Full FRENCH WAY by Bike
Conquer the French Way with your electronic bike. Cycle the full French Way from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela, from Central-North-East to the extreme North-Western point of Spain, in 17 days staying in 2 to 5* hotels and get your Compostela or Certificate of Achievement. If you go everywhere by bike, wish to experience the Full Camino 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 vibrant and historical town most nights 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, Villafranca do Bierzo and León (if available). 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 €2.490 per person sharing!
Full FRENCH WAY BY BIKE INCLUDES
• En-suite accommodation with breakfast in charming luxurious manors & 2 to 5* historical hotels
• Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel
• Emergency support from our local team
• All taxes and gratuities for the hotels
• All breakfasts and three-courses dinners (wine or beer included 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: pannier rack, bottle holder, bell, (front and rear) lights, tool kit, safety retro-reflectors and a bicycle lock
• Access to a network of certified repair garages
• 1 GPS per group with everyday tracks and paper maps
• Cycle between 24 km and 60 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.
€2.490 per person
• Single room supplement: + €540 per room
• No dinner discount: - €350 per person
• Private Van Support during the cycling days: + €3250 per van
• Extra night in Santiago: + €140 per room (dinner not included)
• Extra night in the 5* Parador of Santiago: + €300 per room (dinner not included - upgrade + €160)
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 5* HotelsTotal Cycling Distance 706 kmDuration 19 days / 18 nightsStarts PamplonaStops Estella, Logroño, Sto. Domingo de la Calzada, Burgos, Castrojeriz, Fromista Sahagun, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Villafranca do Bierzo, PortomarinEnds Santiago de Compostela
highlightsCycle the Full French Way and get your CompostelaStay in the best accommodation along the Way including ParadoresVisit 3 of the most beautiful Spanish Cathedrals, one Templar Castle & the most important Monastery in SpainCross two mountain chains and visit 4 Galician regions
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 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 over 200 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 19 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 Iron Cross and 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 5* 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
Each night you will be dining either in your hotel or in a restaurant nearby, whichever offer the best quality meals according to your specifications. Expect mouth-watering dinners made out with fresh, local ingredients in each one of the regions you will visit. Local wine can be included at dinner on request.
La Rioja is known worldwide for their wines. Castilla-y-León is known for their suckling pig, lamb and mushrooms. Galicia is proud to have a few Michelin star restaurants and is known all over Spain for the quality of our products, our cooks' skills and our seafood including Barnacles and Scallops.
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? 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 16 nights route follows the 705 km of the Camino Frances - French Way from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.
DAY 1 - MAKING YOUR WAY TO THE CAPITAL OF NAVARRA, PAMPLONA
Make your way to the starting point of the Camino Frances: the beautiful Capital of Navarra Pamplona. The easiest way to reach Pamplona is by getting a train from Madrid or taxi / bus from Biarritz Airport. You will be staying in a charming 3* hotel in the Old Town and enjoy your first dinner in the Camino in Hemingway's favourite restaurant.
Pamplona certainly owes some of its fame to its adopted son, Ernest Hemingway, who spent a considerable amount of time in Navarra during the Spanish Civil War and was a big fan of the San Fermín Festival. Hemingway wrote about the festival and the “Running of the Bulls” (“Encierro” in Spanish) in The Sun Also Rises. The San Fermín Festival starts on July 6th and lasts for a week. During this time the city is flooded by more than 1,000,000 visitors and turns into one of the world’s largest fiestas. But Pamplona has so much more to offer, so spend the afternoon discovering its beautiful Old Town and the citadel park.
DAY 2 - 45 km - CYCLE FROM Pamplona to EStella
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 of Pamplona. You will start your journey along the French Way with a small climb (+300m) 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, known for Baroque its altarpiece and cloister, and Torres del Río with 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 3 or 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.
You are cycling towards the Parador of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (if available), a magnificent 12th-century hospital near the Cathedral of one of the most emblematic villages on the route. According to legend, here, a cock and hen which had been roasted came back to life to save a pilgrim who was supposed to be wrongly hanged for theft. A live rooster and hen are still kept in the cloister of the Cathedral in commemoration of this miracle.
DAY 5 - 35 km - CYCLE FROM santo domingo de la calzada to Villafranca Montes de Oca
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).
