Tag Archives: Historia del Camino de Santiago


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!


Distance to Santiago: 661 km

Stage distance: 49 km

Estimated time: 4 hours

Minimal height: 420 m

Max height: 590 m

Difficulty of the route: middle – low

Places of interest: Los Arcos, Torres del Río, Viana, Logroño

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

Saint James Way by bike stage four: from Estella to Logroño

Click on the image to enlarge

At this stage we will leave Navarra to enter La Rioja, the smallest community in Spain but internationally known for its wines. To get to Logroño and be able to taste them, we will have to cross 49 km that will combine quiet stretches of agricultural track with simple profile with two more complicated ones, especially the one of the about 11 km that separate Towers of the River of Viana.

From Tournride we tell you everything about the profile, services and heritage; to help you enjoy your Camino to the fullest and to make the best itinerary decision. Even so, if you have any doubts, you can always contact us.

Good way!


We leave from Estella and we cross the about 2.5 km that separate us from Ayegui by a stony route in permanent rise, although with some jumps of abrupt slopes. A kick-start a bit break-legs, but nothing that cannot be carried.

After leaving Ayegui and making the obligatory stop at the Fuente de Bodegas Iratxe, there are two possible routes: follow Azqueta and Monjardín or go south and save the Montejurra to pass later for Luquín. Both options take us to Los Arcos, but from Tournride we choose (and recommend you) the traditional route through Azqueta and Villamayor de Monjardín.

When leaving Azqueta the land path begins to take slope and becomes narrower as it advances. At some point the route can become quite uncomfortable, so if you need to get off the bike, do not hesitate. This ramp lasts only 1.5 km and will reward us with the visit to another of the most emblematic sources of the Camino, the Fountain of the Moors.

Arrival at Villamayor de Monjardín on a wild path during a cloudy day

Arrival at Villamayor de Monjardín (photo provided on Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

We will leave Los Arcos we will have to leave by the cemetery, in the east side of the town, to take another agricultural track of good firm that in 7 km will cause us to end in Sansol (kilometer 26 of route).

In Sansol we leave by the NA 1110 and from there we will be able to see Towers of the River to our left, in a lower quota. The road turns and takes us straight to the village. We enter Torres del Rio in the north and we go through the streets of the Race and the Sepulcher to find the yellow arrow on our right, which leads us to face the most complicated stretch of this stage.

The 10.5 km that separates Towers of the Viana River compose a true section “rompe-piernas” (break-legs), with permanent rises and falls and continuous changes of terrain. The most complicated part is the crossing of the ravine of Cornava, on horseback between both localities. Most of this part of the itinerary passes almost to the NA 1110 and does not cross any notable town or monument, except for the hermitage of the Poyo, at the edge of the road NA 1110. In addition, the road crosses several times the road of double meaning, which also makes this stretch dangerous.

For all this, despite trying to follow the traditional itinerary when making the Camino, in this case from Tournride we recommend that from Torres del Rio to Viana you go on the road NA 1110. When you reach Viana there are still 11 Km of road and it does not make sense to exhaust unnecessarily.

Once in Viana, the rest of the stage to Logroño is a steep slope, except for a small ramp that we will use to return to the road crossing the border between Navarra and La Rioja.
We leave from Viana on the N 111 (also we can follow the pedestrian path exiting the polygon and crossing the road by an underground passage) and after traveling less than 1 km we see a path of land with a military with the symbol of the shell and the Arrow on our left. We must take that asphalted track, which will take us direct to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Caves (kilometer 41 of stage).

From the hermitage we follow the asphalt sloped track and head west to return to the N 1111 by a slight ramp. When you get to the road and join it, we will see the green sign indicating that we enter the Rioja and, almost afterwards, the blue and yellow road sign that points us to the asphalt road that we must follow.

After crossing three underground steps, with the N 1111 to our right, in a little more than 2 km we will arrive at the Stone Bridge, entrance to our end of stage: Logroño.

Logroño stone bridge over a river and during the sunset

Logroño stone bridge (photo provided on Flickr by Roberto Latxaga under the following conditions)

In summary…

In short, although this stage is the longest we have done since Saint Jean Pied de Port, the simple profile and the large number of paved tracks will make a large part of the kilometers to be traveled become a pleasant farewell Of the Navarrese fields.

