Through the Navarro Pyrenees, from the Erro valley that takes us to the gates of the Esteribar valley, the French Way leads us through the mountain villages, with their typical architecture. The stage invites us to immerse ourselves in the tradition, in the history that for many years has forged the personality of the Way of Saint James, inviting us to walk calmly through the softly profiled mountains that surround the fertile valleys, alternating the wide meadows with the leafy forests of beech and oak among others.
A changing landscape that will accompany us these first steps of the Way of Saint James through Navarre. The stage 2 Orreaga-Roncesvalles-Zubiri of the French Way with 21,7 Km begins in Roncesvalles-Orreaga where we will be able to know the Collegiate Church of Santa María de Roncesvalles that began to be constructed around the year 1216, the hermitage of Santiago of the XIII century and the Silo of Charlemagno or chapel of the Holy Spirit that is the oldest construction of the place. From here the route takes us through the Sorginaritzaga forest or Bruges oak grove to the nearby Burguete-Auritz, leaving on the other side of the road the cross of the Pilgrims, a cross located in this place by the 1.880. The road takes us from one end of the town to the other, passing by the parish church of San Nicolás de Bari with its beautiful façade carved in 1699. This first part of the route, in a gentle descent, brings us closer to the Erro valley, which we reach after ascending a small hill, a continuous uphill and downhill that will mark the entire route.
Espinal-Aurizberri is the first town in the valley through which we pass, the distinctive tower of the church of San Bartolomé welcomes us in the descent towards the town, where, after crossing it following the flow of the road, begins the ascent to Alto de Mezkiritz at the top of which, in addition to spectacular views of what awaits us and what we leave behind us, we find a wake with the image of the Virgin of Roncesvalles carved in it. From here begins a rapid descent through an impressive beech forest that gives way to the undergrowth of hollies and ferns that accompany us to the next town Bizkarreta-Gerendiain, where formerly was located a hospital for pilgrims and welcomes us with their imposing farmhouses.
The path then begins another typical slide that will lead us to the nearby Lintzoáin, where begins the long and beautiful ascent to Alto de Erro 18 km, whose first ramps to leave the town are the hardest of the entire ascent and we were already scared to see them from afar, before reaching Lintzoáin, although then are not as wild as they seemed. The top of Erro is a privileged balcony that lets us intuit the winding road that awaits us in next stages, and we also see the Esteribar valley that we arrived after undertaking a vertiginous descent that ends in Zubiri, entering the town after crossing the medieval bridge, known by the name "de La Rabia", over the river Arga, temporarily saying goodbye to the French Way, as it continues straight.
The access to Orreaga-Roncesvalles through the Esteribar valley from Pamplona-Iruña can be made directly by the N-135 direction to France by Zubiri, this same road communicates the locality with the nearby Valcarlos as well as with Saint-Jean Pied du Port. An alternative route to avoid the port of Erro is to go to Aoiz on the NA-150 and continue from there on the NA-172 which joins the road from Orreaga to Roncesvalles. There is a bus service from Monday to Saturday that covers the Pamplona-Iruña-Roncesvalles-Orreaga line, reinforced by a special service that extends the timetables and number of buses from July to October.
This stage begins in Roncesvalles-Orreaga (0h 00min) and takes its first steps along the walk from the Collegiate Church, passing through the arch giving access to the enclosure, to the garden where the hermitage of Santiago and the Silo of Charlemagne are located.
Descending a few metres along the road, almost in the middle of a curve, you will find on the other side of it the beginning of the path that will take you to the next locality, a path in good condition that enters the forest and runs parallel to the national one, avoiding you to travel along it.
After crossing this path without abandoning it, we never reach the height of a cruise that marks the definitive exit from the forest.
The path faces pavilions and an asphalt track, where, turning left, it continues in search of the road, from which our walk had gradually separated us.
Continuing along this asphalted track, leaving behind the accesses to the pavilions, we reach the height of the national where a pedestrian crossing makes it easier for us to cross it as the path continues, turning right, through a small park on the opposite side.
