After visiting the emblematic city of Logroño, it is time to continue on the Camino de Santiago. If you have taken a few days to visit the city, you will find yourself full of energy and eager to get back on the Camino.
For those of us who have been travelling on the Jacobean route for several days, today we will be joined by people departing from Logroño. One of the favourite Spanish cities for starting the Camino de Santiago.
Passing through the natural environment surrounding the La Granjera dam, we leave Logroño to face a long stage of almost 30 kilometres that runs between vineyards and fruit trees. During the day, we will pass through Navarrete, a town with a long-standing pottery tradition, and we will get to enjoy the magnificent views that the San Antón peak offers us.
For those who find the stage to be excessively long, there is the option to shorten it by staying overnight in Ventosa: a small town that, although not located right on the Jacobean route, is just a stone’s throw away from it thanks to a small detour.
Itinerary Logroño - Najera
The eighth stage on the Camino de Santiago that follows the French route is one of the longest stages. However, the layout of the route has only moderate hills and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes, making it a stage that isn’t very difficult to complete.
Logroño (Km. 0). Beginning of Stage
Practical tips for this section: Our departure from Logroño is long and three hours of walking separates us from the next town, Navarrete. Make sure you have an energising breakfast before leaving the capital of La Rioja. Buen Camino!
To leave Logroño, we will have to walk around the city for the last time. Starting from Ruavieja street which meets up with Barriocepo street, we will access the Plaza de Santiago square, where the church in honour of the saint stands.
We continue on and pass under the Puerta del Camino gateway to reach a circular fountain where we’ll find Marqués de Murrieta street. We walk for a little over one kilometre along sidewalks surrounded by shops to then reach the train tracks. In 300 metres, next to the Nissan dealership, we turn left and enter the San Miguel park.
Through the gardens of the park, we reach the tunnel of the ring road and a “vía verde” walkway that will take us to the Granjera park (km 3.5). We follow the walkway surrounded by cypresses. After passing a playground and a sports area, we reach the Granjera reservoir (km 5.8).
After the dam, we arrive at an environmental classroom and leave the park on a paved road that makes its way through the hills that are full of vineyards. Off to one side, we’ll find a golf detour (km 8), which we leave behind to start a climb that will reward us with a magnificent view: the vineyards, the mass of trees surrounding the reservoir rand the city of Logroño in the background.
From the top (km 9.2), we start the descent to Navarrete, walking alongside a metal fence full of crosses that pilgrims have left there over time. The silhouette of the Osborne bull, which is very common to see in the Spanish landscape, will accompany us on the descent.
Once on flat land, we cross the AP-68 road to reach the ruins of the old pilgrim hospital of San Juan de Arce, founded in 1185. Heading straight, we will reach Navarrete, where we can visit the church of La Asunción.
Navarrete (Km. 12,7)
Practical tips for this section: Navarrete has all kinds of services and amenities. The following section is long and has almost no towns along the way, so we recommend getting a few local Rioja sausages and Camerano cheese that is typical from the region, so you can carry a snack with you in your backpack.
If you’re not planning on passing through Ventosa, where there is a fountain, you must get enough water in Navarrete. Between this town and Nájera, you won’t find any other drinking fountains. Buen Camino!
Next to the church, we continue along Mayor Alta street and Plaza del Arco to then turn left onto Arrabal street and continue straight on San Roque street. Past the cemetery, we take a path that gets very close to private gardens full of vineyards, olive groves and fruit trees.
The path ends next to the Cooperativa Vitivinícola de Sotés, at which point we cross the Sotés road (km 16.1). We take the paved road that goes all the way to the edge of the A-12 motorway. We continue parallel to the road until reaching the turnoff that leads us to Ventosa (km 18.1).
We can continue straight and continue to follow the French Way, or take advantage of this turnoff to visit Ventosa, for which we will have to walk along the clayey path for 1.3 km that will take us to the town. In Ventosa, we can visit the church of San Saturnino and from there continue on the Jacobean trail.
