Bike Tour from Porto to Santiago de Compostela - The Central Camino
In this bike tour in the Portuguese Camino - the Way of St James - you'll ride from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, by the "Central path, that traverse woods, farmlands, villages and historical cities like Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Tui and Pontevedra. This is a 7 day bike tour in the roads, trails and paths of St James, passing by chapels, churches, convents and the ever-present road markings in the North of Portugal and Galiza, enjoy the great cultural heritage of those regions
Cycling the camino is an epic journey turned bike tour, that started in the 9th Century with the discovery, in Galiza, of the remains of St. James. In 1325, the Portuguese queen Isabel made a pilgrimage to Santiago following a route very similar to the one that today is marked with yellow arrows, crossing the then recently built Barcelos bridge; Now it’s your time to trail the Way of St James.
/ The portuguese way of St James is made of trails and dirt tracks, ancient roman roads, municipal roads and even alongside modern roads. It’s of an enormous diversity and there’s always a surprise on every bend.
/ Immerse in the scenario of Minho and Galicia, while cycling the Camino, the roads and trails of the woodland areas, small villages and “pueblos” that still seem to be in the Middle Ages. Enjoy this regions’ gastronomy, rich in variety and flavor, a true feast for your senses. Taste the Port and Green wines, so typical of the Minho region and stay in some of the best hotels in the Way of St James.
/ Arrive in Santiago de Compostela, designated UNESCO world heritage site and admire the shrine of Saint James at the end of your pilgrimage.
Type of Terrain: Rolling/mixed/mountain, with some roman stone pavement. Cycling the Camino, you'll experience forested areas in the central Minho and Galicia with small villages and pueblos make for a contrast with the coastal town of Pontevedra and medielval historical city centres in Compostela and Porto. Some parts are technical and are best crossed on a mountain bike
Mountain stages: Mountainous area from Ponte de Lima to Valença do Minho, the Sierra da Labruja, is the toughest day on the bike.
Hilly stages: Most of the way of St James is hilly while crossing the Minho and Galicia.
Pick up from the airport and transfer to the Ipanema Park Hotel or riverside Pestana World Heritage hotel (included in the "premium" option), located in the Ribeira, the city’s iconic living postcard. You have a free afternoon to visit the beautiful and cozy city of Porto, rich with history and monuments like the Clérigos Tower and the D. Luis Bridge. The old quarters of Baixa with its local shops, restaurants and pastry shops, Ribeira a quarter by the river Douro, facing the wine cellars of the Port wine, full with the city’s traditions and historical connection to the wine and the wine country of the Douro. Shopping areas such as Santa Catarina and Aliados Avenue. Not to miss are the great restaurants around town with some of the tastiest food in the country.
After breakfast, start cycling directly after leaving your hotel in Porto, by the Douro river, until you reach the ocean. Your first day in the Way of St James is mostly composed of urban roads, until you reach Leça da Palmeira. From Leça, you'll mostly follow cycle paths by the beach, with no difficulty at all, until you reach Vila do Conde, a beautiful city by the Ave river with great historical interest. From Vila do Conde we'll ride inland, towards Rates, where we'll reach the central Camino, and after which you'll start following rural roads and roman bridges until you reach the centennial city of Barcelos, the city where your hotel is located. Barcelos is a city worth visiting, it has a 14th century bridge and the old historic center still has the ancient cobble stone pavement and plenty of churches, houses and buildings from the 14th century onwards. The architectural styles vary from the Manueline to the neoclassic. Learn about the “rooster legend” and why the rooster became almost a symbol of the Portuguese. Check in at Hotel Bagoeira in Barcelos or the amazing Quinta do Convento da Franqueira, a 16th century Franciscan monastery now turned into a charming guest house. Suggested restaurant for dinner is Pedra Furada.
After breakfast you’ll start cycling the Camino to Ponte de Lima, where you’ll have the opportunity to see the changing landscape to a more rural setting, going through woodland areas, small villages and churches in the Minho region till you get to Ponte de Lima, the oldest village in Portugal, sitting by the beautiful Lima River. This village has recently submitted its candidacy to UNESCO world heritage site due to its rich cultural, environmental and historic traditions. Don’t miss out the handcraft works, the pastries and the food. Check in at your hotel in Ponte de Lima, at INLIME Hotel or Carmo’s House, elected a Small Luxury Hotel of the World. You shouldn’t miss a wine tasting of the local “vinho verde” or green wine at our suggested restaurant for dinner, Encanada in Ponte de Lima. Check in at your hotel in Ponte de Lima, at INLIME Hotel or Carmo’s House, elected a Small Luxury Hotel of the World.
After breakfast you’ll restart cycling the Camino guided by the yellow arrows of the pilgrims, the road marks of the Way of St James, and our GPS. Today you’ll have to tackle the "Labruja" climb, although there’s the possibility to go around it, this is the biggest challenge of your Way. We’re still in the middle of the Minho region, a place of lush green, woodlands and forests, great restaurants and wine. You’ll pass by Valença do Minho a fortified city on the banks of the Minho River and facing Spain. From the top of the gothic and baroque architecture fortress you can admire the scenery of this Minho area. Cycling th camino, you'll cross to Spain using the old Eiffel inspired international bridge and enjoy the old medieval quarters of Tui, the Spanish city just across the river from Valença, where your hotel is located, the Parador de Tui.
After breakfast and your first night in Spain, you’ll probably notice that beyond the language, all the costumes, traditions and landscape are very similar to Portugal, at least till Redondela, where the Way approaches the beautiful coastal area of Galicia, all the way till Pontevedra. This is the city where your hotel for the night is located and is also an important maritime city in Galicia, with an elegant historic center that boasts two major monuments, the Basilica of Santa Maria Maior and the church of La Peregrina. Walk in the old town plazas and narrow streets and enjoy the great seafood from the estuary and Atlantic Ocean. Check in at our hotel, Parador de Pontevedra.
After breakfast you’ll continue your pilgrimage feeling you’re already getting close to Santiago. You’ll notice another change in the landscape since you’ll be abandoning the coast and returning to inland Galicia, with its lush green woods and forested areas. Your hotel of the day is located in Padrón a village known for being the cradle of Galicia and for its Green Peppers, the Padrón Peppers. Take some time to visit the village, climb to the Santiaguiño do Monte lookout point, visit the botanical gardens or Toxa waterfall and taste the food, If you’re adventurous and it’s in season try the Lamprea. Check in at our Hotel Pazo de Lestrove or Os Lambráns.
After breakfast you’ll begin the last stage of your Way of St. James. This will be a small test to your will and tenacity as the route starts going uphill almost from the start. You’ll go through small villages and churches with clear signs that the end of the Way is near. When you arrive visit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, end point of your pilgrimage. Compostela is a millennial city with places and monuments that deserve a visit, such as its plazas in the central area of the old town, the narrow streets and traditional markets. At the scheduled time we’ll pick you up for the transfer to Porto airport. Optionally you can stay in Santiago de Compostela for the night, enjoying the city, resting and relaxing from the pilgrimage, and transfer to Porto the following day.
Hotel – Virxe de La Cerca (optional)
Extend your stay in Santiago de Compostela or Porto for an extra day before or after this trip.