Ruta Via de la Plata cycling guidebook (2024)

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On and off-road options on the Camino from Seville to Santiago and Gijon






16 Mar 2022






17.20 x 11.60 x 1.10cm



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Guidebook to cycling the Ruta Via de la Plata through western Spain, covering the 924km route from Seville to the coastal city of Gijón and a pilgrimage variant to Santiago de Compostela. With road and off-road alternatives (the latter suitable for gravel bikes), the route offers fantastic cycling and rich cultural and historical interest.


Potentially an all year round route, the best times to experience the Ruta are spring and autumn.


Seville, Zafra, Mérida, Cáceres, Zamora, León, Oviedo and Gijón, plus Ourense and Santiago de Compostela on the Camino Sanabrés


Empty roads and gentle climbs make the route accessible to a wide range of bikes and cyclists. On and off-road versions can be combined for a perfect touring, hybrid or gravel cycle trip.

Must See

Gijón and 8 Unesco world heritage sites (Seville, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, León, Zamora, Oviedo, and Santiago de Compostela). This traverse of Spain takes in the central plateau (meseta) and the unique dehesa landscape as well as the Cantabrian mountains.







16 Mar 2022






17.20 x 11.60 x 1.10cm




This guidebook to cycling the Ruta Via de la Plata through western Spain describes the 930km route from Seville to the coastal city of Gijón in around 2 weeks (14 stages). A pilgrimage variant, the Camino Sanabrés, to Santiago de Compostela is also described (16 stages in total). Empty roads and gentle climbs make the route accessible to a wide range of bikes and cyclists. Both road and off-road versions are presented, and the guide shows how they can be combined to create a perfect touring, hybrid or gravel cycling trip.

The guide includes leg-by-leg route descriptions, 1:150,0000 colour mapping, elevation profiles and helpful ride planners to show where riders can swop from the off-road to the road route. There is advice on equipment, travel and transporting your bike, alongside a list of accommodation contacts and a useful Spanish glossary.

The Ruta Via de la Plata is one of Spain's most important pilgrim routes. The 2-week journey takes in 7 UNESCO world heritage sites (Seville, Mérida, Cáceres, Salamanca, Leon, Zamora, and Oviedo) with the famous pilgrimage site of Santiago de Compostela if the Camino Sanabrés is taken. There is lots of good-value accommodation available, from hostels to palaces, and plenty of chances to sample Spanish gastronomy.

Table of Contents


Overview map

Map key

Route summary tables


The route

The cycling

A ride through Spain’s history


Climate and when to go


Choosing your route



Getting there

What to take


Using this guide

Ruta Vía de la Plata

Stage 1 Seville to El Real de la Jara

Stage 2 El Real de la Jara to Zafra

Stage 3 Zafra to Mérida

Stage 4 Mérida to Cáceres

Stage 5 Cáceres to Grimaldo

Stage 6 Grimaldo to Plasencia

Stage 7 Plasencia to Béjar

Stage 8 Béjar to Salamanca

Stage 9 Salamanca to Zamora

Stage 10 Zamora to Benavente

Stage 11 Benavente to León

Stage 12 León to Pola de Lena

Stage 13 Pola de Lena to Oviedo

Stage 14 Oviedo to Gijón

Camino Sanabrés

Stage 1 Zamora to Tábara

Stage 2 Tábara to Puebla de Sanabria

Stage 3 Puebla de Sanabria to A Gudiña

Stage 4 A Gudiña to Ourense

Stage 5 Ourense to Lalín

Stage 6 Lalín to Santiago de Compostela

Appendix A Accommodation

Appendix B Useful contacts

Appendix C Glossary


October 2023

Route updates

Thanks to Luc Demeulenaere for his kind words and helpful updates on the RVP.

On Leg 6.1 OR to Galisteo, the directions for getting onto the road after cycling north for 12km are too cryptic. On the approach to the road ignore Camino way markings, take the dirt road on the left (the old main road), and after 100m or so, turn onto the road, turn right, and continue up the hill for 800m.

On Stage 2 of the Camino Sanebress on Leg 2.1, the route has changed (or was wrong) so after cycling north for 7km (page 176), don't turn right but stay on the track, continue to the road heading into Santa Marta de Tera via Villanueva de las Paras.

September 2023

Stage 7

Many thanks to Jan and his five cycling buddies from Norway for an update on the route for the Ruta Vía de la Plata. It’s an important improvement to what is already a brilliant cycling route.

Stage 7 - the Plasencia to Béjar stage, can now be completed on a newly opened Vias Verde helpfully called the Ruta de la Plata Greenway. The Vias Verde are old railway lines which have been repurposed as cycle and walking routes and can be found all over Spain. The Ruta de la Plata Greenway is a new addition to a growing portfolio and is one of the longest.

Currently, the offroad version of Stage 7 involves returning from Plasencia to Carcabosa along the road used at the end of Stage 6. It then joins the Camino and heads north to the ruins of the Roman town of Caparra. The Vias Verde starts in Plasencia, near the railway station, and heads north using the infrastructure of the disused railway line (viaducts, tunnels and old railway stations). It looks amazing and, using railway line grading should be very easy. Crucially it visits Hervas, a recommended detour in the Guide, but an integral part of the Ruta de la Plata Greenway.

My only regret about the improvement is that it replaces what is already a brilliant stretch of cycling. The original off-road section of Stage 7, the 30km section from Carcobosa to the N630, is the most sustained stretch of dehesa cycling on the whole of the Ruta Vía de la Plata. Missing it means you don’t get to take a picture of your bike parked in a triumphal Roman arch at Caparra, possibly the most iconic view of the whole journey.

To avoid missing out on the dehesa and the arch at Caparra consider following Leg 7.1 OR as described in the Guide and join the Ruta de la Plata Greenway at Aldeanueva del Camino where there is a old railway station.

For full details of the Ruta Via la Plata Greenway go to the Vias Verde website at

May 2023

Stage 2 off road route

In connection with Leg 2.3 OR to Zafra (p. 53), Heather reports that a locked gate has appeared on the agricultural track heading west. Either take the Camino off the N-630 200m after leaving Calzada de Los Barros (dotted line on the map) and risk the fords, or stay on the road route.

May 2023

Bike rental

The bike rental company mentioned in the book, Bike Iberia, now only delivers bikes to the SEUR logistics depot, which is 13km south of Seville. They do not deliver to hotels in Sevilla

CyclingtheCamino do

The CTC bike bag referred to is no longer sold by Wiggle (or anyone else for that matter - April 2023).

Reported by Martin Jones


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Cycling the Ruta Via de la Plata - GPX File

By John Hayes

John Hayes is a retired management consultant with degrees from Liverpool University and University College London. Immediately after finishing work in 2011 he embarked on an epic 5,000km trek across Europe, walking from Tarifa in Spain to Budapest. John has written for numerous walking and trekking magazines, and has written four walking guides and a cycling guide for Cicerone.

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Ruta Via de la Plata cycling guidebook (2024)


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