If we decide to take the route that passes through Ventosa, we will reach the LR-341. Here we can see that the Camino de Santiago continues without heading into the town centre. It is our decision whether we want to go there or not.
The Jacobean path continues along the shoulder of the LR-341 and once we reach the Alvia winery, a short stone path takes us to the San Antón peak. From the top we can see the Najerilla valley and Nájera in the distance (km 12.2).
We start the descent and reach the passageway that allows us to cross the N-120 road. We continue on the trail, approaching a telephone repeater that is located on the “Poyo Roldán” hill, which according to legend is where the battle took place between Roldán and the giant Ferragut.
Following the trail, we find a circular structure that was used as a refuge by farmers and was also used by those who watched over the crop fields, hence these types of constructions are called “guardaviñas” (which literally means “vineyard guards”) (km 25).
After an aggregates factory, we cross the Yalde River on a wood and concrete bridge (km 26). We move away from the river bed and after walking for 1.5 kilometres, we will be forced to cross the N-120 road in order to access Nájera.
The next two kilometres before reaching the centre of town run through an urban landscape. We pass by a sports centre and continue along the avenues of Logroño and San Fernando until reaching another bridge, which allows us to cross the Najerilla River.
After crossing the bridge, we turn left and continue parallel to the river to head into the centre of town.
Nájera (Km. 29). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Nájera has a few points of interest, however it is one of those end-of-stage towns that invites us to enjoy a relaxed afternoon, recovering from today’s long journey. See you tomorrow!
Nájera is a quiet but beautiful town where we will find all kinds of services and numerous options for trying the local cuisine. The town invites us to relax and go for short outings during which we can visit: the monastery and church of Santa María la Real, the Alcázar, the chapel of Santa Cruz, the convent of Santa Elena and the historical museum.
For those who still have some energy left in them and would like to extend today’s long stage, they can continue on to Azofra, a quiet and cosy town.
Comments Logroño - Najera
Today’s stage has moderate hills; however, the main difficulty has to do with its length. Therefore, we’re going to need endurance for today and what better for endurance than some good food?
How to get to Logroño
To get to Logroño, you can go by plane, train, bus or private vehicle. The best option will depend on your starting point. You can also fly to Bilbao or Pamplona and from there take another type of transport to Logroño.
If you’d like, you can always contact us and we will take care of all logistical aspects of your trip: transfers, accommodation and guide (optional).
Precautions stage Logroño - Najera
The main difficulty of today’s stage is that it’s very long and there are only a few towns that you’ll encounter along the way. To make sure you successfully complete it, be sure to read our practical tips for each section and to bring enough food and water in your backpack.
Regarding the road crossings, you should pay special attention when crossing the N-120, where there is no pedestrian crossing. The A-12 motorway will unfortunately accompany us for a good part of today’s stage.
For people with reduced mobility, they should follow the N-120 road with great caution from the peak of San Antón. However, depending on each person’s physical condition, the traditional route should not be overly difficult.
Food stage Logroño - Najera
The best thing for long stages is good food, and luckily for us we’re in the right place! The food from the La Rioja region will not disappoint us. Here are the recommendations for today:
Pocha white beans with quail eggs
Lamb chops grilled over old vines for firewood
La Rioja snails
What to do stage Logroño - Najera
Given the few towns that we’ll cross in today’s stage, we won’t find many churches or places of historical/cultural interest. However, Navarrete, Ventosa and Nájera offer us several interesting places to visit.
Navarrete is located on the top of Mount Tedeón. The medieval town is known for its pottery and ceramic workshops. And although part of the production currently takes place in factories, the town’s history is closely tied to this tradition and there are many artisan workshops that still exist today.
The town was the scene of multiple battles between Castile and Navarre. Alfonso VIII granted it the Charter in 1185. In the town, you can visit the San Juan de Acre pilgrim church/hospital, which was founded in 1185 by María Ramírez, of which only the structure of its floor plan remains. You can also visit the church of La Asunción and the hermitage of La Virgen del Niño Jesús.
As for the urban architecture, the construction technique used to build the oldest homes in the town is worth pointing out, which combines the use of blocks of stone on the lower floor with brick on the upper part.
