FROM PAMPLONA TO LOGROÑO

Pamplona, the Plaza del Castillo
Pamplona, the Plaza del Castillo

Day 1.  Everyone arrives at Madrid Adolfo Suárez ( Barajas ) Airport before 13h. Your personal tour guide will meet you there, and a bus will leave at 14:30 to bring you to your hotel ( **** ), situated in the very heart of Pamplona. Very close to the hotel there are a number of sights you may want to take a look at, such as the the impressive Gothic Cathedral of Santa María la Real ( with its Neoclassical facade ), or the beautiful, Baroque style town-hall, where the colourful and boozy Festival of Sanfermines starts every year in early July with the "chupinazo" ( opening ceremony ) , followed every morning by a hair-raising running of the bulls ( "encierros" ) ... from here you can peacefully follow the actual ( half mile ) bull run route - the Ruta de los Encierros - all the way to the bull ring, the Plaza de Toros. But no need to worry, we will not have to deal with wild animals! Instead we will have  plenty of time to discover the Plaza del Castillo - a Hemingway favorite - and all the bars and places around Castillo Square, including, of course,  the famous Café Iruña!

El alto del Perdón, the views from up there: just spectacular!
El alto del Perdón, the views from up there: just spectacular!
Day 2.  First walk from Pamplona to Puente la Reina ( 23,7km, 5-6h ), crossing the Sierra del Perdón mountain range. Beautiful scenery and spectacular views on both sides of the Alto del Perdón, from where it's a downhill walk of about 3h. A friendly hotel is waiting for you in Puente la Reina as well as local traditional cuisine for lunch! And later, after a little siesta: time to explore the town's medieval sights. A must see is no doubt the famous, 11th century Romanesque bridge ( more than 350f long ) crossing the Arga River - the town's landmark. Also very much worth a visit: the 11th century Iglesia del Crucifijo / Church of the Crucifix ( Romanesque / Gothic, visiting hours: 9-20h ) of Templar origine, as well as the 12th century Romanaesque  Iglesia de Santiago el Mayor ( 17th /18th century restorations ) with a number of different, interesting interpretations and portrayals of St. James.
The bridge of Puente la Reina
The bridge of Puente la Reina

Day 3.  Walk from Puente la Reina to Estella ( 22,8km, 5-6h ). On the agenda: rolling hills and lovely country side. Wonderful views and - half way - the remains of an old Roman bridge. In Estella ( or Lizarra in the Basque language ), you can expect some upmarket arrangements, both in accomodation and local cuisine ( lunch ). Estella is an old, medieval and pretty little city ( once called also "Estella la bella" ), and sightseeing  is very much worthwhile. In old days the city was also known as the "Toledo of the North", and today Estella still has a number of important religious buildings which are very much worth a visit, like the 12th century Romanesque Iglesia San Pedro de la Rúa ( three naves, visiting hours 18:30-20:00h ) whose beautiful, square-shaped cloister is considered  to be in Navarra one of the most elaborate in Romanesque scuptural richness. Then there is the Romanesque / Gothic Iglesia de San Miguel ( 12th - 14th century ) where we can look up to a richly decorated northern fasade, as well as the 12 century, single nave Iglesia del Santo Sepúlcro, known for its Gothic front fasade. Last not least, more on the secular side you may want to take a look at the 12 century royal palace, the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra. For having a nightcap we recommend the Plaza de los Fueros de Estella, it's nice to sit at the city's main square with your favorite drink and some tapas, to relax and to just enjoy all the hustle and bustle which is so typical during the evening hours in small-town Spain.

