The main Albergue in Puente la Reina is at the start of the town on the left-hand side, the Camino passes the front door. There are other private hostels throughout the town and just over the river, they are well signposted. Due to the location of the town, there is a frequent bus service to Pamplona and Estella.
Albergue de los Padres Reparadores, private, 1 Calle Crucifijo (Seminario), €5, 100 beds, K, W€3, D€3, V, @, Cred, Bike, Tel: 948 340 050, 608 556 767, Web: http://www.scjpuente.edu.es Open all year.
Albergue Jakue, private, Calle Irunbidea, €10, 84 beds, K, B€8, M€12, W€3, D€3, @, V, Bike, Tel: 948 341 017, Web: http://www.jakue.com/el-albergue/ Open mid March to mid October.
Albergue Puente, private, 37 Calle Cerco Nuevo, €12, 36 beds, B&B, K, M€10, W€2, D€3, @, V, Bike, Tel: 661 705 642, 948 341 052, Web: http://www.alberguepuente.com Open mid March to mid November.
Albergue Amalur, private, Calle Cerco Viejo, €10, 20 beds, B&B€12, M€8,60, W€3, D€3, Bar, @, Bike, Tel: 948 341 090, Web: http://www.albergueamalur.com Open all year.
Albergue Santiago Apostól, private, Paraje El Real (600m from town, past the bridge, on a hill), €10, 100 beds, B€3,50, M€10, W€3, D€3, @, Bike, pool, Tel: 948 340 220, 660 701 246, Open April to October, http://www.campingelreal.com/, Google Maps, This hostel caters to more than pilgrims, as it is also a camping and caravan area.
The Tourist Office is at the end of the town beside the bridge, Puente de Los Peregrinos. This is the most famous bridge along the Camino Frances, its Romanesque construction has six arches and five pillars.
Until the 19th century the statue Nuestra Senora del Puy, which is now in the Church of San Pedro Apostol, was kept in a small chapel in the middle of the bridge. Legend has it that a little bird used to go in and clean the Virgin’s face – this was considered a good sign.
The bridge was constructed by a Queen, however, records are unsure if it was Dona Mayor, wife of Sancho III, or Dona Estefania, the wife of his successor Garcia el de Najera.
The town was granted a charter in 1122 by Alfonso el Batallador to encourage repopulation. At that time a wall encircled the new layout of parallel streets perpendicular to the river. In 1142 King Garcia handed the town over to the Knights Templar who owned the town until they were outlawed and their expulsion from Spain in the early 14th century.
Calle Mayor is the main street and the route travels the length. Here you will find many cafes and restaurants feeding hungry pilgrims.
The 12th century Church del Crucifijo was formally called Santa Maria de las Huertas while it belonged to the Knights Templar. During the Carlist Wars, the church and monastery were used as barracks, prisons, and arsenal.
The church is now run by the Padres Reparadores, an order of German origin, who inhabit the attached 18th century monastery. The early 14th-century crucifix is an odds Y shape unique in Spain.
The crucifix is of German origin with stylistic elements from Cologne: multiple wounds, high relief veins, the two intertwined strands of the crown of thorns, and drapery exposing the right knee; some of the styles is also of 13th century Italian origin, long hair parted in the middle, the pained expression, serene pathos, and the sunken stomach.
Iglesia de Santiago this church has an impressive 12th century Romanesque facade, the rest of the church dates from the 14th century. Inside the high altar retable which is dedicated to St James dates from the 18th century, to the side there are two 14th century statues one of St Bartholomew and a famous Gothic statue of St James “the Black”.
On the floor, there are large chestnut slabs that cover the sepulchers, (the nearer a tomb to the main alter increased the cost and therefore increased the prestige of the dead person family unless they had their own family chapel built off the main aisles).
Today’s Route: 21.7 km
Today the Camino follows closely to the N11 and climbs steeply to 450m after leaving Puente la Reina drops back to 400m then climbs again to 500m this time, and finally drops to about 430m entering Estella.
This day is much quieter than the last two now that we are away from Pamplona, most of today is along tracks through farmland and sometimes on the special pilgrim’s footpaths that are constructed from compacted earth.
