FRENCH WAY by Bike
Conquer the French Way with your bike. Cycle the full French Way from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela, from North-East to North-West Spain, in only 15 days 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 all the while enjoying amazing accommodation and food, this is the tour for you.
Cycling the Camino and covering more ground each day means each night you will sleep in the middle of a vibrant and historical town and you will get the opportunity of testing a few of Spain’s best and most important hotels including the Paradores of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, León, Santiago de Compostela.
Only €2590 per person sharing!
FRENCH WAY BY BIKE INCLUDES
• En-suite accommodation with breakfast in charming luxurious manors & 3 to 5* historical hotels including 3 Paradores (depending on availabilities)
• Top-quality MTB Specialized Crave Comp bike rental with 29 inches wheels. Delivered with all the necessary equipment: pair of waterproof rear pannier, handlebar extensions, extensive tool kit, gel saddle and a padlock (200€ refundable deposit will be requested by the rental company for each bike)
• Transfers from Bilbao or Biarritz airport into Pamplona and out from Santiago airport, other airports on request
• 3 dinners included in the Paradores
• Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
• Emergency support from our local team and from a network of bike garages
• All taxes and gratuities for the guides and hotels
• A detailed guidebook per room
• A Pilgrim Kit per person including an official Pilgrim Passport (Credential)
• A training session with a local bike shop to learn how to use your electric bikes and make sure they are properly set up
• Cycle between 45 km and 77 km per day
price & dates
Can be organized on request for any number of participants on the dates of your choice apart from the week of the San Fermin where a supplement of €500 per person will be applied (includes private balcony for the running of the bulls) - subject to availability and price fluctuations.
€2590 per person
• Single room supplement: + €990 per room
• Discount for bringing your own bike: - €300
• Electric bike supplement: + €150 per bike
• Half-board supplement: + €350 per person
• Private Van Support during the cycling days: + €3250 per van
• Extra night in the Parador of Santiago: + €250 per room (dinner not included)
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 & 3 to 5* HotelsTotal Cycling Distance 706 kmDuration 15 days / 14 nightsStarts PamplonaStops Estella, Logroño, Sto. Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Castrojeriz, Sahagun, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Valcarce, Portomarin, ArzuaEnds Santiago de Compostela
highlightsCycle the Full French Way and get your CompostelaStay only in the best accommodation along the Way including 3 ParadoresVisit three of the most beautiful Spanish Cathedrals, one Templar Castle, the most important Monastery in Spain and cross two mountain chainsEat at the most delicious Gourmet restaurants
what to expect on this tour?
Expect to have a wonderful time and to experience the best of the French Way by 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 with support van
Cycling is a relatively new way to complete 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 at least the last 200 kms into Santiago de Compostela you will be eligible to receive your Compostela or Certificate of Achievement. To find out if cycling the Camino, check out our blog post on the pros and cons of cycling vs walking.
This tour includes 13 cycling days along the Full French Way with support van and moderate to high levels of fitness are required. If you want to make you journey easier we recommend opting for an electric bike which will be very useful while climbing up to the Cruz de Hierro and O Cebreiro.
The mornings are usually devoted to the trek which should not take more than 6h and the afternoons are dedicated to the siestas, enjoying the hotel facilities, visiting the town and other optional activities.
Click here read the full specs of the bicycles we use and for more about our cycling partners.
Sleep in luxurious manors & Paradores
We take particular pride in the quality of our accommodation. To ensure your group only stays in the best accommodation along the Way, we regularly visit and rate all our providers.
As you are able to cover more ground everyday, you are less limited to where to stay and eat each night. We will be able to book you almost every night in the heart of a vibrant town and the quality of the accommodation will be optimum. You will sleep in a mix of charming luxurious manors on the Camino & historical hotels in the town centers including 3 different Paradores. They all provide a welcoming, authentic and unique experience with all the comfort and service you would expect from a hotel of those standards.
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 for example swimming pools and spas (during summer and in selected locations).
Total freedom on your meals to enjoy real local food
Because you are staying each night in the heart of towns, we decided not to include dinners and allow you to decide where you want to eat and make up your own menu every night. Galicia, La Rioja and Castilla-y-León are proud to have a many Michelin star restaurants and are known all over Spain for the quality of their products and their cooks' skills as well as unique dishes as Morcilla and pulpo a feira. So, expect mouth-watering dinners or tapas made out with fresh, local ingredients. Our guide will help you decide where to eat each night.
This said, we did include three dinners in the Paradores you will be staying, simply because it is an experience you cannot miss.
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? Your closest arrival airport is Biarritz or Bilbao and your departure airport is Santiago de Compostela but you might want to opt for other airports to visit another region or add nights somewhere on your stopover towards 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 BY BIKE DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
This 14 nights route follows the 705 km of the Camino Frances - French Way from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.
DAY 1 - MAKING OUR WAY TO THE CAPITAL OF NAVARRA, PAMPLONA
We will pick you up at your arrival airport and drive you to Pamplona, the town made famous by Ernest Hemingway and the San Fermin Festival. You will have the afternoon free to visit the city of the running of the bulls and forget about today’s transit at Hemingway’s favorite 5* hotel in the center of Pamplona.
