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Cycle the Camino de Santiago

Spain

Cycle the Camino de Santiago

Biking
·
Start: Leon
·
End: Santiago de Compostela

Cycle on, and alongside, the Camino de Santiago on a pilgrimage

Activity
Biking
LocationSpain
Duration8 days
Start / EndLeon / Santiago de Compostela
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Spain

Cycle the Camino de Santiago

Biking·
8 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Leon
·
End: Santiago de Compostela

Description

Cycle over 300 kilometres on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Starting in the city of Leon, you’ll ride through small villages and cities in the footsteps (kind of) of Saint James. Tackle flats, undulating terrain and mountainous climbs and share a one-of-a-kind experience with the multitude of pilgrims on foot. Trade stories, break bread and drink wine with people all over the world bef...

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Itinerary

Day 1Leon
Arrive in the lively city of Leon, the capital of the Leon Province and a historic city known for its enormous Gothic cathedral. Here you'll see locals, travellers and pilgrims sitting out on the myriad squares and in the winding lanes eating pinxos and sipping on wine. You'll meet your group at 6 pm and though there's no riding today, there's plenty to see on foot if you arrive early including the Cathedral and the Gaudi Museum. 
Day 2Astorga
Saddle up for the beginning of your cycling pilgrimage. Starting at La Virgen Del Camino, a town just outside of Leon, you'll take a meandering route to Astorga via Villar de Mazarife on a mixture of sealed roads and unsealed tracks. The scenery is beautiful and while the tracks will avoid the road traffic, it's impossible to bypass the foot traffic of a trail of pilgrims walking forever onward. Stop en route in Hospital de Orbigo to see its 13th-century bridge, which overlooks a medieval jousting ground. Ride on to Astorga, a historic walled town that marks the beginning of a mountainous stretch for pilgrims. Enjoy the views from the Cross of Santo Toribio then descend into town where you can perhaps regain your energy at the chocolate museum, or visit Gaudi's Episcopal Palace. Ride: Approximately 55 kilometres on a mixture of sealed roads and unsealed tracks.
Day 3Molinaseca
Say goodbye to Astorga and pedal west across the plains towards El Ganso, taking in the view of the hills that await you. From here you'll start ascending to the village of Foncebaddon, a formerly deserted town that has seen a resurgence since the Camino de Santiago has become popular once more. The gradient is challenging but rideable, and there are plenty of places to stop, rest and enjoy the spectacular views. The Cruz de Ferro, or Iron Cross, sits atop the hill, and is a significant point in the pilgrim's journey. A small hill of pebbles sits below the cross, tokens carried by pilgrims from their place of origin that represent a burden to be let go. The tradition is for pilgrims to throw the rock over their back towards the cross, and it's likely you'll see emotional pilgrims taking time to reflect in this area. From here, it's pretty much a downhill ride all the way to the quiet town of Molinaseca where a boccadillo (baguette) and glass of wine awaits. Ride: approximately 50 kilometres on quality, unsealed tracks. Elevation gain approximately 700 metres.
Day 4O Cebreiro
Today is hilly. Embrace it. Follow the Camino for the short ride into the city of Ponferrada, a popular starting point for many walking pilgrims, and check out the 12th-century Knights Templar castle before rolling through vineyards and hills to reach Villafranca del Bierzo. From here, the first real challenge begins as you continue onwards and upwards to the tiny village of O Cebreiro, a distance of approximately 30 kilometres ascending 800 metres. This village is home to traditional mountain dwellings called 'pallozas', which are unique to this region. The views are astounding and, if you have the energy left, walk up the hill behind town to the Cross that looks over the village and valleys. Alternatively, stay in the village and try Queixo do Cebreiro, the local soft, creamy cheese made using traditional artisan techniques – it’s delicious – and a Galician stew. Ride: approximately 65 kilometres on quality, unsealed tracks. Elevation gain approximately 1100 metres.
Day 5Samos
Wake to impressive views of the valleys below and get the legs working with a couple of small uphills before a thrilling descent of almost 20 kilometres to Triacastela. Named for the three castles that once stood there, Triacastela now marks the spot where the hills subside and you'll continue cycling through the river valley to Samos. This town is dominated by the 6th-century Benedictine monastery of St Julian of Samos, which is now a museum and well worth visiting while you're there. It also houses a small albergue (pilgrim's hostel) run by volunteers. In the afternoon, pull up a seat at one of the bars on the side of the road, order a glass of vino tinto and watch the weary pilgrims arrive from the forest above the monastery. Ride: approximately 40 kilometres on quality sealed and unsealed tracks. Mostly downhill, with an overall elevation gain of approximately 270 metres.
Day 6Palas de Rei
Cycle through the gorgeous, green Galician countryside and you'll understand why the region identifies so strongly with its (admittedly disputed) Celtic heritage. With the morning dew and misty green forests, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in Ireland. The first stop today is the city of Sarria, a key point on the pilgrim trail as it marks 100 kilometres until Santiago de Compostela. This is the minimum distance required for walking pilgrims to receive their 'Compostela', a certificate proving they completed the pilgrimage, and you'll see a real influx of pilgrims from this point on. Continue from Sarria and climb again along tree-lined paths and quiet country roads, crossing a series of small hills before descending to Portomarin, a charming town on the banks of the Rio Mino. As a cyclist, you'll have the pleasure of avoiding the 60 stairs at the entrance to the town, but you still have around 400 metres of elevation to tackle. The road flattens out for the final section of today's ride, arriving in the modern, charming town of Palas de Rei. Ride: approximately 60 kms on quality sealed roads and unsealed tracks. Undulating with an overall elevation gain of approximately 1000 metres.
Day 7Santiago de Compostela
Today marks your final day on the bike as you pedal towards the holy city of Santiago de Compostela. Though pilgrims can walk further to the coastline, Santiago is the official endpoint of this particular camino and there's a palpable buzz in the air as pilgrims march closer and closer to the city. It's an enjoyable ride today through undulating terrain and green fields on small, rural roads. Enjoy the fresh air of the woodlands and Galician countryside and drink in your first sight of the cathedral's spires as they come into view. Cycle into the cobbled Old Town and on to the Cathedral, the end point of your cycling odyssey. Here, pilgrims kneel in front of the Cathedral, take photos or just sit for hours, gazing at the building and reflecting on the journey they've just completed. Ride: approximately 70 kms on quality sealed roads. Undulating with an elevation gain of approximately 1100 metres.
Day 8Santiago de Compostela
Your trip ends today and there are no rides planned, but Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful city full of local Galician delicacies like 'pulpo' (octopus). We recommend spending a few days soaking up the vibe in town and mingling with pilgrims and hearing their often incredible stories. Ask your booking agent about reserving further accommodation in this city after the tour ends.

