a wooded mountainous region where beautiful villages with large red stone houses dot the landscape. You will climb to the highest point of the tour. Here you will pass the stone cross at 1.510m, where traditionally each pilgrim leaves a stone they have carried all the way from their homeland. You might want to bring your own small pebble with you! Later you will descend into the rich valley of the Bierzo.
49 km / Climb: 707 m
Day 3: Molinaseca to O'Cebreiro
On day 3 you will cycle through the flat cultivated landscapes of the Bierzo valley, which produces excellent wines, fruit and vegetables. Around midday you will reach the mountains as you go through the historic town of Villafranca del Bierzo. Depending on which hotel you are at, you will then have to climb the famously steep O´Cebreiro mountain pass which separates the regions of Castilla and Galicia or you will stay at the foothills and do the climb the next morning, whichever, the views at the top are well worth the effort!
58 km / Climb: 939 m
Day 4: O'Cebreiro to Sarria
Today sees you in a new region, with a very different climate, vegetation and people. Galicia is green Spain, wooded and mountainous. Today you will descend into the small town of Samos where you will find an ancient monastery from the middle Ages which still remains inhabited by monks. Don't miss the opportunity to visit it! Then your route meanders alongside streams and rivers flowing from the mountains to the town of Sarria.
44 km / Climb: 258 m
Day 5: Sarria to Palas de Rei
Today you can enjoy one of the most beautiful sections of the Camino in Galicia.Travelling on narrow secondary roads through woodland and green pastures, you will discover a true haven of peace and tranquility as you go past tiny villages where people live off the land, as they have done for generations.
48 km / Climb: 1117 m
Day 6: Palas de Rei to Rua
Today you'll be tempted to stop and savour every village you encounter, each one a hidden gem with stone-built houses, narrow streets and seemingly caught in a time warp! You can breathe the history along the way and can only imagine how many thousands of people over the centuries have shaped this legendary route.
60 km / Climb: 1170 m
Day 7: Rua to Santiago de Compostela
Time to relish the last remaining kilometres of your adventure. Today the Camino leads you into the very heart of the unique city of pilgrims, Santiago de Compostela, into the Plaza de Obradoiro overlooking the Cathedral built in honour of Saint James. A city shrouded in centuries of legends, you will arrive elated to the echos of the pilgrims who have gone before you. This is a truly spiritual and uplifting experience! With a buzz of satisfaction and a smile on your face you will arrive with enough time to get your “Compostelana” or Pilgrim’s Passport. This singular city offers many important landmarks for you to enjoy, every corner imbued with history and atmosphere. You won't want to say goodbye!
27 km / Climb 599 m
Day 8: Departure or extra nights
Departure or why not linger in Santiago a few days to rest and enjoy. How about a touch of Luxury in the 5***** Parador?
Our hotels are conveniently positioned very near or on the Camino and are always the best quality on offer along the way. They are typically of 3 star grading. These are some of the hotels used as an example:
Day 1, Astorga
Day 2, Molinaseca
Day 3, Ferrerias, O´Cebreiro
Day 4, Sarria
Day 5, Palas de Rei
Day 6, O´Rua
Day 7, Santiago de Compostela
Our hire bikes and equipment:
A bicycle specialist will deliver your hire bike and adjust it to your specifications. We provide you with fully equipped touring bicycles. Remember that we carry your luggage between hotels so you can travel light.
||GIANT ARGENTO or equivalent:
Other equipment provided:
- Price: 643€ per person
- Single room supplement: 122€
- Half board / dinners: 90€
- Bike hire: 90€
- GPS rental (one per group): 15€
- PILGRIM´S PASSPORT.
- 7 nights´ accommodation.
- 7 breakfasts.
- Luggage transfers between hotels.
- Detailed maps with your trail clearly marked.
- Itinerary description, full of recommendations for things to do and places to visit, advice and suggestions and information about your accommodation, etc.
- Emergency support.
- Activity insurance.
- Choose between a Mountain Bike to cycle along the Camino itself or Touring Bike to cycle along roads beside the Camino (price on asking).
- 4 star hotel upgrade in Santiago (price on asking).
- Extension cycling to Finisterre, two extra cycling days (price on asking)