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Duration
12 days
Activities
  • self guided cycle
Accommodation
  • 11 nights in hotels
Meals
  • 10 Dinners
  • 11 Breakfasts

Price

$1420USD

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Overview

Trip Code: BHL

Trip highlights


  • Walking through the magical landscapes of Galicia en route to Santiago de Compostela
  • Exploring interesting pilgrimage towns and villages
  • Arriving in Santiago and receiving a pilgrimage certificate for cycling and walking almost 300km along the Camino
  • Experiencing the terrific sense of camaraderie on the trail
  • Soaking up the hospitality of family run hotels

Set off from the cathedral city of Leon to the ultimate destination for most modern day pilgrims on the Camino, Santiago de Compostela, on this exciting cycling and walking combination trip. For more than 1000 years the Camino de Santiago has represented the ultimate adventure for pilgrims and history buffs alike. While the 783km French route from Roncesvalles to the Cathedral of Santiago has been well trodden by hiking boots and horse hooves through the centuries in more recent times the pilgrimage route has become a natural magnet for cyclists seeking out iconic routes. Beginning just over half way along the route in the historic city of Leon, this exhilarating cycle takes in some of the most breathtaking landscapes, unique monuments and typical villages of northern Spain. There are some challenging stages, such as the O'Cebreiro Pass, but you will be more than rewarded when you savour the rich Spanish gastronomy, traditional regional cuisine and excellent wines. From Sarria, swap your bikes for boots as you tackle the last 100kms in true camino style. Each night you'll return to comfortable, atmospheric hotels, which at the end of a hard day's cycle or walk is intrinsic to this immersive journey.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

On arrival in León, you will find the information required for your journey at the hotel: a complete package including hotel vouchers, detailed documentation with maps and a road book. Your mountain bike with all accessories will be delivered to the hotel lobby at 8pm. Founded in 884 AD, León has abundant gastronomic and architectural riches - take in a pre-dinner drink and snack at one of the many atmospheric bars located along the narrow streets of the Barrio Húmedo. The cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and don't miss the Basílica de San Isidoro de León museum.

Meals:  D

Today’s route takes you through the quintessential Castilian landscapes of holm oaks, golden wheat fields and gentle ups and downs. As the route closely follows the N120 highway it is an easy day to navigate. The landscape in the first half of the route is relatively dry but gets greener further west. You’ll cross fields full of diverse crops such as wheat, corn, hops and wine grapes. Wildlife isn’t a big feature of the first part of the trip, though you will see geckoes, birds of prey and a lot of dairy cows! The town of Astorga is at the crossroads of the Camino and the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Road), the Roman route used to transport ores and metals extracted from mines in the north to shipping ports in the south of the peninsula, and is known for its impressive architecture including the Gaudi-designed Episcopal Palace.

Meals:  B,D

From Astorga, the Camino climbs gently until it meets the first mountain on the way. Once you've reached the top of Foncebadón and Cruz de Ferro, take it easy and enjoy the sweeping downhill ride and the gorgeous views as you head to Molinaseca and on to Ponferrada, located on the Sil River. The old town sits below an impressive Templar Castle, which is open daily (except Mondays Oct to Mar) in the late afternoon (entry fee applies).

Meals:  B,D

This is the most challenging day of the cycle. From Ponferrada there are a few ups and downs to Villafranca del Bierzo, an historical and artistic town that was established to give refuge and sanctuary to pilgrims before they undertook the most difficult part of their pilgrimage. The monastery cloister is a Renaissance jewel. From Villafranca you ascend gradually towards the mythical O Cebreiro pass, the most demanding peak along the western section of the Camino. With some effort (and perhaps a chocolate bar), you'll reach the stone built mountain village atop the pass (1330m). O Cebreiro has several surviving pallozas (thatch-roofed cottages) and a small church which may be the oldest church on the Spanish Camino.

Meals:  B,D

From the pass it's downhill all the way to Sarria. The town of Sarria is located on a hilltop with a river on either side affording you great views of the region. After handing back your bike, take some time to wander the small centre with its bars and restaurants brimming with pilgrims.

Meals:  B,D

A change in pace today as you swap wheels for boots and walk amongst pilgrims enroute to Santiago. We recommend before leaving town that you take the time to visit the Church of the Convent of La Magdalena. Over the “Meseta Lucense”, the Lugo Plateau, you will pass through many hamlets dotted along areas of cultivated land, grazing pastures and woodlands and view the first “horreos”, typical raised grain silos. A relatively easy walk until your descent, crossing the Dam of Portomarin, where you can see ruins of the ancient flooded village, and on into the town for your accommodation.

Meals:  B,D

The route takes you through the brooms, with their magnificent fragrance. Along the path you will pass charming hamlets and calvaries. Over this stage you will pass through Ventas de Naron where you can fill your water bottles, over the gentle Sierra de Ligonde, then downhill through Previsa, Lameiros and Ligonde where you will find a church dedicated to the apostle St James. Emperor Charles V stayed here in the modest village of Ligonde, on the 24th of March 1520.

