logo ecologico Tours per le tue vacanze in bici ed a piedi

 

 

THE WAY OF SAINT JAMES BY BIKE  

17/9/8 days cycling tour

 

The goal of the historic Camino is getting to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. The most famous itinerary follows the Camino Francés, through the Pyrenees, from France to Spain. This itinerary, rich in history, legends and arts, boasts a various, enchanting landscape that will leave unforgettable memories in your mind, heart and soul. During the Middle Ages, the only way to travel was on foot or on horseback. Today, despite the advent of new means of transportation, nothing has changed, except for the introduction of the use of bike on the way. Cycling on the Way of St. James is something accepted by everybody as a traditional way of pilgrimage, because speed is balanced by physical effort and the way to go beyond one’s limits leads to reflection and to a feeling of loneliness. The Way of St. James by bike from France to Pamplona and then to Santiago is divided into 15 stretches and it is a fantastic adventure ending with the traditional arrival at the square of the oratory in front of the impressive cathedral of Santiago, through the Door of Forgiveness.

 

The tour Pamplona-Santiago in three different stages:

  • From Saint Jean Pied de Port to Santiago (17 days/16 nights)

  • From Pamplona to Leon (9 days / 8 nights)

  • From Leon to Santiago (8 days / 7 nights)

 

 

 

 

FROM SAINT JEAN PIED DE PORT TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

17 days / 16 nights / 15 days on bike (ca 770 km / 480 miles)

 

 

 

 

Programme

 

Day 1 Arrival at Saint Jean Pied de Port 

Saint Jean Pied de Port is the traditional point of departure for the Saint James’ Way. The village, along the river Nive, is situated 8 km from the Spanish borders. The name ‘Foot of the pass’ derives from the fact that the country was built at the foot of Roncevalle pass. Different itineraries - from Paris, Vézelay and le Puy en Velay- of the Way meet here and this is the last stop before crossing the steep Pyrenees mountains. In St.Jean, you will take the Credential of the Way, a document you will need in order to sleep in the ‘Albergues’ and to collect stamps along the Way to Santiago.

 

Day 2

From St Jean Pied de Port to Roncisvalle 

Distance: 23 km; departure quote 180m- max 1340m- arrival 920m; Level: difficult; highlights: madonna Biakorri (o Orisson Virgin); the well of Roland; mountainous landscape 

To cross the Pyrenees it is worth taking the street of Napoleon, which follows more or less the old Roman street between Bordeaux and Astorga, the most beautiful pathway used by most of the pilgrims. The path goes up, trees end and leave space to green pastures, after that you start do descend towards Roncisvalle.

 

Day 3 

From Roncisvalle to Pamplona  

Distance: 50 km; departure quote 920m- max 920m; Level: medium; highlights: Pamplona

This is the first stretch, totally in Spain. Everywhere you are followed by the shadow of legendary and valiant Franc paladin Roland, who opposed the king Moro Marsilio and fell victim of an ambush by the Moors in Roncesvalles. Pamplona founded by Pompeo in 75 BC., is the first Spanish city of the French Way (Camino Francés). Pamplona shows a big contrast between the modern city, with big boulevards and lots of green, and the medieval city, with its alleys, small squares and old monuments, all kept together in extraordinary and perfect harmony. Once, Pamplona was entirely surrounded by walls: it now stretches into the Arga River Valley and forms, together with the nearby villages, a unique city with about 250,000 inhabitants, half of the entire population of the Independent Community of Navarra. In the city there are different churches to visit (16°-18° century), an archaeological and religious museum.

