Camino de Santiago Cycling Holiday

  • 3.5
    (1 review)
  • Category

    Cycle Touring
    Self Guided
  • Grade

    Moderate
  • Duration/s

    7 nights
  • Start / Finish

    Astorga / Santiago de Compostela
  • Distance

    178 miles/286 kms
  • Accommodation

    Comfort
  • Tour code

    034-101CES
Price From £631

Overview

A Spanish cycling holiday that follows the Camino de Santiago, a centuries-old pilgrim route, to the historical and religiously-significant city of Santiago de Compostela. The route leads you along green and fertile valleys, between breathtaking mountains and beautiful Galician landscapes. Along the way you’ll stay in charming accommodations in quaint villages.

For years, pilgrims have travelled from many parts of the world to experience one or many sections of the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St. James) which is thought to be one of the world’s oldest pilgrim routes in the world. Those who decide to embark on this journey make the decision for a number of reasons; some spiritual and others not so, but nearly all who reach the ultimate destination of Santiago de Compostela agree they found the journey to be incredibly rewarding.

Monument to pilgrims - Camino de Santiago - Spain

Monument to pilgrims – Camino de Santiago – Spain

This cycling variation leads you along the camino itself wherever possible but in some cases, where the track is too rough for bikes, you will detour onto asphalt roads, some sectons of which can be quite busy at times. The route takes you across contrasting landscapes and often you will spot the brightly-coloured clam shell markers, that reasure you and other Camino pilgrims they are heading in the right direction.

This is a moderate cycling trip with sections on busier roads, so you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness.

Itinerary & Map

This is a moderate cycling trip so you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness.

View larger map

Day 1: Arrive Astorga

Astorga - Spain

Astorga

On arrival in the historical town of Astorga, check in at your hotel and the rest of the day is free to explore. Steeped in history, the town lies about three quarters of the distance along the French route of the Camino de Santiago. If you have time, Astorga Cathedral – built between the 15th and 18th centuries – and the 19th century Episcopal Palace, designed by Antonio Gaudi, are not to be missed.

Day 2: Astorga – Molinaseca, 30 miles/49 Kms

Roman Bridge - Molinaseca - Spain

Molinaseca

As you begin your journey today, you follow the Camino as it ascends from the Castilian plains up into the mountains of Leon. As you approach the highest point, you reach the Cruz de Ferro, a stone cairn topped by an iron cross. Over the centuries it has become tradition to lay a stone here, brought from your homeland, as a symbol of something you wish to leave behind – and move forward from. After you have placed your stone and made your wish, cycle onwards where you will be rewarded with stunning vistas as you head towards the town of Molinaseca. Our top tip, if the weather is hot, is to take a refreshing dip in the river, flowing through this town of stone buildings, before you head out to enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants.

Day 3: Molinaseca – O’Cebreiro, 36 miles/58 Kms

Palloza in O Cebreiro - Spain

Typical Palloza – O’Cebreiro

Leaving Molinaseca behind, your route takes you through the city of Ponferrada – with its 12th century Knights Templar castle – and through sweeping vineyards, before arriving in the beautiful town of Villafranca – the region’s capital. You can take a short rest here before beginning your climb to the mountaintop town of O’Cebreiro. The climb is long and steep towards the end; however the views looking down the road you have just cycled, into the canyon of vineyards and fertile lands are a worthy reward for your efforts. On arrival in O’Cebreiro you are bound to be mesmerised by its collection of “pallozas” – round, stone houses, with thatched roofs – and also its church, which dates back to the pre-Romanesque period. Don’t miss a visit to the church, which contains a Holy Grail, to which the church bells guided many pilgrims, through the winter mists.

Day 4: O ́Cebreiro – Sarria, 28 miles/44 Kms

Benedictine monastery Samos - Camino de Santiago - Spain

Benedictine monastery – Samos

As you have now arrived in the region of Galicia many aspects of your holiday are about to change; the language is vastly different; the Galician landscape is characterised much more by its hills; and the culture and cuisine change too. You continue in earnest towards your destination for today, Sarria, passing through some lovely scenery of wooded hills and agricultural land. We reccomend lunch in Sarria. The cycling is predominantly downhill and a highlight of the day will be a stop in Samos, home to a beautiful Benedictine monastery. The striking monastery has been a refuge for pilgrims over the centuries and what a delightful area it is to stop and get refreshments. You continue on to Sarria, a city founded under Alfonso IX who reigned from 12th-13th centuries. Because of its links with the Camino de Santiago, the city can boast many medieval structures and we recommend visiting the castle or the Convent of Magdalena. Or alternatively you can while away your time browsing the many antique shops.

Day 5: Sarria – Palas de Rei, 30 miles/48 Kms

Camino de Santiago cycling - Spain

Cycling the Camino

From Sarria, you begin to see many more like-minded people, travelling the Camino de Santiago, as it is the closest point from which pilgrims can walk the minimum 100 miles to gain their Camino certificate. As you cycle, through forests of oak, birch and chestnut, and lovely rural countryside, many characterful towns and charming villages will be part of the ever-changing scenery. There are considerable climbs coming out of Sarria and a prolonged climb coming out of Portomarin.  Also, be prepared to experience varied types of terrain, as you ride along tree-lined roads, modern pathways, country roads or ancient paths. Palas de Rei is your destination and on arrival, you will find the pilgrim spirit palpable as the hotels and hostels fill with all those who are each on their own journey of discovery.

