Cycle the Camino Frances from Ponferrada to Santiago
Camino Frances by Bike – the final section from Porto to Santiago de Compostela
This Cycling Camino explores the final section of the Camino Frances / French Way by Bike, the most traditional of all the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela and the best known internationally. The route, which was established in the late 11th century reaching the tomb of St James the Great, crosses the North of the Iberian Peninsula, through the Basque Country, Navarra, La Rioja, Castilla y Leon and Galicia regions of Spain. Nowadays, cycling on the Camino has become an incredibly popular way of enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime journey to Santiago de Compostela.
Starting in the mountain-hugging town of Ponferrada and finishing in Santiago de Compostela, this section covers both the Castilla y Leon and Galicia regions. Leaving the medieval city of Ponferrada behind us, this Camino crosses the magnificent O’Cebreiro Mountains before heading towards the heart of Galicia and its lush green hills.
This section can be physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness, but it is also a highly rewarding leg of the Camino, offering beautiful landscapes and numerous cultural sights.
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Ponferrada is a lively city with a pretty, medieval town centre, that sits below a castle built by the Knights of Templar. The old part of the city is a pretty pedestrian area where tourists and local people like to chill out on the terraces of Plaza del Ayutamiento and Plaza de la Encina.
Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo (23km)
The first cycling day of this section is also the only full day that you will spend in the province of Castilla y Leon, cycling through the valley of Bierzo, surrounded by mountains. You then spend the last few kilometres passing through red earth vineyards until you reach the charming Villafranca del Bierzo. This first day is of a short length and with no particular difficulty, so it enables you to warm up before the more difficult day tomorrow. Because of this, you can take it easy with the cycling and enjoy the lively buzz of Villafranca del Bierzo later on!
Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebreiro (33km)
Today will be a challenging day with an ascent of 1000m. Passing firstly through the narrow valley of the river Valcace before tackling the ascent to O Cebreiro. Situated between the ranges of “Los Ancares” and “La Sierra do Courel”, this stage involves a steep climb over only a few kilometres. Take your time, we have designed this cycling day to be short, taking its difficulty into consideration. So, enjoy the magnificent scenery as you ascend higher and higher throughout the day, and say hello to Galicia as you arrive in O’Cebreiro!
O’Cebreiro to Sarria (43km)
As we continue across the undulating terrain of the Galician mountains, the route offers more stunning sights and historical buildings. Finally, we reach Sarria, where all pilgrims travelling by any means seem to know each other!
Sarria to Melide (73km)
This penultimate day starts with an ascent up through oak woods, passing by the Romanesque Church of Barbedelo, before cycling over the Belesar Dam in Portomarin. Continuing on the Camino Way to Melide is not too difficult – despite the typical Galician ups and downs!
Melide to Santiago (55km)
This is probably the most exciting day of cycling the whole Camino, as today we finally reach Santiago de Compostela! Before that, we will have to cycle the now-usual rolling hills of Galicia. The most exhilarating part of today will probably be on reaching El Monte de Gozo (Mount of Joy), where you can see the cathedral in the distance for the first time, before arriving into Santiago de Compostela!
Santiago. End of the camino
After breakfast we bid you farewell
- Great mix of comfortable accommodation in 2-3* hotels or equivalent
- Bed & Breakfast
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
- Our Holiday/ Pilgrim Pack
- Bike Rental & Breakdown Insurance
- 24/7 Customer Service
- Great dinners with local food
- Extra nights
- Upgrade to authentic & luxury accommodation
- Airport transfers
Option 1 – Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela airport with Aerlingus, Ryanair and Iberia/BA.
Option 2- Madrid
Virtually every company flies to Madrid
Spanish national company: www.iberia.com
1 – From Santiago de Compostela.
– Take a shuttle bus to the bus station. Then a direct bus to Ponferrada (3-4hrs).
– Take a train to Ponferrada. Takes 4hrs, 2 per day.
2 – From Madrid, train (5 – 6HRS), several per day
Regular shuttle bus from Santiago city centre to Santiago Airport, takes 45mins.