† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.
Come ride the Camino del Norte or the “The Northern Way”, the most beautiful route of the Camino de Santiago. Supported and assisted by Iberocycle, this route starts in the Basque city of San Sebastian, follows the northern coast of “Green Spain” from across the Basque Country, across the autonomous communities of Cantabria and Asturias and finishes in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Along this coastal Camino, we will discover fascinating cities and fishing villages, gaze at beautiful sandy beaches and taste delicious seafood. Coastal beauty and foodie culture are at their best along the Northern Way. We timed this tour to arrive at the end on the eve of St. James Day, July 25, the highlight of the two-week Festival of St. James, attended not only by tourists but by the local population. You may want to also visit nearby Pamplona to witness the Festival of San Fermin's “Running of the Bulls” before the start of the tour.
On Day 1, we meet at the marvelous city of San Sebastián, one of the most beautiful in Spain, with its beaches, traditional architecture, superb Basque cuisine, tapas, and a range of Michelin-starred restaurants for the gourmets among us. The next day, as our first ride, we take the local train to Hendaye over the border into France and then we cycle back from there.
We leave San Sebastián along the wonderful coastline of the Basque Country. Vineyards descend towards the sea producing the famous Basque wine txakolí. The coast has unique geological formations known as “flysch” created over the last 60 million years by multiple sedimentary deposits. Spectacular scenery takes us to the fishing village of Lekeitio with its beautiful beach. West of Lekeitio we cycle more beautiful coastline with cliffs and estuaries. We have an optional side trip to see the town of Guernica, bombed during the Spanish Civil War by the Nazis and immortalized by Picasso in his world- renown painting “Guernica.” Then we have a two-night stay in Getxo by the famous transporter bridge and with an opportunity to see the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, located about eight miles distance.
After Bilbao, we continue along the coastline and into Cantabria. More super scenery, fishing villages such as the one-time Roman port of Castro Urdiales, and then on to Laredo and the fishing village of Santoña, famous for its anchovies and tuna. A short ride takes us to the Bay of Santander and Santander itself, capital of Cantabria. Here we can spend the afternoon enjoying this elegant city with its beaches and incomparable bay.
Leaving Santander, we reach the beautiful medieval village of Santillana del Mar and the Altamira Museum dedicated to the famous cave paintings. Then on to Comillas and the Capricho by the Catalán architect Gaudí before reaching the charming fishing village of San Vicente de la Barquera. We continue into the neighboring province of Asturias with its delightful beaches and the bustling villages of Llanes and Ribadesella where we spend the night.
From Ribadesella we continue along the coast, here famous for the dinosaur footprints which can be seen on the beaches. We can visit the Jurassic Museum in Colunga and enjoy the very beautiful tiny fishing villages to be found on this coastline such as Lastres and Tazones. Finally, a two-night stay in the elegant city of Gijón will give us time to take a day off and visit the beaches or try the cider which is such a symbol of Asturias. We continue along this beautiful coastline with more villages such as Cudillero, Luarca, Navia until we finally cross the estuary of the River Eo which marks the border with Galicia. From here we are continuing just a little further along the coast past the famous Beach of the Cathedrals, with its unusual rock formations before we finally say goodbye to the coast, our companion for the last 12 days, and turn southwards and inland towards our next stop at the pretty little village of Mondoñedo, which is home to a fine cathedral.
After Mondoñedo, we continue southwards until we reach the city of Lugo, unique for the fact that it is surrounded by an intact Roman Wall which we can walk all the way round before we enjoy the excellent and free tapas served in the local bars. Then, just a little further south of Lugo, we join the French Camino with its constant flow of pilgrims. We only have one more stop in Arzúa before we will reach Santiago de Compostela, and of course the excitement mounts among our fellow travelers as we get closer to our goal
We finally enter Santiago itself on 24th July, the eve of the St. James Festival in Santiago on the 25th. Our final day is a free day in Santiago to just enjoy the festivities, fireworks, the bagpipes, and of course to visit our destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and relish the achievement of having completed this wonderful journey.