We only remember here the two sections in which we have to be cautious and the possible variants of them:

  1. Azqueta – Monjardín. Rise of 1.5 km along a ramp sometimes quite uncomfortable. Variant: go through Montejurra and Luquín, although it is not a path of roses either (climb the mountain to a height of 970 m and lower it again).
  1. Torres del Río – Viana. 10.5 km stretch with variation of land type and permanent ups and downs, a full “rompepiernas” (break-legs). Variant: Do this part for the NA 1110, which we recommend from Tournride.




  • If you start your way in Estella, the best way to get there is by bus, since there is no train station. Estellesa is a bus company with connections to Estella from Irún, Logroño, Pamplona, Puente la Reina and San Sebastian (in addition to many other smaller towns).

Another option is to take a taxi from Pamplona to Estella, if you contact Fermín on +34 609 44 70 58, you will get 55 euros on weekdays and 68 on holidays. Your taxi can accommodate up to 8 people, so you can organize groups of pilgrims to reduce the cost.

Remember that in Tournride we take the bikes to the place where you start and we can transport your surplus luggage at your end of the road.

  • At this stage there are two stretches of kilometers where there is no place to buy water or food: 9.3 km from Urbiola to Los Arcos and 10.6 km from Torres del Rio to Viana. Therefore, we recommend provisioning in Villamayor de Monjardín or Urbiola and in Sansol or Torres Del Río.
  • Much of the stage runs through tracks between open, shadowed fields. If you are going to travel this itinerary in summer, keep in mind the need to be well protected from the sun and with water to spare.
  • Less in Azqueta and Urbiola, in the rest of towns that are passed in this stage there are shelters with closed places to store the bicycles: one in Ayegui, two in Villamayor de Monjardín, two in Los Arcos, one in Sansol, two In Torres del Rio, three in Viana and six in Logroño. The Logroño parish hostel  does not have a closed place for bicycles.



Today we have a lot to see: from medieval civil engineering in the form of fountains and bridges to large temples in Logroño and other smaller ones in Torres del Rio. We will visit the great Viana, historical and monumental nucleus and we will cross fields between vineyards. Start the geological experience in La Rioja!

La Rioja vineyard with the village of Briones in the background

La Rioja vineyard with the village of Briones in the background (photo courtesy of Flickr by Juantigues under the following conditions)

Ayegui is practically an extension of Estella, reason why in this principle of stage we must face the route by these municipal terms populated and with heavy traffic.

We must leave Estella in the southwest. Both the street of San Nicolás (already visited in our walk of end of previous stage) and Fray Diego Street in Estella, which leaves of the bridge that crosses the Ega and connects with the center of the locality, they end in a roundabout that takes us to the street Carlos VII. On this street we leave for Ayegui, taking the second exit Calle de Estella towards at the next roundabout.

In less than 1 km we are in Ayegui, through which center passes the NA 1110 that we must pick up again after passing the Plaza de los Fueros. In about 200 meters we will see the sign of the pilgrim with the arrow that indicates that we take the street of the left that in less than half a kilometer will take us to our first obligatory stop of the day: the monastery of Santa Maria de Iratxe and the famous source of The wineries of the same name that, instead of water came.

First we will see to our right the source of Bodegas Irache, the call “source of the wine”. Of stone, it has a metal plaque with the Santiago Cross embossed with two pipes at its sides; one emanates water and the other leaves wine. This fantastic invention was built in 1991, with the idea that all the pilgrims could approach the source and corroborate what Aymeric said in his codex of the 12th century, that Estella was “a land of good bread and great wine.”

Source of Bodegas Irache which has a Compostela cross of stone

Source of Bodegas Irache (photo provided on Flickr by Jose Antonio Gil Martínez under the following conditions)

In fact, bread and wine used to be a substantial and important part of the diet of pilgrims, since products such as meat or eggs were not available to the majority of society.

In addition, the source combines that reference to the antiquity of the wine and the Camino in the area with the clearest modernity: there is a webcam installed in the fountain, which allows live viewing of pilgrims. Do not hesitate to advise your family and friends to keep an eye on you when you are there, it is always good to give healthy envy!

Pilgrim drinking a glass of wine at the fountain of Bodegas Irache doing the Saint James Way

Pilgrim drinking a glass of wine at the fountain of Bodegas Irache

If we want, in the office near the source and in the Wine Museum of the winery can seal the credentials of pilgrims.

