Cycle the Camino de Santiago Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Spain
Programmes:
Cycling
Trip Code:
MWC
Activity Rating - Moderate/Challenging
Moderate / Challenging

You are moderately fit and have an interest in remote or challenging environments. Some previous experience is required for activity based trips.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
16 Min age

Trip Overview

The Camino de Santiago de Compostela across northern Spain is one of the world's oldest pilgrimage routes. Also known as 'The Way of St James', it originated in the region of Galicia where the tomb of the Apostle James the Great was discovered in the 9th Century. The way is marked by the symbol of the scallop shell and the grooves that join together are said to represent the many different ways pilgrim's travel from to reach Santiago. It's the Gothic cathedrals, medieval monasteries and miles of beautiful rural scenery that make this section of the ancient route so popular.

At a Glance

  • 6 days cycling with partial vehicle support 
  • 50% tarmac roads, 50% gravel roads and tracks 
  • Some climbs to be expected 
  • Group normally 4 to 16 plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • 7 nights in hotels and Casa Rurales

 

Trip Highlights

  • Mediaeval monasteries and unspoiled rural scenery
  • Enjoy the fantastic food and wine produced along the route 
  • Follow the famous pilgrimage route to Santiago 

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is classified Road

Activity level 4 (moderate/challenging)

6 days cycling with an average distance of 54 km/day (33 miles) with partial vehicle support

Terrain and route: 50% on quiet minor roads and 50% on a mixture of cycle paths, non-technical tracks and a few off-road sections. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to call us. Please note that wearing a cycling helmet is compulsory on this trip.

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. This trip is ideal for the occasional cyclists who exercise regularly. 

Group

There will be a local cycling leader and an assistant leader driving the support vehicle.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Leon.

    Trip starts in Leon; here we may have time to visit the city's beautiful gothic cathedral and stroll around its charming winding narrow streets before having a trip breifing and our first meal as a group.

    Hotel Campus San Mames

  • Day 2

    Ride across the plains of Castille through countryside and quaint villages to Astorga.

    We head into the countryside riding across the plains of Castilla through cultivated countryside and quaint villages, with adobe houses and wine caves. We will take lunch in Hospital del Orbigo and on entering the village we cross a stunning mediaeval bridge (one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in Spain). We then ride the final 15km to the beautiful walled town of Astorga, with views of the mountains of Leon in the distance.

    Hotel Gaudi 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 58 km / 36 miles
  • Day 3

    Climb into the mountains of Leon to the Monte de la Cruz de Ferro; descend to Molinaseca.

    Today's ride is the most beautiful of the trip as we leave the Castillan plains behind and climb gradually into the mountains of Leon to the Monte de la Cruz de Ferro (1505m). En route we pass through Castrillo de los Polvazares, known for its very special architecture created by strong orange coloured stone. After riding through the charming mountain village of Acebo (the main street is a straight line of beautiful balconied houses) we enjoy the rest of our descent into Molinaseca, with stunning views of the surrounding valley.

    Hostal El Palacio

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 52 km / 32 miles
  • Day 4

    Ride to Villafranca with views across the valleys of Galicia and the mountains of Leon; long ascent to the village of O'Cebreiro.

    The highlight today is the ride to the beautiful town of Villafranca with stunning views across the green valleys of Galicia and wooded mountains of Leon. After the first easy and mainly flat 25km we have a short climb to Villafranca, which is worth a look for its many monuments and picturesque town square. Once we reach the bottom of the valley in the foothills of Monte de O'Cebreiro we will have a rest before our final push to the top of the mountain and the small village of O'Cebreiro.  This climb is one of the most challenging on the tour as we ascend 650m over 8 kilometres, the climb is a very gentle ascent with a steady gradient and we will break it up with plenty of stops. At the top we will be able to appreciate wonderful views of the valleys that surround this peak and admire the charming slate roofed black houses. 


    Please note. Due to the limited accommodation capacity in O'Cebreiro, on certain departures we may have to stay in the village of Herrerias and cycle up to O'Cebreiro in the morning of Day 5 (9km).

    Centro de Turismo Rural El Capricho de Josana

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 54 km / 33 miles
  • Day 5

    Enter Galicia's landscape of traditional agricultural villages; cycle past Samos Monastery on the way to Sarria.

    As we enter Galicia the landscape changes dramatically and the area is populated by a number of traditional agricultural villages. Each family has small plots of land, which they cultivate for their own vegetables and we will pass by many of the locals working the land and tending to their cattle. As well as a change in culture, landscape and language, the gastronomy of Galicia is famous for using products of high quality and preparing them in simple, but delicious ways. We have lunch in Samos, home to one of the oldest monasteries in Spain, and cycle through chestnut forests to Sarria

    Hotel Oca Villa de Sarria

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 50 km / 31 miles
  • Day 6

    Cycle along tree-lined paths to Portomarin, rebuilt on a hilltop in the 1950's in order to construct a reservoir; continue to Palas de Rei.

    Today's ride runs through beautiful rural Galician countryside and along tree-lined paths to the town of Portomarin, which was rebuilt on a hilltop in the 1950's in order to construct a reservoir. After lunch, a 13km climb, followed by a welcome 12km downhill, takes us to Palas de Rei, a small town full of the pilgrim spirit.

    Hotel Complejo la Cabaña

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 54 km / 33 miles
  • Day 7

    Short ascents and descents to Monte de Gozo; follow the pilgrims' route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

    Our final day involves a number of short ascents and descents towards Monte de Gozo. From here, as pilgrims have done for centuries, we wind our way through the city’s streets and crowds to Plaza del Obradoiro, dominated by the impressive cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

    We then move onto the Pilgrim's Office for those who wish to obtain the 'compostela' (certificate of accomplishment).

