At the hotel in León you will meet your tour guide and the rest of the group.
This charming city was founded by the Romans in the 1st century BC. We may have time to visit its beautiful gothic Cathedral and getting our first stamps on our Pilgrims passport. Dinner “tapas” in the center of Leon to get to know each other.
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 have lunch in Hospital de Orbigo with its stunning medieval bridge (one of the longest pilgrimage bridges in Spain). We then ride the final 15km to the beautiful walled (Roman) town of Astorga where you can admire the Cathedral and the Bishop´s residence designed by the famous architect Antonio Gaudi. You also have a great view of the mountains of León in the distance.
Today’s ride is probably the most beautiful of the trip as we leave the Castilian 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. We can enjoy a good rest and eat well in our hotel next to the river.
The highlight today is the ride to the beautiful town of Villafranca with stunning views across the vineyards of the Bierzo region 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. In the last section today we will ride along the always green and beautiful Valcarce valley. We will get to our charming rural hotel located in the village of Herrerias on the foothills of Monte de O’Cebreiro.
Today we start cycling up (9 km) to the top of the mountain and the small village of O’Cebreiro that is also the first village in Galicia. Here we will be able to appreciate wonderful views of the valleys that surround this peak and admire the charming slate roofed black houses. Once 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 and not elaborate, but delicious ways. We will stop in Samos, home to one of the oldest monasteries in Spain, and cycle through chestnut forests to Sarria.
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 1960s in order to construct a reservoir. After lunch, a 13 km climb, followed by a welcomed 12 km downhill, takes us to Palas del Rey to then cycle a further 15 km to Melide, charming town where we will stay and famous for its bars where they sell octopus cooked in Galician style.
Today is the last day cycling and we will make our way through forest and rural areas to the famous Monte do Gozo, where we will be able to see for the first time the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. From here we only have 5 more km to the Plaza del Obradoiro where all pilgrims celebrate their longed arrival surrounded by the beautiful facade of the Cathedral, old stone buildings, like the Parador de los Reyes Católicos, and the town hall.
We will also get our Compostelana (certificate in Latin of our pilgrimage).
Tonight we will celebrate together over a good table (special dinner with seafood) and enjoy the lively University city of Santiago.
The hotel we stay at in Santiago is very close to the city center.
After breakfast the tour ends.