We continue along the road and a few meters further on we reach the square where the Monastery of Santa Maria de Iratxe is. This monumental construction that combines different styles began to be built in the S. XI on an earlier one of S. VIII. Since then it has been adding extensions and improvements and has been inhabited continuously since its birth until 1985. Today it occupies almost 7000 m2, of which more than 1000 correspond with its church.
It was the first hospital of pilgrims of Navarre, since the one of Roncesvalles did not begin until near 100 years later. In addition to hospital pilgrims has also functioned as a university and training place for clergymen.

Monastery of Irache in the forest

Monastery of Irache

From its initial construction, it is striking how the church, from the 12th century, has been preserved. The Romanesque temple is clearly influenced by Cistercian architecture. The Cister came as an opposition to the Order of Cluny, with the idea of restoring monasteries to asceticism and poverty. That’s why its architecture is not plagued by decoration, but is clean and elegant, like this temple.

In relation to this approach towards poverty, the legend says that the abbot of this monastery used to hide food from the monastery under his habit to give it to the poor and that, when the rest of monks reprimanded him for hiding it, when the habit Roses and flowers came out.

Cover of the Monastery of Irache

Cover of the Monastery of Irache (photo provided on Flickr by José Antonio Gil Martínez under the following conditions)

Besides the church, it is very worth the visit to the two cloisters of the whole, being one late gothic and the other Herrerian style.
We continue along the asphalt road until we reach a half-kilometer crossing. If we follow the yellow arrows painted on a stone that point us to the right, we will go towards Azqueta and Monjardín. On the other hand, if we continue along the dirt path that we have in front, we will see in a few meters a military road that will indicate that we continue straight, to make the route through Montejurra and Luquín. Both routes are well signposted.


After this festive and cultural stop, we must follow our path, which will lead us to visit another of the emblematic sources of the Camino: the source of the Moors. For that we must reach Villamayor de Monjardín.

We follow the dirt road until we reach the road NA 1110 and then we cross it to take the Prado de Irache Avenue that goes a little to our right. This street will make us pass by the Camping Iratxe and then it will become a dirt path that crosses a road by a lower step. Following this narrow path of land between the populated vegetation, we will cross the road again and taking the NA 1110 to our left all the time, we will arrive at Azqueta.

From Tournride, we recommend that this small stretch between Ayegui and Azqueta be made by the NA 1110. The path is narrow and full of jumps. It is not technically complicated, but it is cumbersome and nothing is gained by going there, even if it is the traditional route.

Mention that Azqueta is natural one of the best known characters of the French Way, called Pablito. For pilgrims on a bicycle, it is a myth because he was one of the first people (if not the first) to ride the bike in the 60’s. He always waits for the pilgrims at the entrance of the village to give advice on how to walk correctly or tell stories in relation to the pilgrimage.

On Carrera Street we leave Azqueta, turning left after passing an industrial warehouse. On the front we have a ramp in the form of a path not too wide ground of about 1.5 km that ends directly in Monjardín. After climbing it, we’ll be able to refresh ourselves in a clear water source and we’ll have a quiet walk ahead to Los Arcos!

When arriving at Monjardín the land path becomes an asphalted track and to our left the medieval source of the Moors is pointed out. Although its roof was recently rebuilt, giving it the same shape it had when it was built in S. XIII; the rest of the fountain is a very special example of well-preserved medieval civil engineering and no additions.

Medieval Fountain of the Moors in Villamayor de Monjardín

Medieval Fountain of the Moors in Villamayor de Monjardín (photo courtesy Flickr by Dani Latorre under the following conditions)

The source of the Moors is actually a cistern, a word from Arabic meaning “well” or “deposit”. By the influences of Al-Ándalus in the Iberian Peninsula we can find this type of construction in different places. The Arabs always put them in the courtyard of their houses, in the form of a central pool to which they channeled rainwater. Therefore, more than a traditional Western source with pipes, this cistern looks like a shed with two large arches leading to stairs leading down to the water tank. If it is hot, this place will be perfect to cool off a little after the ramp you have touched up from Azqueta.

Says the municipality of Villamayor de Monjardin own this people is that of the four lies, because “it is neither Villa nor greater, nor has nuns nor garden. In fact, in ancient times the name of the town was simply Villamayor but as in Spain there are many localities with that name they added the one of the mountain in which it is. Before that mountain was called Deyo that is why to the castle that is in its summit is denominated San Esteban de Deyo.