You will pass Grañon and Belorado before reaching your destination for the day, is a 3* hotel in a XIVth century Pilgrim Hospital in the village of Villafranca Montes de Oca. This village was an important town in the Roman times, which during Medieval Times has 9 temples and 2 pilgrim hospitals, but was completely destroyed by the Arabs but and now only has 125 full-time inhabitants and many abandonned ruins for you to discover.
DAY 6 - 38 km - CYCLE FROM Villafranca Montes de Oca to burgos
Start the day cycling through through crop fields, oak woods and vineyards for 18 km until you reach the UNESCO World Heritage caves of the Sierra de Atapuerca. If you have time, we highly recommend visiting this archeological site where the records of the earliest known hominids in Europe were found, dating to between 780,000 and 1 million years ago (located 1 kilometer from the village of Atapuerca - entrance €18).
After Atapuerca, you will have 20 km to go until you reach 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. If you can we highly recommend spending an extra day here to discover everything this wonderful city has to offer.
DAY 7 - 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 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.
Your 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 8 - 44 km - CYCLE FROM castrojeriz to Carrion de los Condes
Today, the first 19 km will be cycling through the endless green and gold fields of the Tierra de Campos. Then from Boadilla del Camino you will enjoy 6 km charming kilometers along a refreshing canal into the town of Fromista, where you will find some 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. Here, you will be glad you are on a bike and not walking on such flat land. Make use of your motor to speed up this section.
A further 14 km later, you will find Villalcázar de Sirga and its enormous fortified Templar basilica, Santa María la Blanca (St. Mary the White) and your destination 6 km afterwards: the historic monastery in Carrión de los Condes, one of the most important stops along the Camino in Medieval times.
DAY 9 - 40 km - CYCLE FROM Carrion de los Condes to sahagun
Continue your journey through the Meseta of Castilla-y-León and its imposing flatness. Today, you would be able to count the number of trees and buildings so there are no distractions from the route. Take this time to introspect and strenghten your will.
You are on an ancient Roman Road which has been used to thousands of years before becoming the Camino de Santiago and you will pass some reminders of its past. Your first stop will be Calzadilla de la Cueza, then Ledigos and Terradillos de los Templarios. From here the Camino will be a bit busier and just after you cross the border between the regions of Palencia and Leon you will find your destination for the night, Sahagun. This town was once known as a center of the arts and letters, the “Spanish Cluny” but again like often in this region very little remains.
DAY 10 - 60 km - CYCLE FROM sahagun to leon
Finally, today, you are heading out of the Meseta and into one of the most strikingly beautiful cities along the Way: León. The stunning Capital of the region of Leon is home to a remarkable cathedral, filled with more than 100 stained glass windows.
These last kilometers on this flat land feel long and unfortunately you will pass by many industrial areas so use your motor again to speed the process up. You will be rewarded on arrival by staying in one of the most extraordinary historic hotels on the Old Continent, the Parador Hostal de San Marcos. You will recognize this 5* hotel 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 11 - 48 km - CYCLE FROM leon to astorga
Start the day by exiting Leon, again through an ugly industrial area on flat land, and take the newer camino through Paramo. You will pass Villar de Mazarife, Hospital de Orbigo before reaching the ancient Roman city of Astorga.
Astorga or 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, an 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 12 - 54 km - CYCLE FROM astorga to ponferrada
Get ready because today, you will attempt to cross one of the highest mountain peaks of the French Way to arrive at the Cruz de Hierro, the Iron Cross (use your motor!). 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.
Your destination is Ponferrada, 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 and the location chosen by Paulo Coelho for one of the most memorable scenes from his book “The Pilgrimage”.
DAY 13 - 25 KM - CYCLE FROM Ponferrada to Villafranca do Bierzo
The first section today 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 as tomorrow you will have to cross one of those mountains to get into Galicia.
Your destination for the night is Villafranca del Bierzo. This lively medieval town has great importance for the pilgrimage as 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). If available you will be staying in the Parador of Villafranca and enjoy their stunning views and facilities for the night.
DAY 14 - 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 15 - 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 16 - 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 17 - 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 18 - 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 - check in to your 4* hotel, get your pilgrim certificate, attend pilgrim mass, and marvel at the architecture of our beloved City.
day 19 - 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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