Whether you visit Canfranc as a tourist for a few days or just stop by for a moment on the way to Santiago, this beautiful place will always have something wonderful and new to show you. to facilitate your plans we have compiled some useful information for you to take advantage of the delights this city offers and have some clear recommendations of where to eat, sleep, what to do and how to get there.
Take a look at the information we have prepared for you and start feeling the excitement of 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 the Station of Canfranc. At an altitude of 1,190 m, it forms part of the Somport de Camino pass to Santiago and its name comes from Campus Franci, which can be translated as “the field of foreigners”.
Historically Canfranc is recognised as the closest city to the port of Somport in this part of the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France. Due to its location, in the 11th century a customs office was established in this place in order 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 centre of cross-border trade between Aragon and the French province of Béarn. For the same reason, this place was chosen by pilgrims on their way through the Pyrenees to Compostela.
The heart of the city was 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 fourteenth century, Pedro IV of Aragon allowed French wine to be imported without paying the fare.
Gradually improving its infrastructure as a transport hub, until 1928, when the International Station of Canfranc was opened, connecting both sides of the Pyrenees by rail, which has become today one of the main tourist attractions in 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 transition style, a mixture of modernism and art deco, crowned by a curved slate roof with four pyramid-shaped pinnacles at each end.
In addition to 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 city is the Parish Church of La Asunción, with three baroque altarpieces, and the remains of the old Palacín de Aznar Tower, which dates from the 12th century.
In the surroundings, over the river Aragón is the Puente de los Peregrinos (Bridge of the Pilgrims) 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 Natural Park of the Western Valleys.
On the way to Somport, is the archaeological site of the Hospital de Santa Cristina (11th – 14th centuries), which once received pilgrims who had successfully crossed Somport. In the twelfth century, Aymeric Picaud declared it one of the three great hospitals of Christianity, along with the hospitals of Jerusalem and the Great Passage of St. Bernard.
Upon leaving the city, you will reach the ruins of the Church of the Trinity, founded in the sixteenth century by Blasco de Les. The walls surrounding the perimeter, the Renaissance façade of the chapel and the bell tower, which has an austere appearance, have so far been preserved.
Where to eat?
In this small but charming town you will find a very traditional cuisine influenced by both sides, France and Spain. You will find a little influenced by modern trends too. As recommendations we can assure you that, if you like cheese this is a good place to taste goat cheese and for many here the best duck is served. In addition, mushrooms are a delight in Canfranc, especially during the autumn when the mountains are full of them.
Among the most recommended places to taste delicious dishes you will find
It is one of the best rated restaurants in the city due to its service and cuisine. They always use quality ingredients and will present you with some offers.
The Pyrenean Corner
This place specializes in grilled meats. Here you’ll get plenty of delicious food for a low price.
It is a restaurant where everything is homemade with local organic products. Among the comments about this place you will always find that the treatment is excellent.
El Boj (Hotel Santa Cristina)
Located on the outskirts of the city, this restaurant is a highly recommended place to eat. Its location is unique and its chef only uses local products that combine with a touch of modernity. Here you will find seasonal menus.
Where can I sleep?
We have selected a small list of hotels in Canfranc so that you can make your best choice and book now.
Hotel Refugio De Canfranc
You can book a cozy room in this hotel for only 12 €. It has a delicious and cheap restaurant, as well as a bar.
Hotel Altur 5 Canfranc Estación
Only 300 meters from Canfranc station you will find the beautiful rooms of this inn. They have wooden floors and a view of the mountains. Staying here can cost around 60 €.
Hotel Albergue Juvenil De Canfranc
De Canfranc Youth Hostel is located next to the Canfranc train station. The ski resorts of Candachú, Astún and Somport are 10 minutes away by car. You can stay here and pay only 11 €.
Hotel Albergue Turístico Rio Aragón
It is 4 minutes walk from Canfranc station and is surrounded by cafes and restaurants. A room in this hotel could cost a minimum of 11 €.
Villa De Canfranc Hotel
It offers a seasonal swimming pool, a cafeteria and free wireless internet. You can stay here and pay from 35 €.
How to get to Canfranc?
To get to Canfranc you can start in Jaca, where you will need to take a land vehicle, you can travel by bus, taxi or car. You will notice that quickly passing through Castillo de Jaca and Villanúa you will arrive at Canfranc and if you continue you will be able to visit the Station, leaving the entrance of the Somport Tunnel on your left. if you come as a pilgrim to this city and have just visited the port of Somport, you must go towards Candanchu and access the road, then leave it after a short distance and border the hill of Candanchú Castle.
Along the path on the left side of the river Aragón, you will reach a camping site, where you must cross the river. After another stretch you will see the old fortress of Coll de Ladrones and a kilometre further on you will arrive at Canfranc station.