Cycling 'The French Way': St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela

CYCLING 'THE FRENCH WAY'

ST JEAN PIED DE PORT TO SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

A 790km cycle across Spain or less if you start in another town

SELF-GUIDED

TRIP LENGTH  - 8 to 19 Days 

 This itinerary starts in St Jean Pied de Port at the bottom of the Pyrenees in France.  The itinerary can be modified to start at a place that suits you.  Other options are Pamplona, Burgos and Leon. 

INCLUDED SERVICES - Accommodation includes breakfast, and dinner with wine on most nights (except in Pamplona, Burgos, Leon and Santiago).

OPTIONAL SERVICES & BIKE HIRE -  See details below

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES START FROM: EURO 840


One of the world’s great historical trails, El Camino de Santiago, also known as the “Camino trail” or the “Way of St James”, is an epic 790km pilgrimage across northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela.

It began as a religious pilgrimage to the relics of the Apostle James, interred in the grand old Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and since the ninth century hundreds of thousands have made the life-changing journey.

There are many varied reasons that people walk the Camino, and some choose to cycle. It is renowned as one of the most religious, inspirational and rewarding experiences. Some people do it simply for health and wellbeing, whilst many refer to it as a religious or spiritual journey. There is an enormous depth of history and everyday learning’s, as people of all ages from all over the world come together to walk and cycle the paths that so many have done before them. The small villages along the way would not exist if it wasn't for the Camino, and the Camino wouldn't exist if it wasn’t for the villages. The local people who are proud of their country and their culture, readily offer their hospitality and their generosity is overwhelming.

The countryside is extremely picturesque. The rolling hills are often dotted with a church steeple on the horizon, which may look close, but quite likely may be two or more kilometres away. The daily walk or cycle provides plenty of thinking and reflection time. Engaging with the locals is most rewarding and at times quite emotional, with many elderly ladies in the local churches keen to stamp your pilgrims passbook in recognition of your visit.

The Camino is a time for reflection and recognition and a time to shake your worries for another time and place. It provides thinking time to crystalise the 'where to from here', or if you prefer, don't bother thinking at all.

ACCOMMODATION


The accommodation is a mix of centrally located hotels and Casa Rurals – Spanish privately owned accommodation, some even have a swimming pool. The meals are also a highlight, on occasion mama will be in the kitchen preparing a three course hearty meal known as the pilgrim’s staple which comes complete with a bottle of wine, (which can be returned to the kitchen if you wish, or if you are under age!). There is also a variety of impressive cuisines from local chefs, and all dietary requirements are taken care of in advance. The language is Spanish, English is difficult to find, which adds an exciting dimension, a great reminder that you are travelling in a foreign land.

Cycling the Camino Starts Here…

ST JEAN PIED DE PORT - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA - 19 DAYS

Day 1: Arrive St Jean Pied de Port

St Jean Pied de Port is a beautiful bustling French market town in the foothills of the Pyrenees, which creates a natural border between France and Spain. It is the traditional starting point for the French Way, the most popular of all the Camino routes.

Day 2: St. Jean Pied de Port - Zubiri. 49 km. level 4-5

A tough and challenging climb over the Pyrenees, making Roncesvalles a welcome sight, however worth it for the stunning views. There are plenty of outside tables to share a drink or a pintxos as it is known in the Basque Region, Tapas to the Spanish. Most of your cycling from Roncesvalles is downhill to Zubiri.

Day 3: Zubiri - Puente de la Reina. 49 km. level 3-4

Leaving Zubiri, you pass through Pamplona, the city is famous worldwide for the running of the bulls during the San Fermin festival held annually in July. Another of Spain’s culinary capitals, the narrow streets offer plenty of variety when it comes to food. The next stage has some uphill to take you to the Momument to the Pilgrim, again great views are a highlight. Puente le la Reina is your final stop for the night.

Day 4: Puenta de la Reina - Logrono. 72 km. level 3-4

On route today you pass through Estella, a beautiful cobbled street village. A few kilometres out of Estella is a wine fountain that was constructed in 1991 for the pilgrims. It operates from 8 in the morning to 8 at night, and you are welcome to help yourself! Arriving in Logrono you will notice the abundance of tapas bars, spoilt for choice!

Day 5: Logrono - Santo Domingo. 50 km. level 3-4

Today you pass through Najera on the way to the enchanting town of Santo Domingo. It is also worth treating yourself to a pre-dinner drink on the verandah of the nearby Parador, after visiting the chickens in the cathedral to learn the myth of their existence.

