Following in the footsteps of the old Roman road
Stage 5 Cirauqui-Estella-Los Arcos of the French Way will take us, among vineyards and cereal fields, from the village of Cirauqui-Zirauki to the hole where Estella-Lizarra is located. From there we will gain height again going up between the peak Monjardín and the famous Montejurra, heading for the solitary stretch of tracks between fields that will lead us to Los Arcos, leaving behind us the valley of the Ega. The undulations of the land give the pattern to the changing landscape that alternates the cereal crops with the vineyards and some solitary olive groves, taking advantage to the maximum of the scarce sections in which we can enjoy the pleasant shade that provides the trees that in few places take possession of the land.
The curious portico of the baroque Cirauqui-Zirauki town hall building, where it crosses the path, gives way to the relatively well-preserved Roman road of Iguste, which leads us to the next locality. But first we must cross the ravine that served as a natural defence for the locality by the Roman bridge, which although renovated in the eighteenth century, is still preserved today. A continuous slide will accompany us practically throughout the entire route, forcing us to descend to the Salado River, mentioned in the Codex Calixtino for its "poisonous waters" loaded with salts. River that we will cross thanks to another well cared for medieval bridge, to undertake a hard ramp that will take us up to the hillock where Lorca awaits us 5.5 km. The town welcomes us with its Romanesque church of the Saviour from the 12th century that preserves a baroque image of the pilgrim Santiago. From here and after refreshing ourselves in the fountain of Lorca, we begin a gentle rise and fall that will introduce us to Tierra Estella. Through comfortable agricultural tracks we will reach Villatuerta, cradle of San Veremundo de Irache, patron saint of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago in Navarre. The town is divided into two halves by the river Iranzu, which the Romanesque bridge of the thirteenth century allows us to cross to ascend to the church of the Assumption of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Where the relics of San Veremundo are housed, alternating from lustrum to lustrum with the town of Arellano.
The ascent continues now taking us to pass by the hermitage of San Miguel to begin another quick descent that will bring us closer, after crossing the river Ega by a curious bridge, to Estella-Lizarra, also known as the "Toledo of the North", given its great artistic and historical heritage. In Estella we will be able to enjoy, among others, the church of the Holy Sepulchre of the XIV century, the palace of the Kings of Navarre or the church of San Pedro de la Rúa of the XIII century. After delighting us with such beautiful corners, the Way begins a new ascent that will take us by Ayegui-Aiegi, population nowadays physically united to Estella-Lizarra, up to the Monastery of Irache, of century XI and its source that flows wine. Now it is up to us to decide whether to continue along the variant that takes us to Luquín on the slope of Montejurra and from there to Los Arcos. Or, on the other hand, we follow the traditional route that takes us through a short wooded area to Azqueta, and then passing through a mysterious Gothic cistern of the year 1200, known by the source of the Moors, full of legends and stories of apparitions that supposedly occur in its walls, to reach Villamayor de Monjardín, located on the slope of the peak of the same name and on whose summit the Castle of San Esteban de Deyo watches.
The 12th-century church of San Andrés and its 18th-century tower house a magnificent silver cross, a replica of the one found in the cathedral of the Polish town of Torun. The Way leads us through a long stretch between cereal fields and some vineyards, crossing agricultural tracks in good condition, now with a more favourable and smooth terrain after the descent from Monjardín. The stretch, with very few shaded areas to shelter us, reaches the last locality of the day. Los Arcos welcomes us with a long walk through its streets, enjoying the old and noble houses that form its historic centre, in search of the Calle Mayor and the Plaza de Santa María where this stage ends and in whose place stands the church of the same name, which began to be built in the 12th century.
We can finish the route in Villamayor de Monjardín if we don't have the strength to face the long stretch to Los Arcos. The next stage from Los Arcos to Viana will then be considered.
It is a hard day that runs almost entirely on dirt tracks in good condition or trails with sufficient width. We will be forced to cross the road from time to time and drive along it but protected by the guardarail, just before starting the ascent to Lorca.
With hardly any shaded areas and few water points between towns, it is in the final stretch, the longest and loneliest, where we can not forget to replenish the water in the town of Villamayor de Monjardín before undertaking this part. The easy access to the Salado River should not encourage us to allow it to drink given its high salt content.
As usual at our entrance and exit of the localities we will find agricultural pavilions guarded by guard dogs, being to emphasize the exit of Ázqueta where the dog although tied has the sufficient margin as to arrive until the near way. Also it is in this place where we will be able to find with some cattle.
The way passes through the gate that from the square of the town hall of Cirauqui-Zirauki (0h 00min) gives access to the other side of the town, and at the end of this, turn left.
