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By bicycle to Santiago

Santiago de Compostela

A Coruña

Travel by bicycle through the spectacular geography of Spain for an unforgettable cultural and personal experience. This is the cyclist’s version of St James’ Way, an adventure highly recommended for fans of cycle touring, but also ideal for travellers looking for a new challenge in every sense: athletic, individual and intercultural.

Perhaps one of the biggest attractions of this pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela (Galicia), a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, is the chance to set your own pace. Discovering the territories of Spain that the Way goes through, either alone or sharing sensations with visitors from all over the world; experiencing the essence of the local customs, fiestas and cuisine; immersing yourself in nature and architectural heritage, and endless contrasts... Can you imagine the feeling of crossing the peaks of the Pyrenees and reaching the flat plains of Castilla? We’ll help you visualise it!

Choose your route and pace

Following St James’ Way requires some forward planning. You need to be aware of your fitness level and whether you need to do any training. A standard recommendation for people who are not used to long days of cycling is to work up to an average of 50 kilometres a day. At this pace you can complete one of the most popular routes, the French Way, in two weeks. You have the option of only doing part of the route, as to get the ‘Compostela’ – the document certifying you have taken the Way - when you get to Plaza del Obradoiro you only need to demonstrate you have completed 200 kilometres.

Cyclists on a greenway

Before you begin, it is important to have the Credential. This is a document that you get stamped at each state of the journey, normally when you arrive at pilgrim hostels or parish churches. You can get a credential from the Associations of Friends of St James’ Way in Spain or abroad, or in Tourist Offices.

Pack light

The personal challenge of St James’ Way means you need to be aware that the real luggage is you and your motivation and enthusiasm for cycling St James' Way. When loading your packs, it’s best to take only what you really need. You will need spare items for the bicycle, plus a helmet and a high-vis jacket for going on normal roads. A sleeping bag, wash bag, sunscreen, a waterproof layer, ID documents, a guidebook… are a few of the elements you should have in your backpack.

Cyclist on a route

Tips for cycle pilgrims

Choosing a bicycle, whether your own or hired, as the main transport on your trip guarantees you a healthy and sustainable holiday. The culture, food, landscape and built heritage of Spain, present throughout all the routes to Santiago, are the foundation of this authentic and unusual experience.April, May, June and September are the best months for a cycle pilgrimage. In July and August, you should avoid exercise during the hottest part of the day, usually from 12 to 6 pm.It’s important to know that there are hostels and other types of accommodation adapted to suit the specific needs of pilgrims travelling the Way by bicycle.The classic routes are all clearly signed, and the French Way starting at Roncesvalles has the added advantage of the villages being quite close together.Those who choose to reach the goal –the doors of the Cathedral of Santiago– on their own bicycle will be interested to know there is a special transport service that can ship your bike back home for you.Do you fancy becoming a cycle pilgrim?

Sign for bicycles