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Ride Info

Ride Overview

Camino del Norte: Camino de Santiago Northern Route

  • Arrival
  • 6/23/2025
  • Departure
  • 7/9/2025
  • Ride Coordinator
  • Karen Hass
  • Tour Company
  • Iberocycle
  • Starting Location
  • San Sebastian, Spain
  • Finishing Location
  • Santiago de Compostela
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $4000
  • Deposit
  • $2000
  • Number of Riders
  • 12 (min. 14 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 11
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 1

Ride Rating

3B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† 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 $85 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

Come ride the Camino del Norte as we follow the northern-most pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago. Our destination is the tomb of the Apostle Saint James the Great in Santiago de Compestela. This is one of the oldest of the Camino de Santiago routes, dating back to the 9th century, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. It is also considered by many to be the most beautiful.

OVERVIEW: Our tour begins San Sebastian, one of the prettiest cities in Spain, as well as its culinary capital. Arrive a day or two early to enjoy its pristine beach and traditional architecture, and perhaps book a dinner at one of its many Michelin-starred restaurants. The tour route follows the northern coast of Spain across the autonomous communities of País Vasco (Basque Country), Cantabria, and Asturias, and then turns inland through Galicia, finishing in Santiago de Compostela. Along the Camino del Norte, we’ll enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Basque and Cantabrian coastlines with their fine beaches, lush forests, fishing villages, and stunning cliffs, and sample the delicious food and beverages of the region. Just beyond Ribadeo in Asturias, we turn inland to arrive at our final destination, Santiago de Compostela. You may wish to plan an extra day or two in this UNESCO World Heritage city, with its stunning architecture and historical landmarks.

At the start of the tour, everyone will be given a Camino “passport” to have stamped along the way as proof of completing this iconic adventure. At the end of our tour, present your Camino passport at the Pilgrim’s Reception Office in Santiago de Campostela to receive your official certification that you’ve completed the pilgrimage.

This tour will be supported by Simon Proffitt’s Iberocycle. Iberocycle has supported over a dozen tours for BAC members, all with very high to excellent ratings.

Itinerary

Day 1: June 23 – Meet in San Sebastian for the first BAC happy hour (Barcelo Costa Vasca, 6pm) and group meal of the tour. Arrive early in the afternoon if you’re renting a bike for a fitting.

Day 2: June 24 – San Sebastian to Lekeitio, 47 miles, 4761’ climbing. We leave San Sebastián along the picturesque Basque Country coast with vineyards descending towards the sea, producing grapes for 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. We arrive in Lekeitio with its beautiful beaches and long fishing tradition.

Day 3: June 25: Lekeitio to Getxo, 42.5, 3847’ climbing. Today there’s 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-renowned painting “Guernica.” Today’s route includes a 5-mile (approx.) boat ride to avoid riding around an estuary on busy roads. Our destination is Getxo, a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Bilbao, where we’ll cross the Vizcaya Bridge to get to our hotel for the night. This bridge, built in 1893 and known by the locals as “Puente Colgante,” (hanging bridge), is the world’s first transporter bridge. UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site in 2006.

Day 4: June 26 – Getxo rest day, and a chance to visit Bilbao, the artistic and cultural hub of the Basque Country. Once a grimy, industrial city, Bilbao has undergone a extensive revitalization in the last half century to become one of Spain’s most modern cities. You won’t want to miss a visit to Bilbao’s world-famous Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim Museum, whose avant-garde architecture contrasts with the traditional old town and its charming streets and pintxos/tapas bars. Bilbao is a short bike ride (approx. 12 miles) from our hotel in Getxo, or if you prefer a day off your bike, excellent public transportation will get you there.

Day 5: June 27 – Getxo to Santoña, 38.2 miles, 3456’ climbing. From Getxo we continue our ride along the coastline into Cantabria, traveling through pretty little villages including the one-time Roman port of Castro Urdiales, and Laredo. We spend the night in the fishing village of Santoña, famous for its anchovies and tuna.

Day 6: June 28 – Santoña to Santander, 18.6 miles, 1095’ climbing. Short bike and boat rides take us to the Bay of Santander and Santander city, capital of Cantabria. We arrive in time to spend the afternoon enjoying this elegant city with its beaches and incomparable bay.

