The Camino de San­ti­a­go is an ancient pil­grim­age through North­ern Spain that cul­mi­nates in the town of San­ti­a­go de Com­postela, where accord­ing to leg­end, the remains of Saint James the Apos­tle are buried. Whether for spir­i­tu­al enlight­en­ment or to wit­ness a beau­ti­ful part of the world, no one has left the camino unchanged.

Our tour begins in Pam­plona, famous for the Run­ning of the Bulls. Rolling through the sto­ried hills of the Span­ish Pyre­nees, nev­er-end­ing vis­tas of grape vines sig­nal the tran­si­tion into the wine-rich region of Rio­ja. We’ll sam­ple from the Pil­grims’ Wine Foun­tain, tour the Goth­ic cathe­dral in Bur­gos and the tomb of Spain’s most famous son, El Cid. We’ll ride into Castil­la Leon with wide open plains, farm­land and grassy hills as far as you can see. Take a day to relax and explore the cap­i­tal of Leon, an ancient, amaz­ing city (the cathe­dral’s stained-glass win­dows are mas­sive — the sec­ond largest col­lec­tion in Europe — and  took 300 years to complete)!

Ride to Gali­ci­a’s moun­tains and forests near the end of your pil­grim­age. Clos­er to San­ti­a­go, the num­ber of pil­grims on the trail increas­es; they’ve been walk­ing for a month! The awe­some sight of the cathe­dral in San­ti­a­go de Com­postela sig­nals the com­ple­tion of our adven­ture. We’ll have a farewell din­ner to cel­e­brate and bid your fel­low pil­grims “Buen Camino.” 

Have lim­it­ed time but still want to expe­ri­ence the amaz­ing Camino de San­ti­a­go? Check out our 7‑day  Medio Camino de San­ti­a­go ride. 

Is This Ride For You?

You love rid­ing breath­tak­ing ter­rain, eat­ing like roy­al­ty, being immersed in a dif­fer­ent cul­ture, and you are curi­ous to learn more about the his­to­ry and unbe­liev­able archi­tec­ture in Spain. This is the right ride if you want to under­stand the real you and con­nect to ancient tra­di­tion through a mod­ern-day pil­grim­age. While the lat­ter is hard­er to explain, all that fin­ish this pil­grim­age express a deep­er mean­ing of their self as the take­away. Most days are man­age­able for ener­getic and fit novice moun­tain bik­ers. Tech­ni­cal skills are not required beyond a basic lev­el of bike han­dling. You should be com­fort­able spend­ing 4 hours in the sad­dle each day and you will cov­er about 60 kilo­me­tres on aver­age each day. This is not your typ­i­cal bike trip, your moun­tain bike is a tool to help you jour­ney through the past and expe­ri­ence the life of a pil­grim. Ter­rain includes a vari­ety of grav­el roads, paved trails, dou­ble­track and singletrack. 

Itinerary

Day 1. Meet up in Pamplona

Meet us this after­noon in the salon at Hotel Europa, your lodg­ing for tonight and tomor­row. After intro­duc­tions and an overview of the week, we’ll head out for a deli­cious tapas din­ner to kick off the jour­ney and wel­come you to Spain!

Day 2.  Ride Ron­ces­valles to Pamplona

This morn­ing, we’ll trans­fer to Ron­ces­valles on the French bor­der in the Span­ish Pyre­nees and head for the pil­grims’ office. We’ll get your Pil­grim’s Pass­port and your first offi­cial Camino de San­ti­a­go stamp. 

Then, we’ll ride out of the moun­tains, through the vil­lage near where author Ernest Hem­ing­way fished the streams for trout before enjoy­ing lunch in Zubiri, next to the riv­er where Mar­tin Sheen drops his back­pack in the movie “The Way”. 

We’ll ride the paved path next to the riv­er back to our start­ing point in Pamplona. 

Enjoy din­ner in an unfor­get­table set­ting, host­ed by Nun­ci, own­er of Restau­rant San Ignacio.

