FRENCH WAY Classic by Bike FROM PONFERRADA
Conquer the French Way with your bike. Cycle the last 211 km (131 miles) of the French Way from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela staying in 2 to 4* hotels and get your Compostela or Certificate of Achievement. If you go everywhere by bike, wish to experience as much of the Way as you can in a shorter time frame or simply want a new challenge while enjoying amazing accommodation and food, this is the tour for you.
This Self-Guided tour includes the electric bike rental with a GPS and cycling indications, the best hotels or guest-houses available on the Camino on your dates, luggage transfers each day, all breakfast & dinners and the award-winning Ultreya Tours service.
Only €1.370 per person sharing!
FRENCH WAY Classic BY BIKE from Ponferrada INCLUDES
• En-suite accommodation with breakfast in charming luxurious manors & 2 to 4* historical hotels
• Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
• Emergency support from our local team
• Only hotels easily accessible with your bike from the Camino and who offer a secured place to keep the bike overnight
• All taxes and gratuities for the hotels
• All breakfasts and three-courses dinners (house wine included with dinners on request)
• A Pilgrim Kit per person including an official Pilgrim Passport (Credential)
• High quality MTB e-bikes rental with a 500W battery with 80 km autonomy. Delivered with all the necessary equipment: rear pannier packs, rental helmet, gel saddle cover pad, bottle holder, bell, tool kit, safety retro-reflectors and a bicycle lock
• Access to a network of certified repair garages and 24/7 road-side assistance
• A training session with a local bike shop to learn how to use your electric bikes and make sure they are properly set up
• 1 GPS per group with every day tracks and paper maps
price & dates
Can be organized on request for any number of participants on the dates of your choice - subject to availability and price fluctuations.
€1370 per person
• No dinner discount: - €140 per person
• Single Supplement: + €250 per room
• Private Van Support during the cycling days: + €370 per van per day
• Extra night in Santiago: + €140 per room (dinner not included)
• Extra night in the 5* Parador of Santiago: from + €250 per room (dinner not included - upgrade from + €110)
It is also possible to shorten the distances, skip or add a section or only cycle the small section of your choice, ask us for a personalized quote including extra activities, travel insurance, stop-overs and day tours.
fact fileAccommodation Luxurious Manors & 2 to 4* HotelsSingularity Cycling tripTotal Cycling Distance 211 kmDuration 8 days / 7 nightsStarts PonferradaStops Villafranca do Bierzo, O Cebreiro, Sarria, Lestedo, ArzuaEnds Santiago de Compostela
highlightsCycle the minimum 211 km to get your CompostelaExperience Galician Hospitality by staying in luxurious guest-housesTravel on high quality e-bikes with 1 GPSDiscover the Camino in a bike with our support
what to expect on this tour?
Expect to have a wonderful time and to experience the best the last 211 km of the French Way have to offer on a high quality electric bike! We designed this tour around personal experiences of the Camino, client feedback and recommendations so your group can have the best experience possible along the Way.
Note: The stops, activities and distances detailed in the tour itinerary are subject to accommodation availability. Ask us for a final itinerary based on your dates and requirements! We will happily customize this itinerary by adapting the number of days and the distances to your specific interests and needs! Learn more about our Services here.
A real Cycling Adventure self-guided
Cycling is a relatively new way to undertake the Camino de Santiago and is an excellent choice for those who want to experience as much of the Way as they can in a shorter time frame. By cycling the last 211 km of the French Way into Santiago de Compostela, you will be eligible to receive your Compostela, the Certificate of Achievement of the Camino de Santiago.
This tour includes 6 cycling days along the French Way and only moderate levels of fitness are required as a electronic bike is included (which you will find very useful to climb up to the village of O Cebreiro & for any section uphill).
Click here read the full specs of the bicycles we use and for more about our cycling partners.
SLEEP IN CHARMING LUXURIOUS GUEST-HOUSES & 2 TO 4* HISTORICAL HOTELS
We take particular pride in the quality of our accommodation. We regularly visit and rate all our providers to ensure your group only stays in the best accommodation along the Way according to your budget and needs.
On this tour, you will sleep in charming luxurious guest-houses near the Camino (you should be able to access the houses yourself directly on the bike) & 2 to 4* historical hotels in town centers. But please note, that, due to the increasing popularity of the French Way, our favorite hotels might already be fully booked on your dates so we will be reliant on availability. In this case, we will try our best to find the best accommodation available which provide a welcoming, safe and authentic experience.
