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Location

Departs Leon

Difficulty

6

Challenging

Length

10

Trip Cost

from $2250 pp
twin share

Overview

  • Follow in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims and over 1,000 years of history on the world’s greatest historical trail.
  • Bring a pebble or memento from home to leave at the Cruz de Ferro, each stone is a symbol of a burden the pilgrim wants to leave behind.
  • Indulge the tastebuds with a visit to the Museo del Chocolate in Astorga.
  • Finish your pilgrimage walking into the incredible city of Santiago de Compostela, there is nothing like the energy & excitement that is shared with your fellow pilgrims!

Starting in Leon, cycle to the end of the trail at the legendary city of Santiago de Compostela, around 330km of cycling. This section suits cyclists who are in reasonably good shape as there are several hills to be tackled as the route climbs into the beautiful green countryside of Galicia. The trail is full of variety with sections on sealed road, track, rocky paths and everything from long flat days to long climbs and short sharp ascents. In most cases it is possible to get off the trail and use roads that run parallel to the Camino.

You’ll have a high quality mountain bike delivered to your hotel along with panniers, tool kit, lock, small handlebar bag and pump – everything you need to get you on the road. Each day your main luggage will be transferred to the next hotel so you can keep your weight in the bike light and just take what you need for the day. Each evening you’ll come into excellent accommodation, hand picked for its character and location.

Extend Your Holiday – City Breaks

Double your holiday experience by including a stopover on your journey! A city break is a great way to explore another place, indulge in some extra shopping, dining or sightseeing and is a great way to break up a long flight. Our fabulous array of RAW Travel city breaks can be tailor made to your requirements and usually include an arrival transfer, 2 nights accommodation and a city sightseeing tour.

Read more about our city breaks.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Leon

Arrive into the lively city of Leon, capital of Castile and Leon. Your bike will be waiting for you when you arrive at your hotel and you just need to assemble the handlebars and pedals from the box – an easy ten minute job.

Day 2: Free day in Leon

Spend the day exploring this beautiful city and its incredible Gothic Cathedral which is renowned for its marvelous stained glass windows. The streets of Leon come alive in the evenings when people parade the streets and its bodegas are overflowing with people.

Meals: B

Day 3: Cycle Leon to Astorga (53km)

There are two routes available for this morning, both start at ‘La Virgen Del Camino’ and converge at ‘Hospital de Orbigo’ – one is a more indirect route that goes via Villar de Mazarife and has better scenery and less traffic, a more pleasant ride. The other route runs parallel to the autopista (highway) is less peaceful but quicker. You will see pilgrims on both routes but we’d recommend the quieter one via Villar de Mazarife. Stop for refreshments at the cafe overlooking the extraordinary bridge the ‘Puente de Orbigo’ – built on a Roman bridge this one dates from the 13th century and is one of the best preserved bridges in Spain.

You then ride the final 15km to reach the beautiful walled town of Astorga, with views of the mountains of Leon in the distance. On this last section you will cross over a few kilometres of quite rough tracks over rolling terrain before you reach the cross which overlooks Astorga. Look out for the small basic ‘Cantina’ at the top of the hill, a welcome refreshment stop before you reach the cross. Continue on to Astorga, which offers a number of attractions including a Cathedral by Gaudi and a delicious chocolate museum!

Meals: B

Day 4: Cycle Astorga to Molinaseca (48km)

Leaving behind Astorga you cycle on pleasant paths across the plains with good views of the hills before you. Look out for the Cowboy Bar at El Ganso, a good place to stop for morning coffee. After El Ganso you start to climb to Rabinal del Camino and you’ll start to feel the incline which will steepen as you get further into the hills towards Foncebaddon – the infamous deserted village which is no longer deserted! The incline is always rideable however and there are plenty of switchbacks with great views back over the plains from where you’ve come. At the top of the hill is the Iron Cross, where pilgrims leave something whether a pebble they’ve carried or a bad habit or memorial to a loved one.

Meals: B

Day 5: Cycle Molinseca to O Cebreiro (61km)

Today is a big day of hills, the Camino climbs into the city of Ponferrada past the castle of the Knights Templar, worth a quick coffee in the plaza to admire the hills you’ve just climbed over the day before. After Ponferrada continue on through gentle rolling hills and vineyards to reach the charming town of Villafranca del Bierzo, nestled in the hills that mark the border with Galicia. From here continue onwards and upwards to overnight at O Cebreiro which lies at the top of the mountains, a further 30km and 800m vertical ascent.

Meals: B

Day 6: Cycle O Cebreiro to Samos (40km)

From O’ Cebreiro you have one or two more uphill stretches to conquer before an amazing long freewheeling descent of almost 20km to reach Triacastela. After Triacastela you continue along the river valley to Samos, home to an impressive monastery which dominates this little town. The monastery is now a museum and well worth a look. From here you will continue along the road to Sarria.

Meals: B

Day 7: Cycle Samos to Palas de Rei (58km)

Today you’ll continue through the beautiful green Galician countryside to the modern town of Sarria, which is a major stop on the pilgrim trail – walking pilgrims can start here to cover the last 100km and earn their Compostela. Immediately after Sarria you will cross a series of low hills of up to 600m which will eventually lead you down to Portomarin, the route is along tree lined paths and country roads so very pleasant riding. After Portomarin the Camino climbs again for 400m of ascent before finally rolling down the last 20km to Palas De Rei, a modern town.

