Here is a report of our bike ride along the Camino de Santiago from Gijón to Santiago de Compostela in which we traversed the Asturias coastline and then went inland in Galicia with the Cathedral of Santiago being the goal, as it is for most pilgrims in this part of the world.
Starting from Gijón
The official start of the ride was from Iglesia de San Lorenzo in the centre of Gijón, this way maintaining the spirit and the idea of such a trip. The Camino goes along the coastline of the city, then into some industrial areas, followed by nicer views of Asturian countyside and soon enters Avilés, after which the typical Northern coastline begins.
One of things Asturias is known for is its rugged coastline with lots of cliffs and coves giving you impressive views all along the way. That being said, you need to part from the Camino to get to most of the lookout points, which we could make without too much additional effort since we were riding bicycles.
All along the way you encounter very nice coastal towns and villages, Luarca (above) probably being the coolest of them all – a port town situated between two cliffs which give you an opportunity to enjoy the views from various points and a picturesque promenade with several bars make it a great place to stop for rest.
As you might imagine, the countryside is very green, with lots of flora and fauna found along the way, which make the uphills more bearable and give you great views again and again.
As the area is full of capes and cliffs, there is also a lot of lighthouses, which became another type of points of interest when going on detours from Camino.
From Asturias to Galicia
Asturias is divided from Galicia by river Eo, and a northernmost point where you can cross it on foot/bike is Puente de los Santos – a 612m long bridge, with a pedestrian part, a bit too narrow for riding comfortably.
The town on Galician side you get to is Ribadeo, and it has a nice coastal path leading you to Praia As Catedrais, which I’ll take about later.
In the morning of our first fully Galician day we found ourselves in a lot of dense fog covering most of the area. If you go towards the North from Ribadeo you’ll find another lighthouse – Faro de Isla Pancha, which currently serves as a guesthouse – a very special place to spend a night in.
Some 16km from Ribadeo along the marked coastal path you can find Praia As Catedrais (The Beach of Cathedrals) – unique rock formations with multiple arches, caves and standalone rock in the sand. The place attracts thousands of tourists and even on a foggy Tuesday morning we have found a big crowd there.
Galicia seemed quite different (although we did go inland, which tends to change things) with eucaliptus trees taking over the landscape and many wide dirt roads through the woods. Additional fun was provided by bridges and creeks which people have to cross on their way.
Unfortunately we have had an accident in the middle of the penultimate stage, so we had to change our plans for that day. Special thanks to Pau, who helped a lot.
Despite that, the group reunited in Santiago on Praza de Obradoiro.
A bit more of “uncategorized” fotos:
2 thoughts on “Camino by Bike”
I was not sure of doing this trip…my biggest worry was if it would be too demanding for my strength mainly because I’m not an experienced biker. But eventually turned up being a nice trip, very well planned by Dimitri and nice and comfortable hotels to chill out at the end of the day…So many roads and path were taken and this changing routine made this trip unexpected. Obviously we would finish every stage very tired but ready to spend our free time doing a few things more..
The Asturias’ coast mixed with farms and meadows along the seaside is beautiful despite the fog. After all, the weather is part of the scenery and this paint in green and brown colour Asturias’ landscape. From Gijon to Ribadeo in 4 stages; taking my time to digest every colour and effort I made on my bike. A more demanding route in terms of height and length would have been a nightmare for me.
Galicia ‘ landscape we went through is even more linked with rural scenery. Away from the seaside , heading Santiago for 4 more days. I missed having some knowledge of which way we might have taken and what concellos we went through .
Knowing more about Galicia would have made me enjoyed more the trip. When looking the route of this trip in a map , I remember some of the towns and bars we stopped. Pilgrims credencial stamps helps to find it out.. But this demands lots of previous searching tasks which I did not. Dimitri seemed to be more well up on this.
Finally, thanks to all mates which made this an enjoyable trip. Not sure if I ‘ll ride my bike again for this kind of trips but surely it awoke my sense of adventure.