Cycling the Camino de Santiago - León to Santiago

Cycling the Camino de Santiago - León to Santiago

The Camino de Santiago across northern Spain is one of the world's oldest pilgrimage routes. Gothic cathedrals, medieval monasteries, and miles of unspoiled rural scenery are just some of the attractions that draw visitors from around the world annually to make this historic trek.

We designed our ride from León to Santiago for those of you who don't have the time to commit to our longer Roncesvalles to Santiago 15-day ride along the Camino; it is also a slightly easier tour with a 301 level rating.

Tour Dates & Prices

Date
Price
Private Room Fee
Note
May 31-Jun 7, 2019
USD$3895
USD$550
2 More to Guarantee the Departure. Book by November 15 and save $200! 
Jun 21-28, 2019
USD$3895
USD$550
 Book by November 15 and save $200!
Aug 23-30, 2019
USD$3895
USD$550
Book by November 15 and save $200!  
Aug 30-Sep 6, 2019
USD$3895
USD$550
 Book by November 15 and save $200!

* We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

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Trip At-A-Glance

  • Length / 8 Days
  • Total Distance / 358 km (221 miles)
  • Avg. Distance / 60 km (37 miles) per riding day
  • Tour Level / 3.5
  • Countries / Spain
  • Begin/End / León/Santiago de Compostela
  • Price / From USD$3895
More Photos
  • Tour Summary
  • Daily Itinerary
  • Travel Information
  • Map
  • Reviews
  • Similar Tours
Tour Summary

Tour Summary

  • Highlights
    Cathedral of St. James, Spanish castles and cathedrals, Continue a Thousand-year-old tradition, León, Basilica de San Isidoro, Pilgrim's Passport

    Keep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

    Though we try and arrange dinners together as early as possible in Spain this means 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. There are times when we will divert from the traditional Camino route because it is gravel, or because we've chosen a more scenic way with less traffic.
  • Includes
    Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; 8 days, 7 nights accommodation, 6 dinners with wine, all breakfasts plus

    The Usual (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)

    • Superb tour leaders who are fun, bilingual and avid cyclists.
    • Help with flights, trains and pre/post tour hotels.
    • Comfortable lodging in 3-4 star hotels. 
    • All breakfasts and at least half of your dinners.
    • Use of a high quality 27-30 speed bike.
    • Full van support to carry luggage – and tired cyclists, too! 
    • Special events like wine tastings, cultural visits and chocolatiers.
    • All tips and gratuities at tour hotels and group meals.
    • Unique routes, marked with our famous chalk dust arrows.
    • Daily mileage options.
    • Detailed route map and free use of our traveling resource library.

    What's not included:

    • Transportation to and from the bicycling tour including airfare, or train travel
    • Helmets - we ask that you bring your own to ensure the best fit
    • Meals not listed in the itinerary
    • Tour Leader gratuity

    See the complete list of what's included with every ExperiencePlus! Tour.

  • Arrive / Depart
    Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) / Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ) or Madrid
  • Overall Tour Level
  • Daily Ride Summary

    Day

    **Distance/Gain
    mi/ftkm/m

    Terrain

    Day Level

    Notes

    1
    Test ride
    2
    61km / 390m
    Mostly flat
    difficulty level 1.5
    3
    76km / 880m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 4.0
    4
    60km / 1328m
    Mountainous
    difficulty level 5.0
    5
    50km / 729m
    Very hilly
    difficulty level 3.5
    6
    77km / 1326m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 4.5
    7
    40km / 759m
    Hilly
    difficulty level 3.0
    8
    Last day

    Tour Level Note: Steeper but short hilly rides. Two days have sustained climbs for approximately 5 - 8 miles.

    **We use Ride With GPS (ridewithgps.com) to calculate elevation and mileage information. Due to variance between mapping technologies, totals may differ slightly across devices and applications

Terrain Legend

Mostly flat Mostly flat

Rolling hills Rolling

Hilly Hilly

Very hilly Very hilly

Mountainous Mountainous

Daily Itinerary

DAY 1: Arrive León, Spain

Highlights: Former capital of Spain, visit the Cathedral without Walls, introductory dinner

We'll meet this afternoon at our hotel in Le?n, just a few meters away from the "Cathedral without Walls." This splendid example of Spanish Gothic architecture is renowned for its marvelous stained glass windows. After fitting bikes this afternoon, you can explore town and visit the local sites. Then, we'll gather this evening for dinner together in a traditional Spanish wine bodega and meet others of the group. Distance: Test Ride.

