Bilbao to Santiago de Compostela
8 days / 7 nights, Fully Guided & Supported
Quality Hotels & Country Retreats
Cycle the Ancient Camino de Santiago (Way of St James), along the green, northern Cantabrian coastline of Spain. Venture into Europe´s prettiest mountain range of the Picos de Europa before sampling the Celtic flavours of Austrias and her cider!
From the Guggenheim museum to the cathedral in Santiago, an incredible adventure awaits!
The road less travelled and the ancient Northern way of the Romans across northern Spain´s coast and devout pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela is our route through this most alluring and mysterious area. The myths and stories of the Basque Country, Cantabria, the Picos, Asturias and Galicia are our companions on this fascinating journey. This is a fully supported and guided trip taking in some of the most striking panoramic vistas and an area of the most uniquely diverse history and influence in medieval Europe. You will be praying the trip won´t end!
Starting from the cultural city of Bilbao and its caracol shaped museum, follow the coast to visit Castro Urdiales, a mainstay on the ancient Camino and a voyage north to escape medieval conflict with the Moors. Pagan Celtic ideas, Christian piety, Moorish beliefs all infuse this area and influence everything from Architecture to Appetizers. Keep cycling into the lovely natural parkland of the Picos de Europa, a real highlight visit to a unique area in Spain and then onto the deep history of Cangas de Onis and gorgeous little Santillana del Mar, a haven for medieval Pilgrims. Visit Spain´s most beautiful Cathedral Beach and enjoy watching the marina in Ribadeo before heading to the green forests outside Santiago to then finally make the great trip in to this centre of pigrimage.
Day 1. Bilbao to Santillana del Mar via Castro Urdiales
Meet in Bilbao and take a van transfer out to the ancient Coastal town of Castro Urdiales to start. Travel along the coast, sometimes kind, sometimes cruel as these mariners of this area know! Stop off for lunch to enjoy this area´s specialities of sardines and anchovies cooked over a spit, a great way to appreciate the hard work the fishing communities do here. The Destination is a hideaway, with an array of medieval monument buildings like you´ve stepped back 500 years. Our hotel tonight is a highlight situated right in the midst of this beautiful village.
Option: If really keen to explore Bilbao a wonderful city of culture, before the tour start, ask about extra nights here at our meet point hotel next to the wonderful silvery Frank Gehry creation of the Guggenheim Modern Art Museum.
Day 2. Santiallana to Fuente Dé, the Picos de Europa
Head out of Santillana and start the ride touching the coast, passing Comillas, to visit a famous Gaudi designed home! Today’s route takes in the Picos, often voted as one of the most beautiful spots in Europe. Pedal from the coast after visiting the pretty seaside village of San Vicente de la Barquera and up an awesome gorge to the mountain village of Potes, and on to Fuente Dé, underneath the mountains, our base for the next 2 evenings. *The Parador hotel here is a lovely spot underneath the rocky cliffs of this National Park with its wild diversity..
Day 3. Fuente Dé, the Picos de Europa
Rest or Hike Day
A rest day in the mountain lair, where you have the option to visit via cable car, the Col of Fuente De (a gentler ascent than cycling!). Eagles soar here and we really hope for clear skies, the views are stupendous! From this picturesque high, head down to our mountain retreat hotel or indeed stay ensconced all day in our comfortable hotel. A micro-climate, it grows its own grapes and they pack a punch in the potent grape brandy, orujo, distilled in town. Also worth trying are other "safer" treats like fine cheeses, honey and regional favourites like “cocido lebaniego” (mountain stew). You will be converted to highland living.
Day 4. Potes to Cangas de Onís
Pedal down the smooth hairpins of the San Glorio pass from a height of 1206 metres. The mountain scenery is breath taking. Cangas is a lively place in Asturias and is famous for its cider, poured over the head into your small glass! Destination: It is also a highlight Parador hotel on this tour being a historical monument which dates back many hundreds of years. The Romanesque stone building dating from the 12th century is the former San Pedro de Villanueva Monastery and is surrounded by mountains and forests. A fascinating slice of history, heavenly dreams await you!
Day 5. Cangas de Onís to Ribadeo
50km / 32miles
We cycle out in this picture postcard perfect with the high Picos mountains all around us. Take care to avoid the free roaming cows! After lunch we take a longer van transfer (1 1/2 hours) to the Destination town of Ribadeo in Galicia and have a free night to enjoy this remarkable seaside place on the Camino. Ribadeo boasts of being close to what is considered one of Spain´s most beautiful beaches – Cathedral beach, a natural Monument which we will visit. Our Parador hotel tonight has a flare of real Galician charm, and the fresh air here will ensure a good night´s rest for tomorrow´s ride.
Day 7. Ribadeo to Arzuá
This is rolling countryside of farm pastures of the Terra Chá region and around Arzuá, of Galicia. It is quite a long day as we make our way through these roads well trodden by pilgrims on the Camino for centuries. You will see the tell tale signs of those walking the Camino, with backpack and staff and the distinctive Seashell marking the ways. Our pretty rustic stone hotel was built in the 18th century and has been restored with joy and keeping a traditional feel to it and the lovely gardens. The quaint stone walled courtyard, birdsong and it´s ambience will wish you had more time to spend here! Relax before dinner and pickup a glass of wine!
