The Aragon Way runs through the provinces of Huesca, Zaragoza and Navarra. The scenery is dominated by the mountains to the North and rolling hills to the South, with the trail passing notable spots such as the town of Berdún and Leyre Monastery.
The wooded slopes of the Pyrennees give way to the steep limestone hills of the valley of the upper river Aragon, a popular area for skiers. You progress to the lunar landscape of the Aragon valley west of Jaca. Lonely and remote, this region has a beauty all of it’s own.
At the other end, the Camino Aragonés joins with the Camino Frances in the village of Obanos; just before Puente la Reina and 20 kms south of Pamplona. Although the Aragon Way, is more remote and less frequented than the hugely popular Camino Frances, it does pass through some 20 towns and village offering services for walkers.
It also makes for an alternative first section for those wishing to complete the full Camino de Santiago. Rather than starting in the busy French town of St Jean Pied de Port, it is possible to begin near the Somport Pass.
We also offer an extension onto the Arles Way, from the town of Oloron St Marie. This delightful walk takes you along the Gave d'Apse and verdant river valley with panoramic views of the Pyrenees ahead.
From the Somport Pass along the valley of the Rio Aragon to the farmlands of Navarra.
Beginning at the famous mountain pass of Somport, at an altitude of 1600 m / 5200 ft, you find yourself amongst the highest peaks of the Pyrénées where the views are wide and wonderful.
Below Canfranc, the valley is wooded and the path follows the tree lined river banks to Jaca, today a popular winter resort. This town is the legacy of the first King of Aragon Ramiro I Sanchez, who founded Jaca as his capital in 1035. He is buried at the Monastery San Juan de la Pena. You can also make a detour to visit this monastic site of you have an extra couple of nights.
From Jaca, the Camino follows the valley of the Aragón River. There is a detour to the Monastery of San Juan de la Pena which is a famous national monument. This will add substantially to your days walk, being 11 km from Jaca. But you can spend an extra night here to discover more about the history of Aragon, visit the old monastery and enjoy the surrounding countryside.
From Puente de la Reina de Jaca there are two routes, one heading either side of the Yesa reservoir and both joining up again in Sanguesa. The right bank heads through Berdun to the Leyre Monastery shadowing the road. The other is a country path through Undues de Lerda and follows a roman paved road for a little way. Both options come together once again from Sanguesa following farm and forest tracks.
The way moves into eastern Navarra leaving River Aragón behind at Sangüesa and continues through the uninhabited mountains of Izco and Aibar to go down to the valley Ibargoiti.
As you head into west Aragon and Navarra beyond low hills and cultivated fields appear on the approaches to Puente Ia Reina. The final stretch to Puente de la Reina also offers two route options both of which unite just before the extraordinary Church of Eunate.
The 100 mile / 160 km route is well-waymarked throughout. You will find the way marking differs in Aragon and Navarra. Aragon has the yellow arrows and GR 653 markers with scallops and the red and white GR banding. In Navarra concrete bollards have shells and arrows on them, but yellow arrows continue to point the way.
We can tailor the route to suit your daily walking pace, from 7 - 9 days with an optional night in the Hospederia de San Juan de la Pena.
Our Principal stopping points on the route are as follows:- Somport - Candanchú - Canfranc - Villanúa - San Juan de la Peña - Jaca - Puente de la Reina de Jaca - Berdun / Artieda - Leyre / Undues de Lerda - Sanguesa - Monreal - Puente la Reina.
Contact us and we will create a personalised itinerary designed specifically around your needs and interests.
San Juan de la Peña Monastery
Close to the Camino de Santiago route this monastic complex consists of two sites. The original monastery is known as the Royal Monastery was established in the C10th. A combination of stonework and natural rock forms the walls under an overhanging rock at the base of the cliff from which comes the name Peña meaning rock. It has a magnificent Romanesque cloister and the Real Pantheon, of neoclassic style, erected in the 18th century.
The new monastery was constructed above the cliffs in the C17th. The monastery was abandoned in 1835 with only the church and its grand Baroque facade surviving. There has been archaeological work carried out here and in 2007 a museum was opened, with a glass floor which allowis visitors you to observe the archaeological site.
