Léon to Santiago de Compostela

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 Expedition 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 Escape 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 Compostela in historic Santiago at journey’s end- felicidades
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises




Day 1

Rabanal del Camino

Rabanal del Camino

Day 2


24500 Villafranca del Bierzo, León, Spain

Day 3



Day 4



Day 5

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela, Municipality of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Day 6

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?


Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
Support vehicle
6 nights lodging in luxurious paradors, hotels and charming inns
All breakfasts, 2 lunches and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected tastings, historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
Detailed Trip Planner full of pre-trip preparation material and travel information




Apr 28-May 4
May 19-25
Aug 25-31
Sep 8-14


Apr 27-May 3
May 18-24
Aug 24-30
Sep 7-13

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


4-16 participants


7 days / 6 nights


Leon / Santiago


Intermediate to challenging
25-55 miles daily
Van supported


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.


Land Cost:
US $2,950
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $750

Mountain Bike Rental:
US $280

E-Mountain Bike Rental:
US $480

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

For those beginning in Léon, you can make your way from Madrid by flight, train or coach and your hotel is included on this day (your Day 1).


Day 1

We will meet you at the hotel lobby at 7 pm. If you arrive early, you can spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring Léon.


Day 2

Léon to Rabanal del Camino

Riding out of Léon 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 pastry making. 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.*


Day 3

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.*


Day 4

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.*


Day 5

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.*


Day 6

Melide to Santiago de Compostela

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.*


Day 7

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.

Hotel Plaza Mayor NH Collection, Léon

Ideally located in Léon's main square, just 50 meters from the Gothic cathedral and close to restaurants and tapas bodegas. The 18th century nobleman's building combines 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 Compostela

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

October 8, 2019

“Trip was well planned. Region is beautiful. Routes were modified to our group level. The meal at Casa de Igrexa exceeded expectations. Thankfully we had wonderful guides who I felt were responsible to ensure that I didn’t get lost and I didn’t. Yay! Guides great with the van support. Never judged when I got into van due to health reasons. Now I would like to do the 2 week camino trip.”

October 8, 2019

“I enjoyed everything! Guides were amazing. It was more difficult than I expected. Some days are long but I understand that there was a lot of distance to be covered.”

October 8, 2019

“Perfect trip- it had all expected elements for a Camino. I really enjoyed the Challenge of each day and finding out about ourselves. The facilities were interesting and the food was out of this world!!! So close to the Cathedral in Leon, a Quaint Spain Village, A nice hotel with wonderful food, a medevial castle with the best hosts in the world!!! Food was homemade and delicious, then the San Fransisco Hotel in Compostella was wonderful and patient with very wet and dirty guests on arrival. Riding schedule was hard but we trained and expected long days on the bike. It was hard but the nature of the Camino is to be tough. The Spanish Castle was awesome and so was the restaurant in Sarria. The castle was fasinating, the wine tasting was intreguing, the celtic village was interesting! Juan and Dimitri worked with us every day to get to a reasonable route for our skills. Van/mechanical support: off the Hook!!! Great!!!”

June 3, 2007

“The whole experience was unbelievable. From the guides, to the people on the trip, the people you met along the way and the ride itself”

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