Day 7: June 29 – Santander to Comillas, 38.2, 2672’ climbing. Leaving Santander, we reach the beautiful medieval village of Santillana del Mar and the nearby Altamira Museum, dedicated to the Cave of Altamira (named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985) with its examples of cave paintings from the Upper Paleolithic period (35,000 to 11,000 BC). We continue on to spend the night in Comillas, a charming town of art nouveau architecture, and the location of “El Capricho” by Catalán architect Antoni Gaudí.

Day 8: June 30 – Comillas to Ribadesella, 47.4 mils, 3048’ climbing. From Comillas we ride into the province of Asturias past more delightful beaches, through small villages such as Llanes, and arrive for the night in Ribadesella.

Day 9: July 1 – Ribadesella to Gijón, 41.7 miles, 3528’ climbing. We continue along a section of coast where dinosaur footprints have been seen on the beaches. From the municipality of Colunga you can take a side trip to visit the Jurassic Museum with its collection of fossilized dinosaurs.  From the museum grounds there are also great views of the Bay of Biscay, the Sierra del Sueve, and the Picos de Europa. Beyond Colunga we enjoy more beautiful tiny coastal villages such as Lastres and Tazones. Our destination for the night is the elegant city of Gijón.

Day 10: July 2 – Gijón rest day. A guided tour of Gijón is planned for this rest day where we’ll visit a number of interesting museums and historical sites. Or if you prefer, you can relax on the beach, sample “sidra,” the traditional drink of Asturias, or do a loop ride.

Day 11: July 3 – Gijón to Cudillero, 53.5 miles, 4444’ climbing. We continue along Spain’s beautiful northern coastal area to arrive in Cudillero, the most picturesque fishing village on the Asturian coast. The houses, painted in a rainbow of pastels, cascade down to the tiny port on a narrow inlet.

Day 12: July 4 – Cudillero to Navia, 44.4 miles, 3374’ climbing. From Cudillero we ride on through the lush countryside to the charming coastal town of Navia, one of Asturias’ most dynamic towns with several small beaches and the Navia River running gracefully through its center. Navia is known for its exceptionally well-preserved medieval architecture, including the Navia Castle.

Day 13: July 5 – Navia to Mondoñedo, 40.2 miles, 2742’ climbing. About half way into today’s ride, we cross the estuary of the River Eo which marks the border between Asturias and Galicia. A short way on, we pass the famous Beach of the Cathedrals with its unusual rock formations, before turning south and inland, to ride to the pretty little village of Mondoñedo, home to the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. The cathedral is a Spanish National Monument, and very interesting, containing examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Rococo architecture.

Day 14: July 6 – Mondoñedo to Lugo, 38.8 miles, 2837’ climbing. We continue south to the city of Lugo with its ancient intact Roman wall, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000. Take a walk atop the wall which surrounds the village at the end of our ride before enjoying the excellent and free tapas served in the local bars.

Day 15: July 7 – Lugo to Arzúa, 42 miles, 3534’ climbing. Our ride from Lugo to the charming town of Arzúa where the Camino del Norte and French Camino paths converge. For many Camino pilgrims traveling either of these routes, this is their last stop before reaching Santiago de Compostela.

Day 16: July 8 – Arzúa to Santiago de Compostela, 24.2 miles, 1652’ climbing. This is a short, easy ride to give you time to explore some of what this city of impressive historical and artistic wealth has to offer. Santiago’s old town was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985.

Day 17: July 9 – Camino del Norte ends following breakfast.

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. Both cities are well-worth a visit of a day or two. If you’re a purist who wishes to ride “EFI” (every fun inch) of the Camino del Norte route, before the tour starts on 6/23/25 you can take a Euskotren train (with your bike) from San Sebastian to Irun on the French border, and ride back to San Sebastian.

