Bike tours Portugal

Visit all around Portugal on a bicycle with our expert guides

Bike tours in Portugal

In the last decade, the famous Way of Saint James has gained unprecedented media attention.

The ever-present believers were joined by influencers, sportspeople, politicians and simple lovers of exploration, who, on foot or by bicycle, gave new color to this historic path that, through different routes, connects Iberian and French cities to the iconic and majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

According to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago de Compostela, last year this new fever for the Camino de Santiago resulted in more than 440,000 pilgrims completing the ritual, which represents an increase of more than 350,000 pilgrims compared to 2003, when "only" 74,000 people made the pilgrimage.

As usual, the so-called "French Way" was the one that captivated the most people, not only because it is considered to be the original route with the most historical tradition, but also because it passes through some of the most magnificent landscapes and monuments in France and Spain, such as the Pyrenees, the Cathedral of the Episcopal Palace of Astorga designed by Gaudí or Atapuerca, the most important paleontological site in Europe.

Calm the restless spirits, today's proposal, however, will not do the entire French Way and will not involve walking.

We decided to shortcut our journey and move our departure to León, the capital of the province of León, and use a means of getting around that is proving to be the favorite of more and more people: the bicycle.

Preparing for the journey

To start organizing our journey, it is essential to have some physical and mental preparation.

Although we're taking almost two thirds off the total route, it's important to start preparing yourself physically for the ride, even if you choose an electric bike.

So, about two months before your departure, start by taking short walks and bike rides and increase your mileage over the weeks.

You could, for example, start by doing 2 km of walking and 8 km of cycling in the first week of training, while in the week leading up to the match you'll be able to do 30 km of cycling on different types of terrain.

You can also add arm and leg strength training at the gym.

All this should be done in conjunction with a balanced diet and good sleep routines.

As well as the physical part, prepare the mental part too, as you'll have to cover around 300 km and not always on flat terrain (important for those who choose a bike without electric support).

Ground conditions

The French Way by bicycle is a difficult challenge and requires preparation. Renting an electric bike is recommended.

In some sections of the French Way, the terrain is quite rough and steep. Our route avoids the more complicated stretches and opts for asphalt paths.

If you're looking for an easier route, the Portuguese Coastal Path, starting in Porto, may be the best option. For the first 150 km there are practically no climbs and you can enjoy the natural beauty by the sea.

Tips and essential equipment for cycle touring

So that you can enjoy this magnificent route between León and Santiago de Compostela, it's important that you answer a few questions, such as: Do I want to go alone or do I prefer a group? Which bike will I use? What should I take in my backpack?

As far as your backpack is concerned, it should only be a maximum of 10% of your body weight and only carry the essentials. It should also be waterproof and ergonomic.

In general, you should pack your ID card, a debit/credit card, light clothing suitable for sports and the time of year, a pilgrim's badge, a sleeping bag, a bath towel, a flashlight, a raincoat, a water bottle, a cell phone and cell phone charger, energy bars, fruit, a personal hygiene kit and a first aid kit.

If it's your first time on the route, we advise you to join a group of pilgrims, as not only will you have help and company throughout the journey, but you'll also run fewer safety risks.

In terms of bikes, make your choice according to your physical condition and health, as not everyone is capable of overcoming the challenges that lie ahead.

So, in addition to a traditional bicycle, consider whether a hybrid or fully electric bike might be the best choice for you.

If, instead of organizing everything yourself, you'd prefer to do the León - Santiago de Compostela route more sparingly and with fewer logistical worries, our advice is to look for a travel agency that specializes in bike tours.

This is the case with Top Bike Tours Portugal, a company specializing in organizing cycling trips which, among other tours, offers a “Caminho de Santiago cycling tours” package of 8 days and 7 nights between León and Compostela adapted to all types of public, which passes through the main natural and human points of interest along the way.

In addition to various logistical issues, Top Bike Tours offers a wide and differentiated range of bikes, from traditional mountain and road bikes to hybrid bikes and the best electric bikes in Portugal.

The most memorable moments on the Camino: unforgettable experiences and places of interest

Walking the French Way is an intense journey of overcoming, amazement and even personal growth.

In addition to the physical and mental challenges, the route offers a phenomenal variety of natural and human landscapes:

  • Santa María de León Cathedral in Gothic style;
  • Casa de Botines (León) by Gaudí;
  • Basilica of San Izidoro, León, an ex-libris of Romanesque architecture and the burial place of the kings of León;
  • Cathedral of the Episcopal Palace of Astorga by Gaudí;
  • Vineyards and a medieval bridge over the river Cua (Cacabelos);
  • Medieval villages;
  • Tríacastela, flanked by beautiful mountains and lush forests, is a stopping point for pilgrims, as it is here that they traditionally exchange experiences about the journey;
  • Cruz de Ferro, the highest point on the Way, which rises to an altitude of 1,500 meters between Astorga and Ponferrada. Don't forget that tradition dictates that you stand with your back to the cross and throw a stone at it as an offering;
  • Templar Castle of Ponferrada;
  • Pilgrim's Forest and octopus in Melide. Near Compostela, enjoy the beautiful and fresh Pilgrim's Forest and don't miss out on the local delicacy: octopus;
  • Enjoy the panoramic views offered by the Alto de San Roque (in Liñares), O Cebreiro and Monte do Gozo, where you can already see Santiago Cathedral in the background;

Note: Exercise your best "Buen Camino" as you approach the majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, which houses the remains of St. James the Greater.

About Us

Founded in 2013, Top Bike tours Portugal is a company with experience in pedestrian and cycling tours in the city of Porto and long distance cycling routes to the north of the Iberian Peninsula and all around Portugal.

Contact Info

R. João das Regras 62
4000-290 Porto

400 m of Trindade Metro, near Oporto City Hall

Tel: (+351) 220 997 106
​Telm: (+351) 915 316 999​


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