FROM RONCESVALLES TO LOGROÑO (170km)
The French Way from Roncesvalles to Logroño is the first section of the French Way in Spain. The option to start walking from Roncesvalles is usually one of the most chosen by pilgrims, due to historical and geographical interest. This section begins with a mountainous Pyrenean landscape, where you will walk through autochthonous forests and natural landscapes of great beauty, which will gradually be transformed into the landscape of vineyards so characteristic of La Rioja.
Arrival in Roncesvalles
Roncesvalles (Orreaga) has historically been considered the first stop on the Iberian Peninsula for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Located in a beautiful enclave at the foot of the Ibañeza pass, it has also been a way of passage for Celts, barbarians, Goths and even King Charlemagne. A sample of its great importance in the Way of Saint James is its hospital for pilgrims, now converted into a Collegiate Church. You can see the Priory House, the Museum and Library, the church dedicated to Santa María de Roncesvalles, the chapel of San Agustín and the chapel of the Holy Spirit. Roncesvalles is a perfect starting point for the way to Logroño.
Despite its great importance in the Camino de Santiago and in the history of the Iberian Peninsula, Roncesvalles has only 30 inhabitants, something that gives it a special charm and mysticism.
Roncesvalles – Akarreta
In this first stage you will leave behind the Pyrenees to approach the valley in which the city of Pamplona is located. A day in which you will go through forests, meadows and small villages typically Pyrenean that serve the hikers. This is a stage marked by slopes of medium difficulty, such as the ascent to the Mezkiritz and Erro passes, or the steep descent to Zuribi, where we recommend caution so as not to hurt your knees and ankles.
Zubiri is a small town in Navarra where you can appreciate the typical constructions of the area. Situated in a privileged natural environment, its most identifiable monument is the bridge of La Rabia, of Romanesque style dated from the 12th century. This bridge is so called because according to the legend if an animal was sick and passed under the arches of the bridge, it was miraculously cured.
Akarreta – Pamplona
Today you will leave the Pyrenees to enter the Esteríbar Valley, a very simple 20 km stage, with few steep slopes and few dangerous sections, so we recommend you to take it easy and enjoy the great beauty of its corners. On your arrival, as a reward, you will be able to enjoy the capital of Navarra, get lost in its beautiful historical center and let yourself be seduced by its impressive gastronomic offer.
Pamplona (Iruña) is a city that still preserves its medieval defensive walls, in fact this walled complex has been declared a National Monument. In its interior, the Cathedral of Santa María, is perhaps its most dazzling artistic building, a Gothic jewel hidden behind a neoclassical facade. After strolling through its historic streets and visiting a number of monuments, you should try the famous gastronomy of the area, in the form of pintxos. And if you have fallen in the city in the second week of July, get ready to live the great festival of San Fermines
Pamplona – Puente la Reina
The main challenge of this stage is the ascent to Alto del Perdon, which is a little more than 2 kilometers long and can be especially hard. Once you reach the top, you will realize why it is one of the most famous and photographed points of the Way of Saint James, not only for the views but also for the curious sculpture representing a family of pilgrims in the Middle Ages. Next, the descent from the pass is considered one of the critical points of the French Way, due to the high slope and unevenness of the terrain, which can cause falls and injuries, so it is advisable to be extremely careful. After passing this section, the rest of the itinerary has no major complications until arriving at Puente La Reina, which owes its name to the bridge that was built so that the pilgrims could save the waters of the Arga River.
Puente la Reina (Gares) is a small medieval village that will allow you to discover religious constructions resulting from the influence of the Pilgrimage, such as the Church of the Crucifix, the Church of Santiago or the Church of San Pedro. However, it will be the Roman bridge, to which it owes its name, that will impress you the most. This bridge over the Arga River is one of the most imposing and majestic examples of Romanesque style on the Jacobean route.
Puente la Reina – Estella
During this stage, you will begin the journey by leaving Puente la Reina through roads that run between crops and fields. At times, you will walk along the few well-preserved fragments of the old Roman road that guided the route to Santiago de Compostela. Although this route is considered to be of great beauty, it is also considered by many to be a “leg-breaker” because of its important climbs and descents, such as the Alto de Cirauqui (Zirauki), a town that emerges on a rocky hill and has two splendid churches. After the ascent, the descent towards Estella will come, your end of the stage.