View of Villamayor de Monjardín from the castle

Villamayor de Monjardín from the castle (photo courtesy Flickr by Mikel Culla under the following conditions)

The castle is said to have been “built by the Romans, made strong by the Moors and conquered by the Navarrese. The archaeological evidences date the castle in S. VIII so that the Romans could not build it and at the end of S. IX the town was conquered by the Arabs, although at the beginning of S. X the king Sancho Garcés recovers it. They say that this monarch was buried in the castle of the town, which was very important because his position at a high point on the adjoining land made it a strategic fort.


From Monjardín to Los Arcos, we have just over 13 km of dirt track in the form of agricultural land. When leaving Villamayor by the Romaje Road we will see the militaries that tell us to continue towards the south, crossing later the A-12 by a lower passage and climbing a very light ramp to Urbiola.

In Urbiola (or even before in Monjardín) it is not enough to provide food and water, since there is no other town to Los Arcos.

We leave Urbiola on Calle Mayor, we cross the NA 7400 and we see how the asphalt turns into an agricultural track that in about 600 m makes us cross the A 12 again through another underground passage. From that moment, we have more than 10 km of road well signposted in slight slope. Although it is not paved for most of the way the trail is quite wide, so we will have no problem.

We entered the Arches in the north. This town owes its historical development to its position of “knot of roads”, among them the Camino de Santiago or the Roman trade routes. Due to the importance it has as a pilgrimage, it follows the village-street structure, with its main street coinciding with the itinerary of the French Way.

Today it is the end of the stage for many pilgrims, especially those who go on foot, and therefore has many services. In the old days it was like that and it had three hospitals of different pilgrims. One of them, that of St. Lazarus, catered to many sick pilgrims in longer stays (a great epidemic of leprosy is remembered).

After passing the poorly preserved hermitage of San Vicente, only vestige of a splendid past in which there was a large palace and a church, we headed down the main street to the center of town.

This main road is flanked by large stone houses with shields on the facades; I also remember the historical importance of the town, where important Navarrese families lived.

In the square of the fruit we must turn to the right to reach the square of Santa Maria, where we will automatically see the solemn construction of the same name, due to its magnificent stonework and wingspan. It is one of the most important churches in Navarre.

Again, the Camino de Santiago is again the cause that in medieval times it was decided to promote the construction of a temple. It began at the end of the 12th century, when the itinerary was a mass phenomenon of the time and was reformed until the S. XVIII.

From the outside, the 16th-century northern doorway is noteworthy, a great Renaissance example full of carvings of angels and cherubs. In the exterior there is also a large portico of later construction (S. XVIII), neoclassical and lacking of iconic decoration.

From the tower of this church used to ring the bell to guide the pilgrims who, since the road from Monjardín was not as well signposted as it is today (the signs that guide us today are the result of a collective effort initiated In the 80s), they lost and despaired to not see Los Arcos.

In Tournride we recommend you without hesitation to get off the bike to visit what may be the best of the church of Santa Maria: it’s interior. Filled with smaller altarpieces in rococo style, it also has a large main altarpiece in the Baroque style apse of the 17th century. The amount of colors and sizes everywhere marvel the visitor, full of small details that attract attention. It is also worth noting the Mannerist carving (between the Renaissance and the Baroque) of the choir chairs and, above all, in its organ of the S. XVIII, the most ostentatious of Navarre.

Outside the church is also worth visiting the cloister, from the 16th century and late-Gothic style.


We leave Los Arcos by the Plaza de Santa María, crossing the zebra crossing that is in the square itself and which ends at the Jacobean route. A paved road once again becomes a dirt road when leaving the town and, following a little more than 3 km in slight slope, we will arrive at a point where a military tells us that we take the track to the right.

Continuing straight on a slight ramp, we come to the road NA 7205 where another sign makes us turn left and continue on asphalt until reaching Sansol..

Sansol and Torres del Rio are practically glued, separated by a ravine. Therefore, when following the road we arrive at the NA 1110 and continue through it, we will see to our left Torres Del Río at a lower level.

Sansol and Torres Del Río separated by a ravine in a cloudy day

Sansol and Torres Del Río (photo provided on Flickr by Jose Antonio Gil Martínez under the following conditions)

The NA 1110 will take us directly to the north of Torres del Rio, down a very steep slope. We enter Carrer de la Carrera and head to the town center to visit the Holy Sepulcher church, a strange jewel of the Romanesque.

