Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Self-guided cycling tour: Camino Frances, from Leon to Santiago
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Highlights

  • Cycle the final stage of the Camino from Leon to Santiago
  • Explore the medieval quarter of Léon
  • Visit Gaudi’s, Museo de los Caminos
  • Ride to the steps of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compestela
  • Relax with a chilled glass of Galacian Albariňo and grilled octopus

Cycle the classic and UNESCO World Heritage pilgrimage trail from León to Santiago de Compostela.

Starting out in León, the capital of the Spanish Kingdom in the Middle Ages cycle across the Castilian plains to the spectacular Montes de Léon and the high point of Cruz de Ferro. Journey through the ancient wine valley of EL Bierzo and through the lush landscapes of Galicia. Spend each evening indulging in the local produce such as chilled Albarino wines and delicious seafood tapas.

Your show stopping end to this iconic trip is a sweeping descent into the imposing grand square of Plaza del Obradoiro, home to the imposing Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, where celebrations of your ride can commence!

DAY 1: Arrival in León

Your cycling adventure begins in the medieval city of León which is easily accessed by bus from Oviedo or by train from Madrid. Capital of the Spanish Kingdom in the Middle Ages, León is undoubtedly one of the most charming and significant cities on the Camino.


Your welcome briefing and bike fitting will be at your hotel at 20h00 leaving you free to explore the delights of León this evening.


Overnight: León


DAY 2: Cycle to Astorga

Bid farewell to León as you begin your cycling journey to Astorga. Cross the impressive medieval bridge over the River Órbigo (one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in Spain) towards the charming town of Hospital de Órbigo and onto the walled town of Astorga. Situated at the crossroads of Via de la Plata and the pilgrims’ road to Santiago, Astorga is rich in architecture and home to the Episcopal Palace, built by the Catalan architect, Antonio Gaudi.


Cycle: 54km


Overnight: Astorga


DAY 3: Cycle to Ponferrada

Leave the Castilian plains and ascend through Monte's de Leon to Cruz de Ferro on a mixture of asphalt and dirt tracks. Soon you will reach an iron cross that sits 1505m above sea level. Tradition is for pilgrims to throw a stone brought from home towards the cross. Continue your cycle towards Ponferrada before the delightful descent into Molinaseca and finally Ponferrada,where no visit is complete without a traditional hearty stew such as ‘cocido’ (chickpea and pork stew).


Cycle: 53km


Overnight: Ponferrada


DAY 4: Cycle to O’Cebreiro

Sheltered by the mountains of the Castilla y León, cycle the undulating landscape of the Bierzo valley, until you reach Villafranca del Bierzo. From here ascend to O'Cebreiro over a steady climb of 9km. This magical village is home to enchanting stone house with straw roofs and a wealth of locally hand made cheeses.


Cycle: 53km


Overnight: O’Cebreiro


DAY 5: Cycle to Portomarín

Enter the lush green countryside of Galicia. Make a stop at the village of Triacastela for a mid-morning tapas before continuing onto the historical town of Sarria where we recommend a visit to the Convento da Magdalena and the Tower of Batallón. Your cycle today finishes in Portomarin, famed for its tarts and liqueurs.


Cycle: 63km


Overnight: Portomarin


DAY 6: Cycle to Arzúa

Cycle through rural rolling Galician farmlands towards the lively market town of Arzúa. Soak up the atmosphere in the quaint, rustic villages along the way, watching fellow pilgrims as they come and go. Later in the day continue to Arzua, best known for its smooth, velvety handmade cheese, Arzua-Ulloa.


Cycle: 53km


Overnight: Arzúa


DAY 7: Cycle to Santiago de Compostela

The last of your cycling pilgrimage leads to Santiago de Compostela. As you approach the holy city you can stop at Monte do Gozo, an ideal place to stop and reflect as the spires of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela come into view. A steep descent into Santiago leads to your finishing point of the cathedral and an evening in this thriving city to celebrate your achievements.


