Pamplona to Santiago de Compostella

For any traveler interested in history, art, & culture, the Camino de Santiago certainly ranks as one of the most spectacular trips in the world today. From the 10th Century to the present day, pilgrims have come (by foot and now bicycle) from near and far to experience this enigma of Spain.

For riders of this trail, you can choose between a paved or off-road route as it threads its way across Spain. The scenery is breathtaking with lots of cultural and historical sights along the way.

For those with the time, we highly recommend that you consider our Classic route; we maintain that this journey has the potential to change your life (in good ways). For those wishing a shorter journey we also offer the Regular trip beginning in Leon. On both trips we stay in the best hotels available, ranging from traditional inns to luxurious paradors.

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences
  • Wine with meals included on this trip
  • Wine tour & tasting at the esteemed Bodega Irache in Estella
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks
  • A moment you will never forget: receiving your Compostella in historic Santiago at journey’s end- felicidades
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises

Location

Pamplona

Pamplona, Spain

Day 1

Roncesvalles

Roncesvalles

Day 2

Estella

Estella

Day 3

Logrono

Logrono

Day 4

Santa Domingo de la Calzada

Santa Domingo de la Calzada

Day 5

Burgos

Burgos

Day 6

Carrion de las Condes

Carrion de las Condes

Day 7

Leon

Leon

Day 8

Rabanal del Camino

Rabanal del Camino

Day 10

Villafranca

Villafranca

Day 11

Sarria

Sarria

Day 12

Melide

Melide

Day 13

Santiago de Compostella

Santiago de Compostella

Day 14

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
Accommodations in luxurious paradors, hotels and charming inns
Regular Trip: 6 nights lodging based on double occupancy, 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners.
Classic Trip: 14 nights lodging based on double occupancy, all breakfasts, 4 lunches, 10 dinners.
Entrance fees for selected tastings, historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
Detailed Trip Planner full of pre-trip preparation material and travel information
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2019

May 17-May 31 (departure guaranteed)
Aug 23-Sep 6 (departure guaranteed)

Trips can start any date!

2020

Apr 24-May 11
May 15-30
Aug 21-Sep 5

Trips can start any date!

Custom trips available and can start any date. Call or email for details.

TRIP SIZE

8-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

15 days/ 14 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Pamplona/Santiago Leon/Santiago

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Intermediate - challenging
The camino de santiago is a challenging trip, due to the distance, daily elevation gains and trail conditions.

TERRAIN

We recommend a combination of trail and paved roads, each where suitable. You do have to have a level of fitness and experience riding trails to enjoy this trip.

COST

Land Cost (current year):
US $3650 Includes 15B/4L/10D

Single Supplement:
US $800

Bike Rental:
US $280

 

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 604.730.1247

Getting there :

Pamplona: You can reach Pamplona through Madrid, Bilboa or Vitoria.


1

Day 1

Pamplona

Our tour starts in Pamplona. Your hotel is included on arrival day into Pamplona and we’ll be meeting at 7:00 pm for orientation and a night of tapas. We stay in a 3-star hotel in the historical center.

2

Day 2

Roncesvalles to Pamplona

After breakfast we’ll transfer to Roncesvalles, the traditional start of the pilgrimage, to begin our journey. This first day’s ride is almost all downhill. We’ll finish the day with a walking tour of historical Pamplona with a local guide before dinner at our favourite restaurant in town.
Distance: 42 km, elevation gain 149 m.*

3

Day 3

Pamplona to Estella

Leaving Pamplona we’ll climb towards the foothills of the Sierra del Perdon, reaching Puenta la Reina, with its famous Romanesque bridge and charming town. We’ll spend the night in Estella, near the beautiful 12th century Palace of the Kings of Navarre.
Distance: 47 km, elevation gain 820 m.*

4

Day 4

Estella to Logrono

We’ll start the day with a stop at the winemakers ‘Bodega Irache’, where a free-flowing wine fountain welcomes thirsty pilgrims. Our ride takes us through vineyards and past castles before crossing the great Puente de Piedra into Logrono, a bustling town with an interesting history, architectural jewels, cafes and music. Our hotel is in a beautifully renovated historical building with all amenities.
Distance: 49 km, elevation gain 750 m.*

5

Day 5

Logrono to Santa Domingo de la Calzada

Our goal today is to reach a town long linked to the pilgrimage. The town’s namesake, St. Dominic, was a hermit who devoted his life to helping pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Among other deeds, he built a pilgrim’s bridge, hospital and much of the medieval road (which we ride) that still survives from the 11th century. The other reason we stop here is to stay at the extraordinary Parador Sata Domingo de la Calzada Hotel – one of Spain’s best.
Distance: 50 km, elevation gain 730 m.*