Try to make your way to Pamplona 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 - 45 km - CYCLE FROM Pamplona to EStella
Today, after breakfast on the main square of Pamplona, you will find your bicycles waiting for you at your hotel and after making sure the size and everything is right, you will saddle up for the Camino. We will start our journey along the French Way with a climb through wheat fields up to Alto del Perdon, one of the most recognizable monumental sculptures of the Camino de Santiago with stunning views of the regions of Navarra and la Rioja.
For lunch, stop in the medieval town of Puente de la Reina before finally heading to “Estella la Bella” (Estella the Beautiful) where you will spend the night in a historical 4* hotel in the town center.
DAY 3 - 47 km - CYCLE FROM Estella to logroño
We will start the day by cycling towards the Bodega de Irache which has a very unique feature: a free unsupervised wine fountain created for pilgrims! We will then continue along the earthy red trails of La Rioja through vineyards and farmlands, pass Los Arcos, home of Saint Mary’s Church reknown for Baroque altarpiece and cloister, and Torres del Río and its Templar Church.
Your destination is Logroño, the capital of the world famous wine producing region of La Rioja and hugely popular for its “tapas street” Calle Laurel. You will stay in a 4* hotel in the Old Quarters.
DAY 4 - 49 km - CYCLE FROM logroño to santo domingo de la calzada
We continue our journey into Medieval La Rioja along the iconic red earth trails. Our first stop is Navarette, a town build in the 12th century by the “Knights of the Holy Sepulcher” with stunning panoramic views of the region. A bit further, you will pass the royal city of Nájera, home to an outstanding Gothic cloister and a royal pantheon where a number of Navarrese kings and queens are buried.
Your destination, today, is Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the most emblematic villages on the route. According to legend, the resuscitation of a roasted cock and hen served as a harbinger of an even greater miracle: the resurrection of a pilgrim unjustly hanged for theft, through the intercession of the saint for whom the village is named. Visit the Cathedral where a live rooster and hen are kept in commemoration of the miracle. Later sample some of the region’s fine wine’s in one of the nearby bars along the town’s main street.
Tonight, you will be sleeping and dinning at the Parador of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a magnificent 12th-century hospital near the Cathedral.
DAY 5 - 70 km - CYCLE FROM santo domingo de la calzada to burgos
Enjoy a beautiful ride today, as you cross the Oca Hills to enter the region of Castilla-y-León, the medieval kingdom that led the re-conquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors, gave birth to modern Spain and gave the world Castilian Spanish (you can ask your Support Van to bring you to the Yuso and Suso Monasteries and visit the birthplace of the language).
Our destination for the day is the UNESCO World Heritage City of Burgos, home to one of the most magnificent Gothic Cathedrals and the final resting place of the Spanish national hero El Cid. Spend the evening discovering this beautiful city, enjoying its world famous tapas including Morcilla (black pudding) & cordero lechal asado (succulent roast lamb) and relaxing in your 4* hotel next to the Cathedral.
DAY 6 - 41 km - CYCLE FROM burgos to castrojeriz
Today, we will be getting deeper into the Meseta, which is a vast plateau in the heart of peninsular Spain with elevations around 700m, very flat. It is said the Camino Frances has three stages: Physical, Mental/Emotional & Spiritual. The Physical part happens in the first week of walking as your body gets accustomed to the effort. By the time pilgrims arrive in the Meseta their legs and back are strong enough to not feel the stain of the day’s walk. But until then the landscape was varied, beautiful and helpful. There was shade, regular towns, water fountains. Once you get into the Meseta it is just flatness, little shade and long distances. This is when pilgrims need to work on their Mental. The Meseta is a time for introspection and a time to strengthen your will.
So, today, as you cycle through the endless green and gold fields take time to think introspect and take in the moment. The road today, leads to Castrojeriz, an ancient settlement dating from Roman times that was the scene of many battles between Christian and Muslim forces until it was definitively recaptured for Spain by King Alfonso VII in 1131.
Our hotel is a lovely 16th century mansion with an indoor patio in the town center from which you can easily visit the ruins of the San Antón Convent, the Virgen del Manzano Collegiate Church and the San Juan Church.
DAY 7 - 82 km - CYCLE FROM castrojeriz to sahagun
We continue our journey through the Meseta of Castilla-y-León through the Golden Tierra de Campos. Our first stop is Fromista, where you can visit to St. Martin’s Church, one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in all of Spain. The road then unfortunately joins with the highway where you will be cycling on a conditioned path and you will be glad you are on a bike.
Stop to visit Villalcázar de Sirga and its enormous fortified Templar basilica, Santa María la Blanca (St. Mary the White). We will then head for Carrión de los Condes, one of the most important stops along the Camino in Medieval times. We are heading to an attractive converted farmhouse just outside Sahagun, the town once known as a center of the arts and letters, the “Spanish Cluny”. We will then enjoy a relaxing afternoon by the hotel pool after the longest cycling day of the tour.
