Along the way you will take in some of the most historic sites of northern Spain and enjoy the vast changing scenery on some of the most awe-inspiring parts of this historical pilgrim journey.
On this active trip, with the support of our experienced Bike Spain guide you will cover the entire Camino from Burgos by van transfers and bike, staying in historic and luxurious Paradors and sampling the finest food and wines of Castile-Leon and Galicia, cycling the most beautiful kms of the way.
Day 1: Burgos
Accomodation: Hotel AC Burgos
After meeting you at your hotel (or at the airport, if you’ll be arriving that morning,) we’ll travel to the city of Burgos, founded in 884 and one of the key communities along the Camino de Santiago. After fitting the bikes and having a chance to walk around the city, we’ll have a traditional Spanish dinner at a restaurant facing the Cathedral. We’ll also get our Pilgrim Credentials – the all-important document that shows our pilgrim progress – at the main pilgrim hostel in Burgos.
Day 2: Carrion de los Condes
Route: 55.2 km
Accomodation: San Zolio
After a buffet breakfast we’ll take the van and head to the village of Castrojeriz, where we’ll begin the day’s cycling. We’ll cross the twelfth-century Fitero bridge, which guided pilgrims across the Pisuerga River; head through Fromista, with its Spanish Romanesque architecture; and go through several other charming villages before stopping for the evening in Carrion de los Condes. Carrion is the final resting place of Saint Zoilus (Zolio in Spanish), who was executed in Cordoba under Emperor Diocletian (r. 284-305). His relics have been enshrined, along with those of nineteen other martyrs, in the twelfth-century Renaissance Benedictine monastery of San Zoilo de Carrion, our hotel for the night!
Day 3: Leon
Route: 46.1 km
Accomodation: Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro
From Carrion de los Condes, we’ll ride to the town of Sahagun. Known as the “Spanish Cluny” for its association with King Alfonso the Sixth, who worked to reform the Church in Castile. Considering its small size, Sahagún contains some of the most important Arab-influenced church architecture in Castile. After having lunch in Sahagún, we’ll travel by van to the historic city of León, founded bu the Romans in 68BC and home to the cathedral with the most beautiful stained glass windows in Spain. We’ll spend the late afternoon visiting the cathedral and wandering around the atmospheric streets of the Barrio Húmedo (renowned for some of the best tapas bars in Castile). At the end of the day, we stay in the regal five star Parador de León, with its 16th century monastery, cloisters, and chapterhouse on the grounds.
Day 4: Villafranca
Route: 59.7 km
Accomodation: Parador de Villafranca
The serious climbing begins after our van transfer from Leon to Astorga. After visiting Astorga’s cathedral, pilgrim’s hospital and Episcopal Palace (designed and built by Antoni Gaudi) we’ll take to the road and ride to the highest point on the Camino a gradual climb of 800 metres/2,624 feet. Of course, the most rewarding part is the 12 kilometer downhill ride that follows as we head into the town of Ponferrada! After visiting the Templar Castle in Ponferrada, we’ll travel by van to the town of Villafranca del Bierzo, where we’ll stay in the renovated, comfortable and modern Parador of Villafranca, where you can soothe the aches of your day in their sauna and swimming pools before heading over the mountains in the morning.
Day 5: Monforte de Lemos
Route: 38.1 km
Accomodation: Parador Monforte de Lemos
Though the climb yesterday is the highest on the Camino, it isn’t necessarily the toughest – Camino fanatics all agree that the worst climb is today´s ascent to O Cebreiro, which we will do by heaven-sent minivan. After visiting the restored village and its mountaintop chapel (one of the legendary resting places of the Holy Grail, with astounding views when skies are clear) we’ll get on the bikes and enjoy the 23 kilometer-long pedalling-optional descent into Triacastela. We’ll vist the Benedictine monastery of Saint Julian in Samos, whose foundations date all the way back to the 6th century, and follow back country roads through pine and eucalyptus forests through to Sarria (where we’ll have our lunch break).
From Sarria we will have a VAN transfer to the Parador in Monforte de Lemos, which is a charming little town with excellent wines.
Day 6: Santiago de Compostela
Route: 34.2 km
Accomodation: AC Palacio del Carmen
Parador Option: Parador de Santiago GL
The final day of the tour is short but tough. After a quick van transfer to the town of Arzua, we’ll bike the final kilometers through rolling countryside, past the Lavacolla hill where pilgrims would tidy themselves up before reaching Santiago. From there it’s on to the Monte do Gozo, where, in medieval times, pilgrims would catch their first glimpse of the Cathedral of Santiago. After that it’s a quick ride into Santiago where we’ll wind through the narrow streets to reach the Praza do Obradoiro, home of both the Cathedral of Santiago and the Parador, the former Palace of the Catholic Kings. In the evening we’ll have a farewell dinner and a walk through the lamp lit streets of the Old Town.
Day 7: Departure
Whether your plan is to return home or continue your travels in Spain or elsewhere in Europe, Santiago is a great stepping off point. Its small but new international airport is very well connected to Spanish destinations and to nearby European ones like London and Paris. Flights out are generally very well priced for those who plan in advance. Meanwhile, for those of us who do not choose to part ways in Santiago, after breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to our Camino adventure and return to Madrid by van (7 hours). Our route whisks us through the mountains of southern Galicia, through Ourense and back across the golden plains of Castilla-Leon.
Hotel AC Burgos – Marriotto
The AC Hotel Burgos is one of the best accommodation options in the city.
Hotel Real Monasterio San Zoilo
San Zoilo, a former convent enabled for luxury accommodations in Palencia, opens a unique opportunity to enjoy an environment with all the charm of yesterday.
Its natural luxury exterior perfectly fits with some old but fully adequate to modernity and all the comforts of today interiors. The superb restaurant and the unique visit to the ancient heart of the building makes worth the staying.
Hotel Real Colegiata de San Isidoro
Located in Leon’s historical centre, in the heart of one of the most outstanding Romanic complexes in the Peninsula.
Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo
At the entrance to Villafranca del Bierzo, town of churches, monasteries, convents and fine buildings, stands this Parador.
The leading tourist accommodation in the fascinating El Bierzo district. It is surrounded by mountains covered with cherry and fig trees, slopes dotted with chestnuts, poplars and small farms.
Parador de Monforte de Lemos
The historic site of San Vicente do Pino is located in the uppermost part of the town of Monforte de Lemos.
It is made up of the keep, San Vicente do Pino Monastery and the palace of the counts of Lemos, which houses the Parador de Monforte. The monastery dates back to the 9th century, although the current structure was built in the 17th century in the neoclassical style.
Parador de Santiago-Hostal Reis Catolicos
The Parador de Santiago, known as the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, is a blend of history, art and tradition, the dream of pilgrims and emblem of Santiago.
It is located on Obradoiro Square near the cathedral, creating an area of spectacular beauty in one of the most visited provincial capitals in the world. A stay at this Parador means a visit to a truly unique and exclusive location.