After crossing the Pilgrims Bridge leaving Puente la Reina walk down to the next bridge to get the best view and photographs of the most famous bridge along the Camino.
There are small villages along the route for coffees and refreshments as required, however, this is one of those days where you can easily cover more distance if you want to complete the Camino Frances in less than the 32 days laid out in this guide.
4.8 km, water, bar, cafe, shop
Albergue Lurgorri, private, 5 Calle Esperanza (bajo), €10, 12 beds, B&B, K, @, Bike, Tel: 686 521 174, Web: http://lurgorriaterpea.wordpress.com Open all year.
Maneru is a village with a population of less than 500, with a small local parish church dedicated to St Peter and the ruins of a Gothic church. Leaving Maneru you pass the cemetery and will see the hill village of Cirauqui in the distance.
2.7 km, water, cafe, shop
The Camino travels to the top of this hill village and then back down again. Often as I walked I wondered why we did not travel on a direct path.
I found various reasons for this; churches are generally at the highest point in villages and towns and the Camino passes as many of them as possible, (the original hostels were located within or beside churches), additionally some towns were friendly to pilgrims others were not.
Albergue Maralotx, private, 30 Calle San Román, €11, 32 beds, M€11, V, Bike, Tel: 678 635 208, Open mid March to mid October.
Cirauqui is Basque for viper nest in reference to the rocky hill on which it is built. The village with a population of about 500 retains much of its enchanting medieval character.
The Church of San Roman, the reason we walk to the top of the village, was originally constructed in the 13th century and remodeled in 1692. The church has an impressive Gothic multi-lobed main portal.
Leaving Cirauqui the route leads along a stretch of Roman road flanked by cypress trees and over a restored Roman bridge. I find nothing ties me so close to the history of the Camino when I imagine that Roman soldiers and traders walked this very same path.
Just before you reach Lorca you pass over the River Salado by way of a small double-arched medieval bridge. These are Aymeric Picauds words in his Pilgrims Guide regarding this river:
“Take care not to drink the water here, neither yourself nor your horse, for it is a deadly river! On the way to Santiago we came across two Navarrese sitting by the bank, sharping the knives they used to flay pilgrims’ horses which had drunk the water and died.
We asked them if the water was fit to drink and they lyingly replied that it was, whereupon we gave it to our horses to drink. Two of them dropped dead at once and the Navarrese flayed them there and then.”
5.7 km, water, bar, cafe
Albergue La Bodega del Camino, private, 8 Calle Placeta, €8, 36 beds, B€3,50, M€10, K, W€2, D€3, V, @, Bike, Tel: 948 541 162, 948 541 327, Web: http://www.labodegadelcamino.com Open April to October.
Albergue de Lorca (José Ramón Echeverría), private, 40 Calle Mayor, €7 (bunk), €10 (double), 14 beds, K, W€3, V, Bar/Restaurant, @, Bike, Tel: 948 541 190, Open April to October.
Lorca is a typical wayside village, not to be confused with the city of the same name in southeast Spain. There is a small 12th century Church, San Salvador, which has had modifications.
Between Lorca and Villatuerta you pass the ruins of a pilgrims hostel that was built in 1066 – Hospital de Peregrinos de Arandigoyen.
4.8 km, water, cafe, bar
Albergue La Casa Magica, private, 5 Calle Rebote, €10, 40 beds, K, B, M, W€3, D€3, V, @, Bike, Tel: 948 536 095, Web: http://alberguevillatuerta.com Open from Easter to November.
The church of Assumption, the local parish church, dates from the 14th century with a 13-century belfry. Inside the high altar and side chapels are excellent examples of Renaissance and Baroque styles.
It’s 3.7 km from there to Estella.
Key: W = Washing, D = Drying, M = Menu, @ = Internet, K = Kitchen, B = Breakfast, V = Vending, Cred = Credential, Bike = Bike Storage
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I love hiking. From the Camino de Santiago to the West Highland Way in Scotland or simply a great day hike on the weekend. Hiking refreshes me, my mind, and keeps my body reasonably fit. So far I have walked three Camino routes and many other long distance hikes in the UK, Canada, and around the rest of Europe. One of the best was my hike up Ben Nevis.