Cycle The Camino
29 April to 10 May 2019

Trails & roads
sometimes hilly

Mountain Bike
E-bike (optional)

9 days
493km

Escorted
Self-Guided

AU$3500

 

OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION

Join us for a nearly 500km ride along the famous pilgrimage route in Spain - the Camino Trail or Way of St James. Follow in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims and over 1,000 years of history on the world’s greatest historical trail. Join people from all walks of life and nationalities as they embark on this great adventure. You don’t have to be religious just a keen cyclist!

It’s the Gothic cathedrals, medieval monasteries and miles of unspoiled rural scenery that make this section of the route so popular. Our ride begins in the city of Burgos and starts in an arid zone of the country before crossing a mountain pass and into fertile valleys full of vineyards and rural scenery on our way to completing this ancient tradition at the magnificent Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. This ride is qualifies you for the Pilgrim’s certificate in Santiago to authenticate your journey.

This will be a self-guided experience where your luggage will be transferred each day and it will be up to us as a group to navigate our way along the easy to follow trail. There is no support vehicle so all riders should be confident in being able to comfortably ride the whole distance each day (the backup is to take a taxi - very easy to organise on the Camino).

The tour will operated in conjunction with RAW Travel, a Melbourne based tour company who are the Australian leader in self-guided cycling and walking along the Camino Trail.


ESCORTED
SELF-GUIDED

This will be a self-guided experience where your luggage will be transferred each day and it will be up to you to navigate our way along the easy to follow trail. Generally on these types of trips small groups of riders form so it would be unusual to be out cycling alone, unless that is what you wish for yourself.

Pedal Pedal founder Jason Williams will escort the group and provide advice and support throughout the trip. If the group size reaches 17 people we will also be joined by a local guide to assist in escorting the group.

There is no support vehicle so all riders should be confident in being able to comfortably ride the whole distance each day. Your backup if needed is to take a local taxi. This is quite easy to do as many pilgrims opt to use taxis at some time during their journey so there are many taxis operating along the trail.


TRAIL CONDITIONS

Under our wheels we will experience a variety of roads, paths and trails on the Camino. Tracks are common - gravel forest roads, walking tracks or unsealed roads. Some sections of the Camino are on single-track paths that can be rocky and rugged in places and can be more like mountain biking, but mostly riding conditions are good and we follow quiet country roads. There are some sections of country lanes, and coming into the towns and cities you follow regular footpaths and roads. You will always be following the yellow arrows and other markers of the way, featuring the famous scallop shell of the way of St James.

There are generally alternative routes that can be taken to avoid the more difficult terrain so if you are not interested in the smaller more rugged tracks it is easy enough to ride on a nearby road. There are also alternative routes that add some distance to the days if you would like to ride and explore more. Some of these alternative routes are beautiful and worth the detour. We will outline these each day as we travel along the Camino.

The daily distances are kept short each day so that you can enjoy all the sights along the trail, take long slow lunches, and really enjoy your time cycling one of the world's great routes.

We will be supplied with detailed route notes and a guidebook to also help with our navigation.


GROUP SIZE

8-30 people

As a self-guided trip you will be free to travel at your own pace. Usually small groups of similarly paced cyclists form and ride together throughout the day so you don't have to ride alone if you don't want to. So while you are travelling with a large group it never feels like a crowd.

PRICE & BOOKINGS

PRICING & PAYMENT

AU$3500

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL Book and pay your deposit by 30 September 2018 and pay only $3200.

A $500 deposit is required to confirm places on the trip with final payment due two months before the start of the tour. All bookings and payments will be handled by our partners at RAW Travel.


BOOK

Book by clicking the rooming that you require.  If you are travelling as a single person but are happy to share a room, book using the "twin share' button.  You must complete one booking form per person.

At the time of booking you will required to make a $500 deposit payment.  If you do not pay at the time of booking and choose to pay later with credit card a 1.5% fee is charged.

Bookings are processed via the RAW Travel website and a RAW Travel representative as well as Pedal Pedal will respond to your booking.

ITINERARY

ITINERARY SUMMARY

Day 1 - Arrive Burgos
Day 2 - Cycle Burgos to Boadilla del Camino (61km)
Day 3 - Cycle Boadilla del Camino to Sahagun (63km)
Day 4 - Cycle Sahagun to Leon (55km)
Day 5 - Rest Day in Leon
Day 6 - Cycle Leon to Astorga (53km)
Day 7 - Cycle Astorga to Molinseca (47km)
Day 8 - Cycle Molinseca to Herrerias (53km)
Day 9 - Cycle Herrerias to Sarria (46km)
Day 10 - Cycle Sarria to Palas de Rei (47km)
Day 11 - Cycle Palas de Rei to Santiago (68km)
Day 12 - end in Santiago

See below for the detailed itinerary

ITINERARY DETAIL

Day 1 - Burgos

Reaching Burgos is quite easy from Madris by bus or train. Spend the day checking out all that Burgos has to offer including the beauty of many of the city’s buildings. Burgos is sometimes known as the Gothic capital of Spain and has a growing population of around 200,000. Be sure to make a stop at Burgos Cathedral. The 13th century Catedral de Santa Maria is one of Spain’s largest and most beautiful, and combines many different styles but is predominantly Gothic. 

