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Spain

Camino Primitivo

Guided Mountain Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,920 P.P.

OPTIONAL E-MTB DEPARTURES

We offer this tour with an e-MTB only departure as well as trips on regular mountain bikes. Boost your riding off the beaten track! Our e-MTB only departures offer experienced riders the chance to enjoy a phenomenal e-mountain biking adventure with Skedaddle. Hire one of our quality e-mountain bikes and experience the buzz of a pedal-assisted ride. 

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The Camino Primitivo is a wild, dramatic route that follows a little-known (but original!) pilgrims' trail to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. This exciting holiday is a chance for mountain bikers to take a wild ride through the remote mountains of Northern Spain.
We have introduced an e-bike exclusive departure (16 Jun '24) for those looking to enjoy the journey with a group of like-minded e-bikers. 
Starting off from the proud capital of Asturias, beside its magnificent cathedral, this historic trail takes the adventurous rider through a beautiful region of forested valleys, open pasture, wild mountainsides and ancient hamlets and villages, born from a need to help pilgrims along their journey to Santiago.
The terrain is varied with sections of ancient drovers' trails, sinuous single track and back lanes on the journey towards Santiago de Compostela. Challenging climbs will be rewarded by thrilling descents with some great natural trails and technical riding. You’ll travel through the lush rolling valleys of Asturias and over the challenging Sierras of the Cordillera Cantabrica before a fantastic finale along the famed Camino Frances and its flowing, ancient trails.
This journey enables true mountain bikers to experience the Camino de Santiago as a pilgrim by overnighting in the fabulous historic cities of Oviedo, Lugo and Santiago and experiencing the wealth of culture and cuisine along the ‘Way’.
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Highlights

  • Pre-trip cider pouring in the old town of Oviedo
  • The sinuous singletrack switchback descent to Las Grandas
  • Remote, wild routes across high mountains passes
  • Descending out of the rugged Cordillera to the fabulous Roman city of Lugo
  • Tasting Galician-style Octopus washed down with a crisp Albarino white
  • Hearing the eerie wail of bagpipes on arrival into the cathedral square in Santiago

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Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: Oviedo
Non Riding Day

You will be met at Asturias Airport (OVD) and transferred (40 minutes) to the handsome, proud capital of Asturias; Oviedo. Bikes will be built and fitted before you head out to discover the city. The beautiful Cathedral of San Salvador is a must and a great place to get the first stamp in your pilgrim’s passport, proof of completion of the pilgrimage.

In the evening your local guides will brief you on the journey to come before guiding you to the best ‘siderias’ in the city for some drinks and local cuisine.

Day 2
Oviedo to Espina
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,600 Metres Approx.

The exciting first steps of the route will take us out of the city on quiet lanes before taking in some heavenly riding on ancient paths and forest single track down to the river Nora. A mid-morning coffee in a pilgrims’ hostel will set us up for racy trails along the Nalon riverside, passing the rock pinnacle of Penaflor and entering the picturesque market town of Grado for a well-earned lunch of local delicacies.

Rested, our first cheeky climb takes us over the Alto de el Fresno before dropping in to a fun and furious 5 km of trail down to the Rio Narcea. What’s left is the long steady climb into the Cordillera along ancient trails, through historical Salas, famed for its cookies, to the small, isolated settlement of Espina, with amazing views over the forested valleys and heathered mountainsides.

Day 3
Espina to La Mesa
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,950 Metres Approx.

Well-rested and fed on the best produce of the region, it’s back on the bikes for an epic day in the Asturian mountains. First, easy trails take us up the valley through the historic village of Tineo, once a Roman goldmining centre. A sharp climb over the Alto de Guardia on stone pathways gains a technical descent through pastures, forest and isolated villages.

Our arrival at Samblismo throws up an important decision for all travellers on their way to Santiago, whether to drop into the valley to Pola de Allande or take on the wilds of the isolated mountains to the roof of the Camino Primitivo, the Palo pass at almost 1200m.

I’m sure you’ve guessed, we’ll be taking the exciting route through ‘hospitales’ along fabulous trails riding high ridges, ancient trading routes and natural singletrack. On a clear day you can see back to the Atlantic Ocean, hidden behind layer upon layer of rolling sierras.

Once hospitals to help pilgrims in need, tiny hamlets provide shelter as we undulate and descend to our isolated resting point for the night, La Mesa. Humble mountain accommodation is accompanied by local mountain fare, just the ticket after a rewarding day on the bike.