RIDE RATING: 3B! with a daily ride average of 40 miles and 3200’ of climbing. The "!" alert is included in the ride rating for two reasons: (1) two days, day 2 with 4800’ of climbing and day 11 with 4500’ of climbing, exceed the 3B rating, and (2) the average feet/mile for the entire tour is 80. The ride rating is based on the shortest ride options available for each required riding day. There will be longer rides available for several days, and riding options for rest days. Routes are on paved roads in good condition, and most will be quiet with little traffic. There will be occasional short busier stretches, particularly as we enter or leave cities and larger towns. As we’ll ride in both cities and remote areas, you should be comfortable riding in both. All required routes on this tour have been scouted by Iberocycle.

LODGING AND MEALS: Included in the tour cost are 16 nights lodging in 3-star or 4-star hotels. We’ll overnight in San Sebastian, Lekeitio, Getxo (2 nights), Santoña, Santander, Comillas, Ribadesella, Gijón (2 nights), Cudillero, Navia, Mondoñedo, Lugo, Arzúa, and Santiago de Compostela. Iberocycle will book reservations at the tour rate for anyone who’d like extra nights before or after the tour.

The tour cost also includes a hot European-style breakfast each morning (16 breakfasts), 7 group dinners, and a happy hour on all required riding days with snacks, wine, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages. You will be on your own for all lunches, and all dinners other than the group dinners. For those who haven’t been to Spain before, dinner time is much later than in the US, typically around 8pm. Many of the towns and villages where we’ll overnight have restaurants that are open until mid-afternoon, providing a chance for a late hearty lunch after your ride in lieu of dinner. Most towns will also have a grocery store.

LOGISTICS: We’ll have our initial BAC happy hour at Barceló Costa Vasca on Monday, June 23rd at 6pm. Anyone renting a bike must plan to arrive no later than noon on the 23rd to allow adequate time for fitting your bike. Our first day of riding will be Tuesday, June 24th.

You can fly directly into San Sebastian (EAS), Madrid (MAD), or Bilbao (BIO). From Madrid or Bilbao, you can continue on to San Sebastian by plane, bus, or train. Another option is Biarritz Airport (LFBZ) which has shuttle service from the airport to San Sebastian.

Our last day of riding will be Tuesday, July 8th 2025. The tour ends on Wednesday, July 9th 2025 after breakfast. Fly from the Santiago de Compostela airport (SCQ), or travel to Bilbao or Madrid via bus or train.

ETIAS PRE SCREENING: Effective May 2025 travelers to Europe will be required to complete the new mandatory pre-screening security questionnaire ETIAS. Without ETIAS approval, travelers from the US, Canada, and many other countries will not be able to book travel into Europe. Approvals can be issued quickly and once issued are valid for 3 years. Sign up for ETIAS notifications or to complete the ETIAS application here: https://etias.com/etias-application.

RIDER INDEPENDENCE: Riders ride at their own pace, not as a stay-together group, and must be able to navigate from a navigation device (e.g., Garmin, Wahoo, smartphone with RWGPS, etc.), or plan to navigate by cue sheet and map. Excellent gps routes, cue sheets, and maps will be provided. Riders must be able to handle minor mechanical mishaps (e.g., flat tires, minor bike mechanical adjustments) and carry anything they’ll need during the day such as sufficient water, tool kit, spare tube, pump, lunch/snacks, rain jacket, etc. You should be comfortable riding hills, and in cities and remote areas. The luggage transport van does not support riders on the road except riders who, due to illness, injury, or a major mechanical failure, are unable to ride.

BIKES: If you bring your own bike, be sure it is in good mechanical condition, and has the proper gearing to enable you to climb the maximum elevation gain of 4800’. 

Iberocycle will transport bike boxes from the start of the tour in San Sebastian to the end of the tour in Santiago de Compostela for a cost of 45 € per box payable directly to IberoCycle.

If you wish to rent a bike for this trip (at your own expense), contact Iberocycle directly to make arrangements. Iberocycle has carbon fiber road bikes, hybrids, and both road and hybrid e-bikes available to rent. Tandems will be allowed on this tour. If you plan to ride an e-bike or a tandem, contact the Ride Leader before you sign up.

WEATHER:  You can expect very pleasant weather in late June and early July, with an average high temperature in the 70s F and lows in the upper 50s F.  Average rainfall for the duration of our tour is around 2.4 inches, and the average number of days with some rain is 9 days. Come prepared for rain, and for chilly temperatures in the early morning and evening.