Day 2 - Cycle Burgos to Boadilla del Camino (61km)

The ride begins as we leave the bustling city of Burgos into virtual wilderness. The track on this section is mainly earth and we travel through what seems like never-ending crop fields. This section of the route is often referred to as the Meseta. You may come across a sheppard and his herd but if not it will most likely be just you and the birds! This section also has zero shade from the sun so make sure you are well covered up.

After 20km we reach Hornillos del Camino, a classic pilgrim village where little has changed over the centuries. This is a great place to immerse yourself in the ancient atmosphere of the way. Once past Hornillos del Camino there are few towns en route to Castrojeriz so make sure you are stocked up with any water and supplies you might need. We are again traveling along the lonely Meseta towards Hontanas, a small town of just 80 which is tucked away in a fold in the landscape. This town is largely undiscovered except by pilgrims and has a solid parish church which dominates the tiny village square. From Hontanas there are a couple more villages to pass before descending into Boadilla del Camino where we stay the night. Boadilla del Camino originally had a population of over 2,000 which once served the multiple pilgrim hospitals, but the population is now only a mere 200.

Tonight's accommodation will be one of the more simple places we stay at on the ride. The only dinner available here is at the Pilgrim Hostel so we get to experience a more down to earth meal with walking pilgrims who stay in these simple hostels.

If required some of the group will ride on to Fromista, another 6km along the road and spend the night here. The impressive Iglesia de San Martin XI, conscecrated in 1066, is a highlight of the town.

Day 3 - Cycle Boadilla del Camino to SAHAGUN (63km)

A few kilometres in to the day we reach Fromista. Fromista is best known for the beautiful 11th century Iglesia de San Martin which was built with a gorgeous mellow stone. With over 300 external corbels each carved with a different human, animal or mystical motif this is a must see site. Around 13km from Fromista you will enter the town of Villalcazar de Sirga which is well know for its hospitality. Now declared a national monument, the town is home to the superb Templar church of Santa Maria la Virgen Blanca XIII. This church houses the tombs of royalty and nobles alike.

Another 5km down the road is Carrion de los Condes. This fascinating town retains its medieval atmosphere in its quiet side streets and was home to no less than 14 pilgrim hospitals. The town has a variety of shops so stock up here if you need any supplies as there are no facilities for the next 17km until you reach Calzadilla de la Cueza. After a few more small villages we reach our overnight stop, the major town of Sahagun which is full of ancient monuments and has a population of 170,000. Sahagun was the seat of great religious power, largely because of the influence of Alfonso VI who, along with his numerous wives, is buried in the Benedictine convento de Santa Cruz.

Day 4 - Cycle SAHAGUN to Leon (55km)

A relatively short day brings us to the the lively city of Leon, capital of Castile and Leon. Your hotel is superbly situated in the centre of the city and is a 15 century building, which abuts onto the Roman Walls. Your accommodation is a delight and the cloistered corridors and antique furniture outside your room give a real sense of history.

Day 5 - 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.

Day 6 - Cycle Leon to Astorga (53km)

Today it takes some time to clear the city limits of Leon. There are two routes available for this morning (marked in your guidebook). 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 are recommended to take 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 it dates from the 13th century and is one of the best preserved bridges in Spain.

We 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. The last few kilometres into Astorga follow the road into the centre of the city and our hotel which is located on the main Plaza.

Astorga offers a number of attractions including a Cathedral by Gaudi and a chocolate museum, you will see many shops selling chocolate as it was a centre of the trade in Spain.

Day 7 - Cycle Astorga to Molinseca (47km)

Leaving behind Astorga we cycle on pleasant paths across the plains with good views of the hills before us. 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, a bad habit, or memorial to a loved one. Then it’s a glorious long downhill towards the city of Ponferrada which can be clearly seen in the distance. However, we stop before Ponferrada at Molinseca with its pretty Roman bridge and narrow streets and spend the night here.

Day 8 - Cycle Molinseca to Herrerias (53km)

In the morning the Camino descends 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 Villafranca you will climb gently up the valley for some 20km to the small village of Herrerias where we stop for the night.

Day 9 - Cycle Herrerias to SaRRIA (46km)

Today is the most challenging of the trip. The climbing begins almost immediately with a tough 10km climb to reach the hilltop village of O’Cebreiro. Stop and enjoy the amazing views over the Galician hills all around you and be sure to visit the simple but beautiful church at O’Cebreiro which stands in marked contrast to the elaborate Cathedrals and churches thus far.

The road descends and climbs again a couple of times before an amazing long freewheeling descent of almost 20km to reach Tricastela. From here an alternative route (7km longer) takes you to Samos, home of a Benedictine monastery which is one of the oldest and largest in Spain -worth considering a visit if you are happy to cover a few extra kilometres.