Day 7. To Santiago de Compostela
55km / 35miles
We head in one direction..to the cathedral with a few interesting stops along the way including a Camino refuge and monastery which has been left in time. It is an exciting end, travelling with other pilgrims making our way to the heart of this venerable city. Our 18th century hotel, faces the famous market, the “Mercado de Abastos”, minutes walk from the Cathedral and historical centre. In the large stone city of Santiago, it is an oasis of calm with a small tranquil garden setting where we will enjoy our farewell meal after our guided walking tour of the city and Cathedral.
Day 8. Onwards from Santiago de Compostela
After an early breakfast, we say “adios” to each other and catch our onward connections. If staying, the cathedral has a pilgrim mass everyday at noon which is fascinating to see. You may feel after visiting the place and its dynamic feel, you will want to do it all over again!
*There is an airport in Santiago and we would do a morning transfer to it about 10:00/10:30
Leisure Tour - Guided
Bikes - Hybrid / Road / E-Bike
Route - Bilbao / Santiago
Group Size - 6+
Open to all levels - there will be van transfers along the route enabling cyclists to cycle as little or as much as they want (Daily min average of 25 km to max of 85 km). Quiet country roads. Rolling countryside with some steeper climbs (van transfer if required for beginners). The route is often coastal, and generally hilly and undulating so be prepared!
Historic hotels and country retreats
All bedrooms are private en-suite
All 8 Breakfasts
1 tapas lunch with drinks included
4 dinners at the selected accommodation and fine restaurants (3 courses) including wine/beer/soft drinks
- Welcome drink and meeting
- Private and guided city walking tour of Compostela
- Entrance and guide to Compostela´s cathedral
- Wine/ beer / soft drinks / water with group meals
- 24 speed Trek hybrid bike with front handlebar bag / map carrier -(change to a lightweight Trek Carbon road bike with compact crankset - 165 Euros)
- Complimentary custom Cycling Country Spain cycling jersey
- Complimentary Cycling Country water bottle
- Tour guide book / Route notes /maps
- Experienced guides
- Daily snacks (energy bars, fruit etc and drinks)
2 leaders with full van support to pick up souvenirs, provide refreshments, act as guides, offer tips and insights throughout the day, provide directional signs where required, transfer luggage and provide on-road assistance. Generally 1 leader cycles with the group. The van support accompanies the group all the way.
There are various access points for arriving in Bilbao and departing Santiago de Compostela.
Your holiday sleeping time is the most important thing, who wants a cranky cyclist?? We also know that the rat race that exists outside Spain, means, catch up time on those slumber hours are even more desired. So we want you to get some good solid ZZZZZZs, and we base on accommodation on this important premise. Thus hotels are chosen for their comfort and central to the sights and cycling. Our Coastal Camino tour is no exception and we have picked our accommodation carefully to ensure this. The hotels chosen for this trip are in keeping with the historical theme. Many are historical monuments or reflect the unique heritage and tradition of this special area of Spain. We want you to come away refreshed, revitalized and really impressed with the hospitality and wonderful places we have found for you.
The places to stay each night range from family run pensions in the Picos to lovingly refinished and important historical buildings either Paradors or privately run luxury hotels which have been witness to Spain formations to its modern day existance. Each night is different, each night an experience.
On the banks of the Sella River, surrounded by the spectacular Picos de Europa mountains, the Parador de Cangas de Onís awaits you in an incomparably beautiful spot. It is located in a former monastery, a beautiful building with spectacular rooms of stone and wood.
Hotel Casa del Marqués Hotel Casa del Marqués is located in Santillana del Mar, just 25.7 km from Santander. Passing the threshold of this hotel, the customer will feel like going back to the Middle Ages, but you will enjoy all the modern comforts.
"Simply the BEST
This was our third tour with Cycling Country. Camino de Santiago across Northern Spain left from near Bilbao and ended 8 days later in Santiago de Compostela. Amazing cycling, wonderful lodging, and the best guides on earth. You simply feel like family and every day is special. The route was superb, the food in Spain is wonderful, and even the bikes were just perfect. Geoff, Maggi, and Javi go above and beyond to ensure that everyone feels comfortable regardless of what the day brings whether it is long climbs, inclement weather, or whatever. We look forward to our fourth trip with this wonderful cycling company. Previous to this we did Lisbon, Portugal to the Spanish border, and prior to that, a fantastic trip across Andalusia."
Steve & Robyn - USA - June 2017
"Thank you so much for making our Cycling holiday so happy and enjoyable. We wish you all the best and are sure that your company will go from strength to strength with all the hard work that you put in."
Claire and Madeleine - UK
CUSTOM DATES: if booking with a private group of 6 +
Price includes all local taxes. Please note we transact in Euros.
- Arrive and enjoy celebrated Santiago de Compostela
- Sleep in luxury Romanesque monasteries, Paradors & historical mansions
- Stay in the Picos de Europa for 2 nights to bike the gorges and hike the rocky heights, a virtual playground of valleys and high mountains
- Visit on a guided tour, the Cathedral of St. James, 1,000 years of pilgrimage and the historical centre of Santiago
- Cycle the Northern Camino, a UNESCO heritage route and visit Cathedral Beach, a Natural Monument
- An Epic journey through 4 unique provinces, with local food & customs, savouring Asturiano cider, Galician seafood cuisine & Cantabrian dishes
- Bring home your stamped Pilgrim passport and Camino Certificate!
THE CC ADVANTAGE
Personally interested in the history, landscape and your enjoyment of the Camino!
Years of experience our local guides have of the area which we all love.
Thank you so much for making our Cycling holiday so happy and enjoyable. We wish you all the best and are sure that your company will go from strength to strength with all the hard work that you put in.Claire and Madeleine
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