Cycle: 39km


Overnight: Santiago


DAY 8: Onward Travel

Your cycle adventure ends in Santiago after breakfast. You may also wish to stay on and take the bus (or walk—contact us to
make arrangements!) to the coast at Finisterre, as seen in the film, The Way.

Accommodation

Each accommodation on the Camino is different and full of character. Each accommodation has been chosen for ambience, atmosphere, and to ensure it offers the best possible option in each location. Owing to the nature of this route, you will also be able to share stories and tales with fellow cyclists (and walkers) completing the Camino de Santiago.


We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up quickly, especially in high season.


Solo Cyclists & Single Rooms

Single rooms are available although a supplement is payable. This trip is available to solo cyclists. As you will meet fellow pilgrims, walkers and cyclists en route, it is a great trip to take if you are travelling on your own. A solo cyclist supplement is payable (as accommodation is in rooms for single occupancy).


Meals

A local continental breakfast is included each morning. Breakfasts usually consist of fresh pastries, breads, fruits, yoghurts, cheeses, meats and granola. If you have special dietary requirements do let us know at the time of booking.


Lunch and dinner are not included which means you are more flexible to choose from local cafes, bars and restaurants. Every overnight stop normally serves a 'Pilgrim's Menu' which includes 3 courses, wine and water.

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day from the beginning of April to the end of October. The trip does become particular busy during the peak summer months of June-August so we would suggest you book once your plans are finalised.


Grade & Terrain

This cycle is graded moderate with daily rides of up to 60km, over rollling terrain with some sustained climbs. The cycle is extremely well way-marked and you will also be supplied with turn by turn route notes and detailed maps so you will have no problem following the route each day.You will principally follow traffic free cycle paths, quiet country roads, dirt tracks and some busier roads as you enter and leave larger cities.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There will always be other cyclists/walkers around in case you are looking for help. A detailed information pack including route notes, local information and maps will be waiting for you at your first accommodation.


Baggage Transfer

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. The maximum weight of a piece of luggage is 20kg.


Rental Bikes

Giant Talon Mountain bikes (or similar) are available for hire.


Giant Talon Bike


All bicycles are 24-speed and included in your hire is a front bag, water bottle and holder, helmet, lock and a repair kit. For hygiene and health & safety reasons, we do suggest that you bring your own helmet. Please never ride without a helmet.


Compostela/Pilgrims Passport

The pilgrim’s passport is issued by the church of St James, you can obtain one at the start of your cycle in the pilgrim’s office or the local church in town. You need to get the passport stamped in churches, restaurants and hotels along the way. At the end of the walk in Santiago you can obtain your Compostela Certificate (only if you have cycled the last 200km). For the other sections of the trail, the passport is used as a souvenir with all the colourful stamps you will receive.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable Travel Insurance which covers you for the activity, emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard cycling gear such as good cycling shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months, lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to León

By Air: Oviedo is often the most convenient airport and is serviced by easyJet from London. There are 8 buses a day from Oviedo to Leon which takes 1hr30. Timetables and fares can be viewed at Alsa.


Alternatively, Madrid airport is serviced by the majority of major airlines which may be a more suitable option for international passengers. Or you can fly into Leon Airport itself, which is 6km by taxi from the city.


By Train: León can easily be reached by train from Madrid which takes 2hr45. Timetables and fares can be viewed at Renfe.


Getting back from Santiago:

By Air: Direct flights are available from Santiago de Compostela Airport to London Stansted and Gatwick airports. Alternatively connecting flights via Central European hubs such as Madrid and Barcelona is also a good option.


By Train: It is also possible to take the train from Santiago to Madrid (approx. 7-8hrs). Timetables and fares can be viewed at Renfe.

