The 25 km option takes you to Güeñes. It is a good sized town, with all services.
Hotel Erreka. It is a good sized town, with all services.
Report of a single room in 2018 — 38.5€ with breakfast. Yes, prices are higher in País Vasco. Recommended restaurant — Katay. 100 m from hotel, to the left in front of a furniture factory. Menú was 10€ in 2018.
There is an albergue on the outskirts of town, but it is only open to groups, not individual pilgrims. So, just ignore anything you see about it. Albergue Sanxtolo.
The camino passes in front of Güeñes’ very pretty late gothic Santa María church, and it figures in most people’s pictures of the first day’s walk.
Day 2. Güeñes to Nava de Ordunte (22.5) or Villasana de Mena (27.5)
If you’ve slept in Güeñes, you will go through several good sized towns. Zalla at 4 km, and Balmaseda is 5 km beyond that. Balmaseda has a very pretty old bridge with tower.
After Balmaseda, believe it or not, the País Vasco ends and the province of Burgos begins. The landscape becomes much less urban, lots of forests, nice dirt paths, and streams. This is not a stage of exceptional scenery, but it is very pleasant. Still not much elevation.
Nava de Ordunte is small, but it has a bar and restaurant, at least it did pre-Covid. More importantly it is where Adolfo lives. Adolfo has been promoting the Camino Olvidado for years, and was extremely helpful to us when we walked. I called him several times when I was in a pinch, hundreds of kms away, and he was always happy to help. Adolfo’s garage has been converted into an “informal” albergue. It is not listed in Ender’s guide because it is not officially licensed. Give a big contribution so he can get the licenses he needs to “regularize” it.
Adolfo’s option was not available when we walked, so we walked on to Villasana de Mena, which is about 7 km further, for a total of almost 30 km. These days there is actually a shorter (and marked) way to get to Villasana without going through Nava de Ordunte. .
I give the Villasana de Mena option a 5 ***** rating. Not because the Hotel Foramonteros is so great, though it is fine. But because from Villasana, there is a marked off-road path, frequently alongside a pretty stream, to visit two wonderful Romanesque churches — San Lorenzo (in Vallejo) and Santa María (in Siones). The first is in a little hamlet, and the second stands alone, with a house nearby. Neighbors have the keys — best to call so they know you are coming. These are the phone numbers that worked for me in 2014!
San Lorenzo de Vallejo: Miguel Ángel: 947 126 427 OR 660 23 37 98
Santa María de Siones: Angelines, 947 126 132
Both churches have extremely beautiful apses, capitals, arches, doorways, they are really special. It would have been about a 10 km walk in total, but after visiting the second church in Siones, the skies opened and it began to pour. The “señora with the keys” called a neighbor and he drove me back into town, so I cut the kms in half. However you do it (there are local taxis), it is a real treat.