 

Day 4 

From Pamplona to Estella

Distance: 44 km; Minimum quote 397m- max 780m; Level: medium; highlights: Alto del Perdón, Puente la Reina, Cirauqui and Estella 

The first stretch will lead you to the heart of old Navarra. You cross plains and barren hills and fields with scattered villages and cities. After picturesque Zariquiegui, you cross Sierra del Perdon (780 M). You cycle down to Puente la Reina, where your path joins the one coming from Arles to become a single path to Santiago. The symbol of this unification is the historic medieval bridge of the area, built to ease the way to pilgrims. The landscape becomes more monotonous and arid. In spite of that, it is still interesting because you cycle by monuments recalling a glorious past: Roman streets, medieval bridges…half way you cross the centre of Cirauqui (498m), which develops around the church of San Román, Gothic building with ogival portal and polylobed arcades that, despite the many transformations, still preserves the aspect of a fortress. You leave Cirauqui on the Roman street (there are still Roman sidewalks and pavement) and a Roman bridge, whose upper part was restored in 1702. Your overnight stay is in Estella, situated along the river Ega. There are different Romanesque churches to visit.

 

Day 5 

From Estella to Logroňo

Distance: 49 km; minimum quote 420m- max 590m; Level: medium-easy; highlights:Irache, Torres del Rio, Viana, Logroňo

The pathway goes through cultivated fields. You can make a short detour to visit the monastery of Irache, where, in the Romanesque church, you will find a very special fountain: a fountain from which wine comes out, even if many of you will prefer drinking water from the fountain of the village of Villamayor de Moniardin. Today you will reach La Rioja, famous for its wines. You cross the Ebro River through the historic stone bridge, just outside the city of Logroňo . Logroňo is a city with 150,000 inhabitants, capital of La Rioja. The main monuments and places of interest are: The church "Santa Maria de la Redonda" (15° century) facing Calle Major, a Gothic Cathedral with a  beautiful portal of Rococo style full of statues and decorations situated between two baroque towers, "San Bartolomé", a Roman-Gothic church going back to centuries XIII-XIV, "Santa Maria del Palacio", a Templar church (12° century),  the church of Santiago la Real (15th century) where pilgrims from Santiago used to meet, the “Bridge on the Ebro” of the year 1183, the "Paseo del Espolon", centre of the city with gardens, statues and big buildings, the “Museum of Logroňo" with collections of sculptures and paintings from various periods and objects of local archaeology.  

 

Day 6 

 

From Logroňo to S.Domingo de la Calzada

Distance: 49 km; min. quote 390m- max 715m; Level: medium-difficult; highlights: Navarrete, Nájera, Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Vineyards and cultivated fields are the absolute protagonists of this stretch. You leave Logroňo and cycle to the beautiful area of the natural park of Pantano de la Graiera, an artificial lake (32 hectares) surrounded by woodlands. You arrive to Navarrete, the city of ceramics. The exit from Navarrete is on a beautiful dirt road among vineyards, where piles of stones testify the hard work of tilling. The spectacular hills of Sierre di Demanda, south, and those of Cantabria, north, flank the extensive valley of the Ebro

 

Day 7

From S.Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos

Distance: 63 km; min. quote 640m- max 1165m; Level: difficult; highlights: Redecilla del Camino, Belorado, Villafrance de Montes de Oca, San juan de Ortega, archaeological sites of sierra di Atapuerca, Burgos. 

You arrive at Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the most famous places of the Jacopea tradition, because it was founded by San Domenico to give hospitality to pilgrims. In this area, there is a magnificent bridge of 24 arches on river Oja. You cycle on an arid landscape, but special and impressive, before reaching the majesty of Pastiglia and the province of Burgos . The landscape will vary because you pass through ‘Los Montes de Oca’, covered by woods, once populated by wolves and gangsters. It will be the last ascent on a wide area of woods before entering the region of Bierza and arrive to San Juan de Ortega. In San Juan there is a beautiful monastery, built in Romanesque and Gothic style. It is dedicated to San Juan , a rich Castilian who, after devoting himself to finance improvement works of the Camino, retired to the mountains de Oca, devoting himself to the care of pilgrims on the way. You cycle the last stretch on the fertile plain of Rio Arlanzon, which will lead you to the monumental city of Burgos .

