Cycling or walking the Camino? That is a question we get asked quite a lot!
To give you an idea, in 2019 approximately 6% of all ‘Compostela’ certificates are issued to bike-pilgrims or ‘bicigrinos’; while most other pilgrims choose to make their way to Santiago the traditional way: on foot.
A small percentage will choose other means, such as horseback.
If you are considering cycling the Camino de Santiago instead of walking, bear in mind we generally recommend cycling only if you cycle regularly and if you are familiar with basic bike maintenance.
While other pilgrims are generally very helpful, it is good to have some knowledge about how to fix your bike on the road, if necessary.
Making the decision: cycling or walking the Camino?
While some people might think ‘doing the Camino’ by bike might make the journey easier, this will only be the case if you have some cycling experience.
Most of our Camino de Santiago cycling itineraries cover double the amount of kilometers than our walking itineraries: typically a Camino cycling itinerary will include an average of 45-70kms per day; while the Camino walking itineraries would cover between 15-25kms.
So while you will be covering more ground in a shorter space of time, the cycling itinerary may be more intense.
However, you can also choose to travel the Camino walking itinerary by bike, covering the average walking distances. This can help slow things down a little.
It’s a great option for families with children, as the distances will be more manageable and enjoyable for both big and little pilgrims.
In short cycling or walking the Camino comes down to whether you feel you will enjoy one or the other more.
Benefits of walking the Camino
Another element to keep in mind is the social aspect of the Camino de Santiago, particularly along the Camino Frances.
Walking the Camino is a more sociable experience, so if you are keen to meet new people and interact with pilgrims along the way, walking will be a better option for you.
We also firmly believe in the benefits of “Slow travel” a concept by Penny Watson which we wrote about earlier this year.
While overall we feel that slowing down and walking the Camino is the ultimate Camino experience, we also know that cycling the Camino can be a very enjoyable experience particularly with a group or your family.
Both are great options so choose for yourself!
More information on Cycling the Camino:
You might also like to read: Cycling the Camino – how it works.
If you are planning to cycle the Camino, we advise you to read our guide to preparing for your Cycling holiday on the Camino.
For more information about cycling or walking the Camino de Santiago or to book your Camino holiday, contact our travel specialists on the form below: