Doing the Camino de Santiago by bicycle
More and more pilgrims are encouraged to do the stages of the Camino de Santiago by bicycle (usually, in BTT), a fact that has given rise to a new concept: the bikegrim. Doing the Camino de Santiago by bike has its peculiarities, with regards to doing it on foot.
That is why in Santiago Ways we did not want to forget about those 6.5% of bikegrims that arrive every year in Santiago de Compostela on wheels. In the following sections you will find tips to make the Camino de Santiago by bike and the distribution of stages by bike of the main pilgrim routes.
Advice for bikegrims
Here are some tips to keep in mind if you want to be a bikegrim, rather than do it on foot. Before starting with them, there is one thing to keep in mind, doing the Camino de Santiago by bike has a great advantage and a big drawback.
The advantage of doing the Camino de Santiago by bike is that you will travel many more kilometres a day, so that you will need fewer days off to complete any pilgrim route. The flip side of this coin is that the speed of the bike and its own dynamics, provides fewer opportunities to meet other people.
It is important to train
To do the Camino de Santiago it is always recommended to train, but if you are going to do it by bike, it is necessary that you apply your training to it. In this article of our blog of the Camino de Santiago you will find some recommendations for your physical training to make the Camino de Santiago, both on foot and by bike.
Use a BTT to do the Camino de Santiago
Not every bike is valid to complete the Camino de Santiago. Do not forget that you will have to face mountain stages, so we advise you to use a BTT for the Camino de Santiago.
If you don’t have one, you should know that there are numerous companies that rent bikes to ride on the Camino de Santiago. We are among them.
One of the advantages of renting a BTT to do the Camino de Santiago is that they have insurance. Therefore, if the mountain bike suffers any breakdown, the agency will take care of replacing it with another one and you will not have to waste time waiting for it to be repaired.
Choose a time that’s not very rainy
Rain should not be an impediment to making the Camino de Santiago. In our article on the climate on the Camino de Santiago we tell you that it is very likely that in the stages that run through Galicia, you will have to face some stage with rain.
However, in the case of bikers, things change. For two wheels, rain is a great enemy, as the firm becomes much more unstable and is much easier to drift.
If you are not a cyclist with a lot of experience, but you want to do the Camino de Santiago by bike, we recommend that you choose a time with a low probability of rain. In that sense, the best months are June, July, August, and September. FromDecember to February it is when there is a higher volume of rainfall and therefore is the least recommended time for bikegrims.
Find another bikegrim
When you make a pilgrimage, in Santiago Ways we encourage you to do the Camino de Santiago alone. However, we advise you both when it comes to a bikegrim. This is mainly due to two reasons.
One is that on all the routes of the Camino de Santiago you will find numerous places to visit where you will not be able to enter with the bicycle. If you go alone, you will not be able to abandon it and therefore you will not be able to enjoy all its heritage. When you go with another bikegrim, you can take turns taking care of the bikes.
The other is that if you are going to travel many kilometres, you will inevitably have to deal with bicycle breakdowns. If you go with another bikegrim they will be able to share knowledge.
If you can’t find another bikegrim with which to make the Camino de Santiago, an alternative is to join one of the organized groups by bike. Contact us to find out if we have any departures planned in Santiago Ways.
Don’t trust yourself, plan your kit well
It is true that one of the advantages of doing the Camino de Santiago by bike is that the weight of your luggage is not supported by your body, but by the bike. However, keep in mind that the more weight you carry on the saddlebags, the more unstable the bike will be.
If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago using a BTT you will not have so much difficulty in the sections of land. However, if you are not a very experienced cyclist, we recommend that you bring a light luggage or hire a baggage transfer service. Bikers also use it, especially in the stages with many slopes.
Choose a suitable route for yourself
This is the most important advice of all. If you want to do the Camino de Santiago by bike, but you are not used to a mountain bike or you do not have a BTT and do not want to rent one, choose a route that does not face mountain stages.
Although all the routes of the Camino de Santiago can be done by bike, not all are equally recommended. Some of them can be completed even by bikegrims without much experience on the two wheels, but to face the most difficult routes on the Camino de Santiago it is necessary to be used to the mountain bike and have a good BTT.