Included

  • 7 nights in small family run hotels & hostals
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Information pack including route notes, maps and local information
  • 24/7 emergency telephone support from our local team and UK office
  • Daily Baggage Transfer

Excluded

  • Travel to Leon / from Santiago de Compostela
  • Lunches, snacks or drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Entrance fees to museums and attractions
  • Personal equipment
  • Transfers should you need to skip a stage
  • Bike Hire

Extras

  • Bike hire - 21 gear mountain bike
  • Additional nights accommodation along the way
  • Single room and solo cyclist supplements

Deciding to travel on the Camino is a big commitment and you will no doubt have a huge number of questions and queries.

We hope the answers below will go some way to answering your queries, alternatively we would strongly suggest you visit the Camino Forum or Camino de Santiago website which have a wealth of information on the Camino.

How fit do I need to be?

The average daily distance of our Camino cycle tours is between 39-63km and you can expect to cycle for between 4-6 hours each day. You should do as much cycling as possible prior to your Camino as this will simply add to your enjoyment. That said if you are not at peak fitness you will find you will soon cycle yourself fit.

What type of trails does the Camino follow?

A mixture of farm/dirt tracks, minor roads and other roads when entering/departing towns. The route is marked with yellow painted arrows but please take care at intersections. There will always be other walkers and some cyclists around in case you are looking for help.

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as far in advance as possible as the Camino is extremely popular, especially for walkers. Numbers can rise by up to 100,000 people. We will always try and accommodate late bookings but realistically you need to book at least 6 weeks prior to departure.

When is the best time of year?

We would recommend April/May when the spring flowers are at their best and September/October when the colours are just lovely. June, July and August can be very hot if you are not used to cycling in the heat, while the temperatures can fall sharply in the winter with some accommodation closing down for the end of season.

What happens if I can’t cycle a stage?

Public transport and taxis (a limited number with cycle carrying facilities) are available. If you are in need of support, our local partner in Spain will be more than happy to help. However, please note that this will carry an extra charge.

Can I change my itinerary once I start cycling?

Unfortunately we are unable to change your accommodation bookings and itinerary once you start cycling as alternative accommodation is generally not available at such short notice.

Cycling Camino Frances: Leon to Santiago

4

Our itinerary informed us that we would have a bike fitting at 20:00 at the hotel in Leon, as we had time to kill we had a wander returning to the hotel at 19:45 to discover that our bikes had been left in the hotel and there was no fitting. This wasn't an issue as we were able to sort saddle heights etc. However, if there is to be a handover can I suggest it does what it says in the book!! The cycling instruction book was a little confusing at times, especially trying to leave Leon. Having said that I thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The accommodation was superb, the scenery was absolutely amazing (when you could see it!!) . It was both challenging and rewarding for all of us and no punctures! There is plenty of climbing from day 2 onwards so be prepared.

Nelly

Spalding

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Outstanding and sometimes challenging Camino experience

5

A great experience. It exceeded my expectations. For me, it was about right in terms of distance cycled and challenge each day. We were fortunate to enjoy very warm and sunny weather (only two hours rain in the week). The first four hotels were great, the last two OK. These last two suffered from outside noise and inadequate air conditioning. In most places the breakfasts were excellent. Without exception staff were helpful. The mountain bikes provided were good, but one had brake and then gear problems, but these were resolved by shops en route after discussion with Teetravel. An added dimension was undertaking a pilgrim route. Only occasionally did getting past walkers cause difficulty. Overall, a most enjoyable experience.

Steve

Tunbridge Wells

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Leon to Santiago Camino bike ride

5

Fantastic experience. Hill riding tougher than expected , especially given the rainy weather experienced . But a good challenge. Great vibe amongst the Pellegrinos