Day 3. Pam­plona to Estella

This morn­ing we’ll ride out of the ancient city of Pam­plona past the Town Hall, the start line for the run­ning of the bulls. A ridge line of wind­mills draws clos­er as we climb to the view­point at Alto de Per­do. Enjoy a long down­hill all the way to lunch in Puente La Reina where we will have a pic­nic under a bridge built by the Romans over a thou­sand years ago. Wind your way into Estel­la, through small towns and the begin­nings of vineyards. 

Explore the town before savour­ing a din­ner pre­pared by one of the most pas­sion­ate chefs in all of Spain. 

Day 4. Estel­la to Logrono

This morn­ing we’ll ride up, down, and all around, dip­ping and div­ing through the vine­yards of Rio­ja. Lit­tle pueb­los spot the coun­try­side; walk­ers scat­ter across wide-open fields and storks nest on the church in Los Arcos, sig­nal­ing our pic­nic spot for lunch. 

We’ll ride the paved trail into Logrono, lined with stat­ues wel­com­ing us and salut­ing the efforts of the pilgrims. 

Tonight, rel­ish the hus­tle and bus­tle of wealthy Logrono and the “food­ie nir­vana” of the Tapas Tour.

Day 5. Logrono to San­to Domin­go de la Calzada

Mak­ing our way out of the city of Logrono, we’ll take the trail past a pop­u­lar fish­ing spot and ride past a vine­yard with an unusu­al scare­crow: a bird-of-prey sound machine to keep the crows away. 

Explore Naverette’s hill­top church, with a breath­tak­ing sur­prise inside. Tra­verse the vine­yards of a large region­al co-op. Bask in the sun at the lunch stop in Najera, next to the riv­er in the heart of town. 

Do your best not to overeat (good luck!) 

Tonight’s din­ner in The Parador in San­to Domin­go de la Calza­da — a for­mer pil­grim’s hos­pi­tal — is always stunning.

Day 6. San­to Domin­go de la Calza­da to Burgos

We’ll take an epic route today: San­to Domin­go to San Juan de Orte­ga to wit­ness the ecosys­tem change from grassy farm­land to moun­tains and trees. 

We’ll Pass through Ata­puer­ca, the UNESCO World Her­itage site where caves cra­dled the remains of the ear­li­est-known human beings in Europe. 

Be wel­comed by the high-plains city of Bur­gos and its over-the-top Goth­ic cathe­dral. Tonight, the grav­el-voiced wait­er and his per­fect steaks at Meson La Cue­va come high­ly recommended.

Day 7. Bur­gos to Car­rion de los Condes

Ped­al wide grav­el paths mean­der­ing across high plains. Skies as big as Mon­tana’s fill the land­scape as we make our way to the warm hos­pi­tal­i­ty of La Taber­na for a hearty and well-earned lunch. 

Count the kilo­me­tres through more wide-open space and waves of grass bro­ken by stone vil­lages from Fromista to Car­rion de Condes.

Day 8. Car­rion de los Con­des to León 

We’ll hit the halfway point in the jour­ney just before lunch today. Watch birds of prey hunt over the corn fields as you ped­al toward Leon. 

The high-speed train to Madrid will zip by, full of peo­ple prepar­ing to start their pil­grim­age there. Stay right in the ancient city, just a cou­ple of blocks from the cathe­dral and ice cream shops beck­on after a long day in the saddle. 

Feast on Ital­ian fare tonight, the friend­ly staff at Bac­col­i­no will make you want to come back again every day for the rest of your life.

Day 9. Enjoy León

The sights. The sounds. The shop­ping! Enjoy a well-earned day off the bike in Leon. 

Shop­ping, mas­sages, sight­see­ing, relax­ing — all await today. It’s a fun city with cen­turies of his­to­ry to explore. Spend the morn­ing walk­ing from cafe to cafe sam­pling cof­fee and pas­tries. Explore the city while doing a lit­tle shop­ping, have lunch out­side at a side­walk cafe or tour the cathe­dral in the afternoon. 

