Cycling the Camino Frances – Camino de Santiago



Written by Gail Delahunt
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Cycling the Camino is the main alternative to walking the Way of St. James. Every year, thousands of “bicigrinos” – pilgrims on bicycles – take to the Way of Saint James. For passionate cyclists, this is a fantastic option for experiencing the iconic trails of the Camino de Santiago through Spain. The Camino Frances is one of the most popular Camino routes for cyclists, with plenty of services and bicycle-friendly accommodation options along the way.

There are pros and cons to cycling the Camino Frances over walking it. Here are some of our favourite reasons to try a cycling holiday on the Camino and some warnings and tips to consider.

Should I Walk or Cycle the Camino Frances?

couple at santiago cathedral with bikes

Some claim that when cycling, we cut out the social aspect of the Camino. Walking the Camino allows you to meet people and really get to know them as you can be speaking to them for hours or days sometimes. And they would be right. Cycling doesn’t provide the same social experience.

So what’s good about cycling the Camino? Well, a certain idea of freedom that only a bike can provide! On the same day, we will be able to cross many villages, many towns and a variety of landscapes. On the long flat and straight section, you will be able to make real progress on the itinerary.

Also, if you are interested in “Cycling the Camino”, go check out the interview with David Whiting who gave some insight about his journey along the Original Way or Camino Primitivo.

Cover More Ground by Bike

View while Cycling the Camino de Santiago

In only a week’s time, you can complete about twice the walking distance. In less than 3 weeks, you can complete the whole French way (800km) from France to Santiago! If you are short on time but you want to cover more miles – a bicycle can help you to do that.

Also, when cycling, you can choose between sticking to the Camino or taking roads that visit cultural towns and monuments like Samos. You have more options for detours, extra visits, and excursions.

If you choose to walk, you might need to take taxis or buses to visit beautiful spots that are further afield.

Cycling through breathtaking landscapes

Behold the beauty by bike!
This Cycling Holiday explores the Camino Frances / French Way by Bike. The most traditional of all the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela and the best known internationally.

Cycling itineraries to suit you
Choose any self-guided cycle option below, pick a date to suit you and get on your bike!

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The Camino Frances by Bicycle – 3 Stages, 800km

Cycling the Camino de Santiago track

Section 1
This section is great for cyclists who want to enjoy different landscapes. From the foothills of the Pyrenees to hilly sunflower fields and woodlands to red earth vineyards. It also has lots of historical cities as well as picturesque towns. Visitors can enjoy different regional cultures as they journey from the Basque Country to Castilla y Leon. Let’s also not forget to mention the wine-dedicated region of La Rioja.

Read more about the trip by clicking here.

Camino Frances 2 - Cycling the Camino de Santiago

Section 2
This section of the French Way by Bike offers some of the best historical and cultural vestiges of the whole Camino Frances. It passes through Leon and the vast Castilian Plateau (Approx. alt. 900m) before reaching another medieval bastion – the buzzing city of Ponferrada. The mostly flat and gentle terrain makes it accessible to any cyclist with an average level of fitness.

To read more about Section 2, click here.

Cycling the Camino de Santiago with the Camino Monument

Section 3
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. However, it is also a highly rewarding leg of the Camino, offering beautiful landscapes and numerous cultural sights. So whether you’re walking the Camino or cycling the Camino, the Camino Frances has plenty to offer in both respects.

Take a look at Section 3 here.

It is important to stretch and prepare your body before you decide to cycle the Camino! Make sure that you have all the right gear by reading our Camino Cycling Packing list.

Cycling video

Samos Monastery

Exclusive: Only cyclists can visit this monument by keeping on the road. Pilgrims walking the Camino from Ponferrada to Sarria will follow the path that doesn’t go through the village of Samos and therefore don’t pass by the monastery.

Samos Monastery - Cycling the Camino

This monastery was built in the 6th century and is currently a spiritual centre. The monastery of Samos has suffered various episodes of fire and pillage throughout its history. This spiritual centre has produced seven bishops, including particularly the enlightened figure of Benito Jerónimo Feijoo. In the early 19th century it was constituted as the seat of the Benedictine order.

The façade of the church dates from the 18th century and is unfinished. Highlights of the monastery of Samos include the Feijoo cloister in the classicist style and a statue of this illustrious man. The interior of the monastery contains the door of an old Romanesque church which was demolished in the 17th century.

Discover the Camino Frances by Bike

Make your next cycling vacation one to remember on the Camino Frances! Our Camino Planners can tailor-make an incredible cycling tour package just for you. Add extra stops, rest days, added luxury, and more to your bicycle journey of a lifetime.

Read more about cycling the Camino on our blog, or get in touch with us to ask questions and make a booking!

If you’d like more information on other Camino de Santiago tours or our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote!

Cycle the Camino in 2023!


Discover the Camino by bicycle.


Cycle the iconic routes through Spain and Portugal on the cycle tour of a lifetime.

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Originally published on 11th February 2022

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