And quickly turn right again changing the direction of the street and always descending, choosing the option of our left of the streets that go out in front of us, arriving at the outskirts of the town. That is where, on our right, begins the dirt road that will take us to the beginning of the old Roman road that descends towards the remains of the bridge from the same period.
This part of the route, very cobbled, reaches the national road, here we take the dirt road that ascends to the bridge over which we will cross this and the new Way dual carriageway.
At the end of the bridge, the itinerary follows the path on the left that goes up and down the vineyards and the few fields of cereal that resist.
Next to this path there is a narrow path on the right that runs along its edge, where the marks of the Way are located, but in many of its areas is drowned by bushes and plants, finding us continuously steps that communicate with the wide path.
We can therefore choose or alternate between the walkway and the path as we please, except when reaching a small ravine where in rainy seasons the way crosses a stream and the walker crosses it by a bridge, before starting both one of the climbs of the day.
After this slope both continue together passing by some olive trees, vineyards and cereal plantations until the path, converted into a path, crosses the path from side to side and moves away from it on its left, now it is time to follow it since we will avoid the considerable turn without signalling that the wide path draws to reach the same place.
The trail meets the road again and a few meters ahead crosses it and begins a quick descent down a few stairs first and a decomposed trail after which we will cross a small wooden bridge over a stream. Now, on a gentle slope, we continue along a slightly wider path that ends in a fairly good firm track, where we must continue turning left.
This track passes under the dual carriageway, a few metres from our walk along it, and on the other side, again we find the national road that we should not cross, as the path continues along the path that runs along the road to reach a crossroads.
At this point the path turns right following the course of this road, although this time we will have to cross it, as the andadero continues on the opposite side away from the national.
The route, protected by the road's guardrail, passes under the dual carriageway again and, without leaving the side of the road, also passes under a water channel. After leaving behind an esplanade and some old buildings, turn left, saying goodbye to the road and crossing the bridge that crosses the bed of the River Salado. A place where we can recover our strength to undertake the hard ascent that begins then.
The first part of this ascent is made by a cement path that takes us back to cross the dual carriageway through a tunnel, turning, as soon as we leave it, into an asphalt track that we quickly abandon on its left to take up again the ascent along a wide path with quite a good road surface.
This part of the climb is the hardest although it is not too long. After crossing some path that we must avoid and go straight on, we will go straight to the entrance road to Lorca (1h 15min), to which we arrive, walking through it, after passing by its church.
We cross the town by its main street passing by its main square and we begin a small descent that takes us to the encounter of the national one, following by the enabled andadero in its left margin, we begin a laying ascent that finally takes us out of Lorca.
On the first road to our left, begins, somewhat more separated from the national, the path that without losing the same sense of the march continues the ascent of the hill that separates us from the next objective of the day.
This wide path invaded by vegetation at some point ends in a dirt track that comes from the nearby national.
Following this track that quickly recovers the course that we brought parallel to the road, leaving to the left another path that ascends towards the nearby hill, we find the beginning of another path that maintains it, just at the moment when the track turns to the left to move away definitively.
This path, although somewhat further away from the national one, continues to run parallel to it until it is replaced by a wide path. This gently descending path gets closer to the dual carriageway and the road as they have turned their way.
Before we come across them, we leave it by turning left and heading for a tall, lonely tree that protrudes between the cereal fields that wrap everything up again.
Our way now if it crosses under the highway to go towards the urbanization by where we will enter to the following municipality.
As soon as you enter this urbanisation, the road turns left and goes straight on along a wide street until you reach sports halls and a square that you cross diagonally to continue along the street that borders the school that is in that square and that takes you almost straight up to the bridge that separates the new area from the old Villatuerta (2h 20min), which you reach by crossing it.
As soon as you cross this bridge, the path begins a long but steep climb up the street on the left that leads you past the church of Villatuerta.
Continuing along this street, ignoring the different crossroads we find, we say goodbye to the locality just when we reach the height of a road that, thanks to a pedestrian crossing, we cross to continue along the dirt road that goes straight on at the end of the street.
This path continues the gentle ascent until it reaches another crossroads that would take us to the nearby hermitage of San Miguel.
We begin a quick descent, with the Urbasa mountain range on the horizon, which gives us a breath taking us to a lush rest area, where an underground passage makes it easier for us to cross a new road that stands in our way.
The descent continues in search of the river Ega having as reference a typical light house, after leaving it behind cross the river by a curious wooden bridge that takes us to the esplanade of the buildings of the nearby dam.
