Puente la Reina is located in the province of Navarra in northern Spain. It is a small town known for its picturesque medieval bridge and charming streets.
The town’s most notable feature the 12th century bridge, Puente de la Reina, which spans the Arga River. The bridge is a popular spot for tourists and photographers, as it offers a beautiful view of the town and the surrounding countryside. The bridge is also an important stop on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that leads to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia.
The Tourist Office is at the end of the town beside the bridge, Puente de Los Peregrinos. Calle Mayor is the main street, and the Camino de Santiago route travels the full length of the street. Here you will find many cafes and restaurants feeding hungry pilgrims.
Things to See and Do in Puente la Reina
Puente la Reina is also a great destination for food and wine lovers. The region is known for its delicious local cuisine, including roast lamb, blood pudding, and traditional Navarra-style piquillo peppers. The town also has a number of wineries that produce some of the best wines in Spain, such as the famous Rioja wine.
Here is a list of the best things to do and see in Puente la Reina, Spain:
- Visit the Puente la Reina Bridge – the town’s namesake bridge is a stunning piece of architecture and a must-see for visitors.
- Explore the Roman Villa – this ancient ruin is located just outside of the town and offers a glimpse into Puente la Reina’s rich history.
- Walk a part of the Camino de Santiago – the Camino de Santiago, or Way of St. James, is a popular pilgrimage route that passes through the town.
- Visit the Church of Santa Maria – this beautiful church is home to several historical works of art, including a 15th-century altarpiece.
- Discover the local cuisine – the area is known for its delicious cuisine, including dishes like cod with pil-pil sauce and roast lamb.
- Enjoy the natural beauty of the Arga River – the Arga River runs through Puente la Reina and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and picnicking.
- Visit the Puente la Reina Museum – this museum is dedicated to the history and culture of Puente la Reina and the Camino de Santiago.
- Take a guided tour – guided tours are available to help visitors discover all that Puente la Reina has to offer, from its rich history to its vibrant cultural scene. See the tourist office.
The Puente la Reina Bridge, also known as the Queen’s Bridge, is located at the western end of the town. The bridge dates back to the 12th century and was built to connect the town with the Camino de Santiago.
The bridge is named for Queen Doña Mayor, wife of King Sancho III of Navarre, who is said to have funded its construction. The bridge’s elegant Romanesque arches and unique design have made it a well-known landmark in the region, and it continues to be an important stop for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago.
The bridge was originally built in the Romanesque style and has undergone several renovations and additions over the centuries. In the 16th century, a Chapel of San Rafael was added to the bridge, and in the 19th century, a series of arches were added to support its structure. Despite these changes, the Puente la Reina Bridge has remained largely unchanged and retains much of its original character.
The Roman Villa near Puente la Reina is an ancient ruin located just outside of the town. It is believed to have been built in the 1st or 2nd century AD, during the Roman occupation of the Iberian Peninsula. The villa was a luxurious rural residence, complete with a bath complex, mosaics, and other high-end amenities.
The Roman Villa near Puente la Reina provides a unique glimpse into the lifestyles of the wealthy Romans who lived in the area. The well-preserved mosaics and other elements of the villa’s architecture offer insight into the art, culture, and design of the Roman period.
In recent years, the Roman Villa near Puente la Reina has been the subject of extensive research and excavation, and much of the site has been restored and preserved for visitors to explore. Today, the villa is a popular tourist attraction and a valuable resource for scholars and historians who are interested in the Roman period in Spain.
Visitors to the Roman Villa near Puente la Reina can explore the site and learn about its rich history and significance. Guided tours are available, and the villa is also a popular destination for educational field trips and historical research. Whether you’re a history buff or just looking for a unique and fascinating experience, the Roman Villa near Puente la Reina is well worth a visit.
Church of Iglesia del Crucifijo (Santa Maria)
The Church of Iglesia del Crucifijo (formally Santa Maria) in Puente la Reina, Spain, dates back to the 12th century. It is located near the start of the town. The church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and is an important example of Romanesque architecture in the region.
The Church of Iglesia del Crucifijo was built during the reign of King Sancho III of Navarre, and its construction was funded by his wife, Queen Doña Mayor, who also funded the construction of the Puente la Reina Bridge. The church is known for its beautiful stone carvings, including intricate capitals and a series of tympana that depict scenes from the Bible.
Iglesia de Santiago
The Church of Iglesia de Santiago in Puente la Reina, Spain, dates back to the 12th century. It is located near the famous Puente la Reina Bridge. The church is dedicated to St. James, the patron saint of Spain, and is an important example of Romanesque architecture in the region.
The Church of Iglesia de Santiago was built during the reign of King Sancho III of Navarre, and its construction was likely funded by local benefactors and pilgrims who were passing through the town on the Camino de Santiago. The church is known for its beautiful stone carvings and intricate details, including a tympana series depicting scenes from St. James’s life.
Visitors are welcome to explore the church and admire its beautiful design and intricate details. Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique and fascinating experience, the Church of Iglesia de Santiago in Puente la Reina is well worth a visit.
Where to Stay in Puente la Reina
The main Albergue in Puente la Reina is at the start of the town on the left-hand side, and the Camino route passes the front door. There are other private hostels throughout the town and just over the river. They are well-signposted. Due to the town’s location, there is a frequent bus service to Pamplona and Estella.
For a full list of albergues, pensions, and hotels, see this link on the Wise Pilgrim website.
History of Puente la Reina
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, the 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 before their expulsion from Spain in the early 14th century.
The Camino Frances Route to Estella 21.7 km
Today the Camino follows closely to the N11 and climbs steeply to 450m after leaving Puente la Reina, then drops back to 400m then, climbs again to 500m this time, and finally drops to about 430m, entering Estella Spain.
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 coffee 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 32 days.
4.8 km, water, bar, cafe, shop
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 charming 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, sharpening 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
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
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.
I love hiking, backpacking, and camping. 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.