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Self-Guided Cycle Camino de Santiago tour
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Self-Guided Cycle Camino de Santiago

Explore! Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
10 days
From: $ 1,630 $ 163 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Legendary Camino de Santiago - Cycle through beautiful landscapes and historically important towns and villages
  • Santiago de Compostela - The holy shrine of St. James and a lively town with fine architecture
  • Leon - Imposing Gothic Cathedral with stunning stained glass windows
  • Astorga - Magnificent Bishop's Palace designed by Antoni Gaudi
  • Cruz de Ferro - The famous iron cross at the highest point of the Camino
  • O'Cebreiro - Charming mountain village with cobbled streets, round stone thatched houses and picturesque valley views

Short Description

Cycle the legendary pilgrimage trail from Leon to Santiago de Compostela - the resting place of Saint James. On this self-guided cycle trip you follow the route of ancient pilgrims on a scenic ride through northern Spain, starting on the high plains of Castile in the impressive city of Leon. Crossing the Bierzo hills you then traverse the rolling countryside of Galicia, passing historical monuments and pretty villages along the way, often in the company of other pilgrims.

A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Trip Type Self-guided / Independent Tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Santiago de Compostela

Destinations

Spain

Cities & Attractions

Camino de Santiago

No Single Supplement
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Trip Includes

Included Bike

24 gear Mountain Bike with lockable front suspension. Electric bikes (e-bikes) are available for an additional cost.

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Holiday starts in Leon

Description

After arriving in Leon and checking into your hotel, we recommend spending time exploring this historic city. Situated in the heart of the Spanish Meseta (high plateau), Leon was once the centre of Christian Spain, at a time when two thirds of the peninsula was under Muslim rule. The city's great Gothic cathedral and the equally superb Romanesque Basilica de San Isidoro are among the finest examples of their architectural style to be found in Spain. The cathedral, in particular, is unique for the quality and magnificence of its stained-glass windows, which span seven centuries and cover subjects as diverse as religion, mythology and even medieval life. Your included rental bike will be delivered today or tomorrow morning depending on your arrival time and you will be required to sign an agreement of care upon receipt of the bike.

Details of how to reach the start point of your holiday can be found on our website in the tour specific 'dates and prices' section by clicking on 'Joining Info' and then the 'Show More' button.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Gentle ride to the historic town of Astorga

Description

After you have tested and adjusted your rental bike, you start your Camino journey with a gentle ride through the plains of Castille to the small town of Astorga. Once a strategically important staging post on the Roman route to Andalucia, it was from Astorga that the Romans controlled the traffic of gold from mines in the nearby Las Medulas hills. The town is home to some fine medieval architecture, including a superb cathedral that is worth exploring. However, it is the Palacio Episcopal that is its most famous asset. Designed by Antoni Gaudi, the Modernista architect at the end of the 19th century, the magnificent palace was built to replace its predecessor, destroyed by a fire. Unfortunately, its radical design and horrendous costs resulted in it never being used and it now houses a unique collection of artefacts and treasures devoted to the town's history. Tonight's accommodation is the first of many gems on the trip. Once the Earl of Tepa's glorious residence, when Napoleon came to Astorga during the French siege of the town, he stayed at this home after the conquest.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 48 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 3 - Bike to Molinaseca via the famous Cruz de Ferro

Description

As you leave Astorga, the scenery takes a dramatic change, from the expansive high plateau of La Meseta, towards the rolling landscapes of the Bierzo Mountains. Your route will take you through Castrillo de Los Polvazare, one of the finest Medieval villages in Castille, before ascending higher into the hills to reach the Cruz de Ferro (Iron Cross). This is the highest point of the Camino at an altitude of 1482 metres. As one of the most significant points on the route, pilgrims have been leaving stone offerings here for centuries, in the hope that they would offer protection for the rest of the pilgrimage. In good weather, you are likely to be able to see the mountains of Galicia for the first time in the distance. From here, it is mainly downhill to the small village of Molinaseca, where you will spend the night.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 49 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 4 - Peddle to Vilafranca del Bierzo via Ponferrada

Description

Today's more leisurely ride heads for the city of Vilafranca del Bierzo - an important gateway to Galicia. En route, you will pass through Ponferrada - another town founded by the Roman gold mining industry and home to an impressive 12th century Templar castle which occupies an area no less than 8000 square metres. Tonight's hotel accommodation is ideally located in Vilafranca del Bierzo's pretty and historic town square. On the ground floor, you will find the oldest pharmacy in Spain, which has been converted into a museum.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 30 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 5 - Climb to the historic village of O Cebreiro

