- What you must know about cycling the Portuguese Camino de Santiago
The ancient pilgrim trails through Portugal and Galicia to Santiago de Compostela were developed by walkers. However, and luckily for cycling enthusiasts, the good news is that it is also possible to cycle the Camino.
Whether you choose to follow the Coastal Way, the Central Route or the less-travelled Santiago to Finisterre route, you can be sure of spectacular scenery and delightful food throughout your journey.
- Can anyone cycle the Camino de Santiago?
The Camino is not an ‘easy’ route to cycle, even with some detours, although it is enjoyable for experienced cyclists. You need to be proficient and confident at steering among traffic and dealing with a variety of off-road situations.
The terrain varies from busy urban roads, quiet country lanes and level cycle paths to irregular dirt and stone trails and granite cobblestones.
You also need to be physically fit and capable of carrying your bike short distances or up and down a few steps wherever necessary. Sometimes it will be easier to push the bike than to ride it.
If you’d like to make things a little easier on yourself, you can upgrade to an electric bike, which gives you a welcome boost to tackle hills.
- What’s different for cyclists on the Camino?
You’ll need to cycle at least the last 200 kilometres to Santiago de Compostela, as opposed to the 100 kilometres required for those on foot, if you wish to qualify for the Compostela pilgrim certificate. Just remember to get your pilgrim passport (credencial) stamped regularly along the route to prove you have covered this distance.
Some off-road sections of the original trail are particularly challenging for cyclists. For this reason, our detailed route notes and GPS trails recommend some detours from the walking route so that you can skip the most problematic parts and enjoy a smoother ride.
Since you’ll be moving faster than walkers, you can cover more ground in less time. We have divided the Porto-Santiago Camino into six or seven stages, depending on the route. This means that some days will be quite long (up to 55 kms) while others are rather short, giving you plenty of time to explore the towns where you are staying overnight.
- What technical skills do you need?
You’ll be cycling the Camino without a guide. For this reason, you need to know how to perform a few basic tasks, such as pumping up your tires and changing gears. You should also know how to change an inner tire in case you get a puncture, as bike shops are very few and far between.
We only use new, top quality mountain bikes so there shouldn’t be any mechanical problems with the bicycle. If you do have a more serious problem while you’re on the road, call us and we’ll sort it out.
Our tireless team is available to help all those who wish to discover the Camino de Santiago in a calm and comfortable way.