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Cycling or walking the Camino?

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:

Some of our top Cycling routes are the Camino Frances Last 200 Km and the Coastal Camino from Porto.

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:

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Comments

  1. By Lisa

    Hi Mette, thank you for your question. The French Way is the most popular route and a lot of people would opt to cycle this route too. If you haven’t done the Camino before this is a great route to begin with. The first of this route over the Pyrenees is quite difficult but if you wanted you could start from Ponferrada and cycle to Santiago which would take you over 200kms. Here is more information on this route – http://caminoways.com/ways/french-way-camino-frances/french-way-section-2-cycling Once you have decided on dates I would recommend reaching out to our travel team that will be able to suggest the right route. You can contact them at info@caminoways.com Kindest regards, Lisa.

  2. By Mette

    Hello

    We are a family, who, would LIKE to bile The Camino.
    But which one?
    Which one is The easiest and which one is The most difficult one?
    Thanks In advance!

  3. By Lisa

    Hi Gale,
    Thank you for your comment. Cycling is a great way to experience the Camino. In terms of fitness, the level of difficulty for the Portuguese Coastal Way is average but the route is quite flat so it would be easy cycling terrain. See the link to our full cycle on the Portuguese Coastal Way here for your attention: http://caminoways.com/ways/portuguese-coastal-way-caminho-da-costa/portuguese-coastal-way-cycling

    You might need a little more than 5 or 6 days if you want to complete the full route. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to get in touch. Best wishes, Lisa.

  4. By Gale shepherd

    Hi , my husband and I are wanting to do about 5 or 6 days of cycling the camin from portugeaus costal side. My husband is an experience cyclist but I am only a beginner. Do you advice this or should we rather walk as my fitness level is not that good . Or could we cycle and walk ? Look forward to hearing from you ASAP as we going in mid August this year.

  5. By Maria

    Hi Catherine, you could easily cycle from Bilbao to Santander: http://caminoways.com/ways/northern-way-camino-del-norte/northern-way-section-2; following the walking itinerary with a bike and covering from 10 to 33kms per day over 5 cycling days. The full cycling itinerary for section 1 of the Northern Way covers from 30kms to 55kms per day, see here: http://caminoways.com/ways/northern-way-camino-del-norte#tabs-cycling. You could definitely cycle for a few days and take the bus to your next destination. Let us know if you need any additional information or an itinerary/quote. Kind regards.

  6. By catherine wilkinson

    enquiry re cycling the northern way from san sebastian to bilbao- 7 days of cycling seems a lot for us (myself and my husband) we are in our early 30’s and would be relatively fit but we were wondering if it was possible to to do a few days of cycling and then maybe have the option of getting the bus the rest of the way! would this be possible? if so, which parts of the san sebastian to bilbao way would you recommend? regarding experience at cycling. my husband would be good at dealing with basic bicycle repairs

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