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Distance to Santiago: 305 km

Stage distance: 49 km

Estimated time: 4-5 hours

Minimum height: 800 m

Maximum height: 950 m

Route difficulty:  Low

Places of public interest: Santuario de la Virgen del Camino, Hospital de Órbigo, Astorga

Itinerary map: To see the journey on Google Maps clik here 

Stage 9 of the Saint James Way by bike, from León to Astorga

Click to enlarge

The exit from León can turn a little bit chaotic and also quite long, since Trobajo del Camino and the Virgen del Camino seem to be an urban external extension. After passing by this residential and industrial area, we come to two options to get to Hospital de Órbigo, which it’s the middle point of this area. The traditional way follows the course of the N-120. The alternative one is a bit longer, but gets away from traffic by some lands and second highways.

After crossing the amazing bridge of Hospital de Órbigo, the way becomes a fork again, making us choose one more time between highways or lands in order to get to the top of Toribio Cross, where we will have a panoramic view of Astorga. The entrance of Astorga is much simpler than the one from León, the only difficulty is the height change we have to surpass.

In general, the industrial character of these populations in which the traditional itinerary passes by, can make this stage a little bit heavy. If we prefer going by lands we will travel in a longer distance.

The only really hard-time we can have could be the weather conditions. If it has been raining, we recommend you to go through the N-120, because the agricultural tracks tend to get muddy. If it’s windy, the way’s height by Villares de Órbigo can turn a little harder.

¡Buen camino!

Astorga’s surroundings in a sunny day with some clouds in the sky

Astorga’s surroundings, picture given by Fernando Álvarez


Because of how confusing is the León’s exit, we will try to make the instructions simpler to the maximum. We have to leave the city by the San Marcos Bridge, right next to the parador. Once we get to the cathedral, the easiest thing to do is going down the Ancha Street and turning to Casa Botines, keeping up forward until we border San Isidoro. Turning obliquely to the left we will get to Renueva Street and Suero de Quiñones Avenue that will lead us directly to the bridge.

After crossing the San Marcos Bridge we must keep on moving forward through the Quevedo Avenue, going across a roundabout. Once we travel a kilometer or more, we will see how the avenue turns into a curve to the right, while at the front a metal walkway shows up. Both ways cross the train tracks and that’s why for cyclists, it is better to keep on going by the avenue.

Once we arrive to Trobajo del Camino, we continue going through the avenue until we get to the curve to the left. After passing that curve, we need to pay attention because we must take the first street to the right. It is a perpendicular slope that will take us to the Virgen del Camino. This vertical gradient will become soft little by little.

Going parallel to the N-120, we arrive to the Virgen del Camino (7,5 km of route). After passing it, we take the Paz Street, a left fork of the N-120. In about 500 meters away, we see how it begins to appear contradictory arrows on the ground. This is the moment when we have to decide which way we want to take in order to get to Hospital de Órbigo:

1. Traditional way: Follows the course of the N-120, so we have to go through the pedestrian paths or by the highway. It is about 24 km that go by San Martín del Camino. This profile, in general, is in a light negative slope.

Moving forward through the detour, we must cross the A-66 by a tunnel and then keep on moving parallel to the N-120 to get to Valverde de la Virgen (Km 12), San Miguel del Camino (Km 13,5), Villadangos del Páramo (Km 21) and San Martin del Camino (Km 25,5).

2. Alternative way: This doesn’t have a historical justification indeed, but it allows us to avoid the traffic on the highway. It’s around 28 Km by track and, after some initial leaps, the profile is in a light negative slope.

Turning to the right, we take the LE-5522 to get to Fresno del Camino in about 5 minutes and to Oncina de la Valdoncina in 10. Once we get to the land tracks we will go to Chozas de Abajo and, by secondary road again, we will get to La Milla del Páramo and by good firmed tracks to Villavante, there we will be in about 4 Km to get to the traditional way and entering Hospital de Órbigo.

Paso Honroso Bridge and Hospital de Órbigo

Paso Honroso Bridge and Hospital de Órbigo, picture given by Javier Diez Barrera

Once we are in Hospital de Órbigo (Km 33) we cross its amazing medieval bridge and we go back on deciding which way we’re going to take next. We have two options:

1. Traditional way: It goes parallel to the N-120 until just before arriving in San Justo de la Vega, where changes course to the right in order to get to the Cruz de Toribio. It’s about 9 Km changing course and one more to get to the cross. It is a flat profile during the first 5 Km and later, it becomes a light positive slope.

2. Alternative way: It changes course to the right after passing by Hospital de Órbigo to get to Villares de Órbigo and to Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias. In total, it’s about 3 Km more to cover, but the land tracks can be muddy due to rain. The profile alternates positive and negative slopes a little bit harder than the traditional way, but they are reasonable.

Whatever the case may be, we arrive to the Cruz de Santo Toribio (Km 45), a structure located at the top that offers us magnificent views of Justo de la Vega and Astorga.

Cruz de Santo Toribio

Cruz de Santo Toribio, picture given by RFMyFL

From this point, we go down through a slope of 1,5 Km with a difference in height of 73 meters, that will take us to San Justo de la Vega, where we will hook up the N-120 one more time.

In order to enter to Astorga we have to cross the train tracks. The pedestrians do it by a high walkway (with slope and without stairs), although we can also continue through the N-120 from San Justo and avoiding the walkway. After we cross straight the roundabout located at the entrance of the city and deal with another short slope that leads us to Astorga, right next to the Mayor Square.

Episcopal Palace of Astorga and the Roman Wall in Astorga

Episcopal Palace of Astorga and the Roman Wall, picture given by FONENDEZ


If you start your journey in León, we help you getting there.

  1. En autobús. The station is located in the Ingeniero Saenz de Miera Avenue. The company that runs the most is Alsa, because it is connected with almost the entire North of Spain. From Salamanca you can also come with Vivas and from smaller towns such as Burgos or Palencia with Abel.
  2. By train. León is a very important railway center. To check schedules and prices, go see the Renfe website.
  3. By airplane. The only permanent connection flight that the León Airport has is run by Air Nostrum.

Remember that in Tournride we leave the bikes in your lodging back in León if that’s your starting point   and we can take your extra baggage so it can wait for you at the end of your Camino.

The distances between towns are short and full with services, you won’t find any problem with the supplies.

If you take this route at summer do not forget to take good sun protection and water with you. The straight lines between lands without trees are left behind already, but we’re still in León and hence the sun is still intense.

When it comes to choose the ways,it’s a matter of taste. Direct but with traffic or longer by agricultural tracks, even though the distance on bike don’t mark any difference. As an advice, if it has been raining we recommend going through the traditional way of N-120 to avoid mud.


This stage has as starting and ending points two cities charged with history and cultural patrimony. In between, we will say goodbye to the wasteland plains from León, because tomorrow the profile will get broken again in the Cruz de Ferro ascent going to Ponferrada.

The N-120 has become the spinal column of a lot of populations which name reflects the Jacobean past they carry on.. So many places of “El Camino” remind us how historical these paths are. Today, less historical alternatives have appeared but that run away from the noise and traffic created by the highway.

Even though the whole itinerary can be done more to the North or South,  the only must-see point of the stage still is Hodpital de Órbigo, which we have to be thankful for. This stop gives us the chance of knowing love medieval stories and crossing its historical “Paso Honroso (Honorable Pass).”.


At León’s exit we pass by some of the places we recommended visiting on the final term of the stage through León, so if on the previous day we didn’t have the chance to admire them, we recommend you seeing them now.

Bordering the basilica of San Isidoro we get to the Parador, where we must cross the Bernesga through the gorgeous San Marcos Bridge from the XVI century. It is made of ashlars, with big starling piles that support cannon vaults. In the XX century it was necessary to expand it but they did it respecting its original form.

San Marcos Bridge in León

San Marcos Bridge in León, picture given by Javier Diez Barrera

After crossing the bridge we will go through some streets from the residential neighborhood. To enter in Trobajo del Camino we have to cross the train tracks, whether it’s through highway or walkway. From its Jacobean past, the only things left are its name and one chapel out of four that existed before that are still standing unemotionally between concrete giants. It is dedicated to the apostle and its origins go back to the Middle Age, although what we see today is a renovation of a construction from the XVIII century.

Once we leave Trobajo del Camino behind we go into the western industrial estate of León. After crossing it, we go back to the N-120 until the Virgen del Camino, a commuter town where the highway passes by.

Despite the fact that everything in this locality screams modernity, even its unmistakable main sanctuary, the town’s name indicates it has been a pilgrim’s pass for centuries. There’s a legend that says that in the C.XVI the Virgin showed up to a pastor named Alvar, asking him to notify the bishop so he can build a church in this place. Doubting on the bishop’s word, the pastor asked the Virgin for help in his task. Mary took a slingshot and used it to throw a big stone so the bishop could see it and testify the miracle. They built a chapel right in the place where the miracle stone was located and around it they created the town, that became bigger and bigger thanks to the pilgrims’ pass.

In 1957 they began to build a new temple that it won’t be hard to recognize thanks to its marked modern character. It mixes a variety of materials such as concrete, glass, stone, or wood in a building which its horizontal marked nature breaks by a really high vertical cross as a tower. The facade sculptures are by the artist José María Subirachs and the stained glass windows were made in Chartres (France).

Basilica of Virgen del Camino in León

Basilica of Virgen del Camino in León, picture given by cmramirezl

Passing by the temple we have to take the left position of the N-120 in order to exit town. Taking the Paz Street we have to choose, after 500 meters, which way we want to take so we can get to Hospital de Órbigo.


As the several contradictories painted art son the ground, there is a little rivalry between both towns that are the favorite ways of pilgrims. Actually the traditional way was invade of traffic noise due to the N-120 construction, so that’s why some close populations started taking advantage to offer more peaceful alternative.

It takes 4 Km more going through the alternative way to Villar de Mazarife, which it’s practically an insignificant distance on bike, so choosing between itineraries is a matter of taste.

If you go through the traditional way you will follow the course of the N-120, having to avoid a junction of roads. By the highway shoulder we can go across without any problem, but going by the pedestrian way we have to change course a little to pass through an underground tunnel underneath the highway.  

By land and concrete paths, the view allows us one more time to see the León’s wasteland with some scattered trees alternate with some industrial ships. In less than 2 Km we will get to Valverde la Virgen and in 1, 5 Km more to San Miguel del Camino, both locations have the N-120 as backbone.In San Miguel there was a pilgrim’s hospital since the C. XII and today is actually home of the most important golf club of the León providence.

Following the highway course we leave behind to the right an industrial estate and a big urbanization, and due to how close it is to the French Way it has been baptized as the one of “Camino Santiago”. That’s how we arrive to Villadangos del Páramo, which by the way the name is not that original considering how wasteland the environment is.  The Jacobean tradition of this resurrect town during the Reconquest denounces the abdication of its parish church to Santiago Apóstol (C. XVII-XVIII). By its door, miracle episodes are being told, like the one about the appearance in the Batalla de Clavijo (Clavijo Battle). In order to remember this fact each July 25th a resident from town dresses himself up as Santiago Matamoros and enters to Villadangos brandishing his sword on top of a snow colored horse.

The Church of Villadangos del Páramo

The Church of Villadangos del Páramo, picture given by antonio 69290

Following through the N-120 or by land path parallel to its left shoulder, we get to San Martín del Camino in a soft negative slope. In spite of not counting with excessive services or outstanding patrimony, its almost equidistant position between León and Astorga has made of it an important point of the French Way, also due to its several overnight visits.

In a continuous but light slope, we cover 7 Km separating us from Hospital de Órbigo, passing by cereal and corn fields. In a parallel land path to the right shoulder of the N-120, a Jacobean sign with the yellow scallop Shell shows us where to turn to right so we can enter into town. If we go by highway we need to be careful of not missing it.

In case you chose the alternative way from the Virgen del Camino, you had passed by land paths and secondary roads between small towns until arriving to Villar de Mazarife. Some of these paths match with some old roman streets. We recommend precaution in the N-120 cross by the roundabout just before hooking up again with the traditional way.


Hospital de Órbigo is divided by the homonymous river, over it is located the bridge that has made the whole city famous. El Puente de Órbigo (Órbigo Bridge) is one of the most important monuments of the entire stage, so we recommend pilgrims who go on bike through the highway, to change course in order to visit this bridge.

Bridge of the Paso Honroso in Hospital de Órbigo

Bridge of the Paso Honroso in Hospital de Órbigo, picture given by Miguel Cortés

The bridge’s surface is made of cobblestone, quite uncomfortable for cyclists. The construction seems out of proportion for how the river’s flow is today, but before the Barrios de Luna reservoir was built, the torrent was a lot higher. Historically, there is proof of some structures that were built with the intention of navigating the river since roman times, because the road between León and Astorga was located there.. Besides, so many battles took place in that location, like the one of Swabians against Alans in the V century, or the one that took place against the French people during the Independence War in the XIX century.

Anyway, this place is known especially for being the setting of the “Paso Honroso” (Honorable Pass) according to some chronicle stories. An informative sign located in the middle of the bridge relates this achievement for all the visitors and that we sum up today in Tournride.

Although in the XV century, the horses jousts were practically obsolete, rumors has it that in this location a knight named Suero de Quiñones was so in love of a girl named Leonor that he asked the king to call up a tournament so he could win the lady’s admiration. The king allowed him to do it and the tournament was celebrated during July of the Jacobean year 1434. Its historical name, the “Paso Honroso”, comes from the fact that every person willing to cross over the river, must first battle in a joust, or otherwise, must swim the entire Órbigo and gain the fame of a coward. This included everyone but pilgrims.

In order to praise his participation on the tournament, Mr. Suero promised to break more than 300 spears during the whole month and carrying a huge metal ring around his neck. Once he fulfilled all of his promises, he went on a pilgrimage to Compostela and asked the apostle for Leonor’s love, telling him: “If you are not willing to take my love, there is no joy for me really”.  It is said that in the actuality, the ring belongs to the gold short necklace hanging on the apostle’s reliquary in the cathedral.

The jousts of the Paso Honroso were written by many poets and put in many different chronicles. They were so famous back then that even Miguel de Cervantes talks about Suero de Quiñones on Don Quixote! El Quijote! Today, on his honor, the first day of June is the celebration of medieval jousts at Hospital de Órbigo in the Paso Honroso. It is a big medieval festival where people put on some costumes from the period, pretend to have spear fights, sell crafts, and eat in big marquees.

Medieval Festival in Hospital de Órbigo. People with the typical costumes

Medieval Festival in Hospital de Órbigo, picture given by Isa San Martín

After crossing over the bridge, we keep on moving forward through Santiago Street. A few meters away we will see to our right the Church of San Juan Bautista from middle of the XVIII century. In the beginning it belonged to San Juan’s order, the Jerusalem knights. Inside there’s a plateresque altarpiece quite attractive.

Altarpiece at the Church of San Juan Bautista

Altarpiece at the Church of San Juan Bautista, picture given by Thom Ryng.

Once we reach the end of Mayor Street from Hospital de Órbigo, we find again some double Jacobean signs, right on the second road fork of this stage. Moving straight forward, we’ll go by the N-120 until Cruz de Toribio, nearby Astorga, without passing by any locality. If we take the wide track that makes way at the right, we will get lost among fields and agricultural vegetation, visiting two more towns in about 3 Km of route.

Path to Villares from Hospital de Órbigo

Path to Villares from Hospital de Órbigo with José Antonio Gil Martínez

The traditional way is the one that follows the same course of the N-120. The profile is quite simple, just by the end the slope turns into a light positive one. As an advice, we recommend you to be careful in two of the crossroads of the N-120 that we have to take so we can take the Jacobean paths that can easily go from the right to the left shoulder. If we do this by highway, we must be careful after taking the second curve to the right, because that’s where we change course to go the Crucero de Toribio (Toribio’s Cross).

The alternative way can be more recommendable, except if the weather conditions are unfavorable, especially with rain because the surface can get very muddy easily. This has way more services than the previous alternative way, the one from Villar de Mazarife.. The profile is more complicated, especially because at the end there are a couple of slopes between leaps, but it’s reasonable.

The landscape is not that wasteland, farmlands full of vegetables and reduced forest, with the Órbigo River showing up its big poplar groves in both meadows.