Day 4
La Mesa to Fonsagrada
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,500 Metres Approx.

After a short climb in the fresh morning air we arrive to fabulous views towards Galicia and far below to the Grandas reservoir. This never-ending descent takes us over 800m down into the deep Grandas valley, through lush forest and ancient ruins on great singletrack and switchbacks.

Once in the valley bottom we regain height through the pretty Grandas de Salime, Castro and Penafonte villages along farm tracks and tree lined meadows to reach the lofty Puerto del Acebo for lunch with a view as we sit with our back leg in Asturias and front leg in Galicia.

The afternoon ride gently descends through pine and deciduous woods along enchanting dry-stone wall lined trails, passing isolated chapels and hermitages. Historical Fonsagrada is our home for the evening and a first chance to taste the excellent Galician cuisine. Sitting at just under 1000m it’s the highest town in Galicia and a place, they say, wolves never dare come down to!

Day 5
Fonsagrada to Lugo
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,280 Metres Approx.

Today starts with beautiful paths climbing to reach the emblematic Alto de Montouto and the ruins of an ancient pilgrims hospital beside an impressive Celtic burial chamber. It’s a wonderful place to contemplate past times before a terrific descent down to Paradevilla for a mid-morning snack and coffee.

The trail snakes its way through numerous ancient settlements where time seems to have stood still. In Galicia much of the terrain is made up of smallholdings where it’s not uncommon to see people scything grass by hand or ploughing fields with oxen.

A bit of effort is needed to reach the Alto de Fontaneira, offering amazing vistas down to the rolling green valleys of Galicia, then the trail begins to descend on a multitude of tracks and paths for the last 20km to the fortified city of Lugo, our home for the night.

Lugo is a great place to overnight and wander its old lanes to the impressive cathedral and Plaza Mayor. The food is excellent too and it’s probably time to try the Galician dish of pulpo a la feira, octopus with spicy paprika to be washed down with a crisp Albarino white!

Day 6
Lugo to Sedor
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,060 Metres Approx.

Leaving Lugo we first descend to cross the snaking Rio Mino, which further west is the natural border between Portugal and Spain. After a few easy kilometres along a narrow lane our way intersects with a Roman road connecting Braga in Portugal with the trading route of the Via de la Plata coming from the Mediterranean. There are beautifully restored Roman temples and milarios that make interesting breaks in our journey.

Once over the open moorland of Hospital das Seisas we take a long steady descent passing Celtic Castros (settlements) and interesting horreos (grain stores) to arrive in the small bustling town of Melide. It’s here where we will join the Camino Frances, the most popular of the pilgrim routes to Santiago.

On the final kilometres of this penultimate day the trail continues through oak woods and eucalyptus plantations, following a well-restored medieval road. One last flowing descent takes us down to cross the Boente Valley, from here it’s a short pedal to our relaxing accommodation for the night, a great place to refuel for the final hop to the great city of Santiago.

Day 7
Sedor to Santiago de Compostela
28 Miles / 45 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 860 Metres Approx.

Our final day’s cycling on the journey to Santiago is full of fun, with a party atmosphere filling the trail! It will be a memorable day, with just 45km to go! A steady climb brings us to the artisan’s town of Arzua where, according to legend, a local woman who denied a tired, hungry pilgrim a piece of bread had her head turned to stone! So please be in a sharing mood! We will cycle deep into mysterious Galicia, rich with legends and stories of Brujeria (witchcraft) and mythology. The route is intricate, winding through tiny granite hamlets and farmsteads, giving us the chance to savour the region’s beauty.

Many of the trails we ride on today are corredioras, ancient stone paths linking villages, which make fabulous mountain biking trails.

There is a quiet rest area in Santa Irene where we can stop and rest for lunch, refuelling for the final pedal to Santiago. After riding through Lavacolla we’ll take on the last climbs of the Camino as we head up on paved roads and along to Monte del Gozo (Mount Joy), so called as the long-awaited sight of Santiago comes into view for the first time. From here it’s downhill all the way to a place declared a World Heritage Site in its entirety by UNESCO, Santiago de Compostela. Our sights will be firmly set on the Plaza de Obradoiro, Santiago’s impressive cathedral square, which houses its greatest treasures. It’s a special moment, signifying the end of a truly memorable ride!

Day 8
Departure: Santiago de Compostela
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

After a relaxing breakfast it’s time to pack those bags one last time, as we’ll be transferring you to Santiago de Compostela airport for your flight home (just a short 30 minute transfer).

Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful city to explore at your own pace and it is well recommended if you wish to stay for longer. The cathedral never fails to impress and delight, especially the impressive incense bearing Botafumerio as it swings from the rafters. Other sights of particular interest include Convento de San Paio de Antelares, which houses the Museo de Arte Sacro, the Praza de la Azabacheria and Museo do Pobo Galego. The Hospital Real (now a luxury hotel) is worth a visit, even if it’s for a quick drink in the bar. Or why not take a few moments to relax and reflect on the trip and watch the world drift by in a plaza – a fantastic place to end the trip, relax and unwind.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The route takes you on a vast array of ever-changing terrain from forest singletrack to rocky mountain trails, ancient drovers’ roads and 4×4 tracks, as well as asphalted back lanes.

Travelling through mountainous areas will demand a good level of fitness and solid bike-handling skills to get the most enjoyment out of the tour (even on the e-bike departures). We’d expect all riders on this tour to have mountain biking experience, and be confident taking on the technical terrain and challenging nature of a grade 4 holiday.

There is the option to use an e-MTB on this holiday. If you are interested in riding an e-MTB on this holiday please click here for more information.

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Mountain Biking Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 - 4: Moderate/ Challenging

25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day

Aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips

For mountain bikers with some experience of singletrack and steeper terrain

May include rocky features and switchbacks

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Trips that are graded as a 3-4, will have aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 trips. If you have experience of off road riding on a variety of terrain, and would like a taste of more challenging terrain, a grade 3-4 trip could be for you. Terrain will include singletrack and steep sections (both up and down) which require more bike handling ability. Shorter technical and demanding features suchs as rocks, roots and tricky climbs will be encountered on occasion on most days. A day’s ride can see you on the trails for around 8 hours (with breaks) and covering between 25-50 miles depending on the terrain. If you’re generally fit and manage to ride frequently this could be the level for you.

For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.

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Dates & Prices

Secure Your Holiday With A Deposit

Book now with a $250 deposit and nothing more to pay until 60 days before departure. Choose a date to start your booking and see all prices, including bike hire and single room supplements.

Select a date to view prices and book
Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
16/06/2024 E-Bike Departure
Return Date
23/06/2024
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,920.00
Start Date
28/07/2024
Return Date
04/08/2024
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,920.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms) in hotels or shared hostels

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) GPX files available on request

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Asturias Airport (OVD)

H) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Santiago de Compostela airport (SCQ)

I) Financial Protection through ABTOT

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike rental (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

The Essentials

Travel Options

Your tour starts in Oviedo and finishes in Santiago.

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday and both the arrival and return transfers from Asturias Airport (OVD) and to Santiago de Compostela airport (SCQ) will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule.

It is possible to arrive into Santiago de Compostela airport (SCQ) and schedule a private transfer. Please contact us for a quote.

We will provide you with details of suitable flight/arrival/departure schedules as flight timetables become available.

Please check with us before making any travel arrangements to ensure we have reached the minimum number required to guarantee your holiday and to make sure your arrangements fit with our scheduled transfers.

Please note If you make travel arrangements that fall outside of the scheduled transfer windows, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

Accommodation

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be en suite in 2/3 star hotels or guesthouses. Family run, personable, charming, comfortable and homely are boxes we tick when looking for places to stay. A million miles away from chain style hotels and all with unique touches.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to rent.

Rental bikes are typically Giant Trance full suspension Trail bikes. These are set up tubeless with disc brakes, dropper seatposts and quality components.

Our e-mountain bikes are typically MMR X-Bolt 140 full suspension mountain bikes.

Our bikes come equipped with at least one bottle cages and water bottle, a seat post bag containing: puncture repair kit, multitool, inner tube (unless the bike is a tubeless e-bike)and pump.

If you do decide to rent and would like us to provide a helmet, please let us know at the time of booking, otherwise you should bring your own helmet with you.

Please also let us know if you plan on bringing your own clip-in pedals, or if you will use the flat pedals which our rental bikes come fitted with.

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News, Reviews & Stories

Cycle the Camino

Regular Camino guide Dan Hirst shares his favourite food and wine recommendations, as well as the story behind the route.

Our guides favourite trails

We asked our guides about their favourite mountain bike trails...

12 hours in... Santiago!

The capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region, a city steeped in culture, culinary delights and captivating sights...

Reviews

3

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