Way of St. James: section from Roncesvalles to Logroño

from Roncesvalles to Logroño

Today we would like to introduce you to one of the most popular sections of the French route: the section from Roncesvalles to Logroño. As you will know if you have read our article on the French Way, this is the first section of the French Way that takes place in our country.

It is one of the favourite routes for pilgrims, as it starts in the historical enclave of Roncesvalles. It is also one of the most beautiful stretches in terms of landscape, as it crosses Navarre to La Rioja, changing the landscape of the imposing Pyrenees for the vineyards of La Rioja.

Itinerary and heritage of the section from Roncesvalles to Logroño

This section is divided into 6 stages that make up a total of 170 kilometres. Although starting in Roncesvalles is the main option, especially for pilgrims living in the Iberian Peninsula, many also start in Saint Jean Pied du Port. This means adding one more stage to the route, the stage that crosses the Pyrenees and reaches the gateway to Spain through Roncesvalles.

Below is a summary of the official stages from Roncesvalles with their most important points of interest:

Roncesvalles – Zubiri (21 kilometres)

At the beginning of this section, you walk with the stamp of the Pyrenees on your heels. It is a stage with some considerable unevenness around the posts of Mezkiritz and Erro. This is probably the most impressive stage in terms of natural landscape in the whole section.

Finally, the stage ends in the charming village of Zubiri, a small town in Navarra whose main monument is the Rabia Bridge. This bridge is a 12th century Romanesque construction, which owes its name to the belief that if an animal was sick and passed under the arches of the bridge, it was miraculously cured.

Pamplona

Zubiri – Pamplona (20 kilometres)

This is the stage that all pilgrims wish to repeat in a loop after finishing it, and that is, who wants to leave Pamplona? Our maximum recommendation at this stage is always to get up very early in order to arrive with enough time to get to know a good part of Pamplona. On the other hand, if you have never visited this city, a good option might be to spend a double night there, so that you can visit it more calmly. In Pamplona it is essential to visit its walled complex, the cathedral of Santa María, its historical centre and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.

Pamplona – Puente la Reina (24 kilometres)

The milestone of this stage is the ascent and subsequent descent to Alto del Perdon. You know, pilgrims, charge your batteries to get to Puente la Reina. Puente la Reina is the mythical town rooted in the Jacobean tradition, which contains many heritage monuments associated with pilgrimages. You can visit the church of Santiago, the church of the Crucifix and its impressive medieval bridge in Romanesque style.

Puente la Reina

Puente la Reina – Estella (21 kilometres)

Again, this stage gives the pilgrim a few “ups and downs”. But we assure you that it is worth the effort after arriving in Estella. One of the most curious things about the town is its salt water spring, which is said to have therapeutic properties. This town is home to many monuments associated with the Camino de Santiago, we recommend visiting the Palace of the Kings of Navarre and the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa.

Estella – Los Arcos (21 kilometres)

At this stage you pass by the monastery of Santa María la Real in Irach and the famous wine fountain. Los Arcos is a town with a great number of heritage elements, from religious and civil architecture of the Middle Ages, to vestiges of the Roman occupation. Among its many monuments, the emblazoned houses and the church of Santa María stand out.

Los Arcos – Logroño (27 kilometres)

Logroño, one of the best spots in the whole French way. All the pilgrims enjoy very much the arrival to the capital of La Rioja. You should not miss visiting its historical centre, especially the streets Laurel and Ruavieja. A walk through the best wineries in the city. We also recommend a visit to the Concatedral de Santa María la Redonda.

map of the section from Roncesvalles to Logroño

Is the section from Roncesvalles to Logroño difficult?

Like most of the French route, it is not very complicated. It is true that this section is one of the most steep sections of the route. However, it is not difficult and is bearable for practically anyone who decides to do it. What we can assure you is that it is well worth it, as its landscapes and natural surroundings are spectacular.

Gastronomy in the section from Roncesvalles to Logroño

Simply irresistible. The combination of Navarrese and Riojan gastronomy will make you taste an endless number of delicious traditional dishes. With every kilometre you travel, you will observe how the landscape and the surroundings change, something that you will also notice with the different dishes. In Roncesvalles and Zubiri, you will be able to enjoy spectacular mountain meats and local cheeses. In Pamplona, we will make way for the classic pintxos (tapas) washed down with some good cane. Once in Estella, you can enjoy traditional dishes such as suckling pig and roast trout. Finally, when we enter La Rioja, the most characteristic thing will undoubtedly be to be able to taste a wide variety of Rioja wines.

Haz el Camino de Santiago con tu Perro

If you still don’t know which way to choose, we recommend you to read our article on Which Camino de Santiago to choose?

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