Away from the Crowds logoAway from the Crowds

Active, self-guided cycling and walking holidays in unexplored Spain

Sustainable tourism watermarkcyclist sat on a stone wall waiting for a herd of cows to pass

Cycling holidaysThe Camino de Santiago

Discover a different version of the Camino de Santiago by staying "away from the crowds" and following delightful country roads that are near the busy trail. Our itinerary criss-crosses the Camino so that you don't lose the essence of the social connection with other pilgrims while being able to also enjoy peace and tranquility.

From 620 € per person

Difficulty level gauge

Difficulty:Moderate+

Details ...

Duration:7 nights, 8 days

Dates:April to 31st October

Start:Any day of the week

Location on map of Spain

Longer distances and hilly terrain, with perhaps four ascents per day.

Cycling surface:Tarmac: 100%.

Average daily distance / climb:30 miles (48 km) / 2859 ft (872 m).

Description

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.

  • Cycle from Astorga to Santiago covering 286 kilometres, qualifying you for the Compostelana Certificate upon completion.
  • See Astorga with its stunning cathedral and famous episcopal palace designed by Gaudi.
  • Encounter the quaint 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.
  • Take advantage of local knowledge as we have chosen quality accomodation at every stage.
  • Reliable luggage transfers and emergency support.
  • We will provide you with detailed maps, roadbooks and the Pilgrim's Passport.
  • Our bikes are fully equipped touring bikes, professionally maintained, and ideal for this long distance route.

Itinerary

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. Here you will also have a chance to get your Pilgrim's Passport stamped for the first time.

Day 2: Astorga to Molinaseca

Distance: 30 miles (49 km). Climb: 2320 ft (707 m).

Today you will cycle into the Maragatería area, a wooded mountainous region where beautiful villages with large red stone houses dot the landscape. Here, you will climb to the highest point of the tour. Once you reach an altitude of 1.510m, traditionally each pilgrim leaves a stone they have carried all the way from their homeland, so you might want to bring your own small pebble with you! Later, the tour descends into the rich valley of the Bierzo.

Day 3: Molinaseca to Ferrerias / O'Cebreiro

Distance: 30-37 miles (49-59 km). Climb: 2201-4498 ft (671-1371 m)

On day 3 you will cycle through the flat, cultivated landscapes of the Bierzo valley, which produces excellent wines, fruit and vegetables. Around mid-day 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 stay at the foothills and do the climb the next morning.

Day 4: Ferrerias / O'Cebreiro to Sarria

Distance: 34-28 miles (54-45 km). Climb: 3143-846 ft (958-258 m)

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! Your route then meanders alongside streams that lead to the town of Sarria.

Day 5: Sarria to Palas de Rei

Distance: 30 miles (48 km). Climb: 3665 ft (1117 m).

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.

Day 6: Palas de Rei to A Rua

Distance: 37 miles (60 km). Climb: 3862 ft (1177 m).

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! Breathe the history along the way and imagine how many thousands of people over the centuries have shaped this legendary route.

Day 7: A Rua to Santiago de Compostela

Distance: 17 miles (27 km). Climb: 1965 ft (599 m).

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. 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!

Day 8: Departure or extra nights

Departure or why not linger in Santiago an extra day or two to rest and enjoy? How about adding a touch of luxury by staying in the 5-star Parador there?

Travel

Frequent questions:

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 at least 8 buses each day and they take between 4 and 5 hours. Additionally, there are between 2 and 5 trains from Madrid-Chamartín Station to Astorga at 40-50€ approx. Travelling from Madrid-Chamartin to Leon offers more options, but then you need to take another train or bus from León to Astorga (some high speed trains).

LEON TO ASTORGA: Several trains (RENFE) each afternoon taking 30m. The bus company ALSA runs many buses to Astorga, taking 50m approx.

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA TO ASTORGA: RENFE runs trains taking just over 5h. The bus company ALSA runs several buses each day taking around 5h.

How do I get back?
From Santiago airport back home directly or via another airport.

Useful links:

Hotels

Our hotels are conveniently positioned very near to or on the Camino and offer quality accomodation to ensure a well-deserved rest each night. They are typically 3-star lodgings. Since this route provides a number of options, here are some images of the hotels we use, to give you an idea:

Bedroom in Astorga hotel

Night 1: Astorga

Hotel in Molinaseca

Night 2: Molinaseca

Bedroom in Ferrerias hotel

Night 3: Ferrerias

Bedroom in Sarria hotel

Night 4: Sarria

Bedroom in Palas de Rei

Night 5: Palas de Rei

Hotel in A Rua

Night 6: A Rua

Dining area in Santiago de Compostela hotel

Night 7: Santiago de Compostela

Our Bikes

Touring bikesElectric bikes

Designed to withstand heavy loads and provide high safety and comfort even after long hours of riding in the saddle, these adventure bikes will serve you well both on and off-road.

The downside to all these extra features and equipment is weight, but on a long distance tour, reliability, comfort and safety, win the day.