 

Day 8 

 

From Burgos to Fromista

Distance: 63 km; min. quote 800m- max 920m- arrival 920m; Level: medium-difficult; highlights: Castrojeriz, Frómista, Villalcázar de Sirga  

This stretch, just like the one of yesterday, has numerous places which are symbol of the Jacopea tradition, like for example the Fitero or Frómista bridge. After you leave the outskirts of Burgos , the path arrives to Rabé de la Calzadas and climbs up to a tableland. Before Hornillo del Camino, an eternal village build along one single street, the path goes down. You come back again to the ‘plateau’ and, cycling downhill, you go past Hontanas. You cycle through an enchanting valley and arrive to Castrojeriz. You go through the Itero bridge on River Pisuerga, situated on the border between the province of Burgos and Palencia . The bridge has 11 arches and was built in the 11th century: it has lost its Romanesque shape after the restoration of the 17th century. You arrive to the Canal of Pastiglia (17th century), follow it until Frómista with its beautiful Romanesque church of San Martino .Even if it looks like a flat stretch, pilgrims will have to cycle uphill and downhill for a while. On the top of each hill, you will see the next one. You will have a reward: the beautiful views you can contemplate from these hills.

 

Day 9

From Fromista to Sahagún

Distance: 58 km; min. quote 830m- max 910m; Level: facile; highlights:Carrion de los Condes and Sahagún

The Castilian plain dominates this stretch with strength and sobriety until the final destination of the day, Sahagún. You are half way to Santiago . The wide Castilian plain punishes pilgrims with its strong sun in the summer months: just poplars along some river streams and shadows on the streets of villages give some relief. After you leave Carrion, you get to the monastery of San Zoilo. The Royal Monastery of San Zoilo is the oldest Romanesque building of Carrión de los Condes and was built on a Roman settlement. There are witnesses of its existence since the year 948: it still preserves the relics of the Saint since the year 1047. The main façade, with elliptical arc and archivolts, is late Gothic and decorated with Franciscan cords. The path enters the desert, Pàramo. You cycle across many villages before arriving to Moratinos, an isolated village. Today’s stretch ends in Sahagun with its beautiful church of S.Lorenzo (12th century). You cycle the first 30km of the stretch through evocative paths between cultivated fields,  the rest almost entirely on the National street N -120.

 

Day 10

From Sahagún to Leon

Distance: 53 km; min. quote 800m- max 910m; Level: easy; highlights: Mansilla de las Mulas and Leon

As you leave Sahagún, the Camino goes on into the expanse of Leon . The landscape varies and changes, the ground becomes uneven and stony. Today, you cycle towards North and you will have great views of the Cantabrian Mountains . Many trees have been planted over the years along this path to give some shadow to pilgrims. The last stretch is short and pleasant and ends with a descent up to Léon, one of the most important cities on the Way of St. James (Camino Francés). It is worth visiting the cathedral, masterpiece of late Gothic style, inspired by French Cathedrals. Works began in 1205 and ended two centuries later, leaving its style unchanged. It is hard to cycle across the plain. Today you cycle North and you will have great views of the Cantabrian Mountains . You cycle in the sun on stony trails. In summer, it is better to start cycling early in the morning, with a good supply of water.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 11

From Leon to Astorga

Distance: 50 km; min. quote 800m- max 950m; Level: easy; highlights: sanctuary della Madonna del Cammino (XX sec), Hospital de Órbigo and Astorga.

The route continues on lowlands which become more and more quiet and comfortable. In the final stretch, you cycle through the city of Astorga , of Roman origins, and enter the area of La Maragateria, famous for its old traditions and mule tracks. Astorga is an impressive city, where you can visit the Gothic cathedral, the Palace designed by Gaudi and Roman mosaics. After 33 km, you get to the Bridge del Paso Honroso on the river Órbigo, famous for the deeds of knight Suero de Quiňones (15th century), in the tournament of the Holy Year of Compostela in 1434, in honor of the Apostle James.