To the pilgrims who before getting to Puente la Reina were curious and approached to visit the church of Santa Maria de Eunate, this temple sure reminds them of that previous visit. Like the other church, it is from the 12th century and is also related to the Order of the Temple (although there is no historical evidence of it) and in its form closely resembles the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. The two also coincide in their octagonal form, although in this case their geometric shape is perfect.

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Torres Del Río

Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Torres Del Río (photo provided on Flickr by Total 13 under the following conditions)

Inside, the imposing vault attracts attention, with interspersed nerves reminiscent of the influence of Arabic architecture in this area. In fact, it is thought that it could be built by Christian artisans who lived for years under Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula and who then saw their work influenced by it.

Outside, it is curious how in spite of being Romanesque and therefore part of a style that tends to tend to robustness and horizontality; this temple has three floors with open spans illuminating the upper dome and a large cylindrical tower that provides much Verticality. Like other towers already seen, this was used as a beacon for the pilgrims at night, guiding their way.


The stretch of Torres del Rio to Viana is uncomfortable, with continuous ascents and descents, with a firm change according to the necessities, surrounded by vegetation and crossing several times the NA 1110 near curves. As we mentioned at the beginning, we recommend doing this part of the stage directly on the road NA 1110, in this case it does not make sense for cyclists to follow the original path.

In any case, if you decide to take the traditional path of the road, you will see that it is well signposted. Leaving Torres del Rio along the asphalted road Camino de Santiago, it ends at a path that crosses the national road by a lower pass. In just over 2.5 km from Torres del Rio, we will arrive at the hermitage of Poyo.

The hermitage of the Virgen Del Poyo is on the north bank of NA 1110, so if you make the route by road you will pass here as well. Formerly in this place there was a hospital of pilgrims and a church dedicated to the Virgin, but all that is left is this hermitage, which is in a bad state of conservation. The initial work probably began in the sixteenth century but in the nineteenth century it was highly recommended and in that same century the temple suffered a great fire that burned its image of the virgin of the XVI. The sculpture that can be seen today is a copy of the original.

Road to Viana on a path surrounded by nature with a lot of green trees

Road to Viana (photo provided on Flickr by Hans-Jacob Weinz under the following conditions)

After following for a few meters along the road, we cross them and take a road from the land that leads to another road, NA 7206. After less than 80 meters along that road we cross the sign on a path on the right and continue a strong hanging down the ravine of Valdecornava. With the road to our left, we crossed a small bridge over the Cornava River and we followed the path of the earth, crossing by a lower passage of the highway and continuing until arriving at the NA 1110 again. The last 2 km we make the road to enter Viana by its area of polygon (kilometer 38 of route).

When you reach Cristo Street, at the entrance of Viana on the NA 1110, you will see the sign of the pilgrim on the right that tells us to follow that street. Following practically straight all the time they arrived at the center of the locality, to the Place of the Forces.

Fueros square in Viana with a fontain in the center

Plaza de los Fueros in Viana (photo courtesy Flickr by Instant 2010 under the following conditions)

Viana is the last Navarre town we will visit on the French Way and the great number of monuments, remnants of ramparts and emblazoned houses testify to the importance of this town historically. Part of this importance is due to its strategic location, on a high near the border with Castile. It came to have six hospitals of pilgrims and nowadays it has all the services that a pilgrim may need. If you do not see the strength to get to Logroño (there are 11 km) is the other option you have to spend the night.

At our stop in Viana we cannot miss the visit to the Gothic church of Santa María, in the Plaza de los Fueros itself. Built between the 13th and 14th centuries in one of the most splendid moments of the town, it is a wonderful example of Gothic, with later additions. One of them is next to the south, Renaissance cover, where a tombstone reminds visitors that there is buried César Borgia, prince, warrior and cardinal.

Church of Santa María in Viana

Church of Santa María in Viana (photo ceded in Flickr by Jose Antonio Gil Martínez under the following conditions)

Son of Pope Alexander VI, of the Borgia family (known for his intrigues in the Vatican and for the succession of popes and powerful characters that were part of the Italian renaissance panorama), this character went down in history for his reputation of doing everything Necessary to achieve its objectives. This is summed up in his motto of “o Caesar or nothing”. In fact, it is said that it was he who inspired the work of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”, with his philosophy so influential in the politics of the Modern Age of “the end justifies the means.”