The path through this recreation area ends a few metres later when we come across a street that we cross in order to follow a kind of sidewalk that takes us irremediably towards the nearby road, where we travel the short distance that separates us from the entrance to Burguete-Auritz (0h 30min), to which we arrive by it.
Following the course of the road that crosses the town, shortly after passing in front of the church, the path, upon reaching the height of a house with white facade headquarters of a well-known bank, turns right to descend the street towards the exit of Burguete-Auritz.
This street, already leaving the locality, becomes a road that continues straight across a road and then a river, although thanks to a wooden footbridge we do not need to get wet.
Continuing along this path without abandoning it, we pass some agricultural pavilions and, at the end of these, turn left, leaving the path that borders the pavilions, and move away from them following the track that runs through the pasture meadows for livestock.
This comfortable path approaches the forest that covers the hill in front of us, when reaching its border a barrier prevents vehicles from passing, for pilgrims this barrier has a wooden door that we cross even though we see a red x in it.
As soon as we pass this gate, we cross a stream thanks to a small bridge made of stones, leaving on the right what seems to be the continuation of the path we were taking, continue on the left, climbing the hill that stands between us and Espinal-Aurizberri.
The path that enters the forest becomes a somewhat decomposed path, crossing more streams thanks to stone bridges in worse condition than the first.
Little by little the path gains in slope and taking height until arriving at the high part of the hill where it leaves to a track asphalted by which turning to the right we begin to descend towards the next locality of the stage.
This road, in perfect condition, descends quickly through the forest and when leaving it allows us to have the first panoramic view of the unique tower of the church of Espinal-Aurizberri.
The entrance to the town is made passing by some pavilions and then turn left and follow the street that takes us to meet again with the national street that crosses Espinal-Aurizberri (1h 20min) and where turning again to the right, we continue.
Leaving the church and its peculiar tower behind us, we walk around the town following the national road.
Almost on the outskirts of Espinal-Aurizberri and just as we find a building somewhat more separated from the road than the rest of the buildings, the path turns to the left to leave the town by the street that begins at this point.
Going straight on along this street, in front of us is the first ramp up to the port of Mezkiritz, a wide road in quite good condition that goes up the hill through the fields of pastures.
Without leaving this track, after seeing how it softens its slope and when its good firm disappears, the path turns to the right, leaving it to resume the ascent to the port, this time by a wide path, limited on its sides by fences, which enters a lush forest.
The path, with ramps of entity, soon draws a closed turn to the right to cross a few meters by the limits of the forest, already without inclination, and to leave to the extensive prairie in the hill of the mountain. The place allows us to enjoy a splendid panoramic view of both where we come from and where we are going.
As we leave the path in the forest to the meadow, our route continues along the edge of the meadow, descending gently to reach a metal door that prevents vehicles from passing.
After crossing this gate, the road enters the forest again and then leaves it to meet the national road, cross it and start the descent of the port along the path that begins at the limits of the forest of the Alto de Mezkiritz (2h 00min).
This path leaves on your right a small path and the tombstone with the image of the Virgin of Roncesvalles, to travel through this impressive forest.
The descent quickly changes the type of vegetation and the wide path becomes a walkway conditioned by a kind of smooth, encemented stone slabs that, just when it faces the steepest part of the descent, make us consider leaving the walkway and following the paths that have been formed by the passage of many pilgrims, as this type of road more than facilitating the descent gives us the impression of being very slippery even when dry.
After passing this part, the andadero arrives at another metal door and through it, the road turns to the left and soon after, you will find again the national one.
This time we don't have to cross it as the way continues a few meters ahead, leaving behind the road and starting a new climb by a path that shortly after leaves a wide path and going to the left takes up again the descent by it.
This new track descends until it meets the national road again just at a crossroads, at this point the way, turning to the right, follows a track that descends to a stream that crosses it, avoiding us to walk on the non-existent verge of the national, this stream can be saved by the slippery road that crosses it or "jumping" comfortably by the cement buckets that will prevent us from getting wet.