 

Day 12

From Astorga to Ponferrada

Distance: 54 km; min quote 500m- max 1504m; Level: difficult; highlights: Castrillo de los Polvazares, Rabanal del Camino, Cruz de Ferro, Molinaseca and Ponferrada

You leave the Meseta and cycle now on a mountain landscape. There aren’t steep peaks or deep valleys, but high and round peaks. The altitude and solitude of these places and typical stone houses give this itinerary a typical mountain atmosphere. 1149 meters of height there is Rabanal del Camino, an excellent place to rest a bit. Shortly after Astorga, you can stop in Castrillo de los Polvazares, a historic monument. You leave the village of Rabanal and start climbing towards the mountain, sometimes cycling on paved roads. You cycle through the countryside and the air is fresh. Today, you will reach the highest point of the path from Le Puy en Velay to Santiago , the Cross Cruz de Yerro (1504m a.s.l.). From here you have magnificent views of the surrounding landscape and, farther, Ponferrada, the final destination for today. You descend until Acebo and Molinaseca, two wonderful villages with just 800 inhabitants and many typical wooden balconies. For some km, you cycle through the plain of Bierzo, and then you get to Ponferrada and its castle: for sure you will be tired but satisfied and happy. 

 

Day 13

From Ponferrada to O Cebreiro

Distance: 52 km; min quote 460m- max 1320m; Level: difficult/very difficult; highlights: Cacabelos, Villafranca and O Cebreiro

El Bierzo and Galicia hold hands in this stretch, ending at an altitude of 1300 M in O’Cebreiro. You cycle through the lowlands of Bierzo until Cacabelos (483 M) and Villafranca, the city of the Franks. Villafranca is charming, situated at the confluence of the rivers Burbia and Valcarce, at the foot of the mountains. You can visit a monastery of the 11th century, the churches of S.Juan of the 12th century and Saint Francis of the year 1313. Another beautiful mountain stretch will lead you from Castile to Galicia . You will leave Villafranca and the itinerary will follow the valley and the main street. You can avoid cycling along the traffic street taking a steep path among brooms until the village of Pradela (940 M. a.s.l.), then you will descend to Trabadelo (600m a.s.l.) and join again the traditional route. There are different stretches to get to magic O Cebreiro, an important stretch of the Camino of Santiago.  The first kilometres of the path starting from Villafranca are through the narrow valley of river Valcarce, between oaks and chestnut trees. The latest eight km you should climb 690 m.; however, the landscape is spectacular and the feeling of being in the vicinity of Santiago are well worth the effort.

 

Day 14

From O’Cebreiro to Portomarin

Distance: 60 km; min quote 450m- max 1330m; Level: medium; highlights: Triacastela, Samos and Sarria

Thick woods and mountains of Galicia dominate this part of the Way. After O Cebreiro, the path follows the ridge. When the weather is fine, you have breathtaking views of Galicia (the highest peak is Alto del Poyo 1337m a.s.l.). When you get to ‘Alto de San Roque’, you will see a bronze Giant fighting against the elements. Then the route goes town into a valley. From Triacastela you can choose two itineraries to get to Sarria. The first passes through the national street until Sammos (532m a.s.l.) and its big Benedictine monastery, visited by pilgrims since ancient times. The second one follows the traditional way, passing through the village of A Balsa. This zigzag path is shorter and goes through the Galician countryside, through small woods and meadows. Sarria is a modern city which still preserves its ancient historic centre. The path leaves Sarria and goes through one of the most particular oak woods (“carballeras”) of the whole way. Then you continue through several villages and fields. The path is sometimes muddy, because in this part of Galicia it rains a lot. Today’s Portomarin is a village entirely rebuilt after a flood. The new Portomarin, at the foot of the ruins of a village disappeared in 1962, tries to keep its old charm. That’s the reason why just some old buildings were moved here, like the Romanesque Church of San Niccolò (12th century). The Way goes on through a very populated area with several little villages. Along this stretch, there are ascents and descents, with a difference in altitude of about 850 Metres from O’Cebreira and Sarria.    

 

Day 15

From Portomarin to Arzua

Distance: 51 km; min quote 360m- max 730m; Level: medium-difficult; highlights: Portomarin, Vilar de Donas.

From Hospital de la Cruz, you go on a charming road through woodlands, meadows, hedges and horreos (wooden or stone barns raised from the ground with columns) and see typical stone crosses which remind of the ancient Celtic origins of this land. You are 70 km away from the end and pilgrims strongly feel that all the efforts made are about to pay off.  Almost without realizing, you are losing altitude, because you are approaching the sea. Landscape is green, with wide forests of eucalyptus. Once you arrive to Melide (454m), the Camino Francés ( French Way ) and the North Way join and merge. Overnight in Arzua.