Description

Today's ride into Galicia is small on distance but big on gradients as you face a six-kilometre climb up a dirt road to your night stop in O Cebreiro. If you prefer, this steep climb can be avoided by following the old national road to the Pass Pedrafita and then taking the tarmac road to O Cebreiro. Sitting high above a patchwork quilt of green valleys, O Cebreiro is a remarkable and emblematic village, full of legends and stories related to the Camino. The village is famous for its 'pallozas' - traditional circular thatch-roofed houses. Its impressive Romanesque church dates from the 11th century. Your hotel is just next door.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 29 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 6 - Cycle to Sarria, via Samos' Benedictine monastery

Description

After an initial short ascent, today's ride is mostly downhill. Deep in the rural heart of Galicia, the scenery takes on a mantle of lush vegetation, ancient forests and small rural hamlets. Cycling through the village of Samos, you may choose to stop and visit the delightful Benedictine monastery - one of the most important in Galacia. Although founded in the 6th century, it was continuosuly reformed until the 18th century. From here, you will pedal on to your nightstop in Sarria - Galicia's principle town. Situated on a hilltop with a river on either side, the town commands great views of the region.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 47 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 7 - Bike to Palas de Rei; Stay in an old Galician farmhouse

Description

On today's ride, you will accomplish a total ascent of 725 metres, but this will be staggered with climbs of no more than 200 metres at a time. The rural landscape that you cycle through continuously changes and you will pass plenty of village cafés and restaurants in which to meet fellow pilgrims.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 52 kilometres if staying in Palas de Rei or 59 kilometres if staying at Parada das Bestas.

Included Meals : None

Day 8 - Cycle to Arzua; Stay in a converted Galician manor

Description

Today's ride is gentle and undulating day as you cycle from one village to another. Dairy production is the main industry in this area, although the pilgrimage trade is also important. At our night stop in Arzúa, we can look forward to more characterful accommodation. Here, our hotel is a converted traditional Galician manor house, known as a Pazo.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 33 kilometres.

Included Meals : None

Day 9 - Reach your journey's end at Santiago Cathedral

Description

Your final day's cycling sees the landscape flatten for your last push to Santiago. If you choose the standard route, you will peddle through the outskirts of Santiago and via the famous Monte del Gozo. This hill translates as the 'Hill of Joy' as it is the place where pilgrims catch their first glimpse of the cathedral. If you would prefer to take a more scenic route, you can cycle via Touro, adding about 11 kilometres to your day's total distance.
Cycling into the heart of Santiago, your journey ends at the gates of the 12th century Baroque cathedral that towers over the surrounding city streets and is one of Christendom's holiest shrines. Indeed, after Jerusalem and Rome, this city was once the most important place of pilgrimage anywhere in the Christian world. The tomb of St. James is believed to lie in the crypt beneath the cathedral altar, part of the original 9th century foundations of an earlier basilica. After checking into your hotel, you may choose to explore more of Santiago on foot. Alternatively, you may prefer to relax with a well-earned glass of something, reflecting on the incredible journey you have undertaken in the footsteps of so many before you.

Your total cycling distance today is approximately 39 kilometres (with optional extra 11 kilometres).

Included Meals : None

Day 10 - Holiday ends in Santiago

Description

After breakfast, the organised part of your holiday comes to an end.

Included Meals : None

Availability

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Price From $ 1,630
Price Per Day: $ 163 per day
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Stride Featured in

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30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Self-Guided Cycle Camino de Santiago

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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.
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Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

There are numerous opportunities throughout this trip to stop of at monuments and religious historical sites. The following are particular places to note. Day 1 - In Leon visit the Gothic cathedral & Basilica of San Isidoro (entrance cost around 8 Euros). Day 4 - Visit the Castillo de los Templarios on your way through Ponferrada. Day 6 - It is well worth stopping in Samos to see the monastery (entrance cost around 10 Euros). Day 9 - Spend time at the end of the cycling to explore the Romanesque Santiago cathedral. Perhaps eat tonight at a Tapas bar.

Accomodations

Accommodation Notes

Premium - Hand-picked and chosen for their character, location or local importance, these properties have excellent facilities and a higher level of comfort and service. They provide the perfect wind down after an active day. Standard - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.

Guides

Tour Staff

Additional Information:

Cycling Information

On this journey you cycle 324 km over eight days (an average of 41 km per day). The terrain is mostly undulating with gently rolling hills and some steeper ascents. On three of the days there are prolonged steep ascents. We cycle mostly on quiet interior roads and about 10% is on wide gravel tracks. We have graded the route as moderate.

Trip ID#:

explore-CSCS

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