For a lit­tle R&R, try the deli­cious ice cream or have a mas­sage before meet­ing for din­ner in our pri­vate din­ing room at La Posa­da Regia …there’s lots to fit in on this day off.

Day 10. León to Rabanal del Camino

Back in the sad­dle, we’ll leave the city behind and roll through Hos­pi­tal de Orbi­go with its well-pre­served Roman bridge. After ped­alling through­out the morn­ing, we’ll stop for a river­side lunch in sight of the cathe­dral in Astor­ga. The house next door — designed by famed Span­ish Cata­lan archi­tect Antoni Gau­di Cor­net — is one of his most beau­ti­ful pri­vate residences. 

Next, we’ll head into new scenery on the exit from town: laven­der fields and moun­tain scrub trees. 

Spend tonight in the tiny town of Rabanal del Camino, with few­er than 100 year-round res­i­dents. Enjoy views of tomor­row’s moun­tains, beck­on­ing from every window.

Day 11. Rabanal to Ville­fran­ca del Bierzo 

We’ll start the morn­ing with a brisk climb up to the Cruz de Fer­ro, the high­est point on the Camino de San­ti­a­go. Leg­end has it that if you add a stone that you’ve brought from home, you may leave your bur­dens here and pre­pare for rebirth on the remain­der of your jour­ney. Did­n’t bring a stone from home? It’s okay to bring one from a lit­tle closer. 

Tra­verse the ridge­line on the way to a stop at the colour­ful Refu­gio in Man­jarin. Wel­comed by a bunch of friend­ly dogs and cats, stop for a pho­to, and refresh­ments. Enjoy the 20 kilo­me­tre down­hill to lunch in Molin­se­ca. Vis­it the Tem­plar cas­tle in Pon­fer­ra­da before rolling through cher­ry orchards into Vil­lafran­ca Bierzo. 

Day 12. Ville­fan­ca to Sarria

Today is the most moun­tain­ous day of the jour­ney. We’ll begin with a mel­low 1‑hour ride through a deeply-cut val­ley lead­ing towards the pass. Set­tle in for the long steady climb up to Cebriero. What a feel­ing of accom­plish­ment — and a healthy need for a hearty lunch! The three-course lunch at the top of the moun­tains will do the job nice­ly, thank you. 

Roll through the hills after lunch, past the Alber­gue in Tri­c­as­tel­la, wel­com­ing cyclists with a bicy­cle hang­ing on an exte­ri­or wall. Con­tin­ue rid­ing the path as it slices right through farms — with chick­ens run­ning every­where — on the way to the trans­porta­tion hub of Sar­ria. Feel­ing brave? A Fred Flint­stone steak can be yours for din­ner! Tonight’s restau­rant spe­cial­izes in char-grilling very ample por­tions to perfection.

Day 13. Sar­ria to Melide

Deep in the heart of Gali­cia, the hills are a mix­ture of forests and cen­turies-old fam­i­ly farms sep­a­rat­ed by stacked rock fences. The scent of euca­lyp­tus fills the air; its bark blan­kets the trail. Por­tomarin, our lunch town, sits on top of a hill next to a for­mer lake that is now a lush valley. 

Tonight, we’ll stay in Melide, just a short 52-kilo­me­tres from tomor­row’s des­ti­na­tion, the cathe­dral in San­ti­a­go de Compostela.

Day 14. Melide to San­ti­a­go de Compostela

A cer­tifi­cate and a final cel­e­bra­tion! Buen Camino! You’re almost there! 

The feel­ing of enthu­si­asm is pal­pa­ble. Cross sev­er­al small stone bridges over tiny streams on today’s ride. Euca­lyp­tus for­est thick­ens, shad­ing the trail as you near the final hill up to the air­port. The last few miles seem end­less — then sud­den­ly you arrive at the John Paul II Mon­u­ment at Monte do Gozo. This sig­nals the first glimpse of the city. 