The name of the Borgia family is actually an Italianization of the house of Borja, of Navarrese origin. César Borgia was bishop of Pamplona with only 16 years and cardinal a year later. Like others of his lineage, it was wanted that it arrived at Pope, but the appointment of Julio II, staunch enemy of his family, led to his imprisonment. In the end he manages to return to Spain as a military man and ends up dying in a battle in Viana at the beginning of the 16th century.

Renaissance dome on the tomb of César Borgia

Renaissance dome on the tomb of César Borgia (photo courtesy Flickr by Instant 2010 under the following conditions)

The front page of his tomb is one of the best examples of the Spanish Renaissance, with many Biblical and mythological passages carved in stone.

The interior of the church almost makes us feel like in a great cathedral, with three large naves and different chapels very decorated, with frescoes in the vaults. You can go around the temple by the triforium, that is, the aisle above the side aisles on an upper level and facing the central nave. From there we will have a good view of the impressive baroque altarpiece that is in the apse of the church.

If you want to spend more time in Viana it is also interesting to go to see the town hall, the House of Culture (former pilgrim’s hospital), the convent of San Francisco and the church of San Pedro.


We leave Viana on the NA 1111 and after a kilometer we will see on the left a paved track marked with a military that in a little over another thousand meters will take us to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Caves, which will appear on our right.

The hermitage of the Virgen de las Cuevas does not impress artistically, since in the XVIII it was completely restored in a very simple way, with masonry and without much decoration. What attracts the most attention is the lowered arch that gives entrance to its portico.

But we still recommend the visit for several reasons. First, because that, is part of the traditional French road. Second, because it is located in a place where there was a village already since before the arrival of the Romans (town of Covas) that later in the S. XIII joined Viana. And finally, because the already mentioned Aymeric Picaud, this place is in his guide of the 12th century. Next to the chapel is a small picnic area with tables and stone benches. A good place to relax.

After the visit, we face the last 8 km of stage, continue along that track and in about 200 meters a military will point us a path of dirt and gravel to the right. Continuing on a slight slope (as from leaving Logroño) we find a tarmac track that leads to a roundabout of the NA 1111.

Road at the entrace to Logroño with the city in the background

Road to Logroño (photo provided on Flickr by Hans-Jakob Weinz under the following conditions)

Continuing to the left, we see the sign that tells us that we enter La Rioja. We pass and we take the exit to the right, well signposted, that takes us to an underground passage and a paved track through which we entered Logroño. On the banks of the Ebro we reach a roundabout that connects with the Stone Bridge. Welcome to Logroño!


As always, in Tournride we propose you a tour in the afternoon through the city end of stage, so that you can enjoy everything that Logroño can offer. In this case, in just 24 minutes walking in total you will be able to see much of the city’s impressive sacred and civil heritage, while diving in the atmosphere of a city where to go from pinchos and wines is a delight.

To start, a little bit of history…

Logroño is since 1982 the capital of the Autonomous Community of Rioja, the autonomy with less territory of Spain. Its territory has been occupied since before the arrival of the Romans in I a. C. and its historical development have been marked, above all, by three factors:

  • Its localization next to the Ebro. In fact, the name of the city is believed to be derived from the root word celtíbera “gronio”, que significa “vado” o “paso”. which means “ford” or “step.” The celtiberians occupying area would refer to the continuous wading of the Ebro.
  • To be point of passage of the Way of Santiago. Since in the 11th century the king decided that the Jacobean route passed through the city, the city did not stop taking on importance.
  • Its border position with the kingdoms of Castile, Navarre and Aragon. Its strategic location surrounded by the river and near borders facilitated the construction of military infrastructures and also increased commerce. It was a crossroads place.


Ribera Park next to the Ebro, Logroño in the background. On the way to Santiago de Compostela

Ribera Park next to the Ebro, in Logroño in the background (photo courtesy Flickr by Marc Kjerland under the following conditions)


In the S. I a. C. was founded “Vareia”, the old Roman city, which gained much importance because like Ebro is a navigable river allowed connecting the commercial routes from Italy with the interior of the peninsula. It continued to gain importance in the following centuries but but in 1092 is destroyed by the Cid Campeador, but since its position was strategic, for the king of Castile it was important that it was populated and for that reason three years later it gives a jurisdiction to him to be restored. It grants citizenship to the Franks (foreigners) and allows them to appropriate land, among other things. Soon afterwards, it was decided that the Way pass by and the city grows, walks and infrastructures are created.