Gentleman's push bikeLady's push bike

Characteristics:
  • Time tested components to stay maintenance free during the tour.
  • Broad range of gears.
  • Stable carriers for luggage transport.
  • Permanently mounted lights with a hub dynamo.
  • Comfortable sitting position and straight, adjustable handlebars.
  • Other comfort features include bike stand, mudguards and bottle holder.
  • High bar and low bar models and sizes xs to XL.
Equipment provided:
  • Odometer
  • Rear pannier
  • Map carrier
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle
  • Lock
  • Pump
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Multitool set

Touring bikesElectric bikes

Not every type of electric bike is suitable to use in a cycling tour. Most e-bikes are actually designed for city cycling rather than long distances routes.

Experience allows us to choose e-bikes with the most suitable features for touring: reliability, simple operation, long battery life and short charge time.

Electric bike

Characteristics:
  • Time tested components to stay maintenance free during the tour.
  • Broad range of gears.
  • Stable carriers for luggage transport.
  • Permanently mounted lights with a hub dynamo.
  • Comfortable sitting position and straight, adjustable handlebars.
  • Other comfort features include bike stand, mudguards and bottle holder.
  • High bar and low bar models and sizes xs to XL.
Equipment provided:
  • Odometer
  • Rear pannier
  • Map carrier
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle
  • Lock
  • Pump
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Multitool set

Prices

Basic price:

Per person in double room620 €

This includes:

  • 7 nights' accommodation. 7 breakfasts.
  • Pilgrim's Passport
  • 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.

Supplements:

Single room supplementHelp button122 €

For those travelling with others, but wanting a room to themselves each night.

Extras:

Half board (dinners)90 €

Bicycle hire90 €

E-bike hire180 €

Extra item of luggage63 €

GPS rental (one per group)30 €

Other options:(Prices on request)

Extra night(s) in Astorga 

Extra night(s) in Santiago 

If interested, please contact us with your plans, requirements and queries,

or simply use the "Get a quote" section, which we would recommend.

Get a quote

Calculator

Basic price:

Per person in double room
620 €plusminus

Supplements:

Single room supplement
122 €plusminus

Extras:

Half board (dinners)
90 €plusminus
Bicycle hire
90 €plusminus
E-bike hire
180 €plusminus
Extra item of luggage
63 €plusminus
GPS rental (one per group)
30 €plusminus
 
Total: *

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 Extra night(s) in Astorga
 Extra night(s) in Santiago

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Reviews

an experience we will always treasure

We had a fantatsic experience with Away from the crowds and our 8-day walk on the Camino.

Communication was prompt, warm, caring, and the staff responded to our every need.

The luggage tranfers went flawlessly and all the hotels we were booked into met high standards of cleanliness and warm hospitality.

We are from California, knew little about Spain, and wanted a local company to guide us (while we still had lots of independence, and did our own thing). Away from the crowds was the perfect choice. We plan to think about cycling with them another year -

Spain was remarkably beautiful, easy to travel in, gentle on the senses, safe, and very welcoming (despite our very poor Spanish langugae abilities). It was also less expensive than other parts of Europe - while offering magnificent scenery and delicious food. The local produce was better than you can get in California in our view.

The walk on the Camino was an experience we will always treasure - and we would want to let others who may think about it know that one needs to be prepared for walking with many many people on the trail, quiet a few bicycles, and even groups on horseback. For us, we were surprised about (though I think we were told of the popularity of the walk), as we imagined the walk would offer us an environment more supportive of contemplation and reflection. There was a great deal of stimulation and it was not as conducive to those aspects of our desired time away. This does not reflect at all on our stellar reviews of this company, the staff at Away from the crowds, and the company's fine mission. You guys are the best!! 🌠🌠

Thank you for everything,

Jann & Ewald, USA

unforgettable

Our holiday was fabulous. We had some problems with the bikes which you may already know. The lodging you arranged for us was fantastic.

You really lived up to your name “Away from the Crowds” and we really liked that aspect of the adventure.

I want to particularly make you aware of 2 ladies at Avenida Hotel in Santiago who were especially helpful to us as we were arranging transportation and activities. They were delightful and very gracious hosts and although I told them I would appreciate you making them aware of our great appreciation.

Raquel, I cannot express how much we enjoyed this holiday and how your company made this so easy for us. It was an unforgettable experience and I thank you on behalf of my family for making it happen.

Rex Craig, USA.

Our pleasure!

Jaime, AFTC.

incredibly beautiful and inspirational

I thought it would be challenging but never realised quite how incredibly beautiful and inspirational the towns and places that I passed through along the route was going to be.

The people I met along the way were varied, from groups to loners, like myself, but I never felt alone. The smiles, nods and greeting on the travel made you feel like you were part of a large family all heading towards the ultimate destination of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral.

Having had a taste of the Camino and all it offers I can honestly say, I will be back!!

Thank you Away from the Crowds, for enabling me to enjoy a wonderful journey.

Diane, (Perth, Western Australia)

CO₂ footprint offsetting

This holiday produces a carbon footprint of 0,4143 tonnes of CO₂. This includes taxis, luggage transfers and accommodation for every traveller.

We will compensate the CO₂ footprint for each booking through tropical reforestation projects in collaboration with the CeroCO₂ platform.

Additionally, you can also offset your own flight emissions by visiting myclimate. See the link below.

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