Stages on the Camino de Santiago by bicycle
In the next section we will tell you about the main routes of the Camino de Santiago and its cycling stages. Assess what type of bike you have to do the Camino de Santiago and what experience you have on two wheels, to choose the best route for yourself.
The Camino Frances to Santiago by bicycle
The Camino Frances is the most popular route and, therefore, it is where you will find the largest number of bikegrims. It is not the most difficult route, but it does have some stages through high mountains, such as the first stage that goes from Saint Pied de Port to Roncesvalles or the ascents to Foncebadón and O Cebreiro, not forgetting the ascent and descent on Monte del Perdón , which is also not easy for pilgrims on bicycle.
Therefore, if you plan to make this route along the Camino de Santiago complete, we recommend using a BTT so that you do not have problems in those stages. Another option is to complete the mountain stages on foot and hire a shuttle service for the bicycle.
Doing some stages on foot doesn’t make you any less a bikegrim. In fact, it is quite comforting to do a few kilometres on foot, after pedalling several stages on the Camino de Santiago.
Stages on the Camino Frances by bike
The Camino de Santiago Frances can be completed by bike in 14 days, attending to the difficulty of the tour and the sights. However, if you want to do the Camino Frances in less time, it is also possible.
In the stage distribution that we propose on the Camino Frances, to the bikegrims, there are several days that face less than 60 kilometres en route. If you feel fit, you can lengthen them thus reducing the number of stages along the route:
- Saint Jean Pied de Port – Roncesvalles (24 km)
- Roncesvalles – Pamplona (41 km)
- Pamplona – Estella (46 km)
- Estella – Logroño (48 km)
- Logroño – Santo Domingo de la Calzada (50 km)
- Santo Domingo de la Calzada – Burgos (70 km)
- Burgos – Carrión de los Condes (84,4 km)
- Carrión de los Condes – León (94,3 km)
- León – Astorga (48,3 km)
- Astorga – Ponferrada (52,6 km)
- Ponferrada – O Cebreiro (52 km)
- O Cebreiro – Portomarín (60,8 km)
- Portomarín – Arzúa (53,3 km)
- Arzúa – Santiago de Compostela (38,7)
The Camino Portugues by bike
Both routes along the Camino de Santiago which run through Portugal are the most recommended for cycling, especially if you are not an experienced cyclist. Both paths face few slopes and do not cross mountain stages.
Stages for bikegrims on the Camino Central Portugues
The Camino Portugues, following the central route, can be completed in 10 days by bike. Given the ease of the route, if you do not have 10 days to do the Camino de Santiago by bike, you can lengthen the stages, without much effort, to finish the tour in less time. The stage distribution to cycle this route on the Camino de Santiago Portugues is:
- Lisboa – Santarém (90,3 km)
- Santarém – Tomar (62,8 km)
- Tomar – Coímbra (89 km)
- Coímbra – Albergaria a Velha (65,8 km)
- Albergaria a Velha – Oporto (62,9 km)
- Oporto – Barcelos (59,7 km)
- Barcelos – Rubiães (51,9 km)
- Rubiães – Redondela (50,5 km)
- Redondela – Caldas de Reis (42,2 km)
- Caldas de Reis – Santiago de Compostela (43,8 km)
The Camino Portugues Coastal Route by bike: stages
If you decide to do the Camino de Santiago by bike, the Portuguese route that runs along the coast can be completed in just 5 days. Or even less. The distribution of stages to make this route of the Camino de Santiago by bike, would be:
- Oporto – Esposende (50,8 km)
- Esposende – Baiona (86,9 km)
- Baiona – Redondela (41,3 km)
- Redondela – Caldas de Reis (42,2 km)
- Caldas de Reis – Santiago de Compostela (43,8 km)
La Vía de la Plata by bicycle
Considering that La Vía de la Plata is the longest route, cycling is a great idea. Still, it’s going to take you quite a few days to complete it. In this route, you will have to face stages of all kinds, since it crosses Spain from South to North, therefore the best way to do this route of the Camino de Santiago is to have a BTT.
