The Najerilla valley gives way to the Oja valley in the region of La Rioja Alta, bordered by the Sierra de La Demanda to the south and to the north by the Toloño hills. The route of the Way of Saint James goes from the lands of wine to the lands of cereals, from the reddish fields to the brown and limestone fields, forming a large mosaic full of different colours depending on the time of year.
Little by little the great valley of the Ebro is abandoned to go gaining height in search of the Castilian plateau. Nájera is the starting point of this stage 8 Nájera-Santo Domingo de la Calzada del Camino Francés with 21 km. Leaving behind the city, we climb the hill between Pico Malpica and Cerro del Castillo, in search of the path that first through a forest, and then between vineyards will lead us, not without first traveling partly by road, to the nearby town of Azofra. The route lets us enjoy the magnificent view that the Sierra de La Demanda offers us. In this first part, the route has already shown us its continuous undulation, a rise and fall that will accompany us to our destination.
After crossing Azofra, our walk passes in front of the Virgen de Valvanera park, where it continues along the road to leave the Romeros fountain on the right and continue along the track that, in little more than 1 km, passes by a 16th-century Picota or Rollo Judicial. Column where the prisoners were exposed or executed in order to persuade future delinquents. The French Way begins a gentle descent and, after continuing a stretch next to the dual carriageway, cross the road to Alesanco and Cañas. Let us intuit, to our right, the figure of a Guardaviñas, to whom we can deviate to visit it. In front of us the most demanding ascent of the day will lead us to the rest area of Cirueña, just before the golf course. Almost without realizing it, at each step that we have taken the vineyards have been giving its protagonism and the cereal crops have taken over the fields changing the landscape completely, cereal fields that accompany us from now on until practically León.
The route borders, leaving to our left the town of Ciriñuela, the entire golf course and the urbanization created around it, which displaced the original layout of the French Way, obtaining as the only compensation the possibility of taking advantage of the existing fountain in a public park of the urbanization. This new urbanized area reaches the vicinity of Cirueña. A town that passes almost by the Barrio Bajero. We will descend by the road a few meters to border, by an andadero, the roundabout dedicated to the pilgrims, and to continue by the track of earth that goes up and down between the cereal fields. Having as reference the tower of the Cathedral we will arrive first between warehouses of potatoes and later through the streets the locality, to the monumental and historical environment of Santo Domingo de la Calzada, destination of this stage.
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At the entrance of Viana instead of entering it we can continue along the road and Solona Street, bordering the town until the meeting of the school, where we continue along the path, thus saving 1.5 km approximately. Although the visit to Viana is highly advisable for its beauty and history.
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Relatively short stage but with a small road to reach Azofra.
There are no intermediate water points between towns which, although they are not too far apart, on hot days there is no shaded area. Only a few streams of difficult access in the longest stretch between Azofra and Cirueña.
A livestock shortly after the exit from Nájera, agricultural pavilions at the entrance and exit of Azofra with some loose dog and pets in the urbanization of the Cirueña golf course and at the entrance of St º Domingo de la Calzada, is usually the most we can find.
|Stº Domingo de la Calzada|
The situation of the beginning of the stage allows to leave Nájera (0h 00min) with certain speed, the Hórreo street ends directly in the back part of the Monastery of Santa María la Real de Nájera, place where begins the ascent by the Costanilla street that will take us to say goodbye to the locality.
Following the path that goes up through the pine forest until reaching the end of this steep slope, the itinerary then begins a gentle descent to a farm that we will leave on our left to cross the stream of Pozuelos or Valdecañas, begin another easy climb, a constant slide that will accompany us almost the entire stage.
The Way continues guarded by vineyards to the encounter of an old track, now converted into a road, which following it, on the left, will lead us to the gates of the next town on the route.
We cross the long main street that crosses Azofra (1h 25min) being the way of the right, of the two possibilities that we find to the entrance of the population, if we choose the street of the left, it is taken to us to pass next to the church of Our Lady of the Angels, for bordering it to cross the square of the city council and to unite us with the main street.
At Azofra turn right, following the pavement that borders the road, which ends the Calle Mayor, until shortly after reaching the height of a pedestrian crossing, which makes it easier for us to cross this road, to continue along the asphalted track that begins next to some agricultural pavilions.
