Roncesvalles is the first town, village really, in Spain where the Camino Frances passes through, and it is normally a stopping point for all who have walked from St Jean Pied de Port. This was my first real taste of the Camino de Santiago, I stayed in my first albergue and wondered what I had got my self into.
The albergue at Roncesvalles is one of the largest on the Camino, about 120 beds in the one large room, quite daunting. They are all bunk beds and two bunk beds are pushed close together to make what first appears to be a double bed. I went to sleep with the person in the next bed only inches away from me! There are over flow tents so there is no worry about getting somewhere to sleep.
The need for ear plugs becomes apparent. The noise of 119 sleeping pilgrims is enough to keep anyone awake.
Roncesvalles is not a town, more a tiny village. There is no shop, two bars and the church. Book your evening meal at one of the bars before the evening service in the church. The bars get very busy so if you don’t book you will wait sometime or not get a meal at all.
The service in the church is worth attending, even if you are not the least bit religious. It is conducted in a few languages and a blessing is given for all pilgrims setting out on their Camino to Santiago.
Walking from Roncesvalles is easy going and not hard or challenging until the day walking into Pamplona, which can be tough if it is very hot.
There is nowhere for breakfast here, (when I was last there). However only about one hour away (walking of course) there is a cafe which serves breakfast to pilgrims. It is well marked and on the route.