COST & ADMINISTRATION: The tour’s estimated cost is $4000, plus the $100 BAC fee.  The cost is based on an exchange rate of $1.10 = €1. The final payment may be adjusted depending on whether the exchange rate is more or less favorable to the dollar.

The deposit of $2000, plus the $100.00 BAC fee, is due when signing up for the tour. The second and final payment of $2000 is due on December 31st 2024. The payments are made on-line on the BAC web site by credit card.  The tour cost includes 16 hotel nights 16 breakfasts, 7 group dinners, and 15 happy hours including snack and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic); luggage transfer; two short boat trips, emergency sag service; Ride with GPS (RWGPS) tcx/gpx files, cue sheets, and maps; and a gratuity for the guide.

The tour cost does not include :

  • Transportation to/from the start/end of the tour.
  • All meals other than daily breakfasts and 7 group dinners.
  • Transfer of bike boxes from the start to the end of the tour.  For those who bring their own bikes, Iberocycle can arrange bike box transfer for 45 € per bike box.
  • Bicycle rental. Bicycles can be rented directly from Iberocycle: Cube carbon, 190 €; Trek hybrid. 140 €; hybrid E-bike, 250 €; road E-bike, 250 €.

As always, any funds not used will be refunded to participants after the conclusion of the tour.

HEALTH & SAFETY: Participants must be vaccinated for Covid, and tour participants will be asked to provide verification. Participants are expected to come to the tour in good health and ready to ride. Should someone's health become compromised and the group’s health and safety placed in jeopardy, a plan will be developed by the ride leader and Iberocycle, and communicated to all individuals. The expectation is for the group to work together to mitigate any spread of infection or illness as a means to ensure the tour can continue as planned.

SINGLES & SOLOS POLICY: Singles (riders sharing a room with a room-mate) and Solos (riders occupying a room by themselves) are both welcome.  If a single can find their own room-mate, that is preferable but the Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride. After the receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the tour and given 60 days to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and credit card processing fees), or pay the $1000 solo supplement and stay on the tour.  If a single pays the solo supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary.  If they find a roommate, the solo supplement will be refunded. Due to lodging limitations, this tour can accept a maximum of 6 solo participants.

Solo supplement payments are due within 60 days of signing up for this tour and may be made in one of two ways:

  1. By check made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. Checks should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.
  2. By Zelle. This is how to use Zelle for a solo supplement payment:
  • In your online bank account, add Bicycle Adventure Club as a new recipient, with email address treasurer@bicycleadventureclub.org
  • Initiate a payment
  • In the Message block enter the name of your ride

If you have questions, contact Nancy Bohnett (nbohnett@bicycleadventureclub.org ) or Ernie Coose (erniecoose.bac@gmail.com ).

NOTE: Only solo supplement payments may be paid via Zelle. All other tour payments must be made by credit card through the BAC website.

CANCELLATION POLICY:  The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled because the number of participants registered is less than the minimum established for the tour. 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 the 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 strongly 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 cleanup. 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 might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

Before participating in any BAC tour, you should assess whether your medical and travel insurance coverage is sufficient. BAC maintains insurance that covers expenses related to accidents, medical emergencies such as sudden and unexpected sickness, and repatriation. This coverage applies when touring outside the US and your home country, regardless of your nationality. It will cover you door-to-door for a maximum of 90 days but will expire if you make a side trip not related to the BAC tour for more than 7 days before or after. There is limited coverage for a family member to join a covered person in an emergency. The policy covers the cost of treatment for Covid and other unexpected illnesses, but not quarantine. You should ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. Coverage is subject to a $1000 deductible.

SIGN-UP:  To register for this ride, use the sign-up "links" just above this Ride Description.  After preliminary acceptance, you will be moved from the Waitlist to the Pending List and receive an email requesting you go back to the BAC website to digitally accept the terms of the Release of Liability (ROL), and pay the non-refundable BAC Ride Registration Fee and Tour Deposit of $2100 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. BAC members with questions can contact the Ride Coordinator by “clicking” the name at the top of this Ride Description.


Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510 office@bicycleadventureclub.org

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