Compostela Trail - Pyrenees

Highlights

  • Walk through stunning scenery, visiting mountain villages
  • Experience the history of the trail marked by crosses, statues and grain silos
  • Explore the old city of Pamplona
  • Enjoying the camaraderie of fellow hikers and pilgrims
  • View the historical highlights of Puente la Reina, Santa Marina Hermitage and the Monastery of Roncesvalles

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Traverse the centuries of time and the borders of Europe on the medieval pilgrim trail of Compostela. In the 9th century, the tomb of the apostle St James was unearthed in Compostela. The site became the focus of a pilgrim trail beginning in France, and crossing northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela. This journey, also known as the ‘Way of St James’ winds its way across borders, following in the footsteps of thousands of medieval pilgrims through the beautiful Sierras of Navarre and Aragon. The route passes a multitude of churches and monasteries, resembling a travelling museum of Romanesque art. Four stages of this historic trail are included in our self-guided walking programs. In the foothills of the Pyrenees in medieval times, the locals were well organised in greeting the pilgrims who had made the dangerous crossing from France. Numerous churches and monasteries mark the Compostela Trail and bring to life the unique history of this fascinating route. This walking journey explores sections of the trail and the isolated monasteries and churches that remain inaccessible to the majority of travellers.

What's included

  • 9 breakfasts, 9 dinners: breakfasts are usually continental inclusive of breads, cheese, ham, tea, coffee & juices. dinner will consist of 3 courses, usually starting with a salad, followed by a chicken, red meat, fish or pasta dish & finishing with a dessert of fruit or cakes.
  • 9 nights in atmospheric guesthouse or 2-3 star hotel, generally with private facilities. occasionally facilities may be shared with one or two other rooms.
  • 1 walking guide, 1 map holder, 1 detailed day-by-day description of the itinerary for each room booked
  • 7 day service hotline
  • Baggage transportation (max 20kgs per person)

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in St Jean Pied de Port (France)
Make your own way to St Jean Pied de Port, the capital of the Basse-Navarre and the Pays de Aze. It is also one of the three remaining French provinces of the old Kingdom of Navarre. There is time in the afternoon to take a stroll along the cobbled streets and up to the town lookout. You can also explore the many arts and craft shops. We do recommend that you purchase supplies for lunch tomorrow as you will only pass one café/bar on the route. You should also collect your pilgrims passport from the Pilgrim Office or the Tourist Office.
Day 2 Enter Spain, cross 3 passes to Roncesvalles (22 or 25kms, 7 hrs)
The Camino begins with crossing the old roman bridge over the River Nive. Today is quite impressive as you climb towards the Franco-Spanish border. The first section you will be hiking through pastoral lands with impressive views of the Pyrenees. You will cross three cols, Lzandoore and Lepoeder (1375m) and Roncevaux (Roncesvalles - 1057m). This is quite an exposed stage so remember your hats, sunscreen and water. On arrival at Roncesvalles you will walk through the monastery grounds before reaching your accommodation. We recommend an early start as today is quite long.
Day 3 To Akarreta (27km, 5 to 6 hrs)
The trail crosses undulating green hills and passes through typical Basque country villages. These villages are quite small surrounded by cultivated fields, animal barns and meadows. You will walk through lovely wooded areas consisting of beech, oak, maple, hazel and holly trees. Continue through the Esteribar Valley past the local quarry and the town of Larrasoana before arriving at Akerreta (or Zubiri).
Day 4 To Pamplona (16km, 3 to 4 hrs)
The walk consists of a few ups and downs however there is a shorter distance to cover. Pass through Zuriain then up the side of Mount Narval to reach the Santa Marina Hermitage in Arleta. From the old town of Buriin, a village that disappeared in the 14th Century, there is a steep descent into Villave. The route then connects to Burlada and leads you to the final climb into Pamplona – a wonderful walk into this truly historic city.
Day 5 Rest day Pamplona
A day to enjoy the sights of Pamplona and have a rest from the trail.
Day 6 To Puente la Reina (22km, 6hrs)
Leaving Pamplona you make your way to the Jacobite city of Puente la Reina, a city of museums. From the main square you will be able to see the Camino signs to navigate your way out of the city. The route takes you from the old town to walk through parks in the modern part of the city before the landscape opens out. You can take a short detour that will allow you to view the octagonal chapel of Eucate, one of the Roman jewels of the trail of Aragon. A steep climb passing the wind farms of Zariquiegui takes you out of the Pamplona basin. You will then descend to your hotel in Puente la Reina.
Day 7 To Estella (21km, 5hrs)
On this stage you will walk through the countryside with olive, almond and oak trees. The route follows the banks for the Agra River where you can see the township of Bargota which was inhabited until the 11th Century by the mission of the Orden del Temple and later, the Hospital of St John. From here you follow a sheltered path to Maneur through an agricultural landscape of crop fields, vineyards and wooded areas before arriving in Estella.
Day 8 To Los Arcos (22km, 5hrs)
This stage allows a detour to discover the imposing Irache Monastery and its ‘wine fountain’ – choose to fill your water bottles with either wine or water! Today’s walk is mainly through open fields, you will not pass through any villages reaching Los Arcos early in the afternoon. This is a very small town with a couple of cafes/bars.
Day 9 To Logroño (27km, 7hrs)
Your last day's walk passes many places of historic interest as you walk from Navarre to the well-known wine centre of Rioja. Not far into the walk you will reach the village of Sansol where you can stop to buy some refreshments or lunch before crossing the San Pedro River and continuing through farmlands and onto Logroño. You will walk around the town before descending to the stone bridge which leads the way into Logroño.
Day 10 Trip concludes Logroño
Trip concludes after breakfast.