Cycling the Camino de Santiago

The Way of St James - Camino Frances

By Mike Wells

Guidebook detailing the 850km cycle route from St Jean-Pied-de-Port in southern France to Santiago de Compostela, following the original pilgrim route, with optional road variants. Suitable for most abilities and bikes, the route is presented in 19 stages averaging 45km each, with notes on the religious significance and local sites of interest.



Both routes can be cycled between April-October, though as it is very hot (up to 40 degrees) in July-August these months are best avoided. Snow can fall on higher parts between November-March.


St Jean-Pied-de-Port, Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos, León, Astorga, Ponferrada, Sarria, Santiago de Compostela


The off-road route is best ridden on a mountain bike or trail bike. It has steep ascents and descents on rough off-road trails. The road route, while reaching the same altitudes, ascends steadily on quiet asphalt roads with no undue difficulty for touring cycles. Less experienced mountain-bike riders can mix and match, using the road route to avoid the toughest off-road sections.
Must See

Must See

Rolling green hills, high chalk downland, vineyards, historic churches, architecture, local cuisine, Santiago cathedral housing the shrine of St James
8 Mar 2019
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.5cm
  • Overview

    The Camino de Santiago de Compostela (Way of St James) is among the world's most famous pilgrimages: Christian pilgrims have travelled to the shrine of St James in Santiago, northern Spain, since the ninth century. This guide provides all the information you need to successfully cycle the Camino.

    The Camino Francés is the most popular variant of the Camino, linking St Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French-Spanish border with Santiago via Pamplona, Burgos and León. The guide presents the journey in 18 stages. Two versions of the route are described, the first (770km) based closely on the walkers' route and suitable for hybrid or mountain bikes; the second (798km) a 'road route' for road and touring cycles. It can be cycled in around 10–14 days and is very well provisioned. Clear route description and mapping are accompanied by notes on local points of interest, as well as background information on Spanish history and the history of the Camino. The practicalities are also thoroughly covered, including travel to and from the route, accommodation, facilities, kit and how to qualify for and obtain your Compostela (pilgrims' certificate).

    Whether you're seeking a spiritual journey, a physical challenge or just a holiday, the Camino promises an unforgettable experience – from the beautiful landscapes, historic towns and rich culture of northern Spain to the famed camaraderie with other wayfarers. Blending information with inspiration, this guide is an ideal companion to cycling this UNESCO-listed route.

  • Contents

    The Camino
    The routes
    Natural environment
    Pilgrim credentials and information
    Getting there and back
    Food and drink
    Amenities and services
    What to take
    Safety and emergencies
    About this guide
    The route
    Navarre and La Rioja
    Stage 1 St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Roncesvalles
    Stage 2 Roncesvalles to Pamplona
    Stage 3 Pamplona to Estella
    Stage 4 Estella to Logroño
    Stage 5 Logroño to Santo Domingo de la Calzada
    León y Castile
    Stage 6 Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Villafranca Montes de Oca
    Stage 7 Villafranca Montes de Oca to Burgos
    Stage 8 Burgos to Castrojeriz
    Stage 9 Castrojeriz to Carrión de los Condes
    Stage 10 Carrión de los Condes to Sahagún
    Stage 11 Sahagún to León
    Stage 12 León to Astorga
    Stage 13 Astorga to Ponferrada
    Stage 14 Ponferrada to O Cebreiro
    Stage 15 O Cebreiro to Sarria
    Stage 16 Sarria to Palas de Rei
    Stage 17 Palas de Rei to Arzúa
    Stage 18 Arzúa to Santiago de Compostela

    Appendix A Facilities summary table
    Appendix B Tourist information offices
    Appendix C Cycle shops
    Appendix D Pilgrim information
    Appendix E Useful contacts
    Appendix F Language glossary
    Appendix G Spanish architectural styles

  • Updates
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    March 2019

    page 33; Michelin map booklet is numbered 160, not 161.

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Mike Wells

Mike Wells is an author of both walking and cycling guides. He has been walking long-distance footpaths for 25 years, after a holiday in New Zealand gave him the long-distance walking bug. Mike has also been a keen cyclist for over 20 years. After completing various UK Sustrans routes, such as Lon Las Cymru in Wales and the C2C route across northern England, he then moved on to cycling long-distance routes in continental Europe and beyond. These include cycling both the Camino and Ruta de la Plata to Santiago de la Compostela, a traverse of Cuba from end to end, a circumnavigation of Iceland and a trip across Lapland to the North Cape. He has written a series of cycling guides for Cicerone following the great rivers of Europe.

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