Barry the Bolt

Sydney

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Wonderful Camino Experience

4

We both absolutely loved the whole experience. The scenery was exquisite with both mountains and flat plains. Wild flowers – orchids in particular – in abundance. We were very lucky with the weather – rather cold and windy to start with but warming up with bright sunshine and fantastic visibility the following days. We only had a few drops of rain on the second day. Coming across other Pilgrims along the way was a delight – all with their own reasons for doing it. We didn't come across as many cyclists as there were walkers and sometimes it would be days before we crossed paths with the cyclists again but it gave us plenty to chat about when we met them again. The camaraderie amongst the walkers was palpable as they had more opportunities to walk together and mix with other walkers. It was like doing a journey with the whole world as companions as we met people from so many other countries …. A lot of Spanish was to be expected but there were also people from USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, Ireland, France and many more. We were surprised not to see more from the UK though. We loved this whole part of Northern Spain and it was an area we had not visited before. We want to come back as it feels unspoiled by mass tourism in other parts of the country such as Costa Del Sol and Barcelona. We were impressed by the civil engineering of the roads and fascinated by the split-level carriageways created in challenging terrain for the motorways we rode near to. It was certainly a memorable holiday and we have a lot of photos and videos to remember it by.

Merrie Maggie

Stourbridge, UK

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Trip of a lifetime

5

Slick, well organised trip ! fantastic ( very hard, but manageable) experience .. Astorga was amazing and the countryside in Galicia stunning

Vince

Brighton

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Kind , thoughtful and caring

5

My Camino was very different than I had expected. Toward the end of the second day of riding, I was in a terrible bike accident and was helicoptered to a hospital in Ponferrada where I stayed for 8 days. Every day a representative from both Macs Adventures and TeeTravel called to check up on me and to help in any way that was needed. When my hospital stay was finally over, they helped us find a way to Santiago, even providing luxurious accommodations for our one night there. Thank you, both to TeeTravel and Macs Adventure for helping us feel supported during the very difficult time.

Liz

California

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Fantastic trip.

5

Not suited to children.

Pat on a bike

Sydney

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Camino de Santiago: A great ride - so much to take in

5

Never a dull moment from start to finish. Really well organised, a great experience. Can't wait for the next one now.

IW

West Sussex

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A Wonderful Camino Adventure!

4

My first time on the Camino, something I have wanted to bike for a while now. Everyone at Macs Adventure I had contact with had been very responsive and helpful. As far as travel arrangements (accommodations, bike delivery, luggage delivery), everything went smoothly. At the beginning destination (Leon), we were provided a very informative booklet which was to be our "travel guide" to Santiago. I think it would be very useful if some of that information was given upfront before the tour, such as the route gradient (some parts were pretty flat, but there was a great deal of rolling hills, including steep grades, up and down). Future bikers might like to be prepared for that. All in all a great experience and we met a lot of very nice and interesting peregrinos!

Bring on the Next Adventure

San Francisco

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Simplifying the Camino for Adventurers

4

Great price (extremely competitive , it's what drew me to you in the first place) , very good commnication (the telephone follow-up when I didn't fill out the online portion correctly was very very very much appreciated), very good value for the product We enjoyed our accommodations along the Camino - the smaller, more rural choices were especially pleasing , as they had a more 'authentic' feel to them Guidebook for following the Camino needs some re-working --- it was difficult to follow along , as some directions had too many "turn right at some spot , then another right " directions , without specifics ... so we had to constantly backtrack in the directions to figure out where we were within the day. Cycling is so different from hiking , guide-wise , that more concrete whereabouts are needed. Also, as the Camino can become narrow and well traveled by peregrinos in some parts , it would be convenient to have road options around certain points, when available. As cyclists, we are the minority on the Camino and need to be ambassadors for our sport by being as courteous and respectful of the hikers as we can be; instructions for proper and responsible cycling etiquette (eg slow down a lot when passing hikers, kindly alert them to your presence, use vocal commands and/or hand signals when traveling together in a group) might well be included in your instructions and guide pamphlets , so that everyone (both hikers and cyclists) can have a "Buen Camino" The choice of accommodation for Santiago de Compostela might be closer to the Camino itself: in the grand scheme of the city , it is a good choice ( the park next door was quite charming and the hotel itself was wonderful and extremely accomodating ) and is only a few minutes from the cathedral , but there seems to be multiple choices that are closer, for a more 'authentic' experience

Mateo

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Cycling Camino Frances: Leon to Santiago

4.6 12

100.0

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