Star-filled night in Orbigo River

Star-filled night in Orbigo River, picture given by Miguel Ángel

In less than 2 Km we reach Villares de Órbigo, this town has the same name as the municipality where less than 700 people live, who have as a job, mostly, field work. In Villares there is a church with romance origin and baroque remodeling, dedicated to the apostle but with a beautiful sculpture of the Virgen del Carmen. The town connects with Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias through a way and a local highway that we will actually pass by in a few minutes.

Santibáñez also counts with a parish church, dedicated to the Holy Trinity representing the nucleus’s center. Inside, there is a spectacular famous sculpture of San Roque and its Jacobean tradition is reflected in its iconography that appears to be dressed as a pilgrim.

Even so, this Santibáñez town is even more famous thanks to a really fun hobby that people tend to do each summer: one of the biggest corn labyrinths of the world.The tour changes each year and it’s a great attraction for pilgrims who stay the night at the town’s lodging.

Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias, surrounded by green fields

Santibáñez de Valdeiglesias, picture given by Miguel Cortés

Actually, the fact that in this case they choose just one labyrinth has a very symbolic meaning. In the Logroño road, of our fourth stage, in Tournride we tell you how we believe that the Game of the Goose could have been designed by the Templars, being an accurate representation of the Santiago Way. As we told you about bridges in Navarra“entre los que nos llevaba la corriente”, here the labyrinth represents the 42th square from the Game of the Goose, that would lock us up or would take us from “Labyrinth to the 30th”.

Game of the Goose

Game of the Goose, picture given by Juan Francisco Piferrer

At the exit of Santibáñez the surface turns a little more complicated, with dozens of little stones. Besides, there appear the slope changes. We must avoid a couple of slopes between leaps, we almost forget about it after all the flat tracks!

Before arriving to the Cruz de Toribio we pass by the “Casa de los Dioses” (House of Gods). This project, created by the Catalan David Vidal in 2009, involved the restoration of an old industrial ship to build up a reception place and help pilgrims. They offer juice and food for free in exchange of goodwill that must stay exactly like that so future pilgrims could enjoy the place and pay in some way all they take, as David announced. At the end of 2016, they informed about the closure of this curious point of the French Way, but even though the place’s future is not certain, it’s still publically open today.

From the Casa de los Dioses, we continue moving forward by the land path and, after turning left, we arrive in about 1, 5 km to the Cruz de Toribio. Before us, a panoramic view of Astorga will open, for the first time.


The cross that rules this Astorga’s views was built up in honor to Toribio, a religious man from the V century.. His saint life began when he sold everything he had so he could go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. And later, he was named bishop of Tui and Astorga.

The chronicles say that when he was the Astorga’s bishop we wrote a letter to the Pope, showing his concern about a doctrine that was becoming popular in town. That was actually the Priscillianism, that years later would be condemned as heresy. The Pope, worried about the situation, asked Toribio to plan a meeting and gave him the power to excommunicate everyone who wouldn’t condemn Priscillianism during convention. Apparently, everyone who was excommunicated confronted Toribio and he ended up being expelled from Astorga.

Years later, Toribio was persecuted by Visigoths and, when he arrived to Astorga he asked for shelter, but they denied him the entrance. Upset, he climbed up to where the cross is and pronounced his most famous words:De Astorga, ni el polvo”(meaning he didn’t want anything from Astorga). Today, the city actually pays tribute with this cross to one of the most historical characters of town.

After enjoying all the views offered by this cross, we go down the slide that connects with the N-120 and it takes us to San Justo de la Vega, satellite population of Astorga. To get to the end of the stage, we can continue through the N-120 or going through pedestrian paths. You must know that if you’re not going by highway, you have to pass over the train tracks using a high inclined walkway that will make you get off your bike.

After two roundabouts and a heavy slope, we enter into Astorga, the old Asturica Augusta of romans.

Cathedral of Astorga

Cathedral of Astorga, picture given by Constantino Barreiro


Astorga is a simple city to go all over and with so much to offer, which make of it a perfect end for the stage. In this case, it only takes 7 minutes of walking to see the main monuments of the city. In this map that we have created you can see the location of the main monuments and museums, as well as the promenade itinerary that we propose.

Astorga is the capital of Maragatería, a region from the central part of the León province. When we visit it, the most outstanding impression of this culture is the meeting point with all the several stores that offer the famous cocido maragato(a traditional dish). In addition to gastronomy, this entire area shares other folklore elements and traditions. This unit’s origin is actually argued, people say that it may derive from a Latin expression that means “moros cautivos” (mauri capti) thanks to having some type of Berber origin. Also, as we told you in the historical summary of the city, it could also refer itself to the mule drivers’ work, as the name says it they were traders who carried merchandise on a mule through this entire area. The mule drivers went from Galicia (sea) to Madrid (where los Gatos are), that’s where the name really come from, they were going from mar-a-gatos (from sea to cats).

We encourage you to taste the delicacies from Maragatería, but also to visit a city with a glorious roman and medieval past. In order to organize yourself better, we give you the schedules and prices of the visits. 

Take a good rest, pilgrims!

To begin, here’s a little bit of history…

We know most certainly that the current city of Astorga was an important roman center. What it’s not clear is what exactly was in the mountain where the city is located before they arrived. The wise roman Ptolomeo says on one of his books that there, it was located the capital of the Asturia’s tribes, so it contradicts the fact that its most important center was not located in the place where Asturias is today.

There’s not clear archeological proofs that there was something in that place before the Romans came, we only have chronicles and old texts of other populations talking about it. It seems a little strange because of the privileged position of the settlement, on a mountain and with great views of the environment.

What it is certain is that in the year 19 B.C the Legio X Gemina arrives to Astorga. In the previous stage we found out how another legio, one of those entities that divided the Roman Army, have founded León. In Astorga, they were also installed with the purpose of controlling the conquered territory and the benefits of the gold mines of las Médulas.

The huge importance that this center was gaining made it into a capital of one of the roman “conventus”, which today would be the same as province. Thanks to its political and administrative function there is a legacy of a great forum, underneath the Mayor Square.

Mayor Square in Astorga

Mayor Square in Astorga, picture given by FONENDEZ

With the arrival of Christianity and the Barbarian invasions that caused the defeat of the Empire, the city finds a way to improve its defensive system building up some huge walls. These big walls from the IV century were restored in the Middle Age and even today there are still some remains in good estate of preservation. /span>

After a tumultuous period of Arabic attacks, since the year 1000 the city becomes again a permanent settlement. That’s how its medieval evolution starts, and that’s when it starts to lose the reticulated designs originated from the Roman beginnings, and appearing its big cathedral among small intersected alleys.

During the Middle Age, Astorga had different government periods and methods; most of them concentrated all the power in one person from an important family asked by the king’s cession. During the XIII century it belonged to an echelon and in the XV century, when Henry IV took control over the throne, a marquis from Osorio’s family took over the power. That’s how the city became a marquis place where the Osorio promoted a lot the commercial sector and the urban growth. The former roman cathedral disappeared in pro of the big construction we see today and other important religious organizations, like the Poor Clare Sisters or the Franciscans settled themselves down in Astorga.

In the XVII century the commercial sector of the city starts to grow. Principally, because the main cause of this was the importance that has been growing since XVI century for mule drivers, a method of transportation for food using a donkey or a mule. They took many items to Galicia and that’s how some important commercial relations were established. With all the cocoa seeds brought by mule drivers from the commercial ports connected to America, appeared different companies that elaborated hand-made chocolate that we still can savor today.

The city continues growing until XIX century, when a variety of epidemic diseases and the Independence War against Napoleon forced the population to go down. Also, some emblematic buildings were demolished, like the medieval castle and a big part of the wall

Besides, at the end of XIX century the train was built in the city. This affected a lot the commercial organization of Astorga, because the mule drivers disappeared and the handicraft production of the companies increased a lot, so they had to use other industrial methods. The city really grew extending territories outside the old medieval fence’s walls.

In the actuality Astorga is a modern city that has kept its traditional facts that have left a mark on its culture. We will find there all the services that we need, and at the same time we can taste the same chocolate they used to eat in the XVII century and go for a walk through the medieval streets or some parts of its glorious past.