Consult with your favorite guidebook about arriving early in San Sebastian to view the city before the tour or staying in Santiago de Compostela after the tour to attend the last week of the Festival of St. James. Both cities are well-worth a longer visit than outlined in this tour. As previously mentioned, the “Running of the Bulls” made famous by Hemmingway takes place immediately before the tour in nearby Pamplona.
RIDE RATING: The tour is rated 3B based on an average distance of 38 miles (“A” is up to 35 miles), and an average daily elevation gain of 2902 feet for the 14 riding days. Day 4, at 4760 feet, and Day 5, at 4478 feet, exceed the “3” rating. Routes are on paved roads in good condition and most have little traffic. At the start of the day, you have the freedom to leave at any time, since we do not ride as a “stay together group.”
LODGING AND MEALS: Eighteen nights lodging are included. We spend two nights each in San Sebastian, Getxo (Bilbao), and Santiago de Compostela. We will be provided with six dinners and 18 breakfasts. Lunches and the remaining dinners will be on your own.
LOGISTICS: Ride participants could fly into Madrid-Barajas Airport, then take either a bus or train to San Sebastian. Participants could also fly into Bilbao and take the bus to San Sebastian. You can also fly directly into San Sebastian. At the end of the tour, ride participants could either fly, or take a train or bus to return to Madrid-Barajas Airport.
RIDER INDEPENDENCE: Riders ride at their own pace and need to be able to navigate from a cue sheet, map or GPS unit. Excellent maps and gps routes will be provided. Riders need to be able to handle minor mechanical mishaps, such as flat tires, and need to carry anything they need during the day such as rain jacket, sandwhich, tool kit, spare tube, pump, and so on. Riders need to be comfortable riding hills and riding both in cities and in remote areas. The luggage transport van does not support riders on the road except riders who, due to illness or injury, are unable to ride.
BIKES: If you bring your bike, make sure it has the proper gearing to enable you to climb the average 3000 feet of elevation gain. Iberocycle will transport bike boxes from San Sebastian to Santiago. If you wish to rent a bike for this trip (at your own expense), contact Iberocycle directly to make arrangements. Iberoycle will rent Cube carbon bikes for 170 Euros, hybrids for 130 Euros, and E-bikes for 220 Euros. Tandems will be allowed on this tour. If you are interested in an Ebike, contact Ride Leader. Be sure to confirm what equipment Iberocycle will provide and what you are expected to furnish.
WEATHER: In July, the average high temperature is 77 degrees F and the average low is 62 degrees F. In July, an average of 2.75 inches of rain falls, spread over 11 days. Be prepared for rain.
COST & ADMINISTRATION: The tour’s estimated cost is $3900 and does not include the $100 BAC fee. The cost is based on an exchange rate of $1.25 per Euro. The final payment may need to be adjusted if the exchange rate is less or more favorable. As always, any funds not used will be refunded to participants. The first payment of $1950 plus the BAC fee of $100.00 is due when signing up for the tour. The second and final payment of $1950 is due on March 1, 2020. The payments are made on-line by credit card at the BAC website. The cost includes 18 nights of accommodation with 18 breakfasts and 6 group dinners. It does not include lunch. Included in the overall costs are daily happy hours including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, luggage transfer, and emergency sag service. The gratuity for the guide is also included.
SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY: This tour is able to accept solos. We recommend that singles who would like a roommate should try to find their own. However, after the receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the tour and will be given until March 1, 2020 to find a roommate. If unable to find a roommate, the single will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fees) or pay the $929 solo supplement and stay on the tour. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The Ride Coordinator will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC Office and are due by March 1, 2020. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. They should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.
CANCELLATION POLICY: The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time, minus BAC fee and payment processing fees. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped, the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
RIDE PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITY: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.
SIGN-UP: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At this time, you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and tour deposit, $1950, by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this page.
Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 email@example.com