Once you have crossed the stream, in one of the three possible ways, the path continues a few metres along the local road, which joins the national road in this place, until you reach the start of the andadero where there is an important ascent ramp that crosses the hill that stands between us and the nearby Bizkarreta-Gerendiain.
When arriving at the top of this hill we can already contemplate the proximity of the next locality of the stage, to which we arrive following by this wide track that after descending of the hill joins to an access way that from the near national enters this zone of the population.
The way crosses this street to turn left to go towards the national one, cross it and enter definitively in Bizkarreta-Gerendiain (2h 45min), ascending by its main street towards the center of the locality.
From Bizkarreta-Gerendiain square, the path continues along the main street to turn right, pass through the street, which between two beautiful hamlets, enters from the national road and continue along the path that begins on our left just outside the municipality.
This way, with very good firm, crosses another stream whose riverbed is usually dry, although it has the cubiletes that in case of necessity would facilitate us the wading.
From the course of the stream, the track begins the ascent to another hill, continuing parallel to the national one, until arriving at the beginning of a wide path that enters the forest on our left and where our path continues, leaving the track that in that place becomes a dirt track that gives access to the meadows.
This path descends quietly through the forest until, turning sharply to the right, it descends some wooden steps and goes towards the meeting of the national one, crossing it in the middle of a curve and following it to the other side of it, being now a dirt track.
The dirt track runs without the protection of the forest allowing us to contemplate the landscape that surrounds us, including our next objective and above it stands a path that ascends straight to the mountain and that makes us wish that our itinerary does not run through it, giving the impression of having a steep slope.
With the image of this track the path leads us to Lintzoáin (3h 15min) to travel until you reach the fronton where it turns left.
Leaving the fronton behind us, the street where the path passes reaches a kind of square where on our right begins the one that takes us to the imposing ramp that we saw before and where the path continues.
Little by little the road is leaving Lintzoáin and it is gaining inclination, the impression that it caused us from a distance is half confirmed, since although its slope is important and we must take it easy, it is not as hard as it seemed.
This hard ramp after softening its inclination arrives at a track that crosses it, some meters to the left by this track, leaving to the right an agricultural pavilion, we see a way that continues in the same direction that we brought and where we must follow.
A few steps along this path, the route deviates by a cement path that begins to the right of it, its good condition and gentle slope disappear quickly giving way to a path of decomposed rocks that, facing a significant slope, will accompany us to the top of this hill, where the relative comfort of the journey returns.
This second part of the long ascent to Alto de Erro alternates zones that allow us to recover the forces with steep slopes that quickly gain height, crossing with some itinerary of the network of Navarros Paths.
The path enjoys much of the freshness of the forest to reach its highest point where it leaves it and some antennas confirm the proximity of Alto de Erro.
This open area is a consequence of the electrical system that runs through it, marking the direction of the high point that we reach after descending for a short stretch in not very good condition and crossing once again the national one.
At Alto de Erro (4h 50min) the route begins the descent towards Zubiri, initially gentle, along a path that goes back into the forest leaving on the left a track that follows the hill.
Shortly after we cross another door that prevents vehicles from entering and we reach the ruins of what was once an inn for pilgrims.
From this place the path becomes a kind of ravine where it descends, passing areas in quite poor condition with slabs and loose stone, in addition to its relative slope that force us to take extreme precautions to avoid possible falls.
In the rainy season, the water flows through this trail looking for the artificial drains that the ravine has, but even so we can find it very waterlogged and muddy, thus increasing the difficulty of transiting through it.
Once the quick descent is over, the itinerary becomes a comfortable path that runs for the last few metres until it reaches the outskirts of the town, leaving the street in front of us where we will continue tomorrow, the path crosses the medieval bridge to reach Zubiri (5h 35min), where this stage ends.
Our end point in Zubiri will affect this figure.
It is the time, without stops, that will take us to carry out this stage, as long as we do not find the muddy or flooded paths since it is an area where the rains are habitual and this complicates the descent by the trails that becomes water canyons in certain places.