The old town of Estella
The old town of Estella

Day 4.  Estella to Los Arcos ( 22,5km, 5-6h ). 1st stop: the Monasterio de Santa Maria la Real de Irache ... very popular amongst pilgrims is the local bodega and its ( free ) wine fountain! Again, beautiful scenery will be our campanion along the route, rolling hills, corn fields, vineyards, and a few oak and pine groves here and there. In Los Arcos the richly decorated, 12th ( 18th ) centrury Iglesia de Santa María is the most outstanding building of the town ... very impressive and aesthetically pleasing - both inside and outside - is the combination of all the different building styles, from Romanesque ( 12th century ), Gothic and Renaissance all the way to Baroque and Rococo ( 18th century ). After the visiting hours ( 17:00 - 20:00h ) you have the chance to attend a mass which ends with the benediction of the St James pilgrims in different languages. What's next on the agenda? To relax in a nice and confortable hotel, to have a delicious dinner, in to simply indulge in Camino dreaming!

The Iglesia de Santa María in Los Arcos
The Iglesia de Santa María in Los Arcos

Day 5.  Walk from Los Arcos to Viana ( 19km, 5h ). It's a 2h walk to the town of Torres del Rio, known for its 12th century Romanesque church of the Holy Sepulchre - a real octagonal design beauty! The Virgen del Poyo chapel is the next stop, followed by a downhill walk through the Cornava valley. And then here comes the old town of Viana, in earlier days the capital of a small principality! And this principality is in a way still alive since King Felipe's daughter -little Leonor de Borbón y Ortiz - is entitled to be called Princesa de Viana!  But also without this nobility business Viana is a  charming and lively place full of history, with a number of architectural heritage sites. Such as the 13th ( 18th ) century Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción ( evening visits 30 minuted before the mass at 20h ), or the numerous Baroque or Renaissance style city palaces.  The most famous and maybe also most beautiful building is Viana's city hall with its magnificantly decorated Baroque style fasade, just opposite the Iglesia de Santa María. After all the walking through Navarra's lovely countryside we have booked for you: Quality accommodation and for lunch ... delicious northern dishes. And during evening hours there will some time for tapa hopping and to mingle with the locals in the bubbly streets and plazas of  old Viana! 

Viana
Viana

Day 6.  The last few miles: Viana to Logroño ( 11km, 2h 3/4 ). After Viana, easy walking through a market gardening area until you reach the Virgen de las Cuevas chapel. Finally, there's Logroño, the lively capital of the Rioja autonomous region. With regard to the city's religious buildings, there is the 16th ( 18th ) century Cathedral ( Concatedral ) of Santa María de la Redonda we should mention first, with its twin "vertical" towers way above the roofs of old Logroño ( evening visiting hours: 18:45 - 20:00h ). Crossing the bridge of the Ebro River ( see photo below ), we can see on the right- hand side the Iglesia Imperial de Santa María de Palacio, this 12th / 13th century Gothic church  is especially known for its octagonal steeple ( 18th century ), often referred to as "the needle"     ( "la aguja" ), a prominent landmark in the city's skyline. And then there is the 16th century Iglesia de Santiago el Real ( single-nave ), dedicated to St. James,  which is basicly a combination of building styles, i.e., of both, Renaissance and Baroque, and which is not only worth a visit because of the portal showing a more warlike looking St. James ( Santiago Matamoros ), but also for some of the treasures inside the church.

Your hotel will be next to the old center, where you  will quickly  find the Portales Street with its shops & bars, the cathedral ...  and then there's the Laurel Street & market area, famous for its many tapa bars and the excellent market cuisine  and top quality wines you can find in this part of the city. And talking about good food and good wine, isn't it time "to go deeper" and to sharpen our senses of taste and smell  ... like at a professional wine tasting event? Well, nobody will be forced to participate, but ...c'mon, let's go there! 

Logroño
Logroño

Day 7.  Return to Madrid. The bus leaves Logroño at 8h and will arrive at Madrid Adolfo Suárez          ( Barajas ) Airport at about 12:30h. One of your personal tour guides will be on the bus to make sure that everyone arrives at the right airport terminal. And then it's time to go home again, with lots of good memories ... but if, if, if, if you like, you might just come back again to join us on one of the other upcoming CP tours! You will be most welcome!