DAY 2: León to Astorga

Highlights: Visit to cathedral and palace designed by Antonio Gaudí

On your way to Astorga you will cross the Puente de Orbigo, one of the oldest and longest bridges on the Camino. Astorga is home to the 15th-century cathedral and neo-Gothic palace designed by the famous Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí.

  • Distance: 61 km (38 mi)
  • Gain: 390 m (1279 ft)
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Day Level: Day Level 1.5
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lodging:

DAY 3: Astorga to Cacabelos

Highlights: Scenic cycling through the Spanish countryside, Cruz de Ferro (don't forget to bring your pebble from home!)

Leaving Astorga today, we head toward the hills that separate the provinces of León and Galicia. As we pass through tiny hamlets and monuments untouched since early Christianity, it's easy to imagine the awe that original pilgrims making this trek must have felt. By mid-afternoon, we'll arrive at our destination in Cacabelos.

  • Distance: 76 km (47 mi)
  • Gain: 880 m (2886 ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 4.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 4: Cacabelos to Tricastela

Highlights: Countryside of Galicia, historic Villafranca del Bierzo, optional hiking opportunity

We head into the green fields of Galicia today. On the way, you'll pass through the old Camino town of Villafranca del Bierzo, founded by French pilgrims as a place of absolution for those too weak to continue their pilgrimage. There is the opportunity to cut the ride short and do an optional 8km (5 miles) hike so be sure to pack sneakers or light hikers if you are interested as the trail is fairly steep.

Lodging: Our hotel this evening is in Tricastela or Samos. May departure is staying in Casa de Diaz

DAY 5: Tricastela to Portomarín

Highlights: Galician culture, visit Samos monastery

You will get a real taste of Galicia today - a region with a culture and musical style reminiscent of Ireland - as we pedal our way to Portomarín, where our hotel overlooks the Minho River.

  • Distance: 50 km (31 mi)
  • Gain: 729 m (2391 ft)
  • Terrain: Very hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 3.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 6: Portomarín to Touro

Highlights: Quiet & scenic roads, stay in a country manor

One of the prettiest rides on the tour awaits you today as we meander along forgotten country roads through the beautiful Galician countryside. Rolling hills and green pastures lead us to our destination for the evening near Touro, where we'll stay in one of the traditional country houses (similar to B&Bs) that dot the landscape.

  • Distance: 77 km (48 mi)
  • Gain: 1326 m (4349 ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 4.5
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 7: Arrive in Santiago de Compostela

Highlights: Arrival in Santiago, Cathedral of St. James, farewell dinner

Today's ride is a fitting end to the Camino, as we pedal along rural roads through woodlands and pastures to Santiago. Once in town, you'll have plenty of time to look around the famous Cathedral of St. James that forms the city's heart. Tonight, we'll celebrate our journey's end with a great farewell dinner together.

  • Distance: 40 km (25 mi)
  • Gain: 759 m (2490 ft)
  • Terrain: Hilly
  • Day Level: Day Level 3.0
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Lodging:

DAY 8: Tour ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Highlights: Pilgrim's Mass at Noon

Remember that we will offer a tour of the roof of the Santiago cathedral this morning. You will also want to stick around for the Pilgrim's Mass at noon because you may not arrive in time to take part on Day 14. If you would like to participate in these activities, schedule flights after 3:30 p.m. Buen viaje!

  • Meals: Breakfast
Travel Information

Travel Information

Day 1: Arrival Information

Arrive León, Spain

Lodging: Hotel NH Plaza Mayor

Note:

As you are planning, remember that the hotels listed in our itineraries are our primary hotels and are - in rare cases - subject to change. Before you make arrangements, check with us if your tour departure is guaranteed. If your tour departure is out further than 6 months, please also check with us as there might be slight changes to the itinerary.

Meeting time 2 p.m. on Day 1, meet your fellow cyclists and Tour Leaders at the Day 1 Hotel specified on your itinerary.

The below information will help you plan your arrival. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio. The fare and timing information listed below is approximate.

The closest airport is the Leon airport (LEN). The Madrid airport is about a 3.5-4 hr train ride.

From the LEN airport or Leon train station to the Day 1 hotel:

  • Taxi (20 min/EUR 15-20)

Look up Spanish train schedules at Renfe.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

Day 8: Departure Information

Tour ends in Santiago de Compostela, Spain

The tour ends on the final day after a tour of the roof of the Santiago cathedral this morning. You may also want to stick around for the Pilgrim's Mass at noon. If you would like to participate in these activities, schedule flights after 3:30 p.m.

