Cycle the Camino Frances from Burgos to Ponferrada on a Budget
Starting from Burgos, medieval city and home of a UNESCO World Heritage cathedral, 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.
This trip createstonne(s) of CO2, we offset it for free
Whizz across the mighty Castilian Plateau. Enjoy the speed and wind in your face on this relatively flat section, as the blur of green and yellow fields rush by. Take time to escape the sunshine and explore the small towns and villages along the way, like Fromista with its beautiful Church of San Martín.
A major city in the north of Spain and on the Camino, Leon is worth an extra night stopover so you have time to explore this fascinating city. From the many historical sights to visit during the day to the lively nightlife this city provides experiences for all age groups and interests. Within the Roman walls of the city, you will find a magnificent gothic cathedral and the Basilica of San Isidoro with its ‘Sistine Chapelesque’ frescos. Wander the streets to discover many cafes and restaurants with local food, accompanied by the local El Bierzo wine.
Surrounded by medieval walls, Astorga is a vibrant and attractive city. From Roman ruins to neo-Gothic Episcopal Palace designed by Gaudi there is a wealth of different architecture to take in. Be sure to visit the cathedral with its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. Learn more about the Camino in the Pilgrim Museum located in the Episcopal Palace. When the clock strikes on the hour be at Plaza Mayor to witness the chimes on the Bell Tower where two small figures of a man and woman in traditional dress strike the bell. Finally, try some of the local cuisines in the many cafes and restaurants. For those with a sweet tooth, visit the Museum of Chocolate!
Burgos to Ponferrada
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Burgos, which was the capital of the unified kingdom of Castilla-Leon for five centuries, boasts a masterpiece of Spanish Gothic architecture; the Cathedral of Burgos (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Apart from a visit to the historic quarter, you can take quite an interesting walk along the banks of the Duero and Arlanza rivers. Discover the delicious and varied local cuisine in one of the city’s restaurants.
Day 2 65.8km
All day long, you will notice the influence of the Camino de Santiago as there is not a single village we cross that does not have obvious references to it.
Day 3 58.3km
During this stage, we have a good understanding of the popular meaning “Castilla es ancha” (castilla is wide). Crop fields give patches of beautiful colour to the agricultural landscape all year round. The first half of the day is mainly flat and it gets a bit more undulating on the second half to Sahagun.
Day 4 55.3km
Today we cycle through the colourful Castilian meseta or plateau. The landscape here seems endless as we pass over the flat terrain of the area, affording great views over the surrounding agricultural area. We finish the day in the vibrant city of Leon.
Day 5 52.2km
This is probably one of the flattest cycling days of the entire Camino Frances, but as we are on a high plateau, it still offers some great views and you will see Astorga down in the valley long before reaching it! In Astorga, take some time to visit the Episcopal palace, the cathedral, and the old city walls.
Day 6 51.1km
The last day of this section is definitely the most difficult, but also, the most rewarding one! We can enjoy spectacular views as we climb up to 1500m above sea level to reach the famous Cruz del Hierro (the Iron Cross). The natural scenery and towns with rich history make this the best way to finish the section, before reaching Ponferrada: a city with a lively, and very pretty, medieval centre.
After breakfast we bid you farewell.
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