Meals:  B,D

Walk today to Melide through the small towns of Coto and Leboreiro. Melide is one of the larger towns along the Galician section of the Camino Trail. We recommend you try the local speciality, ‘Pulpa a Feira’, octopus usually served boiled and cooked with red pepper and paprika.

Meals:  B,D

The terrain becomes much easier today as you walk through the villages of Carballal, San Xuilan do Camino and Lebereiro, and past Eucalyptus trees. You can stop at one of many villages along the way for lunch. Crossing over the River Seco on the Magdalena Bridge you will reach Furelos and continue on to Arzúa, in the province of La Coruña.

Meals:  B,D

Today’s walk will bring you to the small town of Rua which has a population of only 50 people. The walk today is lovely, as you pass large green fields and rural landscapes.

Meals:  B,D

Today you will pass many ancient sites including monuments, chapels and bridges – all have a story to tell. Follow country lanes and forest paths through increasingly populated countryside. The last day on the trail is always a special one. Continue downhill to the city. Arriving in the fabled Santiago de Compostela there is plenty to see and do – or simply relax and celebrate the end of the journey. Dinner is not included tonight so you can try one of the many restaurants in town.

Meals:  B

Trip concludes after breakfast. Bask in the glory of completing your Camino and reflect on a truly memorable journey. Arrangements conclude after breakfast, or if you'd like to stay an extra night or two, or continue to Cape Finisterre on the Atlantic for a day trip, we can assist with reservations - please ask for our rates.

Meals:  B


Map

Elevation

The map and elevation chart are for illustrative purposes only and meant to provide general guidelines.
On self guided trips, actual route information provided before departure will be more detailed.


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts, 10 dinners (dinner is not included in Santiago) - Continental breakfasts are served and will often consist of breads, spreads, yoghurt, cheese, tea, coffee & juices. Dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by chicken, red meat, fish or a pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes. Note: Breakfast is served from 8am which is not always conducive to an early start, particularly required in the summer months. You may choose to skip breakfast and take a bread roll and cheese from the breakfast buffet. Dinner is served late in traditional Spanish style starting from 9-9:30pm. An afternoon siesta may be required!
  • 11 nights in hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities - (optional upgrade available to superior hotel in Arzua (recommended) and Santiago, Parador in Leon and Santiago - supplement applies)
  • Luggage transfer (1 bag of 20kg max pp - additional bags and excess weight will attract a surcharge)
  • Mountain bike rental (standard model or hybrid touring bike on request) with repair kit, lock, panniers, water bottle, pump & helmet (gel saddle, toe clips, SPD pedals, MTB e-bikes and Upgraded or Premium model MTBs available - supplement applies)
  • Information pack including maps and road book per room booked
  • Emergency hotline
  • Pilgrim's Passport

  • Travel to Leon and from Santiago de Compostela
  • Lunch daily, 1 dinner and all beverages (except at breakfast)
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Transfers
  • Entrance fees to sights and museums
  • Travel Insurance
  • Toe clips - allow approx. EUR7
  • Excess baggage charges - please advise us if you will have more than one bag weighing a max of 20kgs as extra charges will apply for additional pieces of luggage. Please do not tie smaller bags onto your main luggage as we only include one bag and they will be charged as an extra bag. Charges will be higher if not paid when final balance for your trip is due.

Accommodation


Bike information


Grading

moderate to challenging  

The cycling is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily cycling distances from 45 to 54km / 34 to 28mi over undulating to mountainous terrain. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. It is considered suitable for cyclists with a high level of fitness. Minor roads with reduced traffic are customary on this trip and we recommend that you familiarise yourself with road cycling in light traffic in order to participate. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list. The walking is graded moderate (3). Daily walks are between 14 and 24km on well marked trails over diverse terrain – from relatively flat to mountainous. This is a well worn path where route finding will be reasonably straight forward (refer below for further details on self guided adventures). The main areas to concentrate on route finding are arriving and leaving towns and cities. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure.


Departure dates

Daily from 1 Mar to 31 Oct

Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

$1420USD

Options & Supplements*
  • Helmet purchase (rental not available)USD$36
  • Electric Bike Supplement (e-MTB)USD$130
*Prices listed are per person

Trip reviews


Why travel with us

Making Europe Affordable

We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

Self-Guided Specialists

Our wide range of self-guided itineraries embody the UTracks philosophy of exploring Europe your way. We handle the logistics so all that's left for you to do is enjoy exploring Europe at your own pace. Most depart daily with a minimum of two people, meaning maximum flexibility.

Our Wide Range

With close to 400 trips in almost 50 countries, including the largest range of bike & boat holidays in Europe, we're confident that we can organise an Alps walk, Camino de Santiago or Via Francigena experience, Food Lovers' trip or a tour in a lesser-known pocket of Europe that you will love. 

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Walking the Camino de Santiago with UTracks

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