There is also a very nice hospederia hotel here for those who wish to stay overnight and visit the entire site.
One legend attached to San Juan de la Peña realtes to the Holy Grail, brought to Aragon by Spanish soldier from Rome during the C3rd and kept safe in Jan Juan de la Peña during Moorish invasion. Later the King of Valencia acceded to the Aragon throne and took the Grail back to Valencia Cathedral where can be seen today. Historians confirm the vessel as a genuine Roman agate cup.
The Camino Aragon is burgeoning with culture, history and many sights to be seen.
History, Art and Legends
Most French pilgrim routes enter Spain by way of St Jean Pied de Port, but this route is different, crossing the Pyrennees to the south at the Somport Pass. Historically is was mainly frequented by Italian pilgrims using the Via Francigena and Via Tolosana from Arles and Toulouse. It presents a very different experience and landscape from the other routes.
Remains of this medieval legacy can be seen all along the Aragones Way; in the ruins of pilgrim hospitals, Romanesque churches, arched pilgrim bridges over the Rio Aragon, roman paved roads, hermitages and castles and fortified towns. History recounts the legacy of resistance and domination by Romans, Visigoths, Iberians and Moors until the foundation of the Kingdom of Aragon in the 11th Century by King Sancho III. "Sancho the Great" establish Jaca as his Capital and raised a great Cathedral.
The superb monastic complex of San Juan de la Peña, began as a hermitage. The Old Monastery shelters under an enormous rocky overhang which dates back to the C8th, has a Mozarabic church and Royal Pantheon. The new Monastery dates from the mid C17th and sits atop a vast meadow and houses an interpretation centre and 4 star hotel.
Landscape and Walking Terrain
There are two forms of way marking, the iconic yellow arrows and the GR red and white stripes. Known as GR 65.3 the trail is also part of the Spanish network of Senderos de Gran Recorrido. The Way is mainly a single route but watch out in Aragón and Navarra as there are also variants mainly to famous monasteries.
Beyond the Col du Somport, the southern slopes and the valley of the river Aragón are more stark, bare and rocky. It’s a fairly easy descent leading down towards Jaca where the Camino then follows the Rio Aragón westwards.
After Jaca comes extensive arable farmland, anticipating the meseta ahead; you pass dramatic rocky moonscapes and the vast reservoir of the Embalse de Yesa. The villages here are partly or entirely abandoned and mineral landscapes in the valleys, created by erosion, alternate with forests on low mountains.
After the Sierra de Izco, the trail goes down to the superb Sangüesa. During the last stage you will experience never ending ups and downs until reaching Tiebas. Arriving at the magnificient Santa Maria de Eunate is a great moment, that signals the end of this part of the Camino journey, as you’re just a few kms to Puente-la-Reina. From here you have the honour of joining the main pilgrim flow towards Santiago de Compostela.
Small & friendly establishments offer a warm welcome to walkers.
We have selected small and comfortable family run establishments on the route. All rooms have private en-suite facilities. Lodgings are offered on a Bed and Breakfast basis where there is a good choice of available restaurants'; but half board where the lodgings are more remote. We hope you relish the opportunity to try local Aragonese dishes and soak up the local atmosphere.
There are some opportunities for accommodation upgrades along the route.
If you require overnight accommodation in Zaragoza during your journey we have a selection of hotels to offer.
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We enjoyed our holiday very much - it was a wonderful experience. Something completely different! The organisation of the holiday was spot-on. You really couldn't have done a better job. The whole thing was perfectly tailored to our needs. It's hard to express in an e-mail how good it all was.
Anne Corrigan, UK, walking the Camino Frances
We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and found the organisation excellent. We were also impressed by the friendliness and welcome we received everywhere. The information pack was useful and contained all the information we needed. So many, many thanks again for your kindness, efficiency and help in giving us such a good holiday.
Anne and Brian Harris, UK, walking the Camino Frances from Sarria to Santiago
We had an amazing time on the Camino... I would recommend this 6 day walk to anyone. All in all a memorable trip, and you guys did a great job in planning, arranging and organising it.