Stages on La Via de la Plata
The Ruta de la Plata can be completed in 16 days by bike, from Seville. However, unlike the previous routes we have proposed, to complete the feat in that time it is necessary to consider quite long stages.
If you have good resistance, it’s a perfect route for you. However, if you have little time and are not very used to cycling, it is perhaps better to choose another route or start the tour from another point closer.
The stage distribution that we propose below arrives in Santiago de Compostela following the Camino Sanabres. Another option would be to continue to Astorga and join the Camino Frances from there:
- Sevilla – Castilblanco de los Arroyos (39 km)
- Castilblanco de los Arroyos – Monesterio (63 km)
- Monesterio – Zafra (45 km)
- Zafra – Mérida (65 km)
- Mérida – Valdesalor (61 km)
- Valdesalor – Cañaveral (55 km)
- Cañaveral – Cáparra (57 km)
- Cáparra – Fuenterroble de Salvatierra (60 km)
- Fuenterroble de Salvatierra – Salamanca (51 km)
- Salamanca – Zamora (66 km)
- Zamora – Santa Croya de Tera (87 km)
- Santa Croya de Tera – Puebla de Sanabria (67 km)
- Puebla de Sanabria – A Gudiña (53 km)
- A Gudiña – Xunqueira de Ambía (66 km)
- Xunqueira de Ambía – Castro Dozón (64 km)
- Castro Dozón – Santiago de Compostela (66 km)
Doing the Camino del Norte on BTT
The Camino del Norte is not one of the most recommended routes for bikegrims, unless you have enough experience. It is the second most difficult way and faces various mountain stages. That is why having a btt to make the Camino del Norte is essential.
Stages on the Camino de Santiago del Norte by bike
The Camino de Santiago del Norte can be completed in 15 days, if you are in good shape and have previously trained. In that case the distribution of stages by bicycle would be:
- Irún – Zarautz (47,1 km)
- Zarautz – Markina (46,3 km)
- Markina – Bilbao (51,2 km)
- Bilbao – Castro Urdiales (54 ,3 km)
- Castro Urdiales – Santander (80,6 km)
- Santander – Comillas (59 km)
- Comillas – Ribadesella (83,6 km)
- Ribadesella – Gijón (67,1 km)
- Gijón – Muros de Nalón (48,6 km)
- Muros de Nalón – Luarca (49,1 km)
- Luarca – Ribadeo (51,8 km)
- Ribadeo – Abadín (54,1 km)
- Abadín – Baamonde (39 km)
- Baamonde – Arzúa (62,6 km)
- Arzúa – Santiago de Compostela (38,7 km)
Other routes on the Camino de Santiago to do on bike
In addition to the previous routes, there are other paths of the Camino de Santiago that you can do by bike. Some of them are:
El Camino de Santiago Primitivo en bici
It is one of the routes of the Camino de Santiago less recommended to do by bike, but it is not impossible. In this article we tell you about the challenges you will have to face, if you dare to do the stages of this route of the Camino de Santiago by bike. However, on the Camino Primitivo to Santiago having a BTT in good condition is essential, so as not to die in the attempt.
The Camino Ingles on bike
The Camino de Santiago Ingles is the pilgrim route that has fewer stages. By bike you can complete the stages of this Camino de Santiago in the blink of an eye.
However, you will not get the Compostela when you arrive in Santiago, since it does not meet the minimum 200 kilometres that you have to do to apply. You can find more about this route in the article we dedicate to the Camino Ingles on our blog.
The Camino de los Faros by bike
This route is not a proper Camino de Santiago, unless once you reach Cape Finisterre, and continue along the Camino de Santiago Finisterre in the opposite direction. In that case it is considered a Camino de Santiago and you can request the Compostela.
In this post of alternatives for doing the Camino de Santiago in reverse we give you more details about this route. Keep in mind that this route is also quite demanding, so if you plan to do the Camino de Santiago by bike following this route, it is also important to have a good BTT.
We hope that with all the information we have provided in this article you will find it easier to choose your route to make the Camino de Santiago by bike. Remember that if you wish, you can contact us to help you organize the Camino de Santiago by bike.
To do this, you just have to fill in the form on our web or call us by phone. You can also contact our team through our official page on Facebook.
Buen Camino bikegrim!