Catedral de Santa María de Astorga

Astorga, picture given by Javier Gallego

First it was Asturica Augusta: from the forum to the current Mayor Square

In Astorga there still are some roman ruins, for example the roman sewers and baths.  It’s very interesting to know the place that was the old roman forum, better known as “la plaza” (the square) a political center where the government used to have their meetings, it’s now the same place where the Mayor Square and the City Council are located.

The Forum of Astorga was a squared space, surrounded by a columned portico. In one of the sides a big apse opens up with a marble pavement, which it’s preserved today. It’s named Aedes Augusti and this place is so special that has made people believe this was a temple dedicated to the roman emperor.

There is a street located right on the same spot where the City Council was before; today is the location of the Roman Museum. It takes up the building of the “Ergástula”, a construction which belonged to the old forum. People think that it would surely be part of a u-shaped portico, where a high temple was located on the center. Regarding to its function, we don’t really know what it was. There are some researchers who believe it served as a slave prison who were exploited on the gold mines from las Médulas and Monte Teleno.

Roman Museum of Astorga

Roman Museum of Astorga, picture given by Roteiros Galegos

In 1999, the City Council got to recover the property and created a superior structure in order to transform it into the Roman Museum of the city. Inside of it we can find a lot of archeological ruins that make the visitors understand how life was during the last moments of the Roman Empire. The Museum’s webpage is also very didactic. We can not only find the schedules and prices for each visit but also we can learn a little bit more about Romans.

If we’re interested of knowing more about the roman past of Astorga, we can visit the roman sewers and baths called “Domus del Mosaico del Oso y los Pájaros”, an old Patrician house where a mosaic on the ground is preserved. The best part is, having to make the “Roman Route”, a promoted initiative by the City Council since 2005. The Roman baths, the sewers and the Aedes Augusti can only be visited doing that route. All the things left can be visited for free or pay separately. On this page you can find all the information..

Domus del Mosaico del Oso

Domus del Mosaico del Oso, picture given by Alberto

In the actuality, the Mayor Square still is the life’s center of Astorga’s government. The City Council building is one of the biggest examples of civil baroque from the León providence. During the “Siglo de las Luces” (The Lights Century), they promoted the construction of a lot civil buildings, because this illustration gave room to a political debate and the civil government. That’s why many civil buildings from Spain are baroques, mainly because at the end of XVII century and during the XVII that was the most popular style.

The building is completely symmetrical, it’s organized with two stages, the upper one has a forging balustrade. The two big sided-towers are connected to the central bell gable by some kind of balustrade sculpture that resembles as a flying buttress. From the upper part of its clock we can appreciate Colás and Zancuda, two sculptures from Maragatería that ring the bells with a mallet right on each hour from the XVIII.

City Council of Astorga with a lot of pilgrims

City Council of Astorga, picture given by Alberto Feijoo Ibaseta

We are heading to the big medieval monument of Astorga… The Cathedral of Santa María

We go out from the Mayor Square by a pedestrian Street called Pío Gullón, on the opposite side of the City Council. After two crossroads, we must go across a pedestrian crossing and, by taking the obliquely street to our right, we will get to Los Sitios Street, which it’s wider and will lead us to the cathedral in few meters, but before passing by the Palace of Gaudí.

CAs we said previously, before this monumental cathedral was opened back in the XV century, there was another one but smaller with a roman style. It was demolished with the purpose of building a new one that actually lasted about 3 centuries to be finished. This delay on the construction made the architecture’s evolution to be captured through the cathedral during those three centuries, as if it were a time line sculptured on stone. The building’s construction always began with the apse, considered as the most sacred part and they always finished with the western facade. That’s why the inside of the building and its apse are in a late Gothic style (C. XV), its South cover is from the Renaissance (C. XVI) and its western facade is baroque (C. XVIII)).

Cathedral of Astorga and Palace of Gaudí in Astorga

Cathedral of Astorga and Palace of Gaudí, picture given by David Martín

The inside is divided in three ships, which the main one is the highest and the widest, with big pointy arches as separators. Above them, it’s located the elevation’s second level, an arches’ clerestory also pointed. In these windows we don’t find colorful stained windows, like the ones back in León, but we see the natural light coming through the temple in abundance, a little bit broken by the thin decorative traceries of the windows.

The Cathedral’s vaults of Astroga are a delight. On them, the pillars tend to intertwine themselves creating complicated stars forms, that we can actually admire without getting interrupted: the clean light of the clerestory lights up the pillars, lacking of decoration, standing out all these beautiful symmetrical drawings.

Inside of the Cathedral of Astorga

Inside of the Cathedral of Astorga, picture given by Xudros)

In the outside, the most outstanding part is the western facade, profusely decorated. A high level piece of the baroque from León, it resembles some kind of altarpiece, like the one we will find at the inside of the building – with the exception that that one is gold and from the C.XVI-. In the down part there are three splayed covers, maybe being an imitation of the one in León, because the central one is much bigger. Next to them, at not above them, two huge towers are built up connected to the central body by some flying buttress in the upper part.

Regarding the decoration, there are scenes sculpted about Christ’s life and Santiago also appears dressed as a pilgrim, being proof of the mark left by the Jacobean pass on Astorga’s history.

Exiting the cathedral we only have to go back a few steps to find right in our front the Episcopal Palace of Astorga, the so-called Palacio Gaudí. As we mentioned before in the previous stage when we visit the casa Botines of León, the great modern architect only made a few projects outside Cataluña, including this one. The assignment appears when the former episcopal palace of the city gets burned up in 1886 and the bishop asks Gaudí to design and create a new residency.

Episcopal Palace

Episcopal Palace, picture given by PROtxbearmr

As we see the construction a lot of references come up to our heads, from Disney to Gothic Cathedrals. Gaudí made this palace as a reinterpretation of several historical elements, using different elements and styles. We must keep on mind that in the original design there wasn’t the external fence that we can see today, made of granite and iron and that doesn’t allow us to come close to the palace if it’s closed.

From the main facade, quite ahead, without doubt the lower portico stands up. Four big splayed arches where big keystones leave a mark, they support a cupola over pendentive. In addition, each lateral facade of the building is put in frame with big fortified towers. Three of them are similar and just one is higher. The head of the building, at the opposite part of the façade, resembles a Gothic apse, like a big ambulatory.

Although it has the appearance of a cathedral, the building’s shape isn’t a regular one, because it’s actually a Greek cross. The roof is made of slate and gable. The palace has four floors, including the basement which it is shown on the moat that surrounds the building, exactly like the medieval castles.

There are many influences on this architecture’s original masterpiece, but that one that stands out the most and calls people’s attention is the Cathedral of León: all the stained church windows are full with stained glass ones, elaborated by some prestigious studios. The drawings’ designs shown resemble the ones from the Saint Chapelle of París.

Stained glass Windows of the Palace of Astorga

Stained glass Windows of the Palace of Astorga, picture given by Manuel Sánchez Cantón

The Gaudí Palace operates in the actuality as the Museo de los Caminos. Inside of it we can see art pieces related to pilgrimage, while we walk through the different rooms that were supposed to be a residency, but it never really functioned like that.

We choose if we want to keep on visiting Astorga and taste its popular gastronomy

In Tournride we understand that after an intense day of pilgrimage, extending the touristic visits can be tiring. That’s why we end up here our journey, but we leave you with some notes about other things you can appreciate in Astorga.

As we mentioned before, it is possible to get to know profusely the roman past of Astorga making the Roman Route: roman baths, sewers, old temples, houses, museums, etc. If we’re interested more in medieval art, at the Church of San Bartolomé (C. XI) we will see a superposition of styles that can be very interesting.

For the ones who enjoy food the most, we recommend the visit to the Chocolate Museum of the city. We will learn everything about the chocolate tradition of Astorga, due to its location with cold weather it allowed an excellent preservation of this subtle material. It only takes four rooms to go all over the museum.

Chocolate Museum in Astorga

Chocolate Museum in Astorga, picture given by Chayo

Whether we visit these monuments or not, we can’t leave Astorga without tasting its emblematic dish: el cocido maragato (The Maragato stew). Thanks to the difficult weather that Maragatería had there appeared a strong and satiating popular gastronomy. Thanks to the difficult weather that Maragatería had there appeared a strong and satiating popular gastronomy. The popular legend says that we have to eat el cocido maragato backwards, first the meat, then the vegetables and last the soup, because of the saying “de sobrar, que sobre sopa” (If something has to be the leftover, let it be the soup).. Astorga is full with restaurants that offer you the typical dish, so you won’t have any trouble finding the place to taste it.

