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Cycle the Camino Frances from Ponferrada to Santiago

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Stage 3
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205.2km
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7 days
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Starting From
€890
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Cycle the Camino Frances 3/3 Map

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.

Highlights

Ponferrada

Ponferrada is the last major city before Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Frances. The castle of the Knights Templar is the imposing castle that overlooks the city. From 1178 the Knights Templar provided protection to passing pilgrims. A recognised Property of Cultural Interest (BIC) and National Monument since 1924, it is open every day for visits.

Samos Monastery

Situated on the alternative route between Triacastela and Sarria, Samos Monastery is well worth a visit. The Monastery of San Julian de Samos is the oldest inhabited monastery in Spain and is a truly magical place. The wall paintings depicting the life of St Benedict are fantastic. Take one of the regular guided visits to learn about this important Monastery.

Santiago de Compostela

Just before arriving in Santiago you will pass the Mount of Joy. Get a stamp at the small church and visit the Pilgrim Statues pointing at the city. It is here that you will get your first glimpse of the Cathedral in the distance. There are few feelings that compare to arriving at Praza do Obradoiro in front of the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela. Once in the city, you can explore the bustling medieval streets, filled with market stalls, restaurants, bars and buskers, as well as the many interesting museums.

Ponferrada to Santiago De Compostela
Camino Frances
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Services

Included in this package
  • Specially hand-picked accommodations
  • Bed & Breakfast
  • Luggage Transfers from Hotel to Hotel
  • Mountain Bike BH Over-X 27V
  • Bike Breakdown Insurance
  • Repair kit
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Our Holiday or Pilgrim Pack
Add-On
  • Premium Accommodation
  • Airport Pick-Up
  • Additional Nights
  • Dinners
  • Day Tours to Local Sites of Interest
Not included
  • Flights/trains
  • Insurance
  • Drinks/Lunch

Itinerary

Day 1

PONFERRADA (Arrival)

You will be pre-booked into a traditional hotel in the heart of the town. While here, you may wish to visit the Castillo de los Templarios, a castle donated to the Knights Templar Order by Ferdinand II of León in 1178 to protect pilgrims on the Camino Frances who passed through on their road to Santiago de Compostela.


Day 2
24.56km

PONFERRADA
to
VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO

Today you will cross the region of Bierzo, a sunken plain nestled within a ring of mountains. It is a fertile land, with an agreeable climate that allows the cultivation of many types of fruit and vegetables. In Villafranca, don’t miss the garden of the ‘Iglesia de Santiago’. If you would like to walk at a more relaxed pace, we can arrange to split this section into two days, with a stop over in La Portela de Valcarce overnight.


Day 3
28.28km

VILLAFRANCA DEL BIERZO
to
O CEBREIRO

Prepare for a challenging day with an ascent of 1000m. You will pass through the narrow valley of the river Valcace before tackling the ascent of O Cebreiro. Situated between the ranges of Los Ancares and La Sierra do Courel, this stage involves a steep climb in the course of only a few kilometres.


Day 4
39.03km

O CEBREIRO
to
SARRIA

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!


Day 5
60.85km

SARRIA
to
MELIDE

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!


Day 6
52.45km

MELIDE
to
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

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!


Day 7

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

After breakfast, we bid you farewell. If you wish to stay in the area, we recommend that you: – Take your time and visit the magnificent historic centre of Santiago. – Continue with us along the wild Camino Fisterra (Finisterre Way), and stay overnight at the hotel in the lighthouse! – Or take a bus to Fisterra to visit the unspoilt sandy coves and beaches of the west coast. With very few tourists, you are guaranteed a very special experience. Buses depart from Santiago Bus Station at 9am and 10am. Buses return to Santiago at 4:45pm and 7pm. The journey takes 3 hours.


Cycle the Camino Frances 3/3 Elevation


How to Get There

Getting to Ponferrada, Spain

It is best to fly to Madrid or to Santiago de Compostela. More info

Fly into Madrid

Virtually every company flies to Madrid. See Spanish national company. See Spanish low-cost.

The train takes 5h30.

Fly into Santiago de Compostela

Ryanair and Iberia/BA fly direct to Santiago de Compostela from the UK. Ryanair flies from Stansted, Nottingham East Midlands and Liverpool and Aer Lingus operates from Dublin. Many of the flights that arrive at the airport are from internal Spanish destinations. Iberia offers the best selection of flights and you can fly to and from Santiago De Compostela from: Frankfurt, Paris and Rome and Barcelona, Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Palma, Seville, Tenerife and Valencia.

Take a shuttle bus to the bus station. Then a direct bus to Ponferrada (3-4hrs). 

Take a train to Ponferrada. Takes 3h

Getting home from Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Fly from Santiago de Compostela

Shuttle buses from Santiago city centre to the airport (20mins).



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