Day 6: Santo Domingo - Burgos. 71 km. level 3-4

Winding through the cities of Santa Domingo, a perfect place for a break is Belorado, a village and municipality, belonging to the Province of Burgos. At the last count there were 2,100 inhabitants. Continuing on your journey to the medieval town of Burgos, magnificent scenery is in store today, passing through the archaeological site of Atapuerca. Depending on the time of year, the rolling hills are an extraordinary rich green.

Burgos has many historical landmarks including the Cathedral and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. It is a town of palaces, churches and striking buildings, great markets and plenty of entertainment.

Day 7: SUGGESTED EXTRA DAY/NIGHT BURGOS  (12 DAY ITINERARY STARTS BURGOS)  

Day 8: Burgos - Frómista. 68 km. level 3-4

The next major village from Burgos is Hornillos, a striking 19km cycle through open plains.

The sounds of nature and endless crop fields will be your companions for this section of the Camino de Santiago, dotted with hamlets, picturesque sleepy villages and Romanesque churches.

Day 9: Frómista - Sahagún. 59 km. level 3-4

You are well and truly on the easy flat part of the Camino known as the Meseta - which is Spanish for plateau.The infinite views continue to Sahagun, named after Bernardino de Sahagun, born in 1499, his extraordinary work devoting his life to missionary tasks.

Day 10: Sahagún-León. 55 km. level 2-3

Today you will pass through the medieval town of Puerta del Castillo, where there are plenty of temptations for sweet tooths. Mansilla de la Mulas is just up the road, the towns arms is proudly displayed at the entrance of the once known ancient mule market town, worth a stop before heading to your stop for the day in Leon.

Leon is a wonderful city, combining stunning historical architecture with an irresistible energy. Its standout attraction is the cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Spain. There is the walled old town and the modern living is alongside. The oldest church in Leon has Vespers every evening and despite the service being solely in Spanish, it is worth a visit just to hear the nun’s choir.  

Day 11: SUGGESTED EXTRA DAY/NIGHT LEON  (8 DAY ITINERARY STARTS LEON) 

Day 12: León - Astorga. 54 km. level 2-3

Head west, through some glorious scenery, where Astorga can be seen way before you arrive. You enter the village by crossing a quaint bridge that takes you to the township, positioned beautifully on a hilltop. Here is our chance to see the genius work of Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi’s work was influenced by his passions in life, architecture, nature, and religion. The impressive cathedral, the Bishop’s Palace is his design.

Here you can sample a mantecadas, famous in Astorga and seen in all the bakery windows. Mantecadas is a Spanish sponge pastry, a cross between a muffin and a scone.

Day 13: Astorga - Ponferrada. 53 km. level 3-4

Heading back into the countryside pause at one of the most magical places on the Camino. History has it that there was once a former cross on a Roman altar in worship of Mercury, the god of the road; the said cross was put there by the hermit called Gaucelmo, who devoted his life to protecting the pilgrims on route. The Templars settled here in Ponferrada way back in the 12th century. 

Day 14: Ponferrada - O Cebreiro. 53 km. level 4-5

Spoilt again today with the views of rolling hills and friendly local villages, before the long uphill climb to the stone village of O Cebreiro, which means leaving the Region of Castilla y Leon and entering the Region of Galicia. Without the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago, O Cebreiro is void of meaning and, similarly, the “Camino” would not exist without the town. On approach the village of stone igloos (pallozas) with straw roofs, usually the smell of pulpo - Galician-style octopus is rife! There are differing views on the flavour, however, the fresh cows cheese drizzled with honey is a winner every time.

Day 15: O Cebreiro - Portomarin. 62 km. level 3-4

The decent from the mountains is breathtaking and the views will stay in your memory for a lifetime. The route today is mainly passing fields and the small village of Linares, before you arrive at the hill of San Roque, which marks the location of a statue of a pilgrim on his way to Santiago.

The town of Portomarin is well known for its tarts and liqueurs.

Day 16: Portomarín - Arzúa. 53 km. level 3-4

The path to Arzua weaves past farming regions and fields of sunflowers en-route to Arzua, famous for its tasty local cheese, and well worth a visit to the churches of Santa María and A Magdalena.

