Camino Francés in La Rioja | Wise Pilgrim Guide to the Camino de Santiago

You have now left Navarra behind you, and the basque ‘feeling’ which has been fading since Roncesvalles will now disappear almost entirely. The name La Rioja, which first appears in a charter from 1099, is fairly new; prior to that, it was referred to as the province of Logroño (the city you enter next and the capital of the province). From a legal perspective, the name La Rioja was not legitimized until after the 1975 death of Francisco Franco when Spain transitioned into a democratic monarchy.

La Rioja is the second smallest autonomous community in Spain and the smallest along the Camino Francés. The camino will pass through several of it’s larger cities, including Logroño, Santo Domingo de la Calzada (which is next to the “Río Oja”, and Nájera. It will also pass through many smaller villages, whose populations seldom exceed 200.

It’s much fought over history and diminutive size aside, La Rioja has managed to make its mark on the world as one of Spain’s largest producers of wine. Enjoy it while it lasts, which is only about 60km worth of walking along the camino. If that strikes you as too little, consider a detour to the Monasterios de Yuso y Suso; just enough to prolong your stay and explore some of the finest Monasteries around.

To the south of Logroño lies the town and castle of Castillo de Clavijo. It was there in 844 during a battle between Ramiro I of Asturias and Abd ar-Rahman II of Córdoba that the legend of Santiago Matamoros was born.

The legend tells of the return of Santiago (long since deceased remember) on a white horse and dressed for battle. Such a sight energized the Christian fighters (who had been on the loosing side of the Moorish invasion) who went on to defeat Abd ar-Rahman. The scene is depicted in countless places along the camino, with Santiago riding high and the moors trampled underfoot.

Altitude: 
383
Distance to Santiago: 
605.70
Altitude: 
396

Once you have crossed the Río Ebro, you have entered Logroño proper.

Worth visiting are the Concatedral de Santa María de La Redonda (it shares the title of Cathedral with Santo Domingo, and it has a semi-hidden painting of the crucifixion by Michelangelo), the Iglesia de San Bartolomé,...

History: 

Like a few towns before, and several ahead, Logroño owes it’s success to the construction of the stone bridge over the Río Ebro which for a long time was the only suitable crossing point of this wide river. As such it was able to command a toll, to which pilgrims were subjected. Unfortunately...

The Road: 

Leaving Logroño is not unlike departing most large cities in that it winds its way across town in a way that mixes landmarks with practicalities. There are plenty of arrows to mark the way, but most are painted low on curbs and can be difficult to see if you are a pre-dawn walker. If in doubt,...

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1

Albergue de Peregrinos de Logroño
Rúavieja, 32

Association
68 7

2

Albergue de Peregrinos Albas
Martínez Flamarique, 4

Private
22 12 Photo in Albergue de Peregrinos Albas on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue de Peregrinos Albas on the Camino de Santiago

3

Albergue Parroquial de Santiago
Barriocepo, 8

Parochial
30 Donativo

4

Albergue Check in Rioja
Los Baños, 2

Private
30 12 Photo in Albergue Check in Rioja on the Camino de Santiago

5

Hostel Entresueños
Portales, 12

Private
96 10 Photo in Hostel Entresueños on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Hostel Entresueños on the Camino de Santiago

6

Albergue Logroño
Capitán Gallarza, 10

Private
48 10

7

Albergue Santiago Apóstol
Ruavieja, 42

Private
76 10 Photo in Albergue Santiago Apóstol on the Camino de Santiago

8

Pensión El Camino
Industria, 2

Pension
Photo in Pensión El Camino on the Camino de Santiago

9

Hostal La Numantina
Sagasta, 4

Hostal
Photo in Hostal La Numantina on the Camino de Santiago

10

Pensión Laurel
Gonzalo de Berceo, 4

Pension
Photo in Pensión Laurel on the Camino de Santiago

11

Hotel Murrieta
Marqués de Murrieta, 1

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Murrieta on the Camino de Santiago

12

Hotel Sercotel Portales
Portales, 85

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Sercotel Portales on the Camino de Santiago