Today half the population of La Rioja lives in Logroño and is a city accustomed to receive pilgrims and visitors, with much history and heritage to know.

As it could not be otherwise, we start in the Ebro and go to the old town

We start the visit on the stone bridge, which we have already passed on entering the city. Just cross it is the park of Pozo Cubillas to the right, and from there there is a viewpoint that allows us to see the Stone Bridge and the river.

The bridge is called this because there is also another one of iron and there was formerly one of wood. This one was inaugurated in 1884 and has seven arches and measures 198 meters. It was built by the poor state in which was the old stone bridge that had there, that had 17 arcs and two fortified towers and was the great symbol of the city (in fact appears in the shield of Logroño). It ended deteriorating by the continuous floods of the Ebro, today with the flow much more stabilized by the construction of dams and subsidiary channels.

Stone bridge in the city of Logroño

Stone bridge (photo provided on Flickr by Hans-Jakob Weinz under the following conditions)

We go to the roundabout and we go in the old town by the street Ruavieja, one of the oldest of the city. Turning in the first street on the left we reach the Santa Maria de Palacio church.

This church was built between the 12th and 13th centuries, with new contributions up to the 18th century. The most characteristic of it is its lantern tower, known as “la aguja”, (the needle), another of the symbols of the city. Its construction is related to the Order of the Holy Sepulcher, one of the religious and military organizations that protected the pilgrim’s also striking the Renaissance altarpiece of the temple.

Tower called the "needle" in the city of Logroño

Tower called the “needle” (photo provided on Flickr by Jynus under the following conditions)

Plaza de Santiago, from Templar mysteries to miracles of the apostle

We return to Calle Ruavieja and Sagasta Street who cross it to get to Santiago Square, where there are three things that we cannot miss since they are all related to the Camino: The pilgrim’s fountain, the curious game of the “Oca” of human size and the Santiago’s church.

In the square we can see to our right some drawings in the ground, with enormous dice included, that represent a board of the Oca game. There is a theory that says that this game was invented by the Templars in the S. XI, as a representation of the Camino de Santiago with its bridges (“from bridge to bridge and shot because it takes me the current”) and with the goose as representation Of the protective role that the order exercised, since these animals make a lot of noise before strangers (“from goose to goose and shot because it touches me”). That is why in the ground each stop is represented as a city of the road, starting in Logroño, with important monuments marked.

Game of the Goose and church of Santiago the Real in the background, in the square of Santiago

Game of the Goose and church of Santiago the Real in the background, in the square of Santiago (photo ceded in Flickr by Aitor Escauriza under the following conditions)

Opposite is the pilgrim’s fountain, built believed to be in 1675 but completely restored in 1986. This fountain is also called the fountain of Santiago, as it is next to the church of the same name.

The church of Santiago el Real is the oldest in the city, it is said that it was founded by a disciple of Santiago himself. When the apostle came to preach to the peninsula, a group of people followed him to Jerusalem, among them his disciple Arcadius, who is said to have founded this church (for more information see Santiago’s history).Obviously, the building we see today is not that, but a later one.

In 884, this primitive temple was rebuilt after the Battle of Clavijo, but later that church was burned and what we see today, in the 16th century. The Battle of Clavijo is one of the most mythical of the war of the Christians to expel to the Arabs of the peninsula. On the facade of the church we can see a sculpture at the top, which represents Santiago as Matamoros.

We had already seen Santiago dressed as a pilgrim in other representations, which rationally makes no sense because he would pilgrimage to his own tomb, but it is a very powerful symbology.

The apostle’s as a warrior on horseback is another of his most representative iconographies. During the middle Ages the stories of miracles of saints were current, and the apostle’s appearances in battles were one of the most widespread. During the recon quest was said that the apostle appeared and helped to “kill Moors” and in the Battle of Clavijo made one of his most stellar appearances. In fact what is known today of that battle is a historiographical revision of the XVIII that surely is quite “adorned”.

Stone iconography of Santiago Matamoros in León

Iconography of Santiago Matamoros in León (photo courtesy Flickr by Francisco González under the following conditions)

The appearance of Santiago in battles continued being a frequent miracle with the passage of the centuries. When it was conquered America was created the iconography of Santiago Mataindios that helped to the Spanish conquerors against the natives. And, centuries later, the sons of these conquerors fought for independence, Santiago Mataespañoles was born. As we see, ¡The different military iconographies of Santiago tell much of history!

