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Spain

Camino Primitivo

Guided Mountain Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,115 P.P.
Spain

Camino Primitivo

Guided Mountain Bike Tour

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

8 days

Prices from

$2,115 P.P.
BOOK NOW
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 new tour is a chance for mountain bikers to take a wild ride through the remote mountains of Northern Spain.
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 in to Bilbao
Non cycling day

You will be met at Bilbao Airport (BIO) and transferred to the handsome, proud capital of Asturias. 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 the local guides will inform you of the journey to come before guiding you to the best ‘siderias’ in the city for local beverage and cuisine.

Day 2
Oviedo - Espina
35 Miles / 57 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1600m

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 – La Mesa
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1950m

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 – Fonsagrada
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1500m

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 - Lugo
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1280m

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 – Sedor
34 Miles / 55 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1060m

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 – Santiago
28 Miles / 45 Kms Approx
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 860m

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 from Santiago de Compostela
Non cycling 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.

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Mountain Biking Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 4 : Challenging

Distances of 25-50 miles / 40-80 kms per day

For regular mountain bikers who have a good level of fitness

Routes with frequent moderate to difficult technical sections

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?

As well as keeping a good level of fitness you are also an experienced biker and enjoy riding more challenging trails. You usually ride most weekends and can cover between 30 and 50 miles over a full 8-9 hour day (with breaks). The routes you choose generally include more challenging 1-2 hour long climbs perhaps with sharp switchbacks and sections of large and loose rocks. You are comfortable riding most trails including sections of technical or exposed singletrack with some testing obstacles such as drop offs and steep downhills. Our grade 4 trips should suit you.

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Dates & Prices

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.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
20/06/2021
Return Date
27/06/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,115.00
Start Date
18/07/2021
Return Date
25/07/2021
Duration
8 days
Price
$2,115.00

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) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from Asturias/Oviedo airport (OVD)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to Santiago airport (SCQ)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (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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The Essentials

Travel Options

Group airport transfers are included in the cost of your holiday. To join the airport transfer on arrival, you’ll need to arrive into Bilbao airport (BIO) before 16.30 for a 17.00 transfer. At the end of the tour, we will transfer the group to Santiago de Compostela airport (SCQ), with an estimated arrival time of 11.00 – please consider this when booking your return travel and allow enough time to check in for your chosen flight.

Most flights from North America require overnight travel, and a stop over in an intermediary airport, with Norwegian combining with another airline being a common combination for this trip.

Please note that flying from North America may involve multiple travel days.

Please check with us before booking any flights, to make sure we have reached the minimum number require 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 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 hire. For this trip the bikes are typically very good mountain bikes featuring full suspension, disc brakes and good quality components. We can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

If you choose to rent a bike from us you are welcome to bring your own saddle with you, and if you would like to use SPD/clipless pedals you will need to bring these with you.

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