The French Way: From León to Santiago - Self-guided bike tour

Cycle the last 300 km of the French Camino in 8 days/ 7 nights

599.00 €

The French Route by bike crosses the north of Spain. It begins in Castile and Leon and provides views of breathtaking landscapes and of ancient monuments, and most typical villages and cities as León, Astorga, Ponferrada and  Santiago de Compostela.
This itinerary covers the last 300 km of the Way, allowing you to get the Compostela Certificate.

We recommend to cycle the French Way only if you have some cycling experience and if you have essential bike maintenance knowledge.

1st day :  Arrival in LEÓN
2nd day: LEÓN - ASTORGA (49 km  - difficulty 1/3)
3rd day: ASTORGA - PONFERRADA (54 km - difficulty 2/3).
4th day: PONFERRADA - O CEBREIRO (50 km - difficulty 3/3)
5th day: O CEBREIRO - PORTOMARÍN (62 km - difficulty 2/3)
6th day: PORTOMARÍN - ARZÚA (53 Km - difficulty 2/3)
7th day: ARZÚA - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (39 km - difficulty 1/3)

The Price Includes:
- 7 nights in handpicked hotels and inns, all with en-suite accommodation, on a bed and breakfast basis
- Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel: 1 bag max. 20kg/ 44 lbs per person.
- Travel insurance.
- Credencial (Pilgrim’s passport)
- Maps of the stages.
- Telephone assistance  (English speaking)

The Price does not include:
- Lunches.
- Flights or trains.
- Dinner supplement: € 200
- Single room supplement: € 370
- Bike rental Coluer Standard: 210 € /bike.
- Bike rental BMC Premium: 220 € /bike
- Bike rental Gravel: 220 € /bike.
- Bike rental EBIKE Kross: 370 € /bike.
- Bike rental EBIKE Focus: 440 € /bike.





1st day:  Arrival in LEÓN
Fill in for Pilgrim's passport “La Credencial” and enjoy first class monuments in the old town.
The historic centre of León is well worth visiting and the Gothic Cathedral and the Romanesque Basilica San Isidoro. 
León was the capital of the kingdom in the Middle Ages, a historic enclave on the pilgrim's route to Santiago de Compostela. 
For your earthly pleasure there is the fantastic neighbourhood “Barrio Humedo” (The wet district) very close. 

2nd day: LEÓN - ASTORGA (49 km - difficulty 1/3)
Breakfast and start of the stage. The route out of Leon takes you right through the city to the village of Virgen del Camino, where legend has it that the Virgin appeared to a shepherd in 1506, and asked him to build a shrine.
This stage is quite exposed as you cross the barren plains.
There are two alternatives for this stage, either to Villar de Mazarife which is a longer more scenic route to Astorga or a shorter route to Villadangos which runs closer to the main road. We suggest you the second alternative.
The journey follows the script of the previous part of the stage with the endless plains of the wilderness for company.
When you reach Órbigo Hospital, the Camino gives us another two alternatives. Instead of taking the path to the right, you can turn left along a marked path that runs parallel to the road.

3rd day: ASTORGA - PONFERRADA (54 km - difficulty 2/3).
Breakfast and start of the stage. The Camino starts a gradual and steady climb to the intersection of Santa Catalina de Somoza and here for a passable take us to El Ganso after an hour of walking. That leaves the last slope of the day before settling stage whose fate is in Rabanal del Camino. This stage is the highest on the entire route and is one of the most picturesque routes on the Way.
The road out of Rabanal climbs to a mysterious landscape wrapped in clean mountain air. The Camino leads to the Iron Cross (Cruz de Ferro) at an altitude of 1,500 metres, which is marked by a simple tall cross on a large wooden mast.
The route continues onto El Acebo, another famous hamlet and essential stop on the Camino which welcomes us to the Bierzo region. Then it moves onto Riego de Ambrós and returns to the 21st century in Molinaseca.
You will cross the Bierzo region, a sunken plain nestled within a ring of mountains before arriving in Ponferrada, where the Templar Castle is well worth a visit.

4th day: PONFERRADA - O CEBREIRO (50 km - difficulty 3/3)
Breakfast and start of the stage. You will first cross the small village of Pieros to reach Villafranca del Bierzo, where you will be rewarded with a visit to the famous Puerta del Perdón (Door Gate of Forgiveness) in the church of Saint James.
The route moves onto the small village of Pereje and then Trabadelo, La Portela and Ambasmestas. Part of the route runs parallel to the road and brings the ascent of O Cebreiro. The Camino then goes through the villages of Ruitelan and Las Herrerias. This is when the climb really begins, with a short but very difficult ascent.
There are now only 150 kilometres to go before you reach Santiago.

5th day: O CEBREIRO - PORTOMARÍN (62 km - difficulty 2/3)
Breakfast and start of the stage. You are now in Galicia, and O Cebreiro offers us one of the most beautiful landscapes on the Way, as a place of great tradition and mysticism , with its emblematic Romanesque church of Santa María de O Cebreiro.
You will start the climb towards the Alto de San Roque and later to the Alto de O Poio (1,335 m), which is the highest point in Galicia on the French Route, offering spectacular views.
After crossing the Alto do Poio, the descent to the hamlet of Triacastela begins. 
From Triacastela, there are two ways to reach Sarria, by San XiI or by Samos, with its beautiful Benedictine monastery. We suggest our cycling pilgrims the second alternative.
After that you will arrive to Sarria, the main town between Ponferrada and Santiago de Compostela. The village of Barbadelo has a beautiful Romanesque church that is worth a visit. When you arrive in Portomarín, you can chill out at one of the numerous outdoor cafés in the main square.

6th day: PORTOMARÍN - ARZÚA (53 Km - difficulty 2/3)
Breakfast and start of the stage. The day starts by crossing over the Belesar dam footbridge, followed by a gradual climb ending in the village of Ligonde.
This stage runs mainly along andaderos (paths), next to the road, or in some cases along paved trails.
There are many signs indicating that we are on a pilgrim route, including the famous "cruceiros" (crucifixes). Check out the Cruceiro of Lameiros and the Monastery of Our Saviour of Vilar de Donas (2 km detour off the Camino).
On this stage, you will move into the province of La Coruña, where you will find expanses of eucalyptus and pine trees and numerous medieval bridges, such as those in Leboreiro and Furelos. As well as one of the most idyllic locations on the Camino, Ribadiso do Baixo near Arzua.
Melide, which is famous for its octopus, is an obligatory stop for pilgrims and lovers of good food, whilst Arzua is famous for its designation of origin cheese.

7th day: ARZÚA - SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA (39 km - difficulty 1/3)
Breakfast and start of the stage. Today’s route is a nice and easy route over with gentle slopes through woodland, alternating with stretches near the road.
Don't miss the beautiful sculpture of Saint James the Pilgrim in the Church of the same name in Boente.
The proximity of your goal will bring mixed feelings. On one hand, you will be eager to reach the desired end of the journey, yet on the downside, the feeling that comes to every pilgrim is that the journey is over.
A stage of anxiety and joy, where distance does not matter, because you are “already there”.
The stage is almost flat, except for the climb to San Marcos, from Lavacolla, passing Monte do Gozo and down to Santiago de Compostela.
The entire city of Santiago de Compostela is magical, but especially its Cathedral, which deserves a special visit.

After breakfast, go to exchange your pilgrim’s passport, if you haven’t already done it.
Alternatively, we suggest you visit the cathedral and the surrounding areas or attend a pilgrim mass.

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