Sarria is a busy, modern town with plenty of shops, hotels, restaurants and bars, but its origins are Celtic and it was an important and major medieval centre for pilgrims. Remnants of its ancient past can still be seen in the old quarter along Rua Major.

Day 10 - Cycle SaRRIA to Palas de Rei (47km)

Sarria is a major starting point on the Camino as walking pilgrims can start here to cover the last 100km and earn their Compostela so expect to see a lot more walkers on the trail. 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 which can be rough at times. After Portomarin the Camino climbs again for 400m of ascent before finally rolling into to Palas De Rei, a modern town.

Day 11 - Cycle Palas de Rei to Santiago (68km)

Our final day on the bike as we approach the holy city of Santiago! Today’s ride is a fitting end to the Camino, as we pedal along rural roads through woodlands and pastures to Santiago, meandering along forgotten country roads through the beautiful Galician countryside. The profile does not do justice to the numerous short sharp climbs that you'll be doing throughout the day. Rolling hills and green pastures predominate as we approach the final stretch to Santaigo and we'll feel the excitement build as we glimpse the towers of the Cathedral. Once in town, we’ll have plenty of time to look around the famous Cathedral of St James that forms the city’s heart and see the stream of pilgrims that arrive into the square to finish their epic journeys. The atmosphere in Santiago is excellent and the historic streets are very nice to explore, with many nice tapas bars and restaurants.

Tonight we will stay in the historic Hospederia San Martin, a former Benedictine monastery, located only a few metres from the main square of the cathedral, which makes for a fitting end to a journey along an historic trail.

Day 12 - end

Depart Santiago today or stay on to explore more of this amazing city. Hotel check out time is midday. Onward train and flight connections from Santiago go to Madrid or fly to various places in Europe and UK.

INCLUSIONS & EXTRAS

INCLUSIONS

ACCOMMODATION

This trip uses a variety of accommodation from charming ‘Casa Rurales’ which are country B&B’s to historic hotels converted from former monasteries and colleges. Generally speaking we avoid characterless modern hotels and book places with character and welcoming hosts. In Leon for instance we use a hotel housed in the superb 12th century former college. Rooms are en-suite and have towels and the usual amenities you would expect of a hotel.

Pricing is based on a twin share basis. If you are a single traveller you will be matched with another person of your gender to share a twin room. There may be the possibility of an optional single supplement but this depends on availability of rooms in the villages where the hotels can be very small. The cost of a single supplement would be AU$750 if we can get single rooms in all hotels.

MEALS

All breakfasts are included at our accommodation. Lunch and dinner are not included allowing you to choose where to eat lunch and dinner on your own schedule and budget. The food and wine on this trip is one of the highlights of the experience. Throughout Spain restaurants offer a ‘menu del dia’ (menu of the day) which offers excellent value priced at €9-11 for 3 large courses. There is no shortage of places to stop and eat when you are on the Camino.

BIKES

We will be provided with top quality SPECIALIZED 'Crave' 29er mountain bikes, which come with disc brakes, 27 speed Shimano SLX gears, clip pedals, and front suspension. Other features include:

  • Frame sizes available from 15"-21"
  • Rack
  • Handlebar extensions
  • Tyres specially chosen for the terrain covered
  • Odometer
  • Waterproof Ortleib rear panniers
  • Lock to keep the bike secure
  • Top bar mounted bag for carrying small items
  • Tool kit with patches, pump, multitool
  • Chain lube
  • Gel saddle cover
  • Waterbottle

Helmets are not included so please bring your own.

Ebikes are available for a surcharge of AU$300. The ebikes provided are top quality pedal assist bikes with a range of at least 80km and make the perfect option for cyclists who feel they might struggle with the distances or hills of the tour.

LUGGAGE TRANSFERS

Your luggage will be transferred by a transfer service throughout the tour. Bags will be picked up from our hotel at 8am each day so you must have your main luggage packed and down stairs each day in time for this pick up - after that it is entirely up to you when you start cycling each day. Your luggage will be waiting for you at your accommodation each evening.

Each person is allowed one piece of transfer luggage with a maximum weight of 15kg.

Other Inclusions

  • Full Camino guidebook with maps
  • Pilgrim’s passport
  • Spanish phrase book (one book per two people in twin/double share)
  • Waterproof map and document case
  • Daily luggage tags
  • Maps of your hotel locations
  • Local and Australian emergency contact numbers
  • Dedicated local support person in Spain

EXTRAS

You must have travel insurance as part of the conditions of travel. Your insurance must cover emergency medical and evacuation.

Ebikes are available for a surcharge of AU$300.

Voluntary Single Supplement AU$750.

You will need to bring your own helmet as they are not supplied by the bike hire business.

RAW Travel are able to quote on flights, stopovers, hotels, transport and transfers. Please ask them for pricing for any extra services you might require.

VIDEO

ENQUIRE

Want to know more about this trip? Fill in the form below and we'll email you back or if you'd rather chat call:

Jason Williams
Australia: 0437 599 363

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