13

Pensión Logroño
Canalejas, 7

Pension
Photo in Pensión Logroño on the Camino de Santiago

14

Pensión Parque del Ebro
Pl. de la Constitución, 24

Pension
Photo in Pensión Parque del Ebro on the Camino de Santiago

15

Hotel Calle Mayor
Marqués de San Nicolás, 71

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Calle Mayor on the Camino de Santiago

16

Pensión Saint Mateo
Marqués de Murrieta, 35

Pension
Photo in Pensión Saint Mateo on the Camino de Santiago

17

Hotel F&G Logroño
Viana, 2-6

Hotel
Photo in Hotel F&G Logroño on the Camino de Santiago
Photo in Logroño on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Logroño on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Logroño on the Camino de Santiago

Alto de la Grajera

4km
To Santiago: 
596.70
517

The Alto de la Grajera is part of the park and embalse (reservoir) on the outskirts of Logroño. It is an excellent place to walk through slowly, perhaps to stop in and enjoy some nature.

The dam here, and the resulting ecosystem, was constructed in 1883 as a way to store water for irrigation. Since then the park has grown in size and importance and is one of the few wetlands that exist in La Rioja. Anyone with a keen interest in bird watching will especially appreciate the protected areas which are home to several species of birds.

Be advised that the embalse is strictly off limits, so no pilgrim bathing should be attempted.

History: 

The Big Black Bull: The history of Spain’s most iconic billboards dates back to the founding of a Cadiz brandy-sherry winery by an Englishman named Osborne. The bulls were originally built to a height of 4 meters and bore the name Osborne in red lettering. The drove grew to 500 before anti-billboard legislation jeopardized their existence. Over popular outcry they were moved back from the road, stripped of their lettering, and rebuilt to a height of 14 meters. Today 90 of the bulls remain.

Distance to Santiago: 
593.20
Altitude: 
504

Navarrete, much fought over and mostly destroyed, no longer has any of its medieval history to share. It does, however, have a few covered arcades which give you a sense of its past. Like is common on an otherwise flat land, the town was developed around a hill; you will see plenty more of this...

The Road: 

On the way into Navarrete you pass the remains of 12th century San Juan de Acre. While there is not much left, the footprint remains well enough preserved to spark the imagination. The original entrance to the former pilgrim hospital has been reincarnated as the entrance to the town cemetery...

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1

Albergue de Peregrinos de Navarrete
San Juan, 2

Municipal
48 7 Photo in Albergue de Peregrinos de Navarrete on the Camino de Santiago

2

Albergue El Cántaro
Herrerías, 16

Private
28 10 Photo in Albergue El Cántaro on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue El Cántaro on the Camino de Santiago

3

Albergue La Casa del Peregrino
Las Huertas, 3

Private
20 10 Photo in Albergue La Casa del Peregrino on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue La Casa del Peregrino on the Camino de Santiago

4

Albergue Pilgrim's
Abadía, 1

Private
38 9 Photo in Albergue Pilgrim's on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue Pilgrim's on the Camino de Santiago

5

Albergue Buen Camino
La Cruz, 2

Private
10 9 Photo in Albergue Buen Camino on the Camino de Santiago

6

Albergue A la Sombra del Laurel
Carretera de Burgos, 52

Private
30 15 Photo in Albergue A la Sombra del Laurel on the Camino de Santiago

7

Hotel San Camilo
Fuenmayor, 4

Hotel
Photo in Hotel San Camilo on the Camino de Santiago

8

Hotel Rey Sancho
Mayor Alta, 5

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Rey Sancho on the Camino de Santiago

9

Hostal Villa de Navarrete
La Cruz, 2

Hostal

10

Casa Peregrinando
Mayor Alta, 34

Pension

11

Albergue El camino de las Estrellas
Burgos, 9

Private
40 10
Photo in Navarrete on the Camino de Santiago

‌Minor detour to Ventosa +800m

With changing times Ventosa has found itself separated from the camino by the rearrangement of yellow arrows for the sake of shaving 800m from the camino. There is at least one bar and albergue.