Everyday, as you change accommodation, you will find your suitcase, left with your hotel receptionist in the morning, will travel with you to the next accommodation and you will have different facilities to enjoy including swimming pools, spas, huge gardens...
Eat fresh, delicious & traditional meals
Galicia is proud to have a few Michelin star restaurants and is known all over Spain for the quality of our products and our cooks' skills. So, expect mouth-watering three-course dinners made out with fresh, local ingredients served either at your hotel or at a local nearby restaurant, whichever offer the best quality meals according to your specifications. Local wine or beer can be included at dinner on request!
Lunch is usually not included to allow you to stop whenever you feel you need a break and to enjoy quality time with the new friends you will make along the Way.
We cater for vegetarians, vegans and any special dietary requirements or allergies. Just let us know beforehand so we can advise the chefs.
Add extra days or activities for an unforgettable adventure
Why not take advantage of the fact you are in the Iberian peninsula to do some tourism and visit Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona or any Spanish city on your bucket list? The easiest way to arrive to Ponferrada is to get a direct bus or train from Madrid (especially the bus departing from Madrid Airport). Your departure airport is Santiago de Compostela but you might want to opt for other airports to visit another region or add extra nights in Madrid or somewhere else on your way to the Camino.
We can help you choose and book those extra nights before or after your tour and organize day tours around Galicia (Cies Islands, Finisterre, Oporto... ), extra activities during the tour (wine-tasting, guided tours of the rooftop of the Cathedral of Santiago... ). Check out our selection of Day Tours in Galicia and European Stop-Overs or let your imagination run wild and let us know let us know how you would like to make this tour unique.
FRENCH WAY CLASSIC BY BIKE FROM Ponferrada DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
This 7 nights route follows the last 211 km of the Camino Frances - French Way from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela.
DAY 1 - MAKING your WAY TO Ponferrada
Take a bus or train from Madrid to Ponferrada and our driver will pick you up from Ponferrada's station to bring you to your first hotel. Ponferrada is an ancient Roman citadel which was placed under the custody of the Order of the Temple in the 12th century. The Knights Templar used the site of a primitive Roman fortress to build a castle in which they settled and which, at the same time, protected the passing pilgrims. This impressive structure which still stands in the center of the old town is one of the last remaining Templar Castles. The location was chosen by Paulo Coelho for one of the most memorable scenes from his book “The Pilgrimage”.
Try to make your way to Ponferrada early to attend a short meeting in a local bike shop who will show you how the e-bikes work, how to charge them, clean the chains and ensure the bikes are at your size.
DAY 2 - 25 KM - CYCLE FROM Ponferrada to Villafranca do Bierzo
Finally, this is the day you start your pilgrimage! Wake up early to check your bikes and make sure they are properly adjusted to your size before cycling out Ponferrada. The first section is through an industrial area but the landscape will change as soon as you exit the city to make place to the vineyards of the valley of El Bierzo in between mountain ranges. Take it easy today and get used to the new exercise, as tomorrow you will have to cross one of those mountains to get into Galicia.
Your first stop on the Camino, is Villafranca del Bierzo, a lively medieval town with great importance for the pilgrimage. Indeed, Pilgrims who could not make it to Santiago de Compostela because they were ill were given the jubilee blessing once they passed the Puerta del Perdón gate (again remember “the Pilgrimage” by Paulo Coelho).
DAY 3 - 29 km - cycle from Villafranca to o Cebreiro
Prepare for a challenging but rewarding day with an ascent of 1000m in the last 10 km - make sure to use your motors for this particular climb. But we promise it will all be worth it once you make it through beautiful mountain paths into the timeless Celtic village of O Cebreiro. With stunning panoramic views of the valleys below from 1300 meters up, the ancient pallozas (circular pre-Roman stone dwellings built by the Celts of the region) and the rebuilt Romanesque church of St. Mary’s, site of a 14th century Eucharistic miracle, few places along the Camino are as enchanting as O Cebreiro!
If one of the guest-houses in the village is available, you will be spending the night directly on top of the mountain where you will be able to enjoy a splendid sunset and sunrise onto the valleys of Galicia.