The below information will help you plan your departure. For more tips or other routes, you might like Rome2Rio.

We recommend flying out of the Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ).

  • A train or bus to Madrid or Barcelona is at least a 9-hour trip.
  • Iberia airlines provides one-way flights to numerous destinations from Santiago.

Flying out of SQL

  • Taxi from the Ending Hotel to the airport (20 min/EUR 21)

Look up Spanish train schedules at Renfe.com or Trainline.eu. Questions? See our information on taking trains in Europe here or ask us.

What's Included

For a full list of what's included before, during and after your bike tour, visit our What's Included page.

Keep in Mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

Though we try and arrange dinners together as early as possible in Spain this means 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. There are times when we will divert from the traditional Camino route because it is gravel, or because we've chosen a more scenic way with less traffic.

Pre-Trip Planning Checklist

To do right after you booked!

6 to 3 Months Prior to Tour Start Date

  • Check the online itinerary of your trip and review the arrival and departure information under the "Travel Information" tab to see meeting place and time, if a reservation on a complimentary ExperiencePlus! Shuttle (if applicable) is required, and other important information to help you plan your arrival and departure.
  • Reserve your flights after you know you have a confirmed tour departure. Please check with our office if you do not know if your trip is confirmed.
  • Book your pre and post-tour hotel nights.
  • 12 weeks before your tour begin your training program: https://www.experienceplus.com/blog/travel-planning/bicycle-tour-training/
  • Final payment is due 90 days prior to the tour start. Please refer to your Deposit Payment Invoice and the Final Payment Reminder e-mail you have received for detailed instructions.

6 to 2 Weeks Prior to Tour Start Date

Day of Your Flight

Get as much sleep on the plane as you can. Pack your one day of cycling gear in your carry-on. See you soon!

What to Expect on Tour

Bicycles

Your bike comes with a pack for the rear rack, lock, cyclometer (bicycle computer), a spare tube and patch kit and pump, a rear light and in some places a bell. If you would like to bring your own pedals and shoes we recommend doing so—your tour leaders will install them during the bike fitting. We have flat pedals with or without cages available. For safety and hygiene reasons you are responsible for bringing a helmet.

Daysheets

Each day you'll receive a daysheet with information on the day's activities, meals and ride. These also include Tour Leader phone numbers, hotel information and interesting historical and cultural information about sites that you may want to stop and see along the route. Your Tour Leaders will also post daily announcements in the hotel lobby with information about sightseeing in town or restaurant recommendations for dinners on your own as well as important information about breakfast, luggage down and "arrows down" time.

Navigating on Tour

Each day we will provide you with a route map with the day's ride highlighted route. Of course, we also mark the route every day with our signature chalk dust arrows. Our arrows make navigating very easy—you may never need to look at the map! The arrows also allow you to ride at your own pace. There is no need to "keep up" with the group—this is your ride!

But what if it rains? What happens to the arrows? In a light rain, the arrows actually "set up" and become more permanent. In a heavy rain, they do wash away. If that happens, we'll re-group to cycle together for those who want to continue cycling while those who prefer to stay dry can shuttle.

For the tech-loving riders out there we offer the opportunity to download GPS tracks of most tour routes to your personal GPS device using RideWithGPS.com. Tracks are available upon request approximately three to four weeks prior to the departure.

Van Support

The van carries luggage and supports cyclists. It also has water, fruit and snacks. Though the van has snacks, we encourage you to stop and enjoy markets and find your own favorite local specialty.

Hotels

We have carefully chosen all of our accommodations for their charm and location. They are typically small, family run hotels that offer you a glimpse into the local culture.

We prefer hotels near interesting sites in the center of town located along the best cycling route in the area. Because many of the hotels are small not all of the rooms will be exactly the same. We keep this in mind and do our best to distribute rooms fairly by the end of the tour. Our itinerary lists our primary hotels. On rare occasions, listed hotels are subject to change.

Meals and Restaurants

Breakfasts: we work hard to arrange complete breakfasts but some hotels still serve continental style breakfasts; cycling is energy intensive so we do recommend you plan for a morning or mid-morning snack on the road at a local café or market.

Water is OK in almost all hotels and in country fountains; if there is a problem, we will advise you.

We'll recommend lunch locations en route and most itineraries include a few group picnics. We limit the number of picnics so you don't feel pressured to be at a certain place in the middle of your ride.