Day 17: Arzúa - Santiago. 39 km. level 3-4

Our destination today is Santiago de Compostela - a rare and special city with a particular magic that can only be enjoyed by walking around its streets. Its historical centre has been designated a World Heritage Site, offering dozens of churches and religious buildings. The most important being the impressive cathedral, which is both Baroque and Romanesque at the same time and contains the sepulchre of the Apostle St James (known in Spanish as Santiago).

Day 18: SUGGESTED EXTRA DAY/NIGHT SANTIAGO

Day 19: Onward travel (note additional nights can be added to this itinerary to include rest days. The itinerary can be modified to start in Pamplona, Burgos or Leon)

PRICE FROM (8 Days) : Euro 840 per person twin share. Single Supplement: Euro 360 Deposit: AUD 800

PRICE FROM (12 Days): Euro 1,455 per person twin share. Single Supplement: Euro 640 Deposit: AUD 800

PRICE FROM (19 Days): Euro 2,070 per person twin share. Single Supplement: Euro 780 Deposit: AUD 800


EMAIL US if you would like a tailored made itinerary.   

OPTIONAL SERVICES - (Essential to request at the time of booking confirmation):

Baggage Transport per Suitcase: TBA - varies by group size

From Price/bike per Lisbon ‐ Santiago tour: From Euro 26 per day

(27 speed BTT, repair‐kit, pump, lock and water bottle‐holder). (Requested at the time of booking confirmation):

Grill + rear panniers: Euro 2 per day

Front bag: Euro 1 per day

Cover gel: Euro 1 per day

Toe Clips: Euro 1 per day

Helmet: Euro 1 per day

Notes and options for joining the Camino by bike:

From Saint Jean Pied de Port. The road from St. Jean to Roncesvalles by bike is a really difficult mountain stage over the Pyrenees. Another option for the less experienced cyclist is walking this stage (24km), add a night in Roncesvalles and collect the bikes from Roncesvalles to Santiago.

ABOUT THIS CYCLING HOLIDAY

General difficulty: 3-5 (see the level of difficulty in each stage).

Level 1: mainly flat, without big slopes.

Level 2: small slopes, dirt roads.

Level 3: moderate slopes, dirt roads, sometimes challenging.

Level 4: big slopes, narrow tracks, challenging, sometimes rocky.

Level 5: big slopes, sometimes very difficult paths, paths over rocks.

Assistance: 24/7 phone assistance. For problems that you can´t solve you will have a booklet with bike shops and emergency numbers. If necessary, we can arrange transfers to the bike shops or to the next hotel (repair and transfer costs are at your own expense).

Travel documents: Booklet with cycling notes and useful information, emergency contacts and bike shops, maps and city maps, list of hotels and location, pilgrim passport and luggage ID’s.

Bike delivery: TBA – depending on starting point and joining hotel. Note weekends are not the best time to collect bikes.

BIKE TYPE - GIANT TALON 29ER 2 LTD


Bike Box: Table grade aluminum Alux

Derailleur: Shimano Deore

Fork: SR Suntour XCR32 RL-R 29 100 mm

Chain: KMC X10 w / Missing Link

Course: Shimano M522 24/32/42 w / chainguard

Pinion bike: Shimano HG50 1136, 10 Speed

Wheel: Giant CR70, double wall

Handlebar: Giant Connect XC, 19mm rise, 31.8mm

Tyre: Schwalbe Smart Sam pull 29x 2.1

Power: Giant Sport OS

Pedals: Shimano ES300

Brake lever: Shimano Deore, 3 × 10 Speed

Seat Post: Giant Sport OS

Brake: Shimano M355, [F} 180 mm [R} 160mm rotors

Seat: Giant Connect Upright

Change: Shimano SLX (Shadow)

Bottom brackets

Year: 2016

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO MAKE A BOOKING:

PHONE: +61 402 910 552

EMAIL: Glenyce Johnson glenycej@wanderingtheworld.com.au

or Jane Reed janer@wanderingtheworld.com.au

VISIT: www.wanderingtheworld.com.au

Full booking conditions and payment details available on request.

Wandering the World specialises in creating and tailoring exceptional walking, cycling and touring holidays in some of the most beautiful places on earth. This includes both escorted small group and self-guided trips, as well as individually tailored itineraries for privately organised trips.

We are passionate about sharing the places we love and offer our expertise to ensure our travellers enjoy rich and authentic travelling experiences. Wandering the World select authentic and comfortable accommodation and our itineraries are focused on immersing travellers in the local culture and uncovering the hidden gems of a destination. We are committed to ensuring our travellers have a trip of a lifetime.


 


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