Hey, myself and a travel partner are looking at different options for how to best experience Spain in August, on a budget. We have about 3 weeks in Spain, and need to be in Madrid for August 21st. One idea that came to mind was to try cycling the Northern Route of the Camino trail, along the coast, from Irun. Many questions are in our mind though:
- How long does it take? Can it be properly in 2 weeks?
- For both of us this is our first significant cycling trip... is the terrain appropriate? We are both in our early 20s and in good shape.
- Is there any way to rent a bike for a couple weeks?
good idea, maybe you want to carry a tent because it is Holy Year and the number of pilgrims increased, as cyclist you might get no bed in some pilgrims hostels as pedestrians are admitted first in most of them. Make sure you get a "credencial" before getting on the camino.
This site http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/ might help you, but is in spanish only.
I def recommend you to go to Finisterre, just a days ride away,the camino to there is doable on bikes although I would recommend MTB, you may get back to santiago by bus, no hassle.
Once in Santiago, do not miss the guided tour on the rooftops of the cathedral - spetacular !!
Btw, coming from Santiago to Madrid, you can put you bikes on the ALSA buses (www.alsa.es - also in english), they charge about 5 € for the bike, just get some binliner, wrap around the dirty parts and take front wheel off. One way to Madrid should cost you around 40 €.
When in Galicia, do not miss to try Pulpo ! :-P
Good luck and buen camino.
any queries, you can write me
If you need help in Madrid, let me know, I won´t be there, but can refer you to cycling friends of mine.
If you happen to be in the capital the last thursday of august, join the Critical mass ride (bici critica), a great way to see madrid from saddle.
Btw, you can ride the metro in madrid with bikes, weekdays for two hours around midday and from around 20:00 to closure, weekend all day long.
Should you need bike boxes, there are several bike shops in the scentre that can give you used ones, or Iberia at the airport sells them for 20€. I don´t know about renting bikes (apt for touring) in northern Spain, maybe a bit more hassle to ship and bring yours, but cheaper in the end and less headache,, I would say.
Good tips, that will come in handy when I head on my way to Santiago - thank you for these.