Visit to parliament and replenish forces in the market of supplies

We continue along Calle Barriocepo to reach one of the most representative buildings of the city, this time civil: the parliament of La Rioja.

The building that occupies was an old convent, the one of the Merced, constructed between S. XIV and S. XVI. Since 1998, parliament has used what was once the church and the cloister which, covered with a glass dome, is where the hemicycle is. The east part of the building is the Library of La Rioja.

In addition to these two uses, the enclosure was also used as a military barracks and, from 1889 to 1978, it was a tobacco factory. In fact, in the street Portales remains today the most characteristic feature of this ancient use: a large red brick fireplace, which was left as a souvenir.

La Rioja Museum in the city of Logroño

La Rioja Museum (photo provided on Flickr by Kris Arnold under the following conditions)

We continue walking along Calle de la Merced until Museo de la Rioja, and there we turn left to go to the market of Abastos, dating from the beginning of S. XX. Among its red brick walls, irons and large windows we can enjoy the best gastronomy of La Rioja, since in addition to selling the products there are also places where they cook them. If you want to lower your budget for food, it is a great place to buy something rich and eat it in a park later. Schedules can be viewed on your web site.

We finish at the Santa María Cathedral and learn about wine

We leave the market by Sagasta Street and turning on the street Portales to the right and we arrive at the concatedral of Santa María la Redonda. Although today the name draws attention because we see nothing circular in the temple, it is given because before there was another church that was octagonal, similar to the view in Torres del Rio. When in the XV century it is declared to Logroño “city” it is decided to create a great temple, throwing the small Romanesque and beginning in 1516 what we see today.

South facade of the Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda in Logroño

South facade of the Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda (photo courtesy of Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

The interior is in Elizabethan Gothic style, so named because during the end of the reign of Catholic kings were many works that are between the end of Gothic and the beginning of the Renaissance, so they have characteristics of both styles. And also it takes decorative elements Muslim and of Flanders, by the political situation of the moment. An example of eclecticism.

That is why, although the columns and arches are of Gothic style, we see how in rib vaults ribs are marked forming a kind of palm grove, with filigree, of Arab influence. In the main façade, on the other hand, we see how it is already a fully baroque style, since the whole exterior of the church was reformed in the XVIII. The two huge twin towers of the temple are another of the great symbols of the city and the door looks almost like a stone altarpiece.

Interior of the Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda in Logroño

Interior of the Cathedral of Santa María la Redonda (photo courtesy Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

A curiosity of this church is that, being so close to the river, the land on which it sits is marshy. For this reason, it was used to cement parts of branches of vine that do not rot with the humidity and help to distribute the weight.

Facade of the Cathedral in Logroño

Facade of the Cathedral (photo courtesy Flickr by Antonio Periago Miñarro under the following conditions)

But the vine not only plays a crucial role in this temple, but as it is known in this community everything related to the world of wine is very important. La Rioja is one of the best known nationally and internationally. Since the Romans introduced their cultivation, wine has not been stopped in this area.

Proof of this are the different wineries that we can find near the core of Logroño. If you are interested in this topic, the ones that are closer to the city are the Bodegas Franco-Spanish, Ontañón and Ijalba although in this page and in this other you can find all kinds of activities related to wine in Logroño.

Interior of a winery in Logroño with a lot of barrels inside

Interior of a winery in Logroño (photo provided on Flickr by Kris Arnold under the following conditions)

We rebuild forces by dining something in one of the parks or we go of pinchos

To end the day, from Tournride we give you a couple of options to have something to eat, relax and be able to face the next day. If you prefer to relax in a park snacking on something to eat, you can go to a park on the banks of the Ebro, such as the Ebro Park that we have already marked on our map.

If you prefer to taste the gastronomy of Rioja, goes de “pinchos” will be a very good option. In the southern part of the food market, on Laurel Street, you will find more than 50 shops in a lively, quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The other area that is also typical of pinchos is the area near San Juan Street, parallel to Portales Street to the south. Even so, in this page you will find all the necessary information about places of pinchos and gastronomic and oenological activities in Logroño.

In the next stage we will travel a similar distance but will demand more effort for your profile and itinerary, so enjoy before everything that Logroño can offer us!