The path goes straight on passing by an old building, starting a new and gentle climb bordering a small hill, taking us with the Ega to our right and without leaving the main path to the vicinity of a factory and the road that reaches it, where the path continues now in a gentle descent.
This asphalted track goes through the first buildings of the city until reaching the height of a landscaped area, place where we pass next to the beautiful church of the Holy Sepulchre, to cross straight again under the national, leaving to our right the steep Puente Picudo, we enter the street that introduces us in Estella-Lizarra (3h 15min).
The almost rectilinear route through Estella-Lizarra takes us to the wide avenue that has become the old national one.
Ascending it, crossing as soon as we can to the margin where the gas stations are and after passing next to the second, we continue for a walk that crosses diagonally a small park moving away from the road in a smooth ascent.
The way goes away from the city passing by the back of some industrial pavilions and after leaving to our right a park to arrive almost without noticing until Ayegui-Aiegi (3h 40min).
The way continues straight through the town leaving a good number of streets on our left until practically, at the end of Ayegui-Aiegi, where a house with a large metal gate and just before reaching a children's playground, the path turns left to begin the descent in search of the road, which we arrive shortly after.
Cross the road by the nearby pedestrian crossing to continue along the path that gradually ascends to the other side towards the Monastery of Irache (3h 55min), passing by the Fuente del Vino (Wine Fountain), this has become a habitual detour since nobody wants to miss these two classic ones of the Way instead of going directly by the right way towards Ázqueta.
The way crosses the road that arrives until the monastery to continue straight for the track of earth that ascends, between buildings first and vineyards later, until arriving at the height of the detour to a new variant. If you go straight on, it will take you to Luquín or you can turn right to continue along the asphalt track that runs next to the border of a group of single-family houses until you come across the national road again. We will cross this road to continue along Prado de Irache Avenue, which crosses this hotel and sports area of Irache.
The straight street ends in a dirt track that keeps the orientation escorted by the impressive walls of the mountain range of Urbasa that to our right contemplate us. Shortly after starting, the way passes under a road to enter a forest where we can also admire some oak.
We leave behind some track with which we cross following straight until arriving at a road that we have to cross to continue the way next to an old water deposit.
The itinerary now borders the limits of the forest that lead to the encounter of a dirt track that arrives from the nearby national and where, turning to the right, continues our run for a little later it found another one that turning to the left takes us now in ascent between estates and orchards towards the next town.
The dirt track ends at the entrance road to Azqueta (5h 15min), which we reach by following on the right ascending the last meters that separate us from the town square.
The way crosses Azqueta following the course of the road for after a short descent to find again with the national one and in that point to continue by the way that begins to his right that after passing next to some agricultural pavilions turns radically to the left to begin the ascent that by the skirt of the mountain with the castle of Monjardín observing us, took us until the following locality of the day.
After going straight on, leaving a path on our right, the most demanding part of the climb begins. After softening, it gives us the opportunity to refresh ourselves in the medieval cistern that we pass shortly before reaching Villamayor of Monjardín (5h 45min), which we reach after the path ends on the road that climbs from the national road to the village and continues along the latter for the few metres we still have to reach.
We cross Villamayor of Monjardín by the straight street that takes us to pass next to the church and then we turn aside by the first street that to our left takes us out of the population descending softly bordering the stone wall of a house.
The way, to the few steps, leaves this street that continues towards the road and turns to the right following for a cement track that moves away from the locality, to leave it also shortly after, in full curve, following for a wide path with quite good firm that continues between the cereal and the vineyards.
This trail ends at a dirt track that comes to us from the nearby road. The path then turns to the right to follow the course of this track that, lined with trees in its first meters and between vineyards or cereal farms later, will accompany us a few kilometers. We advance leaving to the left and right how many detours we find, also we must cross a couple of roads.
After a gentle descent, upon reaching a kind of valley that crosses our path, we find a track, which on our right follows the direction of this valley, shortly before ours is forced to do the same, as some hills cut its rectilinear course, and where we must continue.
We will meet her again a little later, and after a short time turn sharply to the left and leave her definitively continuing along the track that brings us closer to the slopes of the hills that flank us, to recover the course we took when we reached her height.
This wide dirt track continues at the foot of the mountain and after finding a couple more tracks that join it on its right, we reach the height of a path, almost at the end of this mountain range, which on its left, brings us closer to the foothills of the hills.
This way that little by little becomes wide path returns us to the main track shortening us the way, for a few steps more ahead to leave in the same place a pair of ways to our left beginning a smooth ascent to a hill.