The track, in quite good condition, passes next to a Picota or Rollo Judicial and continuing, among fewer and fewer vineyards, overcomes the small high of the Picota to descend to the meeting of the A-12 motorway and continue next to it. Protected by the Las Ventas stream for a long distance until, after crossing the Alesanco road, we continue along the path on the right that separates us from the bustling dual carriageway.
This part of the road, much more comfortable, allows us to prepare for the hard steepness that awaits us on the horizon, after overcoming this slope, the Cirueña Rest Area awaits us (3h 00min), which will allow us to catch our breath.
The dirt track runs parallel to the golf course to reach the urbanization built around it, and continue along the main street Avda. de La Rioja, passing by a small public park where we can replenish the water reserves. Continue until you reach the end of the buildings, where we turn left, to climb the street that surrounds them, after crossing another street we turn right on the second.
This street takes us to Barrio Bajero de Cirueña (3h 30min), where shortly before reaching the road to Stº Domingo, a street on our right will avoid us part of the short journey that we must make on the road.
Just before arriving at a roundabout we will cross the road and continue along the path that borders this roundabout on its left, helping us to avoid it, leaving us right at the beginning of the dirt road that will guide us to our next destination.
In this part of the route the constant undulation of the terrain is more evident, leaving a good number of tracks to the right and left. It is a good, firm path, although the last descent due to its slope, its views and the worst state of the terrain, obliges us to be attentive in order to avoid injuries.
The itinerary, after going through the back of the typical potato warehouses in the area, meets Torrecilla Avenue, turning left and following this Avenue, enters the town through its industrial area to join it in a roundabout with the Logroño road, cross it and pass by the red cross post and continue along Doce de Mayo Street.
At the end of this street going straight on we will enter the Calle Mayor which runs through the historic centre of Santo Domingo de la Calzada (5h 00min), the end point of this stage.
Total distance. 21 Km
Total time. 5h 00 min
This is what the route takes us to do, without taking into account the additional time involved in assuming the extra distance of the visit to the Guardaviñas located after crossing the Alesanco road.
Time of year. Any time
In summer the area registers high temperatures, without shady areas forces us to be attentive to the water we carry, especially in the longest stretch from Azofra to Cirueña. In winter the low temperatures make the first hours of the morning a spectacle of frozen fields, full of mists and dew. In rainy seasons, given the special characteristics of the terrain in the first half of the journey can suppose we find the road quite muddy.
Required equipment. Specific for hiking
Clothes and sports footwear according to the time of the year and to the meteorology, backpack, canteen and canes. The good condition of most of the route allows the stage to be carried out with the most comfortable footwear, except during rainy periods. Consult our list of material and equipment to make the Way. Read more
Slope acumulate. 685 m Slope positive. 419 m Slope negative. 266 m
A constant undulation of the terrain is the habitual tonic of the stage, the first ramp as soon as leaving Nájera together with the demanding and spread out steep slope before the Cirueña golf course are the major difficulties that we will have to face.
Unfortunately, the Way travels to reach Azofra 1.8 km by an old road, now converted into a road, access to the locality with more traffic than desired, where we will have to take extreme precautions. In addition we will have to cross several local roads, for places with relatively good visibility.
As for the rest, the route runs along roads in good condition, in some asphalted areas and with good signposting, except around the urbanisation of the golf course, where, although not very complicated, they are less visible.
|1-Nájera||0h 00min||487 m||0 Km||30T 521877 4695870|
|2-Azofra||1h 25min||548 m||5,8 Km||30T 516396 4696884|
|3-Cirueña Rest Area||3h 00min||698 m||13,2 Km||30T 509949 4696697|
|4-Cirueña||3h 30min||743 m||15,1 Km||30T 508550 4695619|
|5-Santo Domingo de la Calzada||5h 00min||640 m||21 Km||30T 503804 4698727|
Coordinates UTM Datum WGS84
This sketch 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 with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrantes 203 y 204, 1:50.000".
Senditur has manipulated the tracks to correct the aberrant points that may exist, caused by problems with 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.
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Either from Nájera or from Azofra, we have the advisable possibility of undertaking a signposted variant, which will take us to visit the Cistercian monastery of Santa María de Cañas in the locality of Cañas and the monasteries of Suso and Yuso in the locality of San Millán de la Cogolla, cradle of Castilian with its Glosas Emilianenses.
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The stone of the Cathedral of Cologne (Germany) that counts the parish hostel of Azofra placed in one of the angles of its facade.
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This route has been carried out in the field by SENDITUR on 16-09-2018. 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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