    Hotel La Salle

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 67 km / 41 miles
  • Day 8

    End Santiago de Compostela.

    After breakfast the trip end Santiago de Compostela.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Casa Rurales & Hotels

7 nights accommodation, in the smaller villages you will use characterful family-run ‘casa rurales’ and in larger towns you will be accommodated in larger hotels. All have en suite facilities and are situated beside the actual Camino de Santiago.

Single supplement from 247.00 CHF

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

Breakfasts will be continental style with cold cheese, meats and bread, as well as pastries, tea and coffee.

Vegetarians: Please be aware that a meat and fish diet is the norm in Northern Spain. Many vegetarians have not experienced any problems, however please be prepared to be flexible. Please note that mealtimes in Spain are later than in many other countries; dinner is usually taken between 21:00 and 21.30.

Transportation

Transfers to and from the airport will be by private vehicle (normally minibus). Whilst cycling the vehicle will carry your baggage and be on hand with assistance or if you choose to 'sit out' a section of the ride. A guide cycles with the group.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

In April and October expect temperatures between 5-15C with a high chance of rain showers. In the mornings it is often cloudy and more temperate. Temperatures in May and September tend to be about 5C warmer than April and October. Expect a combination of sun, light showers and clouds. July and August are typically sunny and warm 15-30C

Weather Charts

Camino

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days 

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary. We normally use the scheduled services of EasyJet (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings.

Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure. Due to Easyjet's booking system, we can only purchase flights 6 months before the date of your departure. If you book your trip before this date, a booking confirmation will be sent to you advising that flights are subject to confirmation.

 

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Leon and ending in Santiago de Compostela

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Leon in the evening of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

As advice about luggage allowances for both hand and hold luggage is subject to change, we suggest you check the airline's website for the latest information prior to your departure. The usual, standard check-in baggage weight allowance is 20kg.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

 

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

Location start:
Leon
Location end:
Santiago de Compostela

What to Take

Essential Equipment

We recommend packing the following items:

Normal daily clothes

Cycling helmet

Padded cycling shorts and gloves

Breathable top or cycling jersey

Sunglasses/eye protection

Stiff-soled shoes suitable for cycling

Waterproofs and long cycling trousers

For the earlier departures you may need some warmer layers

Sun cream

Water bottle


Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

Optional Equipment

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Equipment Hire

Local Bike Details: Trek 4500 mountain bikes with front suspension.

Discount for bringing your own bike: £90.

A quality local hire bike is now included in the overall price of our cycling holidays. At the time of booking we will take your height in order to reserve equipment. There may on occasions be insufficient bikes available in the correct size; we will endeavour to find suitable alternative equipment but this cannot be guaranteed. We will tell you before you book whether suitably sized bikes are available.

Conditions

1. The equipment remains the property of the supplier and you may not sell, hire out or part possession with the equipment.

2. You must not misuse the equipment and must return it in the same condition as when received (ordinary wear and tear excepted). The supplier is entitled to charge for any damage caused to the equipment during the period of hire.

3. You must ensure that the equipment is adequately secured when not in use. In the event of the equipment being lost or stolen, you may be liable for the replacement value of the equipment

4. You must not use the equipment whilst under the influence of drink or drugs and should immediately notify the Supplier in the event of breakdown or loss.

Bringing Your Own Bike

If you prefer the familiarity of your own bike, you may of course bring it along. Please advise us at the time of booking and you will receive a discount off the price of the holiday, as specified above. You will be responsible for any extra baggage charges, please speak to our Sales team for individual airline fees. Any clients bringing their own bike should ensure they have adequate cover for loss, damage or theft under their travel, home contents or a specialist insurance policy. If Exodus is confident that we have taken all reasonable care to ensure the safety of your bike, in the rare event of loss, damage or theft you will need to claim under your own insurance policy.

Extra Bike Bits

You may like to bring your own pedals and saddle (excluding the seat post) or gel saddle cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it is your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle/pedals at the end of the trip. We cannot guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

Exodus Policy on Cycling Helmets

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for anyone taking part in any guided Exodus cycling holiday. Group members must bring their own helmets, as they are not available for hire, even if they are hiring a bike from Exodus.

For self-guided cycling holidays wearing a helmet is highly recommended. Customers who choose to ignore our advice do so entirely at their own risk and on the understanding that it may affect the validity of their travel insurance. It should also be noted that in some countries we travel to wearing a helmet is already a legal requirement.

Cycling of all kinds has its dangers and accidents can happen from time to time. Please ensure that you are properly prepared for the riding you are going to undertake.

 

Recommended Cycling Clothing

Padded cycling shorts (with loose 'over-shorts' where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof/windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting daysack.

Reading List

Roads to SantiagoCees Nooteboom

Practical Information

Passport



Visa

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Spain's Timezone:
Europe/Madrid CET (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

Spain's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Spain use a two pin plug, voltage is 220V, 50 Hz.

Money

Spain's Currency

The national currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

ATM Availability

There are cash points available in most towns along the route and most places take credit and debit cards, though cash is generally easier for smaller payments.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

All along the Camino Santiago there are restaurants offering set lunches and dinners for approximately €10-15 specifically aimed at those travelling the route. We recommend you should allow about €200 overall, however this does depend on which restaurants you choose.

Tipping

This is entirely at your own discretion. However, as a guideline, we suggest you allow a few pounds each day for tips for the guide‐ about £4 (approx. US$6‐7) a day per client would seem reasonable.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

 

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 16 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.