Besides the stew, la cecina is also typical, just like in León. And, for deserts, this city is a Paradise: besides chocolates, milkshakes and sweet breads are hand-made. This is a treat for your palate.

You will have to recover energy because tomorrow we have the climb of the Cruz de Ferro. We get closer to Galicia already…

¡Buen camino, pilgrims!

Chocolate Museum in Astorga while doing the Camino de Santiago

A Sunset in Astorga, picture given by Alfredo Miguel Romero


Distance to Santiago: 612 km

Stage distance: 50 km

Estimated time: 4 – 4,5 hours

Minimal height: 740 m

Max height: 380 m

Difficulty of the route: Medium – low

Places of interest: Navarrete, Nájera, Santo Domingo de la Calzada. Optional diversion to San Millán de la Cogolla to see the Monasteries de Yuso y Suso.

Itinerary in Google Maps: To see the tour in Google Maps click here

Saint James way by bycicle from Logroño to Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Click on the image to enlarge


When leaving Logroño by the industrial zone we arrive at a bike lane that in very light ramp (of about 1.5%) makes us appear at the edge of the reservoir of La Grajera in less than 2,5 km.

Grajera Reservoir, with Logroño in the background

Grajera Reservoir, with Logroño in the background (photo courtesy of Flickr by Giovani Riccardi under the following conditions)

We skirted the reservoir on the right, on a sloping path that ends in a narrow ramp. We must raise it for 1 km until we reach the edge of the A-12 motorway.

We continue along that asphalted track with the motorway to our right for little more than 1 km, when we join the N120 for only 200 m, since we must take a exit signposted to the right and that leads us to cross the AP 68 for a overpass. All this stretch from the reservoir to the AP 68 we do it in slight slope for asphalted tracks or gravel quite comfortable. Caution only when crossing the N120.

Since we cross the AP 68 through that upper pass the profile will be a slight ramp until we reach Alto de San Antón (kilometer 20 of stage). That is to say, in the following 9 km we overcome a difference in altitude of 230 m, alternating gravel tracks with other asphalted between fields and vineyards.

Navarrete is on top of a sort of hill. After crossing it, we leave for the N 120, which continues for 1.5 km until a gravel track to the left, marked with a milestone with the yellow arrow.

View of Navarrete from the road doing the French way by bike

View of Navarrete from the road (photo courtesy Flickr by Hans-Jakob Weinz under the following conditions)

For 1.5 km we must follow that dirt track on a slight ramp until turning right to approach again to the N120 and continue parallel to it until you see a fork to the left. A sign indicates that if we take that path to the left we will pass by Ventosa and we must choose if we want to cross this locality or to obviate it.

If we pass through that locality we will travel 1,3 km until arriving at it by a foot of gravel, in a slight ramp of less than 2% that alternates with flat sections. After visiting it we will return to the trail, walking a little over another kilometer until turning left and reaching Alto de San Antón.

If you do not want to go through Ventosa we will travel a little less than 3 km in a straight line, with the A-12 to the right, until reaching the Alto de San Antón.

Following the same dirt path between agricultural fields we will cross the A12 by an underground passage, then continue with the road to our left. In slight slope we will arrive until Nájera in less of 6 km, entering by its zone of industrial estate.

The river Najerilla and Nájera on its banks

The river Najerilla and Nájera on its banks (photo courtesy Flickr by Jose Antonio Gil Martínez under the following conditions)

We leave Nájera on the east by Costanilla Street, asphalted and in slope. After 800 meters the sign becomes gravel and so it will remain until we reach a signposted crossroads, where we will return to take paved road. The profile will be generally very soft.

Nice walk between fields where we cross Azofra (kilometer 34 of route) and we return to the edge of the A12. After going parallel to it for 1 km we arrived at a roundabout that we crossed.

After crossing the LR 207 at that roundabout to reach a dirt path, we see that the road forks, marked with a yellow sign and arrow.

If we go to the left we will follow a dirt path in ramp between fields until we reach Cirueña, where we can visit the hermitage of the Virgen de los Remedios. It is a difference of height of about 150 m in about 5 km. We will leave after Cirueña by another path of earth, but in slight slope and with smooth profile. In about 5 km we will arrive at Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

If, after passing the LR 207, we continue straight ahead instead of going to Cirueña, we will have to travel a little more than 9 km near the edge of the A12 by a gravel track. During the first 4 km we will have more jumps but then the profile will become very smooth until entering Santo Domingo de la Calzada, where is the end of the stage.

In summary, at this stage, a difference in elevation of about 350 m is overcome, but it is done gradually. There are two points where the profile becomes a little more steep, in the arrival to the Alto de San Antón after passing Ventosa and passing by Cirueña, before entering Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

In addition, there are three route variations that we can do:

  • Choose whether or not to pass by Ventosa near the kilometer 17 of route. 
  • To choose to pass or not by Cirueña in kilometer 38 of route. If we choose to go by this locality the difference of stage mileage does not very much, but it does require us to reach a slightly higher level.
  • Go to visit the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla from Azofra to return by Cirueña to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. We will do 33 km instead of 14 km from Azofra to the end of stage, but the visit is well worth it.

In general, this stage is simple. Good firm, height differences but we will overcome on continued light ramps. Many of the tracks we will take today are perfect for cyclists. A stage to enjoy!


  • If you start in Logroño, in Tournride we help you get there. Logroño is a very well communicated city, with airport and train station and buses.

Go by busHere you can see the bus connections with the rest of Spain and the companies that make each way (some of them are,  Alsa, Bilman Bus y PLM).

Go by train: The train station is here and the best thing to know about its connections is to visit theRenfepage, since with transshipments you can reach almost from anywhere.

Go by plane: The airport is here, 9 km from Logroño and you have to go by taxi or by car. It only has regular connections with Madrid. The other option is to fly to Pamplona and take a bus from there

Remember that in Tournride and we can take your spare luggage so that it is waiting for you in your way end..

  • From Navarrete to Nájera there are more than 13 km with no place to stock up, unless we pass through Ventosa midway. If you do not want to stop at Ventosa, take supplies in Navarrete


This stage, which we travel throughout La Rioja, will allow us to visit natural environments as impressive as the Najerilla River and visit some of the most emblematic of the Jacobean.

We will start the day by a pleasant green road that, crossing the Riojan landscape, will take us to Navarrete, where we can see the impressive late-Roman remains of San Juan de Acre. Going through places full of legends such as the Roldán Poyo we will reach Nájera, where we will enjoy its impressive natural heritage and natural environment and we will learn about other legends and miraculous apparitions. The road will take us to Santo Domingo de la Calzada, one of the most mythical localities of the region, founded by today Santo Domingo García in the 11th century, who dedicated his life to building infrastructures to facilitate the pilgrimage to Santiago.

We can also deviate to visit the monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla, considered the birthplace of the Spanish language.

Can you ask for more?


We leave Logroño by the industrial estate and from the Avenida de Burgos we arrive at a roundabout where we see the park of San Miguel behind. From there we take an underground passage that crosses the LO-20 and makes us leave Logroño.

We leave in a pleasant green way that takes us by the park of the Grajera until arriving at the reservoir. We then skirted the reservoir along the same path. 

The Grajera reservoir was created in 1883 to irrigate the orchards near the city and gradually became conditioned as a park. If you travel this route on a hot day and when you see the water you think about taking a bath, do not even think of it! It is a protected environmental area and the water ecosystem is studied, so no human interaction with it is allowed. 

Grajera Reservoir in the French Way

Grajera Reservoir (photo provided on Flickr by Total13 under the following conditions)

We ascend the ramp from the reservoir until reaching the fence that marks the edge of the A12, where the pilgrims have hung many wooden crosses. Along the way we will see that there are more places in which this tradition is repeated.

