Somport manages to delight all its visitors and pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago with its spectacular landscapes of high mountains. This border place between Spain and France, is constituted by the mountainous pass of the central Pyrenees. It is located between the valley of the Aragón river, on the Spanish side, and the valley of the Aspe river, on the French side.
History tells us that the name Somport derives from the Summus Portus of the Romans and that since the 11th century this route was already used by pilgrims from southern Europe, who followed the Way of Arles, one of the most popular of the medieval pilgrimage. This happened until the Navarrese and Basque bandits who settled in this area in the 12th century, made the Roncesvalles route the preferred one.
Currently, this is once again one of the favorite routes, offering the opportunity to live unique and wonderful experiences. In this article we will give you some useful details so that you can enjoy this route to Santiago.
What to see and do in Somport?
The Somport pass is considered an obligatory mountain pass for pilgrims following the French route through Aragon, also known as the “Camino Aragonés” . It is located at an altitude of more than 1,600 metres above sea level and links up with the Navarrese town of Puente la Reina, where it joins the The French Way coming from Roncesvalles.
The Aragonese Way has been one of the most important medieval pilgrimage routes for travellers coming from France and Italy. Currently, with 165 km, it is considered the second most frequented way to complete the pilgrimage to Santiago. This route passes through the provinces of Huesca, Zaragoza and Navarra, and part of its attraction is due to the fact that it preserves more traditions.
Along its 165 kilometres, the road from Somport to Puente la Reina passes through 20 villages ready to provide basic services. The largest and best known towns on this route are Jaca, which has about 12,000 inhabitants, and Sangüesa with about 5,000 inhabitants.
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On average it is possible to affirm that there is a village every 8 km, therefore this road is solitary, a characteristic that gives it a unique sensation of tranquility and freedom. The Somport path allows you to meditate, relax and enjoy beautiful natural landscapes.
The first part of the journey from Somport to Puente la Reinais a descent that ends in Jaca. The route continues along the valley of the river Aragón and before finishing it is possible to pass through Obanos, where the tranquility of the route ends and a new stage begins as it meets the French route to Roncesvalles.
It is important to emphasize that the most fascinating thing you will see in Somport is the nature that will surround you, typical of a national park of this kind. You will enjoy beautiful mountains, covered with snow, typical vegetation of the area and a unique and revitalizing fresh air.
In Somport you will also find the ski resort with the best scenery for the practice of this sport in the Pyrenees. The circuits run through landscapes of great beauty with dense forests.
Where can I eat and sleep?
The Aragonese Way has about 18 hostels, designed for pilgrims. Of these shelters, 50% are public, managed by communities or religious associations.
As for hotels that include delicious restaurants, here are some of the most popular ones.
Hotel des Voyageurs – Somport
This old and traditional inn on the road to Santiago de Compostela, is one of the most famous places to stay during your journey through Somport. With family traditions that have passed through 7 generations, this charming hotel hosts sportsmen, tourists and pilgrims. It has 27 rooms that can cost you from 42 to 80 euros.
If you don’t want to stay in this place you can still taste some of its delicious dishes. Some of their typical dishes are garbure and trout stuffed with porcini mushrooms.
This inn is not exclusively for pilgrims, but you will be very comfortable here. Reservations are accepted and can cost from 14 to 55 euros. It has a Bar-Restaurant and a grocery store. You can enjoy its computer and Wi-Fi service. In addition to the shelter for your bike.
Gîte Le Somport-Espace Nordique
Open all year round, this inn requires that you make a reservation in advance. Skiers visiting this area prefer to stay here, however pilgrims can spend a comfortable time here. The price will depend on the season of the year and it has a free use kitchen, bar and cafeteria.
How to get to Somport?
Many pilgrims prefer to start their journey here and travel first to Jaca. From Zaragoza and Huesca there are 3 trains a day. From these 2 trains continue to Canfranc, where you can take the bus to Somport.
Also, Autobuses Alosa connects directly Jaca with Huesca, Zaragoza and Pamplona. Once you are there you can take a bus from Jaca to your desired destination without any problem.
If the pilgrimage has started in Saint Jean Pied du Port, it is necessary to travel approximately 130 km and different means of transport are offered, you can travel by car, bus, train or taxi. Depending on the method you choose the time may vary.
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