St James' Way by bike - Cycle the Camino de Santiago
This is the best of guided bike tours for any bicyclist wanting a taste of the traditions and history of the "Camino de Santiago". For centuries, it has been used by pilgrims. One needs no religious beliefs, just curiosity and the wish to learn. On the route, the pilgrims are united by their course.
The "Camino de Santiago" or St James's pilgrimage Way listed as the main European Cultural Itinerary and scattered with delightful monuments such as old pilgrims' hospitals in Leon and Santiago de Compostela, we are constantly reminded that this route is the oldest, most celebrated and most frequented in Europe. It crosses the north of Spain beginning from the Pyrenees and provides views of breathtaking landscapes in the following regions of Navarra, Castile and Leon and Galicia,ancient monuments and most typical villages and cities from Pamplona to Burgos, León and to Santiago de Compostela. Our accommodation is of the highest quality: of three state-run Paradores on the bicycle route, two are very luxurious and the other hotels are of superior quality with a special charm. Savor the best of Spanish cuisine, traditional to the regions and accompanied by excellent wines from La Rioja and Ribera del Duero regions. The mini bus will transport us to the starting points of each stage of our tour and we will cycle through the most interesting parts of our route.
You will get to know Spain´s most spectacular landscapes, historical monuments and charming villages pedaling on a bike.
Map of our guided bike itinerary
Description of the bike tour itinerary:
Day 1. Burgos
Our clients will be greeted at the airport Madrid Barajas or at your hotel in Madrid at 10 am.
From there we travel by minibus to Burgos - transit time approximately
3 1/2 hours with a short coffe break. Excellent lunch in Burgos. Upon
arrival there will be time for a stroll around the city, visiting the cathedral and collect our Pilgrim's Passports by bike. Opcional supper in
town at the well-known restaurant "Pancho" - serving tapas and typical Castillian cuisine, accompanied by a glass of good regional wine.
Dating back to 884, Burgos rises from the banks of the Rio Arlanzón, and is one of the most outstanding examples of Spain's gothic architecture. The cathedral is the third largest in Spain after Toledo and Seville. This is one of the most important cities along the Camino and is the point of departure for our tour. Located in front of the main gate to the city, the Arch of Santa Maria, our hotel,
NH Palacio de la Merced, was formerly a convent dating back to the 16th century.
Day 2. Carrión de los Condes
86 kms (53 miles) flat & rolling terrain
Following a solid buffet breakfast, we leave Burgos cycling towards the villages of Hontanas, Castrojeriz and Boadilla del Camino. We pass the famous 12th century bridge
of Fitero crossing the river Pisuerga. After lunch in Hontanas we continue cycling to Frómista with its church dedicated to San Martin and one of the finest examples of the Spanish Romanesque style.
We pass through more charming villages before arriving in Carrión.
Here, we spend the night and have supper in the Hotel Real Monasterio
de San Zoilo, associated with the order of Cluny.
This town is home to three national monuments, including the Iglesia de Santiago, with one of the best examples of Romanesque sculpture. The monastery's cloister is a jewel of the Renaissance style.
Day 3. León
48 kms (30 miles) flat and rolling terrain
Bicycling start after breakfast, we head for Sahagún, pausing at some small villages along the way. After lunching there, we take the minibus to arrive at the mediaeval city of Leon - founded in the year 68 a.d. - staying at the magnificent Hotel Parador Hostal San Marcos, with its splendid Renaissance facade, a convent and pilgrims' hospital dating back to the 16th century. We will have ample time to stroll around this ancient city and visit its impressive gothic cathedral boasting 125 unique stained glass windows. We will dine at the Parador which offers an excellent choice of the regional cuisine, after visiting the "Barrio Húmedo" in the old part of the city.
Day 4. Villafranca del Bierzo
65-85 kms (40-53 miles) uphill and descent
Morning departure by minibus towards Astorga, the point of confluence of two original Pilgrim routes, the Camino Francés, and the Vía de la Plata (the Roman route). Here, we visit the cathedral, the pilgrim´s hospital and A. Gaudi´s
Episcopal Palace which is a pilgrims museum. From Astorga, we drive on to Rabanal where
we remount our cycles and begin an uphill climb, to reach the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross) followed by
a long descent towards the territory known as El Bierzo, stopping for a hearty farmhouse lunch at El Acebo, a charming mountain village. El Bierzo is a fertile basin surrounded by mountains and abundant
in fruit orchards, one of the most important fruticultural centres of Spain. After visiting the main city of Ponferrada and its dominating Templar Castle,
we proceed to Villafranca where we spend the night at the Hotel Parador Villafranca del Bierzo.
The whole town is considered a historic and artistic monument. It was created to give refuge and sanctuary to the pilgrims before initiating the most difficult part of their pilgrimage. The Parador offers us luxurious accommodation and an excellent dinner.
Day 5. Portomarín
60-80 kms (38-50 miles). A long descent and rolling terrain
From our hotel we will cycle approx. 18 miles to "La Herrería"
where we decide whether we want to tackle the steepest climb on
the "Camino" to O'Cebreiro. This is a real challenge, but for those who prefer, our minibus is there to take care of you. At the summit,
we will enjoy exceptional views into Galicia accompanied by a a hearty lunch of regional specialities. Our cycling route will start some miles further
on at Monte de Poio, taking us through Atlantic forests, scattered
with small villages, finally stopping in the village of Sarría. From there,
we will take the minibus along the Miño valley and arrive at the day's end at Portomarín.
This village once belonged to the Templar Knights' order of San Juan de Jerusalem
but now lies covered by the waters of the dam. We will be lodged
at the Posada de Portomarin in the new village overlooking the reservoir and the green valley of the Miño river.
6. Santiago de Compostela
40 kms (28 miles) rolling terrain
The minibus will provide our transportation as far as Arzúa,
where we will be bicycling the last 28 miles. These are the hardest,
as we are faced with repeated, but modest uphill climbs. but they are also the miles
we bicycle in the spirit of completion of a journey that so
many pilgrims have followed in the past, and will continue follwing in the future. The “Façade of Glory” – Pórtico
de la Gloria- awaits us. Crossing the Plaza de Obradoiro
we dismount our bicycles, and shake hands and embrace each other to celebrate our journey`s completion and adventures. It's
time to pay homage to St James and get our final passport stamps at the pilgrimage
office to obtain the "La Compostelana" certificate.
Our accommodation is at the 5 star hotel Palacio del Carmen or at the Parador Hostal Reyes Católicos, and we
dine later at the Parador restaurant.
Santiago de Compostela, in the middle ages, the third most important city of Pilgrimage after Jersualem and Rome, attracts pilgrims from all over the world. Thousands
of travelers come to visit its treasures each year. The now luxurious Parador,
once a pilgrim´s hospital, was built by the Catholic Kings
in 1501. It is adjacent to the Cathedral, in the Obradoiro Square which is the final meeting point for all roads that lead to Santiago.
After breakfast, we returm to Madrid by minibus, pausing for lunch around mid-day. The approximate transit time is 7 hours. Our Evening on arrival at Madrid is free.
Breakfast at the
hotel and transfer to airport for groups