Altitude: 
596
Routing
Camino Frances
detour
Primary
To Santi: 
587.70
Distance to Santiago: 
587.10
Altitude: 
641
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1

Albergue San Saturnino
Medio Derecha, 9

Private
42 10 Photo in Albergue San Saturnino on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue San Saturnino on the Camino de Santiago

2

Hotel Las Águedas
Plaza de Santa Coloma, 11

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Las Águedas on the Camino de Santiago

Alto de San Antón

To Santiago: 
585.20
666
Distance to Santiago: 
577.00
Altitude: 
492

The eastern entrance to Nájera is not easy on the eyes. This new part of the town grew up on the east bank of the Río Najerilla (the cliffs prohibit expansion to the west) and much of the city’s industry is located here. Leaving town is notably better as you transition quickly back to the rural...

History: 

Nájera, named for its position “between cliffs,” is a city that has been in favor since Sancho III (El Mayor) made it the capital when Pamplona was captured. At the time the camino passed further to the north, in the rugged but more protected mountains. His efforts moved the popular route to its...

The Road: 

On the way to Azofra, take notice of the modern aqueducts which help to irrigate the land. They are gravity fed and are a real-world example of hydraulics in action, with sections that pass beneath the road rather than passing above it.

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1

Albergue de Najera
Plaza de Santiago

Municipal
90 Donativo

2

Albergue de Peregrinos Sancho III - La Judería
Constantino Garran, 13

Private
10 7 Photo in Albergue de Peregrinos Sancho III - La Judería on the Camino de Santiago

3

Albergue Alberone
San Marcial, 8

Closed
44 8

4

Albergue Calle Mayor
Dicarán, 5

Private
16 15 Photo in Albergue Calle Mayor on the Camino de Santiago

5

Albergue Puerta de Nájera
Carmen, 4

Private
32 12 Photo in Albergue Puerta de Nájera on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue Puerta de Nájera on the Camino de Santiago

6

Hostal Hispano
La Cepa, 2

Hostal
15

7

Pensión Calle Mayor
Dicarán, 5

Pension
Photo in Pensión Calle Mayor on the Camino de Santiago

8

Hostal Ciudad de Nájera
Cuarta Calleja San Miguel, 14

Hostal
Photo in Hostal Ciudad de Nájera on the Camino de Santiago

9

Hotel Duques de Nájera
Carmen, 7

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Duques de Nájera on the Camino de Santiago

10

Albergue Nido de Сigüeña
Cuarta Calleja San Miguel, 4

Private
19 10

11

Albergue El Peregrino
San Fernando, 90

Private
30 10 Photo in Albergue El Peregrino on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue El Peregrino on the Camino de Santiago

12

Pension San Lorenzo
Garrán, 10

Pension
Photo in Nájera on the Camino de Santiago
Distance to Santiago: 
571.40
Altitude: 
549

A somewhat sleepy town, it is well maintained and a suitable place for breakfast if you set off from Najera in the morning. The municipal albergue here is well appointed, and all rooms are double rooms.

The Road: 

The camino between Azafra and Cirueña has been modified in recent years to navigate around a large and largely unused golf course and neighborhood, and in the process the village of Ciriñuela was bypassed entirely.

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1

Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos de Azofra
Las Parras, 7

Municipal
60 7 Photo in Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos de Azofra on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos de Azofra on the Camino de Santiago

2

Hotel Real Casona de las Amas
Mayor, 5

Hotel
Photo in Hotel Real Casona de las Amas on the Camino de Santiago

3

Pensión La Plaza
Plaza de España, 7

Pension
12
Photo in Azofra on the Camino de Santiago

Detour to San Millán de la Cogolla

From the albergue in Azofra it is possible to follow an alternative route to Cañas and/or San Millán, which in turn returns you to the camino prior to Santo Domingo. There are two monasteries in San Millan, Yuso (lower) and Suso (upper).

If all of this sounds confusing don't let it deter you from going. The best way to see them all is by first getting to Azofra.

From there you can:

1. Walk to the Monastery in Cañas, adding only a few km to the journey to Santo Domingo. To do so, turn Left at the end of Azofra and follow the LR-206. It is main road. The road will take you first to Alesanco (1.7km, bar, fountain) and then on to Cañas (5.2km, bar and Monastery). From Cañas it is possible to take the road to Cirueña (5.5km) and rejoin the camino.