We follow the road until crossing the AP 68 by an overpass and see to our left the remains of the church of the Hospital of San Juan de Acre. After their excavation, the most interesting remains were taken to the cemetery of Navarrete, which we will see on our way out of town


Navarrete is at the top of Tedeón hill. This strategic position made until the S. XVI had a very defensive character, with a castle at the top and surrounded by walls. Little by little all these elements were thrown to take the form that it has today, with two parallel major streets in the hillside of the hill and with the Way of Santiago crossing it from east to west.

In the center is the main monument of the town, the church of the Assumption of the Virgin. On the outside, its Renaissance lines are simple but, if we have an opportunity, it is worth going inside to take a look at the wonderful altar and altarpiece in Baroque style, completely covered with gold carvings.

The number of references and sale of pottery in the town will surely call attention to us and is that Navarrete is one of the most important traditional potter’s centers of the peninsula. Its pottery tradition goes back to Roman times, when with the mud of the Najerilla river pieces of the so-called “terra sigillata” were made, a type of red Roman pottery

Church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Navarrete

Church of the Assumption of the Virgin in Navarrete (photo provided on Flickr by Carmelo Peciña under the following conditions)

We leave by the town by the N120 and we find to our left the cemetery of the town, where as we have already said we will see the remains of the church of San Juan de Acre.

Stone by stone moved the remains from its original location to this point, where it continues to impress the thickness and quality of the walls and their ashlar masonry. The cemetery gate is the old north door of the church and is flanked by two large windows that were once at the head of the temple.

In Tournride we recommend that you get closer to see the decorative details of the whole, in a late-Romanesque style. There are numerous representations of legends (such as that of Roldan and the giant Ferragut, which we will explain later), biblical passages such as St George and the dragon fight and tender ones like angels hugging each other.

Remains of the church of San Juan de Acre in the cemetery of Navarrete

Remains of the church of San Juan de Acre in the cemetery of Navarrete (photo provided on Flickr by Carmelo Peciña under the following conditions)

There we can also see a plaque in memory of Alice Craemer, who died in 1986 when she was hit by a truck while doing the Camino.


We continue our way and, after about 4 km, passing under an upper pass of the A12 and always with the motorway to our right, we will see a sign that indicates the detour to Ventosa. If we pass through this locality we add about 1 km to the route.

Keep in mind that if we do not go through Ventosa, we have 9.5 km to get to Nájera, so if we want to eat or we are short of water, it is not a bad idea to spend to stock up. In Ventosa there is also a hostel with a closed place to store the bikes.

We go by Ventosa or not, we pass by Alto de San Antón (675 m of altitude) from where we will see Nájera for the first time in the distance (485 m of altitude). We will not lose sight of it for the next 7.5 km that we will carry out in a slight slope until arriving there.

camino francés, najera

Landscape from Navarrete to Nájera (photo courtesy of Flickr by Giovanni Riccardi under the following conditions)

But before reaching Nájera, after crossing the N120 by an underground passage, we will see on the way to our left the Poyo de Roldán..

First we will leave to the left the hill to which they are referred as the poyo and, a little later, we see an explanatory poster that recalls the legend of Roldán against the giant Ferragut happened in that hill and that in Tournride we reflected to us in summary way in Some lines. We recall that Roland was the nephew of Charlemagne, the emperor of the Franks. It is a historical personage, although his military feats have happened to shape the history a sort of mythical legend on his life.

Here we remember how one day came to the ears of Charlemagne that in these lands there was a Syrian giant called Ferragut who proclaimed the supremacy of Islam against Christianity. Knowing this, Charlemagne sent a group of soldiers to kill him, who fought with him for days without success. There came a time when Roldán asked his uncle to fight and they did, for two days and two nights. Exhausted, the two opponents made a stop and began to talk about their religions. He created a relaxed atmosphere between them and the giant confessed to Roldan something that would eventually cost him death: he told him that his only weak point was his navel. Roldán attacked at that point when they returned to the fight and defeated the enemy.

This legend fits historically in the struggle to expel the Muslims from the peninsula during the Reconquest, when the figure of Roldán was often used as a great defender of Christianity whose military supremacy was related to the superiority of Christianity.

Romanesque capital of San Juan de Acre with the scene of Roldán and the giant Ferragut

Romanesque capital of San Juan de Acre with the scene of Roldán and the giant Ferragut (photo courtesy Javier Regay under the following conditions)


This town of great Jacobean tradition welcomes us with this message painted in a farmhouse at the entrance of the village, a nice way to enter feel at home in our 27.5 kilometer stage.

We enter through the east and cross the river Najerilla by the stone bridge attributed to San Juan de Ortega,, impeller of infrastructures of the Way between the XI and XII (although the bridge has been reformed).

Already on the west bank, we cannot miss the Monastery of Santa Maria la Real, pantheon of ancient kings of Navarre. He was commanded to found King Don Garcia Sanchez II in 1052, after conquering that territory from the Muslims. He dedicated it to the Virgin because in that place a while ago this had appeared to the king in a cave, when he was hunting. The monastery was managed by Cluny until the S. XIX, today is Franciscan.

Pantheon in the monastery of Santa María la Real in Nájera

Pantheon in the monastery of Santa María la Real in Nájera (photo provided on Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

At the foot of the church is the cave where the legend of the Virgin occurred. At its entrance is the royal pantheon of kings of Navarre, with twelve burials with majestic carved tombs of between the X and XII.

The church is between Gothic and Renaissance styles. The cloister, a real jewel, is buzzing very much, where many nobles are also buried. It is worth your visit (we advise that it has a cost of € 4).

Cloister of the monastery of Santa Maria la Real in Nájera

Cloister of the monastery of Santa Maria la Real (photo provided on Flickr by Giovanni Riccardi under the following conditions)

In Nájera it is also worth to enjoy the natural environment of the Najerilla, nestled between impressive red earth walls.. In this locality harmoniously coexist an impressive place with great monuments in stone like the monastery that we have seen.

Caves on the vertical walls of land of Nájera

Caves on the vertical walls of land of Nájera (photo provided on Flickr by Drcymo under the following conditions)

SIf we see ourselves with strength and want to see some amazing views of the place, we can climb the Nájera castle before leaving. It is between the castle of La Mota and the village. Its origin, like the one of the castle, is Muslim. In the S. XVI was rehabilitated to be palace, but at the end of that century stopped being occupied and began to deteriorate until in the S. XVII and almost there were only ruins.

Thanks to the various archaeological campaigns that have been carried out, many remains have been discovered, now safeguarded in museums. Although “in situ” there is not much of the glorious past, the views and natural surroundings that surround us is worth.


We leave Nájera up a paved slope on Costanilla Street. Soon we are already on a good track of land that in 5.5 km will take us to Azofra, in profile smooth.

In Azofra we enter by its main street, that as in many jacobeos towns crosses the whole locality and it coincides with the Way of Santiago. In Azofra we will find all the services that we need and we must make the decision to deviate to visit San Millán de la Cogolla. If we decide to go see it, we will make 33 km to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. If we continue straight, 12 km.

What is it that awaits us if we decide to make the effort to add 21 km on our way to visit San Millán de la Cogolla? As one of the most impressive monastic complexes in all of Spain, formed in fact by two monasteries that were initially differentiated: Suso and Yuso. The whole is a World Heritage Site since 1997.

Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla in the French Way

Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla (photo provided on Flickr by Jose Manuel Armengod under the following conditions)

The origin of the group is found in S. V, when in Rioja lands Emiliano was born, a hermit who dedicated his whole life to the service of Christianity, so he was canonized and today we know him as San Millán.

When Emiliano dies, his remains are taken to a cave in that place, which then becomes a church and then in the center of a monastic community. We must take into account that this community was not like the monastic communities that we know today, but followed the Mozarabic rule and was mixed, lived in it men and women. This was very normal in the Iberian Peninsula until the S. IX.

Monastery of Suso

Monastery of Suso (photo provided on Flickr by Aherrero under the following conditions)

In the 11th century Don García Sánchez II, the same king who ordered the construction of Santa María la Real, orders to carry the remains of the saint to Najera. But, by a miracle, those who carry it remain “nailed” without being able to move, which is interpreted as that the saint did not want to leave the place.

Therefore, the king orders to build next to the Monastery of Suso another monastery to leave there the remains and the monastery of Yuso is constructed. This monastery already follows the Benedictine rule and is only masculine. The two coexist side by side until the year 1100 when they come together and begins their time of splendor.

