Arrive to Pamplona. Most people arrive via Madrid; there are flight, train and coach options into Pamplona. You’ll stay in a three-star hotel in the city center, where you can walk through the old town.
Pamplona to Estella [25 miles]. Leaving Pamplona you’ll climb towards the foothills of the Sierra del Perdon, reaching Puenta la Reina, with its famous Romanesque bridge and charming town. You’ll spend the night in Estella, near the beautiful 12th century Palace of the Kings of Navarre.
Estella to Logrono [29 miles]. You’ll start the day with a stop at the winemakers ‘Bodega Irache’, where a free-flowing wine fountain welcomes thirsty pilgrims. The ride takes you through vineyards and past castles before crossing the great Puente de Piedra into Logrono, a bustling town with an interesting history, architectural jewels, cafes and music. Your hotel is in a beautifully renovated historical building with all amenities.
Logrono to Santa Domingo de la Calzada [28 miles]. Your goal today is to reach a town long linked to the pilgrimage. The town’s namesake, St. Dominic, was a hermit who devoted his life to helping pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Among other deeds, he built a pilgrims bridge, hospital and much of the medieval road (which we ride) that still survives from the 11th century. The other reason to stop here is to stay at the extraordinary Parador Hotel that is one of Spain’s best.
Santa Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos [42 miles]. The riding today is superb through bell heather on rolling trail. Arriving in Burgos, you could visit the Gothic Cathedral, one of the most outstanding artistic monuments in Spain. After dinner, for those wanting a little nightlife, there are plenty of tapas bars and clubs to tempt you!
Burgos to Carrion de las Condes [50 miles]. The riding through most of the Castilian stages is on more level terrain allowing you to comfortably cover more distance. Although no less beautiful, the scenery changes dramatically through this region. You’ll want to have lunch today in the curious town of Hontanas, where the barman drinks wine in a most unusual way. Your destination, Carrion de las Condes makes for a relaxing town, between the bustling cities (and nightlife) of Burgos and Leon.
Carrion de las Condes to Leon [55 miles]. Although one of your longer days, the gentle grade should allow you to take your time and enjoy the ride. We recommend a picnic lunch at a beautiful site on the river Esla in Mansilla de las Mulas; afterwards you’ll continue into Leon with its impressive monuments including the 13 C Cathedral. Your hotel for tonight is located in the historical district, steps from the cities best shopping and restaurants.
Leon. Best visited with a walking tour, we will arrange to have Rafael Gallego, our local expert take you to see the sites. Raphael is extremely knowledgeable about the city’s monuments and the camino and we are sure you will find this a wonderful experience.
Leon to Rabanal del Camino. [39 miles]. Riding out of Leon you could visit Hospital del Orbigo, arriving in time for lunch in Astorga. For Epicureans, Astorga is known for mantecadas, one of the famous delicacies in Spanish pastrymaking. You will overnight in Rabanal del Camino, one of the more famous pilgrimage sites along the trail.
Rabanal to Villafranca [36 miles]. Your route today will begin with a visit to Castrillo de los Polvares, a town immortalized by the writer Concha Espina in her novel The Maragato Sphinx, a portrait of the village and its centuries-old customs. Just before lunch you’ll reach the Cruz de Ferro, one of the most symbolic monuments along the pilgrims’ route. Whenever a pilgrim adds a stone to the pile they become part of an ancient tradition; the Romans called these stone heaps, ‘mounts of Mercury’ after the god of travelers. In Ponferrada, you can visit the impressive Templar Castle, one of the oldest and finest examples of Spanish military architecture. You’ll finish the day in Villafranca, one of the most attractive towns on the Camino. Your hotel for tonight is in a charming 3-star hotel in the center.
Villafranca to Sarria [43 miles]. From Villafranca, you will climb through unspoiled countryside of heather and broom, pines, chestnuts and oaks enjoying a magnificent view over the Valcarce valley up to El Cebreiro, famous for its ‘pallozas’, straw-roofed dwellings. In Samos, visit a monastery before continuing on to Sarria and with its Monastery of La Magdelena and its hospitable Mercedarian monks.
Sarria to Leboreiro [35 miles].From Sarria, the terrain changes again, as you find yourself in a rural part of the country with people living much as they did centuries ago. Have lunch in Portomarin, and then enjoy some of the best biking of the camino on rolling terrain arriving to a little village in the country- side; where you will spend the night at a most charming inn.
Leboreiro to Santiago de Compostella [35 miles]. Start this day with crossings of medieval bridges at Disicabo and at Furelos before reaching Melide, particularly rich in pre-Roman remains. You’ll pass many small hamlets hidden among eucalyptus trees before reaching the environs of Santiago. Your adrenaline will surge as you make your way through Santiago itself, packed with vestiges of the pilgrimage. Nothing quite prepares you though, for arriving at the Cathedral itself, where you can share in the sense that pilgrims have felt since time immemorial. You’ll stay at one of the finest hotels in the city located just 200 meters from the Cathedral.
Departure Day. We recommend a leisurely last day; if you are heading back to Madrid, there are flight, train and bus connections.
"It was an exceptional trip - the camino was incredible. We loved the cycling and had a fantastic time. Some trails were challenging, but we were happy every day."
- J. Nield