6

Day 6

Santa Domingo de la Calzada to Burgos

The riding today is superb through bell heather on rolling trail. Lunch will be provided today in San Juan de Ortega; on the afternoon’s ride we’ll count stork nests in the bell towers along the route. Arriving in Burgos, we’ll visit the Gothic Cathedral, one of the most outstanding artistic monuments in Spain. After dinner, for those wanting a little night life, there are plenty of tapas bars and clubs to tempt you!
Distance: 67 km, elevation gain 660 m.*

7

Day 7

Burgos to Carrion de las Condes

The riding through most of the Castilian stages is on more level terrain allowing us to comfortably cover more distance. Although no less beautiful, the scenery changes dramatically through this region. We’ll have lunch today in the curious town of Hontanas, where the barman drinks wine in a most unusual way. Our destination, Carrion de las Condes makes for a relaxing town, between the bustling cities of Burgos and Leon.
Distance: 80 km, elevation gain 550 m.*

8

Day 8

Carrion de las Condes to Leon

Although one of our longer days, the gentle grade should allow us to take our time and enjoy the ride. We’ll provide a picnic lunch at a beautiful site on the river Esla in Mansilla de las Mulas; afterwards we’ll continue into Leon with its impressive monuments including the 13 C Cathedral. We’ll organize a walking tour here, finishing with a visit to a wine bodega. Our hotel for tonight is located in the historical district, steps from the cities best shopping and restaurants.
Distance: 95 km, elevation gain 450 m.*

9

Day 9

We will have a local guide show you the many treasures of Leon, followed by a picnic lunch in a fabulous park in the city center. Spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring Leon.

10

Day 10

Leon to Rabanal del Camino

Riding out of Leon we’ll visit Hospital del Orbigo arriving in time for lunch in Astorga. For Epicureans, Astorga is known for mantecadas, one of the famous delicacies in Spanish pastrymaking. We’ll overnight in Rabanal del Camino, one of the more famous pilgrimage sites along the trail staying in a beautiful posada.
Distance: 74 km, elevation gain 690m.*

11

Day 11

Rabanal to Villafranca

Our route today will begin with a visit to Castrillo de los Polvares, a town immortalized by the writer Concha Espina in her novel The Maragato Sphinx, a portrait of the village and its centuries-old customs. Just before lunch we’ll reach the Cruz de Ferro, one of the most symbolic monuments along the pilgrims’ route. Whenever pilgrims add a stone to the pile they become part of an ancient tradition; the Romans called these stone heaps, ‘mounts of Mercury’ after the god of travelers. In Ponferrada, you can visit the impressive Templar Castle, one of the oldest and finest examples of Spanish military architecture. We’ll finish the day in Villafranca, one of the most attractive towns on the camino. Our hotel for tonight is in a 3-star parador hotel.
Distance: 58 km, elevation gain 820 m.*

12

Day 12

Villafranca to Sarria

From Villafranca, you will climb through unspoiled countryside of heather and broom, pines, chestnuts and oaks enjoying a magnificent view over the Valcarce valley up to El Cebreiro, famous for its pallozas, straw-roofed dwellings. In Samos we visit a monastery before continuing on to Sarria and its Monastery of La Magdelena and its hospitable Mercedarian monks.
Distance: 70 km, elevation gain 1500 m.*

13

Day 13

Sarria to Melide

From Sarria, the terrain changes again, as you find yourself in a rural part of the country with people living much as they did centuries ago. We’ll have lunch in Portomarin, and then enjoy some of the best biking of the camino on rolling terrain through Leboreiro to Melide, particularly rich in pre-Roman remains and on to our hotel, a most charming inn with outdoor swimming pool.
Distance: 71 km, elevation gain 1200 m.*

14

Day 14

Melide to Santiago de Compostella

This is our shortest day – we will pass many small hamlets hidden among eucalyptus trees before reaching the environs of Santiago. Your adrenaline will surge as you make your way through Santiago itself, packed with vestiges of the pilgrimage. Nothing quite prepares you though, for arriving at the Cathedral itself, where you can share in the sense that pilgrims have felt since time immemorial. We’ll stay at one of the finest hotels in the city located just 200 meters from the Cathedral. Enjoy.
Distance: 46 km, elevation gain 740 m.*

15

Day 15

We recommend a leisurely last day and leave time for those who wish to do last minute shopping or time to explore the monuments of Santiago. For those that are heading back to Madrid, there are flight, train and bus connections.

Palacio Guendulain, Pamplona

Built in the 18th Century, this 4-star luxury boutique hotel is located right in the heart of the city centre facing the Palace’s inner courtyard.


Hostellerie Chapitel, Estella

This is our newest find and a wonderfully charming hotel.


Calle Mayor Hotel, Logrono

This hotel was formerly a 16th century small palace. An architectural gem that brings the past and present together. Traveler favourite.