2. Walk to the Monastery in Cañas, and continue onwards to the Monasteries of Yuso and Suso. To do so, keep on the road that brought you to Cañas. It is another 7km to Berco (birthplace of San Millan) and another 1.7km beyond that to San Millan. All tours are organized from here, and a coach will take you to Suso. Accommodation (no albergue) is available here and if you fancy a splurge stay at the Monastery as part of it has been converted into a hotel. To return to the camino, retrace your steps as far as the first roundabout and turn Left towards Villar de Torre. From there continue straight through town and keep to the road, eventually arriving in Cirueña and rejoining the camino.

Routing
Camino Frances
STAMP: 
excursionleft
Primary
Yellow
Distance to Santiago: 
563.60
Altitude: 
719
Distance to Santiago: 
562.20
Altitude: 
754

If you are interested in a coffee or breakfast in Cirueña, turn Left on the main road and walk for about 200m.

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1

Albergue Virgen de Guadalupe
Barrio Alto, 1

Private
35 7 Photo in Albergue Virgen de Guadalupe on the Camino de Santiago

2

Albergue Victoria
Plaza del Horno, 8

Private
10 10 Photo in Casa Victoria on the Camino de Santiago

3

Casa Rural Victoria
Plaza del Horno, 8

Casa Rural
Photo in Casa Rural Victoria on the Camino de Santiago
Distance to Santiago: 
556.30
Altitude: 
641

The highlight of the town is the Catedral de Santo Domingo de la Calzada and its gothic henhouse. Santo Domingo is buried there as well, fittingly, in the middle of the road. The only remaining tower (of the original three) is detached and is located across the street. This is a rarity in...

History: 

“Santo Domingo of the Road” is named after a local monk (Domingo of Viloria) who dedicated his life to the care of pilgrims. In particular, he focused on the engineered elements of the way, building roads and bridges to improve the quality of passage. It was he that built the original bridge...

The Road: 

Leaving town you cross over the mostly dried up Río Oja. The bridge is a rebuilt version of Domingo’s original.

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1

Albergue del Abadía Cisterciense Nuestra Sra. de la Anunciación
Mayor, 29

Parochial
33 7 Photo in Albergue del Abadía Cisterciense Nuestra Sra. de la Anunciación on the Camino de Santiago

2

Albergue Casa del Santo
Mayor, 42

Parochial
211 7 Photo in Albergue Casa del Santo on the Camino de Santiago

3

Hotel El Corregidor
Mayor, 14

Hotel
Photo in Hotel El Corregidor on the Camino de Santiago

4

Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada
Plaza del Santo, 3

Parador
Photo in Parador de Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino de Santiago

5

Hostal La Catedral
Isidoro Salas, 49

Hostal
Photo in Hostal La Catedral on the Camino de Santiago

6

Hostal Rey Pedro I
San Roque, 9

Hostal

7

Hospedería Cisterciense
Pinar, 2

Pension
Photo in Hospedería Cisterciense on the Camino de Santiago

8

Hostal Miguel
Juan Carlos I, 23

Hostal
Photo in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino de Santiago
Photo in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on the Camino de Santiago
Distance to Santiago: 
549.30
Altitude: 
728

Of the two monasteries which once cared for pilgrims in Grañón, only a single altarpiece remains. It is in the Iglesia de San Juan, which also houses one of the towns albergues.

The care given to pilgrims in the San Juan albergue remains top notch and distinct, and the recent opening of...

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1

Hospital de peregrinos San Juan Bautista

Parochial
40 Donativo Photo in Hospital de peregrinos San Juan Bautista on the Camino de Santiago

2

La Casa de las Sonrisas
Mayor, 16

Private
14, 36 in 2013 Donativo Photo in La Casa de las Sonrisas on the Camino de Santiago

3

Albergue Municipal Nuestra Señora de Carrasquedo
Carrasquedo

Municipal
50 6 Photo in Albergue Municipal Nuestra Señora de Carrasquedo on the Camino de SantiagoPhoto in Albergue Municipal Nuestra Señora de Carrasquedo on the Camino de Santiago

4

Casa Rural Jacobea
Mayor, 34

Casa Rural

5

Casa Rural Cerro de Mirabel
Mayor, 40

Casa Rural

6

Albergue Ave de Paso
El Caño, 18

Private
10 10
Photo in Grañon on the Camino de Santiago