DAY 8 - 60 km - CYCLE FROM sahagun to leon
On our third day on the Meseta, we are heading for one of the most strikingly beautiful Cities along the Way: León, the Capital of the region and home of a remarkable cathedral, filled with more than 100 stained glass windows.
Tonight, you are staying in the Parador Hostal de San Marcos, a 5* hotel which is one of the most extraordinary historic hotels on the Old Continent and you will recognize it from the movie “The Way” where Martin Sheen splurges for one night. Spend the afternoon visiting the Cathedral and the old town before having dinner at the Parador.
DAY 9 - 48 km - CYCLE FROM leon to astorga
We have another busy day awaiting us today, so wake up early to cycle to the ancient Roman city of Astorga on what is probably the flatest land we encountered so far. Asturica Augustus was an important communications hub for the Romans and the most important city in this region of Spain, known as the Maragatería, due to it’s proximity with the Gold Mines of Las Medulas.
This fascinating town offers to its visitors a beautiful Gothic Cathedral, a unusual Episcopal palace designed by Antoni Gaudí (mostly known for designing the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona) and a Chocolate Museum as well as plenty of terrace bars and tapas restaurants.
DAY 10 - 54 km - CYCLE FROM astorga to ponferrada
Get ready because today, we will attempt to cross one of the highest mountain peaks of the French Way to arrive at the Cruz de Hierro, the Iron Cross. Here, it is common for pilgrims to leave a souvenir of their passage, a rock, piece of paper or even shoes as a symbol of shrugging off the weight of one’s sins. So, don’t forget to bring along a symbolic token.
Our destination is Ponferrada, an ancient Roman citadel which was placed under the custody of the Order of the Temple in the 11th 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 and the location chosen by Paolo Coelho for one of the most memorable scenes from his book “The Pilgrimage”.
DAY 11 - 47 km - CYCLE FROM ponferrada to valcarce
On your last full day in Castilla-y-León, you will notice the landscape starting to change as you cycle across the valley of El Bierzo in between mountain ranges. Take it easy today, as tomorrow you will have to cross one of those mountains to get into Galicia. Our first stop today, 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 Paolo Coelho).
After a short visit, we will then continue to the foot of the O Cebreiro Mountain in the Valcarce Valley where we will stay in a charming guest-house.
DAY 12 - 70 km - CYCLE FROM valcarce to portomarin
Prepare for a challenging and rewarding day with an ascent of 1000m in the first 10 km, a long descent and impressive landscapes. 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!
After the big climb, the journey will be fairly flat for the next 15 km apart from a couple small climbs but also breathtaking. The rest of the journey is then downhill to Triacastela.
Here, you can decide to cut the day in two or continue, you will also 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.
After Sarria, the starting point of most pilgrims along the French Way, we will pass the 100 km maker and continue along easy paved trails through beautiful countryside, meadows and oak woods, charming villages with slate roofs. Tonight, you will stay in the Portomarin's 3* hotel, a former Parador, and you will have free time to enjoy their pool or spa and stroll through the impressive archway village with it's 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.
DAY 13 - 50 km - CYCLE FROM portomarin to arzua
Today, you will be following a trail that has been protected by the Knights of the Order of Santiago since 1184 and you will pass near the Romanesque Church of Vilar de Donas, where the knights are buried (2,5 km away from the Camino). There will be some more uphill and downhill but mostly peaceful oak and eucalyptus forests and charming villages
We will have a chance to marvel at Furelo’s medieval bridge, considered one of the jewels of the French Way’s civil architecture, and the oldest surviving cruceiro (calvary) in the world in Melide. Around lunchtime we will stop in Melide where you should treat yourself to "Pulpo a la Gallega" (Octopus) at our recommended establishment. Our destination for the night, Arzua, is famous for cheese, so we will do a cheese and wine degustation before your gourmet dinner at your Galician Manor.
DAY 14 - 43 km - CYCLE FROM arzua to santiago de compostela!
This is it! Only 43 kilometers separate you from your goal. Leave early to reach Santiago before twelve, if you wish to see the pilgrim mass (also at 7:30 pm). You will pass Monte do Gozo (Mount of joy) which was transformed into an area for pilgrims for the Jacobean Holy Year of 1993 and offers stunning views on the City of Santiago de Compostela. Enter the Medieval Town through the Porta do Camino, pass the iconic Plaza de Cervantes and a few meters further you will find the Azabachería Door, the official entrance to the Cathedral on non-Holy years (in 2016 and 2021 you will be able to enter through the Holy Door on the Quintana Square).
Enter the Cathedral now, if you wish, we recommend continuing to 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. Simply stop here. Breath in and truly live this moment, do whatever feels right. Your hotel, the Parador de los Reyes Catolicos, is on your right when looking at the Cathedral. You still have a few things to do today - get your pilgrim certificate, attend Pilgrim Mass, marvel at the architecture of our beloved City and visit your hotel which is no less than a jewel.
day 15 - 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."
Today, as we bring you to your departure airport, we will share our impressions and thoughts about the journey you just undertook. We hope the Camino has brought you whatever you were looking for and wish to see you again soon in Galicia!
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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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