More info

Trip title

Cycle the Camino de Santiago

Trip code

ZMXW

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Cycle over 300 kilometres on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Starting in the city of Leon, you’ll ride through small villages and cities in the footsteps (kind of) of Saint James. Tackle flats, undulating terrain and mountainous climbs and share a one-of-a-kind experience with the multitude of pilgrims on foot. Trade stories, break bread and drink wine with people all over the world before... Read more

Style

Original

Themes

Cycling

Transport

Bicycle,Luggage transport vehicle

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

Leon

Finish point

Camino de Santiago Finishing Point

Important information

1. Due to the often small trails that we cycle on, this cycling trip does not have a support vehicle with you at all times - your luggage will be transported for you each day but you will need to carry anything you require for the day with you. 2. Luggage transported by vehicle is restricted to one medium sized bag/suitcase only. 2. A Single Supplement is not available on this trip. 3. Bicycle h... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Share a true cycling pilgrimage along the famed Camino de Santiago.

Is this trip right for you

Due to the often small trails that we cycle on, this cycling trip does not have a support vehicle with you at all times - your luggage will be transported for you each day but you will need to carry anything you require for the day with you. Luggage transported by vehicle is restricted to one medium sized bag/suitcase only. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group. We not ha... Read more

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price.... Read more

Money matters

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency in the following destinations: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain. All other European countries still have their own national currencies. The most convenient and cheapest way to acquire mon... Read more

What to take

Due to local regulations only 'essential items' can be carried in the support vehicle. Your main luggage is collected, transported and dropped off by a separate luggage transport service vehicle. Luggage in these vehicles is restricted to one medium sized bag/suitcase per person only.

Climate and seasonal

SPANISH SIESTA: Please note that shops, attractions, sights and businesses may be closed for up to 5 hours in the middle of the day for siesta time. This gives the locals time to escape the heat and spend time with their families, eat a large lunch or simply sleep through the most uncomfortable time of day. This means of course that people work later into the evening and dinner time can seem quite... Read more

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity an... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multisha... Read more

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of c... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

ITINERARY CHANGES: Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (1 nights),Guesthouse (6 nights)
8days
€1,805per person
Select dates
Apr 13
Leon
Apr 20
Santiago de Compostela
€1,805
Seats left: 12
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Jun 29
Leon
Jul 6
Santiago de Compostela
€1,805
Seats left: 11
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Aug 24
Leon
Aug 31
Santiago de Compostela
€1,805
Seats left: 14
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Sep 7
Leon
Sep 14
Santiago de Compostela
€1,805
Seats left: 15
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