Day 6: Palas de Rei – Rua, 37 miles/60 Kms

Camino de Santiago shell - Spain*

Camino waymarker

The cycling today includes some small descents and climbs and so it can be slightly hard. You are drawing closer to your target and this is confirmed as you begin to see the clam shell and arrow markers, clearly displayed at the side of the route. The Galician countryside continues as you reach the town of Melide – if you like seafood, don’t miss the opportunity to sample the delicious octupus dishes in the town’s famous “pulperias”. Also take time to visit the Monastery and Hospital of Sancti Spiritus, home to fascinating 15th century frescos that depict St James as the “Moor Slayer”. Another of Melide’s churches, the Church of Santa Maria, has more 12th century frescos on display. Spend the night in the village of Rua, resting in readiness for tomorrow’s finale.

Day 7: Rua – Santiago de Compostela, 17 miles/27 Kms

Santiago de Compostela - Galicia - Spain*

Santiago de Compostela

Your final destination approaches, as your last day of cycling takes you to the, much-revered, Santiago de Compostela and the culmination of your inspiring journey. In order that you can enjoy the city on arrival, the distances you cycle are not great, although there are a few inclines as you approach the “Monte do Gozo” (known as the Hill of Joy). As you catch your first glimpse of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, it takes your breath away. Cycle downhill into the city centre, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its entirety. The tomb of the Apostle St. James is located within the city’s stunning cathedral. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish. Don’t forget to also explore the interesting pedestrianised plazas that surround the cathedral, which have their own unique atmosphere.

Day 8: End of trip

Having reached the end of your fascinating journey along this renowned pilgrimage route, it’s time to head for home or your next adventure.

 

Dates & Prices

2019 Arrival Dates
Arrivals daily from 01 April to 30 October

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2019 Prices
034-101CES
Per person
01 Apr
to
30 Oct
Comfort category
Double /twin £631                    
Single £780                    
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Deposit per person £100

Price Includes

7 nights accommodation. See practical information
7 x Breakfast
Luggage transfer
Maps & route information
Local assistance

Price Excludes

Flights and transfers
Bike hire (see supplements)
Helmet

Supplements

Half board: 6 x dinners (excluding Santiago) (£101)
Extra night Astorga/Santiago, double/twin, comfort (£101)
Extra night Astorga/Santiago, single, comfort (£84)
Bike with pannier & lock. See practical information (£91)
Electric bike with pannier & lock (£181)
GPS device (1 x per group) (£31)

Practical Information

Bikes

Mens hybrid

An example of the men’s hybrid used on this tour.

The bikes provided on this tour are modern alloy framed hybrid touring models with 24 speeds and comfortable saddle with upright riding position.

The bikes come equipped with a rear pannier, lock, odometer and mapholder. Per room also a repair kit, spare inner tube, multi-tool and pump.

We suggest you bring your own helmet for safety and hygiene reasons. Alternatively, helmets can be supplied on arrival but these must be booked in advance.

Unisex hybrid

An example of the unisex hybrid used on this tour

 

Accommodation

Below you will find examples of the types of accommodation typically used on this tour. Please note that the hotels we book for you may differ slightly from those described but they will certainly be of a similar standard.

Comfort: A mix of good quality 2 and 3 star hotels and small family-run rural accommodation. They are conveniently positioned near the Camino and are always the best quality on offer along the way.

Astorga: Hotel Astur Plaza
Molinaseca: Hostal el Palacio
O’Cebreiro: Hostal O’Cebreiro
Sarria: Hotel Oca Villa de Sarria
Palas de Rei: Hotel Casa Benilde
Rua: Hotel O’Pino
Santiago de Compostela: Hotel Avenida

 

 

Getting There

Fly to Madrid or Santiago

Research flights from the UK here

Take the bus from Madrid or Santiago to Astorga. Approximately 4-5 hours
Take the train from Madrid to Astroga. Approximatley 4-5 hours

Gallery

Current rating for this cycling holiday based on 1 review 3.5
  • Date - 06/10/2016
  • Name - Liz Woods
  • Service rating -
    4.0
  • Service comment - Good pre booking service but think description of advertised holiday could have been better
  • Product rating -
    3.0
  • Product comment - Unhappy about the amount of the route on main roads that I was not expecting, in particular 1 day on main road all day. Although not very busy there was fast traffic and trucks on the road and we did not enjoy the day. We recognise senderos were sending us along the Camino, but looking at the map it looks as if a longer route but on smaller roads could be offered as an alternative.
    Also senderos directions were out of date...the route directed us to a bridge that looked like it fell into the river yrs ago, and a motorway junction didnt feature in the directions, The comments about road conditions and hills seemed inconsistent. There were lots of great things about the Camino, but we feel that the description on the website does not give warning about the time on main roads, and with a little more thought for what non religious cycle tourists would like the holiday could have been better.
  • Flexitreks response - Thanks for the useful feedback Liz. In light of your comments, our local supplier is reviewing this route for 2017 with the goal of using quieter roads wherever possible. As you say this will make the route longer but should make it more enjoyable.