Parador, Santo Domingo de la Calzada

What was once a pilgrim’s hospital from the 12th century is now one of Spain’s finest paradors with grand marble interior and a lobby with Gothic arches, and wooden coffered ceilings. The large, comfortable guest rooms are exquisitely decorated.


Meson Del Cid, Burgos

This welcoming accommodation sits in the town centre and offers striking views of the adjacent 12th century cathedral. Its stained-glass windows and newly manufactured Castilian furnishings offer the hospitality and décor of Old-Spain in all its glory.


Hotel Real Monastery San Zoilo, Carrion de las Condes

Built in 947, this former convent was once the court of kings in the middle ages and was refurbished to include a Gothic Cloister in the 16th century. The expansive gardens around the hotel ensure a quiet, restful sleep. In 2014, Hotel San Zoilo gained a 4-star recognition.


NH Collection Hotel Plaza Mayor, Leon

Ideally located in Leon's main square, just 50 meters from the Gothic cathedral and close to restaurants and tapas bodegas. The 18th century nobleman's building combins a lovely facade with stylish, modern interiors.


La Posada Gaspar, Rabanal del Camino

This charming inn is our newest discovery, and was built using centuries old stone in the traditional style. Classic décor enhances the rooms, which are each inspired by points along the Jacobea Route. Terraces and balconies offer view of Mt Irago.


Hotel las Donas el Portazgo, Villafranca

This hotel, with architecture reflecting traditional Galician style, has just 19 rooms and opened in 2010. It is a welcoming hotel with charm and comfort.


Hotel Alfonso IX, Sarria

A 3-star modern hotel situated on the river with an excellent restaurant. Amenities include a gym, sauna, and outdoor swimming pool. Renovated in 2003 the rooms are large and comfortable and guests can enjoy pleasant views of the surrounding area.


Hotel Monumento, Santiago de Compostella

Situated in the historical city centre just 150 m from the Cathedral, this 18th century Franciscan convent has been renovated into a luxurious, historic 4-star hotel with heated swimming pool and jacuzzi with views of Mt. Pedroso.



			

Trip Reviews

5.00 based on 6 reviews
September 30, 2017

“The guides were very personable. The views/vistas from some of the trails were absolutely incredible. The churches were unbelievably beautiful. It was well worth the effort!”

December 5, 2018

“An excellent challenge and achievement. Superb guides, good hotels and great rides.”

March 19, 2019

This is the trip of a lifetime — so difficult, so rewarding, so much Spain. Our guides — Daniele V. and Juan (Joan) — made the trip. “Ok, today was tough, but tomorrow will be even more difficult.” Every day. We loved every minute of it.

June 4, 2019

“Everyday was long and difficult but I loved it. Hard to say what I enjoyed most about the trip as everything was perfect.”

June 4, 2019

“We had a marvelous time on the trip. We loved everything about it, the road, the hotels, the food and the people. We really appreciated the guides finding an assisted bike for me, because it made the trip fun. You should have more assisted bikes because the trip is tough and not everyone can do it, if you’re not trained extensively. A special recognition to both guides, Daniel and Juan, because they tried to make the trip fun and tried their best to make everything work and not be a hassle for us. They are really great people. The trip was tough but really worth the effort, and we really enjoyed it. We definitely will make other trips with your company.”

June 8, 2019

“This has been one of the most authentic and memorable vacations of our life. For twelve days we were immersed in another world, a previous age. We haven’t seen any sign of commercialism or tourism and neither have we seen any scrap of trash on our road. It sounds unbelievable and we did not expect such a consistent display of times gone by and also human decency. On our bikes we passed a few thousand walking pilgrims from all corners of the world, all in good humour and friendly. We really enjoyed our exposure to Spanish rural “villages”, farms, smells, lodgings, restaurants and customs. The region was way more varied, green and beautiful than we expected. We were surprised how much old Spanish the route turned out to be, how authentic. Most of our hotels were very comfortable, local, unusual, with beautiful views. We got a beautiful room looking out over the Plaza Mayor in Leon. All meals were great and we wouldn’t single out one. The ride options and the level of difficulty both exceeded my expectation. I had an e-bike but even so I was exhausted at the end of every day. The daily enjoyment of our senses: the variety of views, smells of the blossoms and land, the birds singing, the taste of beer afterward and our meals. We had nothing to worry about. Accommodation, meal planning (food, drinks), luggage delivery to our rooms, bike maintenance and trip planning were all taken care of. We also enjoyed the bantering and fun discussions with the two Mexican couples AND our guides. Everyone made it relaxed and enjoyable, except for the language effect – see next question. The presence of two Spanish speaking couples in combination with two Spanish speaking guides added to our sense of immersion in the Spanish culture. We had fun with them and they were great cycling partners and guides.”

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