Bike Tour in the Camino de Santiago - Cycling the French Way from León
Several texts from the XI century speak of it and it is already described as a “mass phenomenon” in a text written by a monk in the 12th century, known today as the “Codex Calixtino” and considered the first tourist guide of history. The French Way was the first to be properly signposted and this is thanks to a parish priest of O Cebreiro, the creator of the yellow arrow symbol. The priest, named Elías, decided to rehabilitate the hospital of pilgrims in his parish and, as the pilgrims told him that they were lost on the way from France, in 1984 he bought surplus paint to mark the roads. With a carriage and two horses, he went from Roncesvalles to Santiago, marking with an arrow all the intersections susceptible of creating confusion for the pilgrims. The yellow arrow as well as the scallop, are used and present to date, throughout the several routes of this pilgrimage. Starting from León and cycling just over 300 km until the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, you'll ride across the Iberian plateau through the trails, woods and ancient roads of the Way (or "Camino" in Spanish). Witness the architectural and artistic religious heritage of towns and cities like León, Astorga, Ponferrada and Sarria, while savouring the rich Spanish gastronomy and wines. Stay in a variety of historical and charm rural hotels, or a SPA hotel set in the countryside.
Tour briefing and bike setup at your hotel. Free afternoon to visit the spectacular monuments of the city like the magnificent Cathedral of Santa Maria de León, the Guzmanes Palace or the Casa Botines, among others. Hotel: Hospedaria Monastica Pax or Hotel Real Colegiata San Isidoro // Parador de León (“premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel. To mark the start of your Camino, visit the city’s Cathedral if you haven’t done so yet. Start by riding towards the San Marco Roman Bridge and leaving León. Soon after Virgen del Camino the route will take you southwest, mostly on flat agricultural gravel roads, past Hospital de Orbigo and Cruz de Santo Toribio. Soon you’ll arrive in Astorga, known for its medieval, walled Old Town. Ride eastwards for more 4 to 9km, and arrive at your hotel. Hotel: Casa Rural Las Águedas or Hotel Rural Via Avis (“premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel. Pedalling along the well-worn path, a gentle ascent will take you to Cruz de Ferro, where for centuries pilgrims have left stones, brought from their hometowns, symbolizing their burdens. Keep riding through the charming town of Ponferrada, until arriving in Villa Franca del Bierzo, welcoming you with its cobbled streets and rustic charm, a resting haven for pilgrims and travellers alike. Hotel: Parador Villafranca or Plaza Mayor // Las Doñas del Portazgo (“premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel. On this day you will face the famous climb of the French Way - the long and asphalted uphill to the mystical village of O Cebreiro, the gateway to Galicia. Perched atop a mountain, O Cebreiro boasts traditional stone houses with thatched roofs and unique paloozas, offering a glimpse into the region's rustic past. It was a parish priest of o Cebreiro in the 80s who first created the "famous" yellow arrows on the Camino, pointing the way to Santiago. Your journey brings you to Samos, where the 6th-century Benedictine Monastery of San Julián awaits. Hotel: A Casa da Botica or Hotel Rural Casa de Díaz / Casas de Outeiro ("premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel. Begin the day on rolling hills, riding past quaint Galician villages while surrounded by lush greenery. Soon enough you’ll arrive in Sarria, with its historic streets and charming cafes, and the starting point for many walking the Camino. Continuing, the path takes you through picturesque woodlands, through the tranquil Galician countryside. Then, across the Miño River, you'll arrive in Portomarín, a town steeped in history and adorned with Romanesque architecture. Hotel: Vistalegre Hotel Spa or As Torres da Hermida (“premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel. Riding out of Portomarín, you’ll be immersed in the region's stunning landscapes, adorned with lush greenery and rolling hills. Passing by historical towns such as Palas de Rei, the route will lead you to the bustling town of Melide, renowned for its delectable Galician cuisine. Reaching Arzúa, the end of this stage, take some time to explore the town's landmarks, such as the Chapel of La Magdalena or the Church of Santiago, each bearing tales of centuries-old devotion. Hotel: Rectoral de Boente or 1930 Boutique Hotel (“premium” option)
This stage begins by running along long stretches of forest tracks between trees, with stops in small villages. The N-547 will be always close, crossing occasionally, and more often from Salceda onwards. After passing O Amenal and Lavacolla, we take the last ramp of the French Way: the ascent to O Monte do Gozo, the first place from which we will see the towers of the cathedral. Another 3 Km and you’ll arrive at Santiago’s Cathedral. Hotel: Virxe da Cerca // Parador Santiago or Quinta da Auga (“premium” option)
Breakfast at your hotel, followed by check-out. At the scheduled time, transfer from your hotel to Santiago de Compostela or Vigo's airport.