This part of the route is practically straight, ignoring the paths we come across, and takes us down a descent to the vicinity of the last village of the stage after leaving behind us some agricultural pavilions, at which point we have to follow the street to the left of the two that in front of us are offered to us separated by a white building.
Continuing along this street with the cement pavement to arrive without turning off at any time, until a small square with porticos, where the path turns right to continue along this new street that leads to the Plaza de Santa Maria in Los Arcos (8h 20min), where this stage ends.
This figure will change, or not, depending on the path we follow from Irache.
It is the time of this stage, if we choose the variant of Luquin a little shorter we could save about 35 min.
The spectacular nature of the changing landscape that we have been in the last stages and which, depending on the time of year, surprises us wit:very different colours, is enlarged thanks in part to the distance of the journey. We pass from undulating fields to fertile valleys nourished by plentiful rivers, we get closer to singular and historical hills that we previously contemplated in the horizon and all this under the attentive look of the mountain range of Urbasa and its whitis:walls that from shortly before Estella-Lizarra accompanied us until almost the end of the route.
Highly recommended cap, sunscreen and sunglasses, as well as the camera. We can not miss canteen wit:water and food, The equipped backpack, canes and clothes and hiking shoes according to the time of year and weather conditions. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
Slope acumulate. 1373 m Slope positive. 664 m Slope negative. 709m
A demanding stage due to its distance and wit:some hard ramp, suc:as the one that takes us to Lorca, but acceptable for someone accustomed to walking. As for the rest, it is characterised by a continuous uphill and downhill, more pronounced at the beginning of the route and whic:ends after Villamayor of Monjardín, to whic:we arrive after a long and tended ascent from Estella-Lizarra. The relative proximity between the towns means that we can approac:the day in many different ways, the final stretc:being the longest, forcing us to be sure of our reservations to take it on. The heat and the absence of shade can considerably harden the day for what we will have to take them in consideration.
The greatest risks are again the crossings wit:the road near Lorca and past Estella-Lizarra we will have to make. As for the rest, the relatively gentle undulation of the terrain and its good condition does not complicate our walk, only the descent from the hermitage of San Miguel to the river Ega by a more or less steep but wide path, whic:being the only different section of the entire journey may catc:us unprepared giving us some slip. Watc:out for hot days.
Well signposted, it is in the initial part where we will doubt since we can go by the dirt track or by the pat:where the marks are and that opens up throug:the undergrowt:and that runs parallel to the track. Also the variants complicate the stage, there is the possibility of, in Villatuerta, to continue on the left towards Montejurra and to connect wit:the Way in the Monastery of Irache, this option is not very habitual when we lose the step for Estella-Lizarra and everything that it offers us, in addition it is not so well signposted. Another option is in Ayegui/Aiegi taking us along the road towards Ázqueta and denying us the passage throug:the Monastery of Irache. The last option is past Irache and takes us along the slopes of the mountain to Luquín and from there it leads us directly to Los Arcos saving us a few kilometres, althoug:for now it is not usually the most used as pilgrims usually choose the traditional one that passes throug:Ázqueta and Villamayor de Monjardín.
|1-Cirauqui-Zirauki||0:00h||492m||0Km||30T 590860 4725379|
|2-Lorca||1:15h||467m||5.5Km||30T 586428 4725001|
|3-Villatuerta||2:20h||420m||10Km||30T 582617 4723482|
|4-Estella-Lizarra||3:15h||422m||14.1Km||30T 579531 4724553|
|5-Ayegui-Aiegi||3:40h||491m||15.6Km||30T 578802 4723284|
|6-Monasterio de Irache||3:55h||517m||16.7Km||30T 578349 4722419|
|7-Ázqueta||5:15h||580m||21.2Km||30T 574864 4720770|
|8-Villamayor de Monjardín||5:45h||673m||23Km||30T 573478 4719997|
|9-Los Arcos||8:20h||445m||35.1Km||30T 566275 4713287|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
Slope +: 664m
Slope -: 709m
Maximum altitude: 673m
Minimum altitude: 425m
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 140, 172 y 171 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.
Yo hice parada en Estella, me gustó mucho y si vuelvo a ir volveré a hacer lo mismo.
At the bottom of a valley near a river and as horizon the sky
Between the mountains and the Middle Zone of Navarre
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¿Did you know that...
The Monastery of Irache, first reported in 958 as a factory of Santa María de Real, was one of the oldest pilgrim hospitals and later the site of the first university in Navarre to house the Julio Caro Baroja ethnological museum.
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The panoramic view from the top of the pointed Puente Picudo, at the entrance to Estalla-Lizarra, of the latter and of the river Ega as it passes through it.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 15-09-2018. 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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