Meals: B

Day 8: Cycle Palas De Rei to Santiago (68km)

Your final day on the bike as you approach the holy city of Santiago. Today’s ride is a fitting end to the Camino, as you pedal along rural roads through woodlands and pastures to Santiago, meandering along forgotten country roads through the beautiful Galician countryside. Rolling hills and green pastures predominate as you approach the final stretch to Santiago and feel the excitement building as you glimpse the towers of the Cathedral.

Meals: B

Day 9: Free Day in Santiago

This morning you will need to take your bikes on a short ride back to the bike shop to drop-off, and you will then have the whole day to enjoy and explore historic Santiago with its many enticing tapas bars and restaurants. You can attend the midday pilgrims mass and look around the famous Cathedral of St James which forms the city’s heart and watch the steady stream of pilgrims arriving into the square as they finish their epic journey.

Meals: B

Day 10: Depart Santiago

You are free to check out of your hotel any time before 10am. If you would like to explore Santiago further you are able to leave your bags with reception.

Meals: B

Dates

Self-guided trips offer flexibility, independence and choice. Set your own agenda while someone else worries about the logistics. Our self-guided walking holidays are fully flexible which means you can normally start your walk on any day during the season and customise by adding extra days for resting or sightseeing. As you’re walking independently, you’re free to follow the trail at your own pace. You set your own speed as you are not limited by the constraints of group travel.

Note that if booking for a start date of less than 30 days from the time of booking we cannot guarantee that your trip is possible unless you have contacted us first and your trip details have been confirmed.

Inclusions

  • Specialized Carve Comp 29 mountain bike (15”-21” frame sizes)
  • Ortlieb rear panniers
  • Tool kit, lock, and pump
  • Drop off and collection of bike
  • 9 nights excellent accommodation including historic hotels and character country houses
  • Private en suite rooms on a twin share basis
  • Daily breakfast
  • Luggage transfer each day from hotel to hotel (1 x 15kg bag per person)
  • Full Camino guidebook with maps (one book per two people in twin/double share)
  • Pilgrim’s passport per person
  • Spanish phrase book (one book per two people in twin/double share)
  • Document case
  • Daily luggage tags
  • Maps of your hotel locations
  • Local and Australian emergency contact numbers
  • Pre-trip Camino guidance and planning
  • Dedicated local support person in Spain for reassurance

Not Included

  • Single supplement $450 extra
  • Cycling helmet – please bring your own
  • Travel insurance
  • Flight to/from Spain

Options/Add Ons

RAW Travel also offer tailor-made arrangements and can adapt this itinerary to suit your needs. Please note that tailor-made arrangements incur higher costs due to the extra work involved.

For an extra indulgence, upgrade your hotel in Santiago to a Parador for only $120 per person/per night twin share, when booked 6 months in advance (subject to availability).

For an unforgettable birds-eye view of the city and the cathedral interior, add the Rooftop Cathedral Tour for $25 per person.

Single supplement $800 extra

Map & Guide

Reviews

Yvonne Armstrong, Shenzhen, China – September 2016

Cycling on the Camino de Santiago on a self-guided (baggage transfer to hotels) trip offers the best of both worlds to fulfill a bucket-list trip. Travel at your own pace but know that you have a very comfortable hotel arranged at the end of the day. Spain did not disappoint in the food and beverage opportunities and the history of the Camino de Santiago and Finisterre /architecture of the Cathedrals needs to be experienced. I was grateful that all hotels, transfers and the organisation was done by RAW, leaving me to enjoy my holiday with like-minded people.

 

Tim Humphry – July 2015

This was a well organised and caring experience. I enjoyed the challenging cycling and excellent camaraderie from fellow travellers. The scenery was beautiful and daily distances ideal. The Camino trail is well set up with cafes and hotels each 5-10kms along the way. I would use Raw Travel again in the future.

 

Cathryn Robinson, New Zealand

Thanks for organising the El Camino Self Guided trip for us. It was a once in a lifetime experience, a fantastic trip. A special thank you to your team for putting it together for us at short notice. Overall, it was an excellent trip in beautiful (although quite hot) weather. The countryside is beautiful, the architecture impressive. A great part of the world to tour.

What our Clients Say

The best of both worlds to fulfill a bucket-list trip. Travel at your own pace but know that you have a very comfortable hotel arranged at the end of the day. Spain did not disappoint.

Yvonne Armstrong, China - Sep 2016

This was a well organised and caring experience. I enjoyed the challenging cycling and excellent camaraderie from fellow travellers. The scenery was beautiful and daily distances ideal. The Camino trail is well set up with cafes and hotels each 5-10kms along the way.

Tim Humphry- July 2015

Thanks for organising the El Camino Self Guided trip for us. It was a once in a lifetime experience, a fantastic trip. The countryside is beautiful, the architecture impressive. A great part of the world to tour.

Cathryn Robinson, New Zealand

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Trip Expert

Sue Chater – Camino

(03) 5976 3763

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Challenging