Estella (Lizarra) is a town bathed by the river Ega, which has its source in the cultural convergence of the Way of Saint James and the Jewish quarter. Its curious salt water spring, considered to have therapeutic properties, is recommended to be visited to rest after the day. Once you are rested and fresh, you can’t help but get lost in the narrow streets of its historical area and discover its magnificent monuments, such as the Palace of the Kings of Navarre or the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa. The monk Aymeric Picaud said in the 11th century that “Estella is a city of good bread, excellent wine, lots of meat and fish and all kinds of happiness”.
Estella – Los Arcos
This stage is characterized by loneliness and lack of services, so it can sometimes be a challenge for the pilgrim. Although the distance is short, the route has continuous ups and downs that require greater effort. At the beginning of your route, you will be presented with a dilemma: go straight to Azqueta or turn left to the Monastery of Santa María La Real de Irach; we recommend you always take the second option to pass by the famous wine fountain, from which wine and water flow. The last section of the stage until you reach Los Arcos is a long walk of three hours along paths that, although well signposted, are somewhat monotonous. Once in Los Arcos, a fountain will welcome you at the entrance of the village so that you can catch your breath and enjoy the city.
Los Arcos has several important monuments, both civil and religious. You will be able to take a trip through history, walking along its main street, with its emblazoned houses, and visiting the ruins of its medieval castle or the Roman remains that are still preserved. As far as religious monuments are concerned, the church of Santa María stands out, built in the 12th century in Romanesque style, to which elements of later styles were added.
Los Arcos – Logroño
After six days walking through the lands of Navarra, it is now La Rioja that takes the baton of your Camino. A stage that, although long, will be easy and comfortable for you, as it passes between vineyards and monumental cities. You will admire the beauty of the Navarrese countryside, passing through historic towns such as Viana, with its fortified town centre full of mansions and palaces, or small medieval villages such as Torres del Río. In the last stretch you will leave the forest tracks to finally crown the capital of La Rioja, Logroño.
You must get lost in the streets of Logroño’s historical centre and visit, among other important buildings, the Santa María la Redonda Concathedral and its town halls. The affable and hospitable character of the people of La Rioja makes Logroño the perfect place to enjoy a good afternoon of leisure and gastronomy. You can’t miss visiting one of the most emblematic places in the city: the Modern Café; and taking a walk along the Calle del Laurel, also called the Route of the Elephants because of the possibilities of getting “trunk” out of its walls. For wine lovers, a visit to the wine cellars in Ruavieja is a must.
In Logroño you will finish a journey that may well be the beginning of many. On this last day you will wake up with one more road in your lives, but not a road of kilometers, but of experiences, emotions and new friendships.
You have completed this stage of the French Way from Roncesvalles to Logroño. We encourage you to continue with the Camino, which offers a multitude of wonderful destinations.
** After leaving the accommodation, our services will be concluded.
THIS TRIP INCLUDES
- 8 days / 7 nights of accommodation
- Backpack transfer service (1 package – máx. 20 kg.)
- Credencial (Pilgrim’s passport)
- Telephone assistance service 24/7
- Travel assistance insurance
- PRIVATE SHELTERS
- Extra night in St. Jean: 30 €/pax
- HOSTELS / HOTELS
- Single room supplement: 120 €/pax
- Breakfast: 45 €/pax
- Half Board: 145 €/pax
- Extra night in St. Jean: 65€ ind. room / 80€ double room
- PRIVATE TRANSFER
- From Pamplona to Roncesvalles: 180€ (up to 4 pax.)
- 250 € pax in private shelters
- 450 € pax in hotel (double room)
The perfect choice if you want to experience the Camino 100%. The hostels are the perfect accommodation to meet other pilgrims. They have mixed rooms organized in bunk beds, bathrooms separated by sexes, equipped kitchens, laundry and common areas where you can relax and rest. It is the most authentic option to live this stage of the Way from Roncesvalles to Logroño.
GuestHouses and Hotels
We have selected for you the best accommodations available on this route. We combine the rest in small and cozy pensions with superior quality hotels to ensure you the best experience in your Camino de Santiago. This is our personal recommendation for the Way from Roncesvalles to Logroño