Get your final stamp here, then coast down­hill into San­ti­a­go. The square in front of the cathe­dral will be alive with activ­i­ty. Your fel­low pil­grims arriv­ing there con­grat­u­late each oth­er and take pho­tos. Set your bike down for a bit. Take time to explore the cathe­dral – the final stop on your jour­ney – before going to the Com­postela Office to get your cer­tifi­cate for com­plet­ing The Camino de San­ti­a­go. Our farewell din­ner will be filled with toasts and tales of The Way. 

Buen Camino, Amigos! 

Tonight’s lodg­ing at Cos­ta Vel­la is included.

Day 15. Sleep In

Enjoy a leisure­ly break­fast and then head to the air­port any­time you wish.

Picture Yourself Here…

Book Camino de Santiago Now

Dates chosen: Sep. 05, 2020—Sep. 19, 2020
Skill Rating: Blue Square
Fitness Rating: Blue Square
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Skill Levels
Green Circle

Typically, green Rides are safe for beginners. Green Rides may have both avoidable and unavoidable obstacles. Trails are generally low grade, wide, consistent surface texture and have minimal features. You are likely to come across unavoidable obstacles 2-inches or shorter, which is small enough for mountain bike tires to simply roll over. More challenging than tarmac, but in general, a wonderful Ride for those riders new to mountain biking or looking for a casual experience.

Blue Square

In general, Blue trails are narrower than green trails, encounter unavoidable obstacles such as roots, rocks, and drops that are up to 8-inches tall. You will want to have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of mountain biking including body positions, powerful braking, cornering, riding on varied terrain, steep sections and experience riding trails that requires line choice. Airtime is not mandatory, but you will find yourself on trails with alternate lines giving you the option.

Black Diamond

The Black Diamond Rides are  suitable for riders looking for that edge. Maybe it’s the edge of a drop, the edge of a cliff, or singletrack requiring focus and fast reactions developed from extensive experience riding “the edge”. You will find yourself on steep trails of varied surfaces. In the Pacific North West that could be slick roots and loam, in Nepal you will find exposed granite in the Mustang Valley and in Guatemala it maybe narrow stairways through cliffside villages. While airtime is rarely required, the ability to find the backside or clean a tabletop should be comfortable or in a state of progress. Obstacles on Black rides are likely to be outside the range of your bikes ability to cover your goofs with its awesome suspension and grip.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black ride is for those that already know they are looking for a Double Black. It’s going to be very hard and require advanced bike handling skills. You will find yourself on trails with sections most non-riders would look at and say, “that’s totally nuts!”. You will know how to look at a line and contemplate where it will work and where it won’t. Drops of a couple feet should be comfortable and getting your bike off the ground should feel predictable and fun.

Fitness Levels
Green Circle

You should be ready to spend 2-4 hours per day on the bike. Mileage may be up to 30km/20 miles and elevation gain will be under 500m/1500feet. On e-MTB tours, numbers will be higher, however the approximate effort would be considered similar to a standard Green Circle ride. If you get on your bike once a week, you will be just fine. However, when preparing for a Ride, you will benefit from more rides and time in the saddle.

Blue Square

Blue should be considered a good deal more effort than our Green Rides.  You should be able to handle 3 to 5 hours in the saddle covering up to 45km/30miles and be able to pull off a big day of 1000m/3000feet of elevation gain. Managing fuel is important as well.  You should have a good understanding how your body responds to multiple days on the bike. We will help with positive coaching, a manageable pace and plenty of trailside snacks.

Black Diamond

A Black Fitness ride will test you. Aside from needing to be able to manage up to 6 hours on the bike, day after day, including distance up to 50km/30miles and elevation gains up to 1750m/5000feet of climbing, you will be adding extra challenges along the route like periods of hike-a-bike and the extra effort required by the whole body to safely dance with your bike over technical terrain. Generally, riders who are up for a Black Fitness ride, likely spend time on the bike a couple times each week.

Double Black Diamond

A Double Black will be for those with the strength and endurance to get to the top of anything they want and understand the term “turning the screw”. Distance could be quite high on some routes and elevation gain numbers could hit 2000m/6000 feet+ in a day. You are likely riding multiple days a week during the dry periods and have a trainer or belong to a gym for the rest of the year.