 

Day 16

From Arzua to Santiago di Compostela

Distance: 40 km; min. quote 290m- max 560m; Level: medium; highlights: Melide,  Lavacolla, Monte do Gozo and Santiago di Compostela

The Way ends at the magnificent cathedral of Santiago : in its crypt, there is the alleged tomb of St. James. Everywhere in the city, we find the scallop shell of St. James, the symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The scallop shell of Saint James had to be sewn on the coat or hat and was the symbol that the pilgrim had visited the tomb of Saint James in the remote, distant and green region of Galicia, in the Iberian Peninsula. Even if there are not many ascents and descents, the way is hard, because it goes through continuous small valleys and rivers, one after the other one, that go down towards the Tambre. Moreover, the trail goes in several points through the busy street N-547. Once you get to Mount Gozo, you can see the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago for the first time. From here you get to the urban area of the city. 

 

Day 17

Departure after breakfast

 

A. Included in the tour Saint Jean Pied de Port –Santiago:  

  • Accommodation in good *** and **** hotels
  • Buffet breakfast
  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel  
  • Tour information
  • Road book with detailed description in English and maps
  • Help/Emergency phone support 

   

The package does not include:

  • Journey to reach Spain and journey back home
  • Drinks at meals
  • Lunch and dinner
  • Entrance tickets
  • Personal extras
  • All not specified under “the tour package includes”

 

B. Included in the tour Pamplona Léon:

  • Accommodation in 4 good ** hotels and 4 *** hotels
  • Buffet breakfast
  • 4 x Dinner
  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel (1 suitcase max. 12 kg).
  • Tour information
  • Road book in English or French with detailed description and maps 
  • Help/emergency phone support

 

The tour package does not include:

  • The journey to reach Spain and the journey back home
  • Drinks at meals
  • Lunch and 4 dinners
  • Entrance tickets
  • Personal extras
  • All not specified under “the tour package includes”

 

C. Included in the tour  Léon – Santiago de Compostela:

  • Accommodation in 4 good ** hotels and in 3 good *** hotels (it is possible to upgrade in Santiago)
  • Buffet breakfast
  • 6 dinner and 1 x B&B in Santiago
  • Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel (1 suitcase max 12 kg)
  • Tour information
  • Road book in English or French with detailed description and maps
  • Help/emergency phone support

 

The package does not include:

  • Journey to reach Spain and the journey back home
  • Drinks at meals
  • Lunch and 1 Dinner
  • Entrance tickets
  • Personal extras
  • All not specified under “the tour package includes”

 

Period

Daily from Eastern to 1 November (other periods on request)

Level 3/4

You cycle on a hilly and mountainous terrain with stretches between 39 and 60km daily That means, at an average of 10 km/h, from 4 to 6 hours pedalling per day; the difference in height is between 400 and 1400 M daily. It is necessary to be in good physical conditions and to have a good athletic training. Before departure, cyclists have to get used to difficult tracks. As you get close to Santiago di Compostela, there is less difference in height. The " French Way ", from St. Jean-Pied de Port to Santiago di Compostela is 764 km long with about 8900 metres of ascents and descents.   
It is a very challenging route for the continuous, even if not long ascents and descents, the variety of climates you go through, and for the weight you carry with you. The route is almost entirely on dirty roads, paths or roads without car traffic. For those who prefer paved roads, there is a parallel road of the Way of St. James, even if not always good marked. 

Prices p.p. 2017

France-Santiago (17 days)

In double room   € 1529,00

In single room   € 1.869,00

Bike rental   € 290,00

ebike rental € 600,00
Pamplona-Léon (9 days)

In double room     € 715,00

In single room    € 855,00

Bike rental   € 195,00

Léon-Santiago (8 days)

In double room   € 635,00 

In single room   € 740,00

Bike rental   € 195,00

On Request

extra overnights

Participants

Minimum two persons (single traveller on request)

 

 

 

 

Contact us if you want to receive more information !