Spain by Bike
Bike a portion of the ancient pilgrimage route along the Camino de Santiago and take in sites that will provide perspective—when they're not taking your breath away. The Puerta del Perdón, the Cruz de Ferro and a Benedictine monastery in Samos reveal the pilgrim's journey, while the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, the medieval resting place of St. James, offers both spectacle and serenity at the end of your personal pilgrimage. And the best part? Bike from start to finish, with no driving from León to Santiago (unless you'd like to, of course).
B&R’s newest way to travel! This itinerary is one of our new locally supported, private trips. We've applied the hallmarks that we’re known for to this Spain by bike experience: great hotels, friendly and talented local guides plus memorable experiences, but it’s just your group and on the dates that work best for you.
León to Santiago de Compostela
8 Days / 7 Nights
Price per person from: $5,995
Request your date for exact pricing
Best Time to Visit
Day by Day
We start in León, where we rendezvous at 4pm, allowing you time to arrive and acclimate yourself to the Spanish lifestyle before we explore this bustling, culturally active university town, once an important religious centre along the Camino de Santiago. Later, an overview of the object of the week’s desire, the 800-km trail leading to St. James the Apostle’s tomb, whets our appetites.
Our first day of riding sees us set off from León for the Roman village of Astorga, pedalling through the stark beauty of the Castilla León plains en route. After a well-earned lunch of medieval stew, we a historian leads us through Astorga’s architectural highlights, including a palace designed by Antonio Gaudí.
Ultimately bound for Molinaseca, we start early today and bike by way of the Cruz de Ferro, the Iron Cross, where pilgrims bring a stone from their hometown to add to the pile. After leaving our mark, a scenic downhill ride brings us to our hotel in time for a siesta or a little exploration in town.
A relaxed day of biking today sees us visit Ponferrada, home to the Castle of the Knights Templar, before moving on toward the sleepy town of Villafranca and the Puerta del Perdón, the Door of Forgiveness. Here, pilgrims who could not complete their journey came to beg for absolution. Fortunately, we won’t need it—an outdoor cocktail as we marvel at the view will surely help fortify us.
Today we tackle the most rewarding ride of the trip, setting out to climb Cebreiro Mountain, destined for the tiny hamlet O Cebreiro in the mystical Galicia region, famous for its fog and mist. It’s then down through farming villages frozen in time and ancient forests of pine, oak, walnut and eucalyptus, to our rustic and delightful riverside accommodations.
It’s back to the Camino today, picking up in the town of Portomarin, before we digress again toward a 14thC castle largely undiscovered by the outside world, where we’ll stop for a picnic lunch. A ride along hidden roads then brings us to Arzúa, where we’ll dine at an 18thC noble house.
Our journey culminates where so many pilgrims before us have come in search of serenity, the Catedral de Santiago, legendary resting spot of St. James the Apostle. After taking in its impressive gothic and Romanesque features, we’ll join the pilgrims who pack the church’s nave and dance ecstatically before we celebrate our own journey in true B&R style—meaning the exact details will remain a surprise.
We say goodbye at breakfast. Travellers may want more time in Santiago, while others can take a short flight to Madrid for connections home or to other parts of Europe. Hasta Luego!
Parador San Marcos, León
Once a 16thC monastery built to shelter pilgrims, this parador is one of Spain’s most acclaimed hotels. Located near León’s old town on the banks of the Bernesga River, the property boasts a magnificent cloister, sumptuous antique-filled rooms, gorgeous gardens, a lovely music room and an equally impressive buffet breakfast that fuels us for our first day on the trail! View hotel website »
Via de la Plata, Astorga
This hotel is the best example of a good hotel in a great location. Centrally located in the town plaza, it is modern but simple, hosting many of the New World pilgrims. The Spa makes for a great way to unwind after a day of riding. View hotel website »
Located in the small town of Molinaseca at the bottom of a great downhill ride, the Hotel Floriana is a new, basic property on the Camino. The rooms are crisp and clean offering an alternative accommodation to the basic pilgrim auberges. View hotel website »
Parador de Villafranca
Completely renovated and reopened in 2010, the Parador is typical of this region: simple in taste and affording the necessary amenities, without going overboard. The location and access make it a perfect one-night stop over. View hotel website »
Parador de Santiago de Compostela
The Hostal dos Reis Católicos, a former 16thC hospice founded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, provides a well deserved five-star finish to our journey. Next to the cathedral, the property once served as a hospital for pilgrims visiting the tomb of St. James, and is now considered one of the finest hotels in Europe. Our rooms are palatial, featuring handsome antiques, ornate canopied beds and remarkably sumptuous bathrooms. View hotel website »
Daily biking distances usually vary from 70 to 80 km (45 to 50 mi.) a day with options on some days as far as 100 km (62 mi). The terrain starts off relatively flat and progressively gets steeper as we pass into Galicia. The difficulty of the ride often depends on the length of the climb.
You can't enjoy a great biking trip without a really great bike. On this trip you'll be riding customized Cannondales; there are three models to choose from to ensure you'll have the perfect bike. Click here for a detailed description. We also equip you with handlebar bag, helmet and water bottle.
- All accommodation
- Some meals
- Use of a customized specialized bicycle and helmet
- Detailed maps, route suggestions and water bottle
- All entrance fees and tours
- All transportation and all baggage handling
- All the local experts and specialists
- Services of a local guides
- All special events and on-trip surprises
- All gratuities to porters, drivers and hotel service
At Your Service
We take pride in choosing guides who are not only exceptional travelling companions, but who’ll go far beyond the call of duty to ensure an unforgettable experience.
“You asked what stood out; the list is too long to mention all and is truly most everything. Thank you for your hard work and attention to the little things”
— Doug & Mimi Traina
Camino de Santiago Private
Notes from the Road
More stories from our blogREAD THE SLOW ROAD
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