DAY 4 - 40 KM - CYCLE FROM O CEBREIRO TO Sarria
After breakfast, climb up on your e-bikes and initiate a steady descent towards the valleys of Galicia. There will be some ups and downs during the day with a peak at Alto de Poio but after 16 km expect to descend 700 m in 4km. So make use of your breaks, take it slow and enjoy the breathtaking views. Half-way, at Triacastela, you’ll have the option of making a detour to the Benedictine monastery of Samos, one of the wealthiest and most powerful monasteries of the peninsula in Medieval Times which will add about 7 km to your journey and you will need at least 1h30 to visit.
Your destination is Sarria, the starting point of most pilgrims along the French Way, where you will spend the night in a lovely 3* Boutique hotel in the old town (if available) or a modern 4* just on the other side of the river.
DAY 5 - 44 KM - CYCLE FROM SARRIA TO LESTEDO
Once you leave Sarria, the Camino transforms into a paved trail going up and down through beautiful countryside, meadows and oak woods, charming villages with slate roofs. Don’t forget to take a picture of yourself in front of the 100 km marker and witness those who have walked hundreds of kilometers get emotional.
You will pass Portomarin, a small town with great history, impressive archways and a memorable church. This town is very unique as great battles that took place in the valley below and the town you visit is only a replica of the Medieval town relocated in the 60s rock by rock to avoid floods.
After Portomarin, you will go through Gonzar with its church and albergue before riding to Castromaior where the Camino will pass by the ruins of a 2200 years old Castro and Ligonde where the Emperor Charles Quint and his son Philip II stayed in the 16th Century. You will be staying tonight in a beautiful and luxurious Guest-House/ Galician Manor (if available) just outside the Camino 3-4 km before Palas de Rei.
DAY 6 - 33 KM - CYCLE FROM LESTEDO TO ARZUA
Today, you will be cycling a trail that has been protected by the Knights of the Order of Santiago since 1184. First, cycle the remaining kilometers into Palas de Rei then follow the ancient road through forests to a different Province - A Coruña. The next town you will pass is Melide just after Furelo’s medieval bridge, considered one of the jewels of the French Way’s civil architecture. In Melide - please - treat yourself to “Pulpo a la Gallega” (Octopus) for lunch at one of our recommended establishment.
Your destination is Arzua, which is famous for its peculiarly shaped cheese, and you will be staying, either in the town’s newest hotel in the town center or in an impressive guest-house just outside town.
DAY 7 - 40km - CYCLE FROM Arzúa to santiago de compostela!
This is it! Only 40 kilometers separate you from your goal. You will pass the villages of Arca, Pedrouzo and Lavacolla before climbing up to Monte do Gozo (Mount of joy) which offers stunning views on the City of the Apostle.
Enter the Medieval Town through the Puerta del Camino and reach the Plaza del Obradoiro, the main Square of the Cathedral, where you will find the Portico de la Gloria and the most impressive view of the Cathedral. Congratulations, you have made it to Santiago de Compostela, the resting place of the Apostle Saint James.
Breath in and truly live this moment, do whatever feels right. You still have a few things to do today, after you check-in at your hotel just a couple minutes walk away - return the ebikes to our provider in the city center, get your pilgrim certificate, attend Pilgrim Mass & marvel at the architecture of our beloved City.
day 8 - Start of your next adventure
A wise pilgrim once told us “the real Camino starts where the Camino de Santiago finishes but I will not be afraid because the Camino will always be there for me.”
We hope the Camino by bike has brought you whatever you were looking for and wish to see you again soon!
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Step 1 After you have filled in our inquiry form and clicked 'Submit', a Camino Planner will get back to you with a personalized quote within 24h or contact you over the phone for further details
Step 2 Once you are satisfied with the Terms & Conditions of your tour, we will invoice you for a non-refundable 50% deposit of the total price to process the booking - we currently offer two modes of payment: bank transfers & credit card payments via a secured page of our website (we will add an extra 1,50% if paying with American Express - VISA & MasterCard free).
Step 3 Ultreya Tours Reservations Team will start booking your accommodation, meals, activities, guides and other services immediately after receiving the initial deposit and send you your hotel vouchers as soon as they are ready
Step 4 30 days before the departure, we will request the 50% remaining deposit and we will send your pilgrim kits directly to your first hotel along with printed versions of your vouchers, your scallop shells and guidebook
To make sure we constantly meet your expectations, we will regularly follow up with you and keep you updated throughout the whole process and until you come back home.
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