Typical day-by-day itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive in Leon
Your holiday starts in the magnificent 3-star Parador de Leon, originally a C12 monastery and one of the most beautiful Renaissance buildings in Spain.
Day 2 - Leon to Astorga 58km/36mi
We collect our bikes after breakfast. Riding across the plains of Castilla, our route takes us through cultivated countryside and quaint villages with adobe houses and wine caves. We enter Orbigo village by crossing a stunning mediaeval bridge - one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in the country - and have lunch here. Our final 15km stretch is to the beautiful walled town of Astorga, with views of Leon's mountains affording a gorgeous backdrop.
Day 3 - Astorga to Molinaseca 46km/29mi
We leave the Castillan plains behind today as we climb gently into the mountains of Leon and up through the ochre-hued village of Castrillo de los Polvazares before lunch in the charming mountain hamlet of Acebo. Admire its beautiful balconied houses and wonderful views of the surrounding valley before descending into riverside Molinaseca and the tranquil oasis of Hotel Rural de Floriana.
Day 4 - Molinaseca to O'Cebreiro 60km/38mi
It's a gorgeous, mainly flat, ride this morning to beautiful Villafranca, a historic town renowned for its architecture and charming central square. After lunch here, it's out along the valley before a steady uphill push to the small mountain village of O'Cebreiro - stunning views of the valley and black slate-roofed houses make the climb worthwhile!
Day 5 - O'Cebreiro to Portomarin 69km/43mi
The longest day, but crammed with variety as we cross the border from Castilla into gastronomic Galicia. This is real farming land, where traditional agricultural villages continue as they have for centuries with locals cultivating their plots and tending to their cattle. Farmers wield razor-sharp scythes in tiny fields as we follow the Camino between sleepy villages, stopping off at Samos - home to one of the oldest monasteries in Spain. Our final stretch takes us along tree-lined paths to Portomarin - the original village was drowned by the Belesar Reservoir, and submerged houses still shimmer below the surface!
Day 6 - Portomarin to Arzua 48km/30mi
Time to drop into Portomarin's church before continuing along the Torres stream, cycling between cornfields and past fortified farmhouses into the pilgrimage hillside town of Palas del Rei in the province of A Coruna. Our route then takes us through vineyards - lovely views east to the Montes del Vacaloura - and on to the lively market town of Arzua. We stay in the elegantly converted C18 mansion in 35,000m2 of gardens set just outside the town.
Day 7 - Arzua to Santiago de Compostela 45km/28mi
Leaving Arzua's colonnaded streets, our route rises and falls as we pedal through open country passing beret-wearing farmers tending their vines and building haystacks with pitchforks! Excitement mounts as we approach Monte de Gozo - the Mount of Joy - and catch our first views of the soaring spires of Santiago. Approaching the historic centre, congratulations are everywhere as groups of pilgrims reach their journey's end in front of the cathedral's spectacular Baroque facade. We drop into the Pilgrim's Office to collect our Compostela Certificates of Achievement before checking into our luxury 5-star Parador - considered to be the oldest, and certainly one of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
Day 8 - Leave Santiago
We take you to the airport in the evening.
Guided cycling notes:
The riding is on a mixture of quiet minor roads, cycle paths and tracks. As we are passing through rural communities, the roads are quiet with very little traffic, however you will be sharing the route with a number of walkers and cyclists all on their way to Santiago de Compostela. There is one long but gradual climb on the second cycling day of the trip and one steep 8 km climb on the third cycling day, but the support vehicle will be on hand if you prefer to opt out. Alternatively, there is the opportunity to walk along the hiking track. There are a few cobbled sections where you should take care, particularly in wet conditions. Please note that wearing a cycling helmet is compulsory on this trip - as we are unable to provide these, you must bring your own.