Dinners together are often pre-planned and pre-ordered. We'll ask you prior to your trip if you have special dietary requirements. Preplanned meals allow us to provide a variety of regional specialties and facilitate efficient service. Water, wine and beer are included.

Tipping Your Tour Leader Team

If you feel your tour leader team has demonstrated great expertise and service, common practice within the travel industry is to tip. Tipping is voluntary and greatly appreciated, and gratuity amounts vary widely. Should you decide to leave a tip, as a guideline, we suggest 5% of the tour cost per traveler – this for the entire tour leader team, not each Tour Leader. If you’d like to show your gratitude for your Tour Leaders’ excellent service you can give the tip to any member of the tour leader team, as they share it evenly. In order to avoid social tensions, we encourage you to tip as individuals and not as a group. If you feel your Tour Leaders did not quite meet your expectations, then we would like to know about it. You will also have the opportunity to leave your comments in our evaluation survey which we email to you after your trip.

Photos

By reserving space on tour, you agree that ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours may use, re-use and reproduce any images, photos or videos that you send to us, or that are taken by our guides and/or other travelers of you individually or in a group, in any medium, including but not limited to print, electronic media, or Internet, free of charge and without your right to inspection, for promoting and publicizing our travel products and services worldwide. If you do not want us to use any images of you that are taken by us or other participants during the tour, you must inform us or your tour leader in writing at the start of the tour.

Map

Map

Reviews

Reviews

  • I think National Geographic really summed it up - trip of a life time.

    Jan M., Independence, MN
  • This tour provided the best experience of the Camino. The chalk arrows made the tour very enjoyable and easy to follow the route. I was never lost or confused. That is a big selling point. I''ve been on a dozen or more tours with other companies and the little maps and notes they provide are hard to follow.

    Bill M., Fort Worth, TX - May 2018
  • Outstanding experience. The guides were exceptional.

    Jose A., Miami, FL
  • The perfect combination of exertion, culture and scenery.

    Erika G., Sugar Hill, GA
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? The beautiful scenery and seeing the walking pilgrims, chatting with other pilgrims along the way. I enjoyed hearing the residents wish us well.

    Betsy M., Colorado Springs, CO
  • [My favorite part?] Riding through endless rolling hills day after day in beautiful weather. Encountering at least two quaint and unique villages each day. I can think of nothing I disliked about the trip!

    Sara G.
    Portland, OR
  • We absolutely loved every minute of the tour. Thank you to our guides for making sure that Mike had all of the gluten-free food that he needed. They made it a stress free vacation.

    Carolyn O., Littleton, CO
  • The most important trip I have ever taken! Whether it is Spain or any other area...you can''''t go wrong with Experience Plus! "the experience of a lifetime"....I so badly want to go again. I loved the evening meetings...the history of the area shared...the stories and entertainment were beyond GREAT...just their compassion and sincere caring of each and every person was superb! Our bikes were wonderful, they were fit to each of us that our biking would be trouble free...I always thought my bikes were great, but these were the BEST! Our accommodations were special, each night...food unbelievably good as well as the wine!

    Jeanne L., Ft Collins, CO
  • What was your favorite experience on this trip? Riding the Camino every day, the amazing food every evening, leaving rocks at the cruz de ferro arriving in Santiago, the incredibly amazing guides. Amazing, A must-do, Incredible. You spoiled me and I wouldn''t use another tour group for fear of disappointment. The arrows were the best!

    Cathy E., Edmond, OK
  • I loved the people, the trip, the place, the guides. Fantastic experience!

    Garrett E., Donnybrook, Ireland
  • I think this tour exceeded my expectations in all aspects. A really well thought out tour in every aspect-accommodations, food, route, support.

    Emma S., Sydney, Australia
  • I loved being so well taken care of by the leaders. The arrows on the street were great. There was no fear of being lost so we could enjoy the country side and really appreciate what was in front of us.

    Eunice C.
    Roosevelt Island, NY
  • The Camino really is a trip of a lifetime. History, scenery, food ... everything about the trip makes it memorable. The chalk arrows are absolutely brilliant. They take all the worry out of riding and let me go completely at my own pace. On the Camino, they were the Way! I can''t imagine a better experience.

    Pam K., Stanford, CA
  • Thank you!!!!! After every tour I say "this was the best ever!" But truly, the Camino was the best ever!!!!

    Charlene R., Fort Collins, CO - August 2018
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