The scenery is spectacular throughout the year, giving us specific characteristics in eac:period. In winter it is very common to find some totally snow-covered stretches, making orientation difficult, and in summer the large shady areas throug:whic:the road passes give us enoug:freshness to face the clear stretches.
Footwear and hiking clothes according to the time of year and weather conditions, warm clothing and rain, equipped backpack, canes, water bottle and food. Recommended boots, in addition to the camera, sunglasses and sunscreen. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
Althoug:in the stage we descend from the mountains to the valley, the route is a leg-breaker for its constant rise and fall, wit:some ramp important enoug:to take it calmly. The descents are also demanding, especially the last, wit:a steep slope at some point and very decomposed trails, whic:will force us to make an extra effort.
They begin the, unfortunately very habitual, crossings wit:the highways that althoug:indicated, do not cease to be highly dangerous. The strong descents by bad ground require of our attention to avoid falls and more habitual scares of whic:it would be expected. Some descents are conditioned wit:stone slabs in the form of steps, whic:althoug:initially do not usually skate whenever we are wet, they do invite us to avoid them and descend the mini paths that pilgrims have been forming on their sides to avoid these unreliable steps. We must inform ourselves in periods of strong rains or snowfalls since the footpaths can become torrents of water, or the way to become impracticable, we must not forget that althoug:they are not great mountains in height if we are in the middle of the Pyrenees.
Very well signposted and defined, coinciding wit:the signposting of the GR most present in some moments, the road does not have great complications. In wooded areas, some signs are covered by vegetation but the predominant route of the Way is clearly visible. At the top of Mezkiritz begins in the same place, after crossing the national, the pat:on the left descends towards Bizkarreta/Gerendiain and the pat:of the trail that leads to the Errebelu heights.
|1-Orreaga-Roncesvalles||0:00h||969m||0Km||30T 636941 4763173|
|2-Auritz-Burguete||0:30h||890m||3Km||30T 635670 4760968|
|3-Aurizberri-Espinal||1:20h||870m||6.6Km||30T 632830 4759821|
|4-Alto de Mezkiritz||2:00h||924m||8.3Km||30T 631548 4759844|
|5-Biskarreta-Gerendiain||2:45h||783m||11.6Km||30T 629048 4758456|
|6-Lintzoain||3:15h||736m||13.5Km||30T 627408 4757818|
|7-Alto de Erro||4:50h||803m||18Km||30T 624785 4755463|
|8-Zubiri||5:35h||535m||21.7Km||30T 622021 4754162|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketc:of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.
This schematic wit:the pat:is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base. © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrantes 091 y 116, 1:50.000".
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems wit:the reception of the GPS signal. In any case the tracks are always approximate. SENDITUR encourages you to use the new technologies within your reach, using them as support and consultation in your activity, not basing the realization and orientation of the same only and exclusively on them, since they may see their functioning altered by very diverse causes, not functioning correctly and their indications may not be precise.
Que recorrido más bonito y lo que queda todavía!!!
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¿Did you know that...
Charlemagne, regretting the distraction that cost his nephew Roland his life in battle, decided to walk the Way of St. James to ask the Saint for forgiveness. From Roncesvalles he travelled the entire north of the peninsula, climbing mountains, crossing rivers, walking through ravines and enduring the inclemency of the weather. Charlemagne carried a parchment with him where, every night, he wrote down the sins he remembered in order to confess them to the Saint and beg his forgiveness. According to legend, when Charlemagne arrived at the Apostle's tomb and took out his parchment, there was nothing written on it. This was a sign that the Apostle Saint James had forgiven him for the sacrifice he had made and the beginning of the popular belief that the pilgrim is forgiven for his sins after the pilgrimage to Santiago.
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The Blessing of the Pilgrim, which takes place every evening of the year in the last mass of the day that is given in the church of the collegiate church of Santa Maria de Roncesvalles.
From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go.
Besides sharing with all of us your experience on the route we would be grateful if you could write to us to inform us of any erroneous or outdated information you may have found, or simply to let us know what you think at Thank you.
This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 12-09-2018. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.
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