Whether you visit Canfranc as a tourist for a few days or just for a moment of relaxation, this beautiful place will always have something wonderful to show you. This beautiful place will always have something wonderful and new to show you.
To make your plans easier we have compiled some useful information so that you can take advantage of the delights this city has to offer and have some clear recommendations on where to eat, where to sleep, what to do and how to get there.
Take a look at the information we have prepared for you and start to feel the excitement that comes with visiting a historic place like Canfranc.
What to see and do in Canfranc?
Canfranc is a municipality located in the autonomous community of Aragon, province of Huesca, Spain, which actually consists of two towns, the original village of Canfranc and Canfranc Station. At an altitude of 1,190 m, it is part of the Somport pass on the Way of St. James and its name comes from Campus Franci, which can be translated as “the field of foreigners”.
Historically Canfranc is recognized as the closest town to the Somport pass in this part of the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France. Due to its location, a customs office was established here in the 11th century to collect taxes and tolls from traders and travellers passing through the Pyrenees on their way to Jaca. In this way, Canfranc became an important cross-border trade centre between Aragon and the French province of Béarn. For this very reason, this place was chosen by pilgrims on their way through the Pyrenees to Compostela.
The heart of the city was located at the bottom of the valley, which is not very comfortable for agriculture and forced its inhabitants to take an entrepreneurial attitude. Despite these intentions and the income collected from the pilgrims, living conditions in Canfranc in the Middle Ages were very difficult, so in the 14th century, Peter IV of Aragon allowed French wine to be imported without paying the tariff.
Gradually it was improving its infrastructure as transportation center, until in 1928, when the Canfranc International Station, which connected both sides of the Pyrenees by rail, has become today one of the main tourist attractions of the western part of the Aragonese Pyrenees.
The numerous events that have occurred in Canfranc, make it a unique place to visit. The main attraction you can see there is the International Station. A huge building in a transitional style, a mixture of modernism and art deco, crowned by a curved slate-coloured roof with four pyramid-shaped pinnacles at each end.
Besides this impressive architectural monument, one of the main things to enjoy in this place is the medieval quarter. Although the village is small and picturesque with only three streets, it has been declared a Historic-Artistic Site. Among the most notable assets of the town are the Parish Church of La Asunción, with three baroque altarpieces, and the remains of the old Torre Palacín de Aznar, dating from the 12th century.
In the surroundings, over the Aragon River, you can find the Pilgrims’ Bridge and also old military structures located at its entrances. Other popular attractions include hiking, skiing and other forms of active tourism, both in winter and summer, which are available in the Western Valleys Natural Park.
On the way to Somport, you will find the archaeological site of the Hospital of Santa Cristina (11th – 14th centuries), which once welcomed pilgrims who had successfully crossed Somport. In the 12th century, Aymeric Picaud declared it one of the three great hospitals of Christianity, along with the hospitals of Jerusalem and the Great Pass of Saint Bernard.
On leaving the city, you can reach the ruins of the Church of the Trinity, founded in the 16th century by Blasco de Les. The walls around the perimeter, the Renaissance façade of the chapel and the austere-looking bell tower have been preserved until now.
Where to eat?
In this small but charming town you will find a very trad