The French Pilgrim's Route to Santiago
Length: Approx. 401 km
Provinces included: Burgos, Palencia,León
Total ascent: 5,173 m
Total descent: 4,834 m
Maximum altitude: 1,507 mMinimum altitude: 474 m
Designated the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in 1987 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, this 400-kilometre route goes through Castilla y León’s provinces of Burgos, Palencia and León. The French Route, one of the many routes of the Way of Saint James, is, without a doubt, one of the most popular routes among cycle tourists across the world, thanks to its attractive heritage, beautiful countryside, and great spiritual presence.
This part of the Camino was a pioneer among travel routes. It was along this route that mediaeval styles, such as the Romanesque and Gothic styles, were introduced. This increased the number of monasteries, churches, cathedrals and other infrastructure that were built alongside the Way to aid pilgrims on their journey to Santiago de Compostela.
Today, we can appreciate the importance of the Romanesque style along the French Way in places such as San Juan de Ortega, Frómista, Carrión de los Condes, Sahagún, León, Astorga, Rabanal del Camino, Cacabelos, Pieros and Villafranca del Bierzo.
Castilla y León is also home to extraordinary examples of Gothic architecture, such as the Cathedrals of León and Burgos, the latter being a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We encourage you to cycle along the Camino, visit all of Castilla y Leon’s heritage treasures, enjoy the hospitality of its people, the diversity and purity of its landscape and especially the richness and variety of its cuisine.