Monastery of Yuso in San Millán de la Cogolla

Monastery of Yuso (photo provided on Flickr by Mario Martí under the following conditions)

This golden age materialized, above all, in an incredible production of codices, most of which are stored today in an immense library in the monastery that can be visited. In fact, it is considered that here the coded Castilian language arose as we understand it today, because a monk in this “scriptorium” was the first one who wrote in Castilian in one of these codices. It is very significant because, at that time, Latin was the language “cultured” and therefore the only one that was written. Castilian, on the other hand, was the popular language and not writing was neither regulated nor codified. When beginning to write begins to form the Castilian as we speak today.

Library of San Millán de la Cogolla, in the monastery of Yuso

Library of San Millán de la Cogolla, in the monastery of Yuso (photo courtesy of Rafael Nieto)

In addition to the historical importance of this complex, the place is impressive from the artistic and architectural point of view, so the visit together becomes a delight. From Tournride we advise you to inform yourself before undertaking the visit to the monasteries, to avoid the displeasure to arrive and that, for example, is Monday and are closed.


We leave Azofra by the northwest following a paved track that in a few meters happens to be of land, but of good firmness. We continue until reaching the A12 and, after crossing 1 km by the side of the highway, we arrive at a roundabout from which leaves the L207. We cross the other side of this road to follow a dirt track.

About 50 meters after crossing the road we see a bifurcation. This is where we should choose if we want to continue straight to pass through Cirueña or turn right to go straight to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Land trail at the exit of Nájera in the Way of Saint James

Land trail at the exit of Nájera (photo courtesy of Flickr by Giovanni Riccardi under the following conditions)

If we decide to go for Cirueña, we must go down a dirt track on a gentle ramp for about 5 km until we reach a large urbanization with a golf course, recently built. To the north of this urbanization is Ciriñuela, the old town. Between the two isthe hermitage of the Virgin of the Remedies,, temple of recent construction in masonry and brick, with pastel colors and simple interior.

Actually, the distance that is crossed passing or not by Ciriñuela does not vary much, they only add about 2 km, but the walk is much more pleasant taking the detour. If we continue straight we will all the time almost glued to the highway, instead of by roads of good firm between great fields of vineyards.


We enter Santo Domingo de la Calzada on Calle San Roque, to the east. As always, in Tournride we tell you a bit about the history of the place of the stage and we propose a short walk in which you can know the place a little.

In this case, the walk takes 15 minutes and in it you can see the main monuments of the place traveling less than 1 km Click here to see the tour map.

Are you urge one?

Two pilgrims passing through Santo Domingo de la Calzada Road

Santo Domingo de la Calzada Road (photo courtesy of Flickr by Alberto Cabrera under the following conditions)

First thing: let us know the life of Santo Domingo, patron of the engineers

The emergence of the locality of Santo Domingo de la Calzada is related to the life and work of Domingo García, a man who in the 11th century dedicated his time to build infrastructures to facilitate the way for pilgrims.

It is said that what today is Santo Domingo de la Calzada was in the 11th century a forest of oaks next to the river Oja. A hermit named Domingo lived in that forest, retired to his spirituality because he had not been admitted to the Benedictine monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla. He saw every day the difficulties that the pilgrims had to overcome the geographical accidents in those lands, at a time when the Way was in all its splendor. Together with a bishop, who also set out to help them, Domingo built a wooden bridge over the river Oja.

When the bishop died, Domingo continued creating infrastructures, the most well-known stone walkway that ended up giving name to the present locality in his honor. He changed the wooden bridge over a stone and built a shelter and church.

South cover of the cathedral of Santo Domingo, where the remains of the saint are found

South cover of the cathedral of Santo Domingo, where the remains of the saint are found (photo ceded on Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

TAll this gave an economic and population boost to the town that was being created, at that time, enhancing the settlement of merchants. King Alfonso VI, seeing how helpful this was, decided to give Domingo the direction of other works of the Way and he and his disciple Juan de Ortega continued to carry out different infrastructures. For this reason, Santo Domingo is today the patron of the engineers of roads, canals and ports.


Domingo’s dedication and solidarity and kindness, which made him well known to the poor and rich during his 90 years of life, have caused that over the course of time have been attributed multiple miracles to this saint.. Many of them in life and others of healings of pilgrims when they visited his tomb.

His most famous miracle is that of the rooster and the hen. This story tells how a family with a young son who was pilgrimage to Santiago stopped at the hospital of pilgrims that Domingo had built. The hospitalera fell in love with the boy, but this did not correspond to him and, disrespectful, she hid a valué of the shelter in the backpack to the young person, accusing to him of robbing it when it went with his family of the place.

The boy was condemned to the gallows, sentence that was fulfilled. But after he was hanged, his parents approached and listened as he spoke and told them that he was alive thanks to Domingo. The parents went to tell the corregidor, knowing that before such a miracle he would exculpate his son. When he heard his story, he told them jokingly that the young man was as alive as the hen (already roasted) who was preparing to eat. Suddenly, the hen revived and the corregidor, astonished, excused the boy.

Carving of Santo Domingo in the cathedral, with sculptures of a rooster and a hen next to it

Carving of Santo Domingo in the cathedral, with sculptures of a rooster and a hen next to it (photo provided on Flickr by Rowanwindwhisler under the following conditions)

Hence the motto of the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, “where the hen sang after roasting”.  In honor of this story, a live hen and rooster are kept in the cathedral of the town, which is changed every 15 days and during the local festivities of the town they eat “ahorcaditos”, typical sweets.


We start walking on the east side of the village, entering Calle Mayor, at the center of which is the complex that once started Santo Domingo and which we will also visit. 

A few meters from the beginning of the walk, we find on our left with a large stone building: it is the monastery of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion, S. XVII. This Cistercian abbey has a hostel for pilgrims (free) and a lodge that nuns use as a way of life.

We continue walking and in a few meters we will pass by the tourist information office, where if we want we can make a stop to get a map or more information.

In about 60 meters to our left opens the square of the Alameda, a small green corner where we relax if we need it. Across the street is a very special building: the house of the Brotherhood of the Holy. It is formed by several buildings, from the S. XVI to a modern hostel and has a great material on exhibition on the life of the saint. In this place is where they raise the birds that are then taken to the cathedral to remember the miracle of Santo Domingo..

Calle mayor sdc guillén pérez 2

Calle Mayor of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (photo provided on Flickr by Guillén Pérez under the following conditions)

We will arrive at the Plaza del Santo: tower, cathedral and parador

In the center of the town is the cathedral of Santo Domingo. Its southern door opens to a square in the main street, where there is a large tower.

The Exenta Tower is the highest in La Rioja and is nothing other than the bell tower of the cathedral. It is rare that the bell tower separates from the main building, but it is believed that in this case it was done because the ground was unstable (being near the river) and this was the best place to hold so much weight. In fact, it is said that to help cement the tower were added to the ground remains of animal bones. Before this baroque tower there was another Romanesque and Gothic, destroyed by a fire and by its bad state, respectively.

The entrance ticket for visiting the cathedral can also include the entrance to the exempt tower, which from its top floor offers spectacular views of the surroundings. From Tournride we recommend that you opt to climb as it is well worth it.

Tower Exenta from Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Tower Exenta from Santo Domingo de la Calzada (photo provided on Flickr by Jose Luis Cernadas Churches under the following conditions)

Next to the tower we see the entrance to a small hermitage, the hermitage of Our Lady of the Plaza. It is said that it was built on an ancient oratory that the saint had made with his own hands. The aspect that it has today is the result of the superposition of different works until 1710.

In front of the tower is one of the two “paradores” in the town. The Parador occupies what was formerly a hospital of pilgrims, carried out by Santo Domingo. It is striking in its lobby, with many Gothic arches and a paneled wooden ceiling.

We enter the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

In the square of the saint we will see the south portal of the cathedral. In this arm of the temple is where the sepulcher of Santo Domingo and the chicken coop where a rooster and a hen are conserved not to forget its miracles.

South cover of the cathedral in Santo Domingo de la Calzada

South cover of the cathedral (photo courtesy of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

This same cathedral that we visit today has its origin in that primitive temple that Domingo García built in the S. XI near the river Oja, next to a hospital. The growing importance of this nucleus in the Way of Santiago was that successive reforms were added to that initial construction until arriving to form what we see today.

