For more than 1000 years the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St James / Compostela Trail) has represented the adventure of a lifetime for pilgrims and history buffs alike. The 783km French route from Roncesvalles to the Cathedral of Santiago has through the centuries been well trodden by hiking boots, horse hoofs - and more recently bike tyres. Beginning in Roncesvalles in the Pyrenees and cycling to the historic cathedral city of Leon, this exhilarating first stage takes in breathtaking landscapes, unique monuments and typical villages of northern Spain. En route savour the rich Spanish gastronomy, experiencing traditional regional cuisine and excellent wines. Accommodated in atmospheric hotels, comfort at the end of a hard days cycle is intrinsic to this historic adventure.
The cycling is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily cycling distances from 42 to 72km/26 to 44.5mi over undulating to mountainous terrain. The accent is on keeping a relaxed pace to take in all of the attractions, with time to stop and take photos. It is considered suitable for cyclists with a high level of fitness. Minor roads with reduced traffic are customary on this trip and we recommend that you familiarise yourself with road cycling in light traffic in order to participate. *For safety reasons, we insist that cycle helmets be included as a compulsory item on your equipment list.
Famous on the pilgrimage trail, this historical village is high in the Pyrenees and only 5km from the French border in northeast Navarre. Make your way to your hotel and at your leisure, visit the famous local church where there are several relics dating back to the 8th Century and the defeat of Charlemagne by local tribes. Your bikes will be delivered to the hotel lobby this evening at 6pm.
Today’s cycle takes you through the foothills of the Pyrenees. You’ll pass through the towns of Burguete and Espinal, climb to the top of Erro, and follow the Arga River from Zubiri to Pamplona, historical capital city of Navarre.
Heading out of Pamplona, you’ll quickly reach Cizur. A short ascent follows before a continued decline through Uterga, Muruzábal and Óbanos to Puente la Reina. Leaving Puente la Reina, follow paths and tracks to the medieval hilltop village of Cirauqui which welcomes you with a beautiful arched door. Descend the Roman road to the bridge over the Rio Salado to ride the final kilometres into Estella (Lizarra) via the towns of Lorca and Villatuerta.
Leaving Estella, you’ll find the famous "Fountain of Wine" and the monastery of Irache. On to Azqueta, between fields and vineyards, and Monjardín Villamayor, with its restored Fuente de los Moros (12th century fountain). From here and up to the Los Arcos, you'll ride on undulating, open terrain. Leaving Los Arcos, Sansol is your next destination and from here you descend to the river valley before ascending Linares Torres del Río. Through vineyards, olive groves, almond trees and small villages via Viana and descend to the city of Logroño.
Leaving the capital of Rioja by Rúa Vieja, head towards Naverrete. Pass ruins of the ancient pilgrims and ascend Monte de San Anton where there are views to Nájera. Continuing via Najera’s Monastery of Santa Maria la Real, the road runs along a dirt track to Azofra, situated on a small hill. An easy ride into the historic village of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a beautiful medieval town and known for its legend of the chickens.
The first part of today's cycle is quite flat. From Granon, past the tiny village of Redicillo del Camino, head to Belorado. From here you ascend to Montes de Oca, to be rewarded with an excellent view. Once in San Juan de Ortega, the road soon leads to Atapuerca. Leaving Atapuerca, follow a series of villages that gradually take you Burgos, with its impressive Gothic Cathedral and Monastery of Las Huelgas. Your downtown hotel is within walking distance of Burgos’ charms.
Leave Burgos by Calle Ferrán Gonzalez and cross the Rio Arlanzón by Malatos Bridge. Continue via the towns of Tardajos and Hornillos and through wheat fields to Hontanas. Next, you’ll see the Convent of San Antón and cycle into the beautiful village of Castrojeriz. There’s a good climb to Mostelares; a descent to the river Pisuerga and historical Frómista lies ahead, along the Canal de Castilla.
From Frómista, continue to Villalcázar de Sirga with its beautiful church and soon after, Carrión de los Condes with its impressive heritage. It’s a gentle ride from Carrion de los Condes to Calzadilla de la Cueza. From Calzadilla, ascend for a couple of kilometres before heading towards the towns of Lédigos, Terradillo de Templarios and Moratinos. From here, continue to Sahagún, an historical village along the Camino.
From Sahagún, cross the Cea river and cycle to Calzada del Coto, where the road forks. Follow the left fork across Bercianos del Real Camino to El Burgo Ranero. From here, it’s an easy pedal to Mansilla de las Mulas, gateway to León. You will cross the Esla river and then the Porma river at Villarente. After a steep slope you’ll arrive at León, one of the most historic towns of Old Castile and dominated by its cathedral.
Leave the tour after breakfast, or continue on Stage 2 to the holy city of Santiago de Compostela.
You will receive a 24 speed mountain bike. The bike is usually available from the evening of Day 1 or the morning of Day 2.
Per Person, Twin Share