Camino Frances - 7 Days
CASTILLE Y Léon & GALICIA
LÉON - SANTIAGO de COMPOSTELLA
On this tour, you will cover much of Castilla y Lèon and cross the Meseta, a highland plateau known as Spain’s breadbasket. Covering the classic route of the Camino Francès, you will cross the Maragata region and climb to the emblematic Cruz de ferro in the Bierzo hills to enter the magical province of Galicìa, before arriving at the legendary Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Staying in full of character accommodation run by local people, you will have the opportunity to experience the best of Spanish culture.
Meet your local guide at our first Camino hotel in León. You will have a welcome and informative meeting. We suggest a group dinner in the heart of old town León in the famous Barrio Humido, then wander its small streets before getting back to the hotel for the night.
Today we will cycle from León to Rabanal del Camino. We stop for lunch in the famous town of Astroga (49,8km), famous for the Palace of Gaudi and its local chocolate. We have lunch in the main plaza and then continue through the city center and a change to visit the Cathedral of Astorga. We finish in the small Camino hamlet of Rabanal del Camino. This tiny cobbled village was once thought to be home to the Knight’s Templars as early as the 12th Century. Here, you have the opportunity to listen to the enchanting vespers in the local chapel.
On this day of the tour, we pass one of the most iconic locations on the Camino de Santiago: the Cruz de Hierro, or the Iron Cross. This is an important site on the Camino. Leave a stone to make a wish or to leave any negativity behind at the cross. We enjoy lunch in the village of Molicaseca (28km), a town that dates to the 11th century to welcome pilgrims on the road to Santiago. We continue through the small city of Ponferrada which houses the Castle of the Knights Templar. We finish in the small town of Villafranca del Bierzo, where you will spend the night.
Cycle from Villafranca del Bierzo to Sarria. Today we cross into the final region of the Camino: Galicia. You also have accomplished your last big climb to the village of thatched houses, O’Cebreiro (30km). Here we do an organized lunch. From here you will see the Celtic influence in the area. Watch out for bagpipes and Witch symbols along the Way. You have also climbed your last significant incline on the Camino! The night will be spent in Sarria.
On day 5, you will cycle from Sarria to Palas de Rei. Today we do lunch in the town of Melide, one of the oldest towns along the Camino de Santiago. It is a town famous for their Pulpo a Feira, or octopus, served with rich olive oil and choice of sweet, smoked or spicy paprika (of course with a chunk of Galicia bread as your plate) and a drink of the local white wine served in small bowls. We have lunch together at a local restaurant to try the famous pulpo, but will ensure there are other options such as fresh salads, chorizo, Spanish tortilla, etc…
Optional Camino Detour: Visit to the Iglesia Vilar das Donas. The church and family monastery were given to the Order of Santiago in 1184, and many of the Gallego members of the order were buried here. The local guide will happily show you the color frescos from the 15th c. This is an 8km detour.
On the last riding day, you cycle from Palas de Rei to Santiago de Compostela. We do a quick picnic lunch at Monte do Gozo, pilgrim’s last hill and first view of the Cathedral spires before reaching Plaza Obradoiro. Our picnics include fresh salads and lighter options, all taking into consideration any food allergies or lifestyle choices as vegetarian, vegan, etc.
Once we arrive at KM 0 in Plaza Obradoiro in front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela we have time for photos! From here, you will go to the pilgrim’s office to drop off your pilgrim’s passport and collect your certificate of completion. We check into our hotel and if there is time, we can arrange a massage at your hotel or you can explore Santiago old town. At 5.00 pm, we have organised a private, guided tour of the Cathedral and the surrounding area. At 700 pm, you can opt to join the Pilgrims’ Mass. We will have a celebratory dinner together at one of our favorite restaurants in old town Santiago.
You will finish in the town of Portomarin. This small village was established in the Middle Ages but was relocated during Franco’s reign to its current location higher up on the hillside, away from the river. Several monuments were moved stone by stone and still have the stones that were numbered to move like a large and very heavy puzzle.
On the last day (if it is not Sunday or a holiday), there is an optional guided visit to the local market, Mercado de Abastos, which dates to 1874 and sells a variety of products as vegetables, fruits, meats, fishes and many other local products. It is the second most visited place in Santiago de Compostela, following the Cathedral at the end of the Camino de Santiago. We will visit Dora’s stand to have a tasting of a variety of local cheeses. A few of her inimitable cheeses to taste are the Brexo Cucado which is a six-month cured cheese from Galicia where the cows are only fed collard greens; and the Touzavella, an organic goat’s cheese that is produced in four varieties: one with local wine; one is spiced with pimentos; one is cured; and the last is a soft and creamy cheese resembling Brie.
Tour ends, but keep in mind that extra nights can be arranged by getting in touch with us.
*Optional – add on 2 days of cycling to Finisterre and Muxia (186km roundtrip):
Finisterre, which was until the Middle Ages considered to be the “End of the World” and in the 1st Century BC was used as a place of sun worship by the Romans. Muxía is an important pilgrimage site in its own right due to the legend that the Virgin Mary came here in a boat made of stone to help St. James in his ministry. The parts of the boat are claimed to be the petrified stones found on the shoreline and are believed to have special powers!
Being a part of the Camino as a bicigrino (cycling pilgrim)! You will be sharing the experience with people from all over the world all heading to the same place – one of the things that make the Camino Francés so special.
- The changes in landscape, architecture, language, cuisine and climate as you move through this vast and amazing country.
- The many monuments, chapels, churches and cathedrals marking the way, from the magnificent Gothic cathedral of León to Romanesque gems such as Vilar de Donas in Galicia.
- Riding through the beautiful Bierzo region of Castilla y León with views of heather‐covered moors and tiny villages filled with slate-roofed houses.
- Arriving at the Plaza de Obradoiro to see the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, along with all the other pilgrims who have traveled to get there.
- 6 nights’ accommodation in great hotel and manor houses always with private bathroom
- All breakfasts, 5 lunches and our celebratory dinner in Santiago de Compostela
- Cycling lead rider and mechanical support
- Water and snacks along the way
- All baggage transport and van support
- Guided tour of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
- The Credencial or Pilgrim’s Passport and scallop shell
- English and Spanish speaking guide/s
What’s not included:
- Pre or post travel to the start of your Camino de Santiago Cycling Tour
- Bike rental
- Any meal not included in your tour (we will always recommend where to go and help with ordering)
- Extra drinks along the Camino and/or drinks not included in the designated meals on your tour
- Items purchased at the pharmacy by your guide
- Guide gratuity