The relevance that the place was charging can be seen not only in how it was carved in stone, but also in the rank that the early church was welcoming. Already in 1106 its rank was increased to colegiata and in S. XIII the episcopal seat moved from Calahorra to Santo Domingo, reason why the temple became cathedral.

Exenta tower and remains of the wall. South cover of the cathedral during the night with lights

Exenta tower and remains of the wall (photo courtesy of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

The result of all this is a large temple with a pilgrim plant in Latin cross, formed by a mixture of styles that concern from the Romanesque to the Baroque that we find, for example, in the Exenta tower.

The pilgrimage plant is a type of temple form that includes a kind of corridor that skirts the ships and the spinning, so that you can go all the way inside the walls without intervening at any time in what happens on the ship Central and on the cruise. Thus, you can visit the church tomb without disturbing if there is a mass at that time. The cathedral of Santiago also has this type of plant.

Cruiser and apse of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Cruiser and apse of the cathedral (photo courtesy of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

In the Cathedral of Santo Domingo we encourage you to open your eyes to look at the decoration on the capitals of the columns, especially those of the apse. Both inside and outside there is an impressive late-Romanesque iconographic program, with scenes of fantastic animals and representations of passages from the Bible. Experts consider it one of the best and most complete of this era.

Detail of a capitel of the apse of the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Detail of a capitel of the apse of the cathedral (photo courtesy of the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

In the northern part of the cathedral is the cloister, which today houses the Cathedral Museum.. If you are interested in the history of the place and sacred art, do not hesitate to visit it. Schedules and prices of the visit to the cathedral and the museum here. In addition, in the south arm of the cathedral we will also see the chicken coop where the rooster and the hen are kept remembering the miracle of the saint. 

Gallinero of the cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Gallinero of the cathedral (photo ceded by the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada)

Between rest of walls and old convents, we finished our walk with the best of the gastronomy riojana

We cross the apse of the cathedral and we arrive at the Plaza de España, where the town hall is. The most characteristic of the building are the arcades open to the square by lowered arches, where merchants used to bet to sell their products under cover with the shelter of the wall behind them. When the town hall moved to the upper floor, this began to expand successively until during the Baroque was given the shape it has today.

A lot of people in the City Hall of Santo Domingo de la Calzada

City Hall of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (photo provided on Flickr by Rubén Vique under the following conditions)

From the square we leave to Burgos Avenue, which surrounds what used to be the wall that protected the old town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada. In fact, a few meters later we will see some remains of her quite well preserved.

The walls of this population totaled more than 1.5 km of perimeter in total, with an average of 12 meters of height, 38 turrets and seven doors.. What we see today in the Avenida de Burgos are the remains of one of those towers and part of the thick walls that protected Santo Domingo.

We continue bordering the old nucleus until arriving to the Parador of Santo Domingo Bernardo de Fresneda.. It was built in the 16th century to welcome a Franciscan community, but in the 19th century with the disentailment the place was abandoned. Nowadays it has been renovated and it houses a Parador with restaurant. Also part of the place is used as a workshop to restore works of art.

The church of San Francisco welcomes the tomb of Fray Bernardo de Fresneda, who was archbishop and confessor of kings like Felipe II or Carlos V.. He himself put many means to reform the church that would welcome his tomb and his effort makes today his visit worth it. Special attention to the church cruise, a good example of Renaissance.

We are on Juan Carlos I Avenue, the perfect place to finish our walk in Santo Domingo de la Calzada, because in this street and in the parallel the majority of restaurants are concentrated.. You will find offers for all kinds of pockets and you can try typical dishes like cod or potatoes to La Rioja, To drink, of course, a good glass of Rioja.

Tomorrow you change community again, we enter Castilla y León and we will pedal until reaching Burgos, another of the great Jacobean cities. ¡Buen camino!

Ruta Camino de Santiago Fisterra-Muxía

The Way of Saint James: Fisterra to Muxía. The lastest route

The fantastic last route of The Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago): The “muxiana”, from Fisterra to Muxía.

After our last post, where we explained the itinerary of one of the ways to Santiago that is having a most influence in recent times, (The Fisterrana), we present an extension of this way, which is completed with a new stage: the route from The End of the World (Fisterra) to the beautiful fishing village of Muxía, in Costa da Morte (Cost of Death), Galicia. This path is becoming increasingly well known among the pilgrims walking on different bike routes belonging to Camino de Santiago and want to explore new places in Galicia close to the sea.

It is a stage that runs very close to the Galician coast in the area of the Rías Altas, passing by beautiful rivers like Río Grande, Rego da Carballiza or Río Castro. This stage does not consist on steep and rugged terrain or high altitudes. It is quite comfortable to go through in one session.

Single stage: Finisterre to Muxía (29,3Km).

Km 0, Fisterra (all services).

We must retrace the steps that brought us to Finisterre. We return towards Langosteira Beach. We go through the parish of San Martiño de Duio. The parish church next to the road, dating from 1717 (S. XVIII), is baroque style. A beautiful place. We have already covered the first 1,7Km.

Camino de Santiago en bicicleta. Finisterre Fisterra

After passing San Martiño de Duio, we take a detour of 1km, with ups and downs through Escaselas (Km, 2,8), and reach Hermedesuxo de Abaixo, that we see on our left (Km 3,6). At this point, the official way braches off to the right towards San Salvador, although some pilgrims continue straight along the paved stretch. It is the well-known variant of Rostro. It links in Padris and although it is shorter, it is not worth much because you roll on asphalt.

In the last part, you see the beach of Rostro, usually through the pines, but you do not walk on the beach at any time.

If we take one or another direction, we reach the village of Padris (Km 9,7). Before us, we enjoy the view of the Atlantic Ocean, a fantastic memory that makes the Camino de Santiago by bike unforgettable. The route passes through beautiful meadows and cornfields, and ends in Canosa, where we have a picnic area where we can rest (Km 11,8).

Lires (all services)


After this short brake, we pass one of the most beautiful places in the Costa da Morte: Lires. We can even divert from the stretch of the Camino de Santiago by bike to enjoy the nearby beaches. Continuing our tour of the parish of Cee, we must pay close attention to the signs. There are several accommodation in Lires (Lires cabins, for example, is an ideal resting) and all the services of bars and restaurants. We walk uphill and left the detour to the bar on the right. It is the only town on the stage with services so it is almost bound to renew forces in this location.

We pass Lires and go down the river Castro. Crossing the river, we have already entered the council of Muxía, but we already have a long way to go. It is important to point out that in seventy meters the road branches off to the left and takes you to Vaosilveiro (Km 14,5).

After a brief detour, we connect a road that leads us to Fixe (Km 15,8). The bulk of the population is on the right and we turn left onto a track among pine trees. Later we cross a road –the official signs mark 12 Km to Muxía)- and resume the track until Guisamonde (Km 18,2).

Just over a kilometer after Morquintián, you will see a point with double signalization. Attention!! It is prudent to continue to the right following the yellow arrows painted on the asphalt. After 350 meter, the route deviates from the left and take a clear path up to the vicinity of Facho de Lourido, the highest point of the stage: 269 meters.

A wide path takes you down to the next village: Xuranantes (Km 24,7). At the exit, we take a local track and we pass near the drinking fountain of Bico. Immediately, on reaching the road, there is another little jam with the signals. In front of you, some arrows encourages you to enter a path with takes you to the beach of Lourido after a short stretch of sand dunes, but one there you, inevitably, must climb up to the road again. The official itinerary, the option we recommend, follows the road along the beach above (Km 26,1). So, there is no loss to Muxía. As soon as you enter Muxía, the signals lead us to the public shelter, turning right on Campo das Pinas Street and along Os Malatos and Enfesto streets (Km 28).

Muxía (all services)

Once settle in the hostel (there are also other private hostel near the Tourist Office), you should visit the sanctuary of Virgen de la Barca, ravaged by the fire that took place on Christmas Day 2013. Go down Manuel Lastres Street and turn right to Calle Real. On the way to the shrine we can get into the tourist office, where we can pick up de Muxiana. A heavenly place where you will find nature, leisure, entertainment and crowds of options to complete your trip.