Church of la Asunción
The church of La Asunción is located in Navarrete. It is a temple in a Renaissance style and it took almost a century to build, from the year 1553 until 1645.
Ongoing budgetary problems and successive changes in the management of the construction work explain this slowness. Among the master builders who were in charge of the construction, we can highlight Juan Pérez de Solarte, master builder of the emblematic Burgos Cathedral and who is also responsible for various architectural proposals that were pioneers in the La Rioja region at the time.
However, the real appeal of the church of La Asunción is inside, and is the main altarpiece, the work of Fernando de la Peña, which was built between 1694 and 1698. In 1713, it was restored by José de San Juan y Martín. Today it is considered to be the most spectacular Baroque altarpiece in all of La Rioja due to its grandeur and the intricately detailed ornamentation.
The altarpiece is huge and stands out with its gleaming gold colour, which was recently restored. The ornamentation is formed by reliefs and polychrome figures in different styles. Some are reused Romanist images and others are sculptures by Andrés del Monasterio and Juan Francisco de Peralta. The centre of the altarpiece is occupied by a carving of the Virgen Mary.
Inside, the side chapels also stand out, formed with Corinthian-style columns and semi-dome and barrel vaults. The entire structure is made of ashlar masonry.
The town of Ventosa has roughly ten square kilometres and approximately 175 inhabitants. The first written record regarding the origin of this town dates back to the 11th century, when the king of Nájera, Sancho III the Great, ceded the town of Ventosa to the monastery of San Milán, in 1020.
The town is located in between the fertile valleys of the Iregua and Najerilla rivers, surrounded by landscapes with varying profiles. The area surrounding this small town is dominated by vineyards, grain crops and orchards, in addition to scrubland and a pine forest.
Church of San Saturnino
The church of San Saturnino is located in Ventosa and dates back to the 16th century. The building is made of ashlar masonry and, from the original structure, the Gothic style portal has been preserved with animal and plant decoration.
The square tower has been attached to the façade and was added in the 17th century.
Inside the church, a tribune can be seen in the background, held in place by a segmental arch and covered with a ribbed vault. Another interesting element is the main altarpiece with images of Saint Saturnine, the Virgin Mary and the Holy Trinity.
Hours: Open every day. From Monday to Friday (from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, and from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm), Saturdays and Sundays (from 10:00 am to 1:30 pm, and from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm).
This municipality covers 38 square kilometres and has a little over 8,000 inhabitants. The name of the town is inherited from Muslim culture (Náxara), which means “place between rocks” or “place at noon”.
King Sancho III granted it the charter in the 11th century, being one of the first charters in Spain. Much of Spanish law is derived from this charter. The acquisition of the charter and the king’s decision to have the Camino de Santiago pass through this town contributed significantly to the development of its economy.
The city is organised around the monastery and the emblematic church of Santa María la Real. In the town you can visit: the Alcázar, the chapel of Santa Cruz, the convent of Santa Elena and the historical museum.
Monastery or Church of Santa María la Real
The monastery of Santa María la Real in Nájera is one of the most representative religious buildings in the autonomous community of La Rioja. Located on the Camino de Santiago, the temple was the pantheon for the kings of Navarre.
According to a legend on how it was founded, during a hunting outing, the king went after an animal all the way to a cave where the Virgin Mary appeared with a vase of lilies, a lamp and a bell.
Later on, the monarch reconquered the town of Calahorra from the Muslims and ordered the construction of the monastery to Santa María la Real as a result of her having helped him.
The church of the monastery was founded in 1052 by Don García who used it as a family pantheon. The narrow temple is formed by three naves dating back to the 15th century that present a Gothic architectural style. Inside, it houses a beautiful choir from the 16th century and several tombs of the kings of Navarre, Castile and León, as well as the tomb of the founder of Bilbao, Diego López de Haro.
The Cloister of the Knights has a Plateresque style and is composed of impressive stone latticework.
Alcázar de Nájera
The Alcázar de Nájera stands on the hillside between the town of Nájera and the castle of La Mota. The construction straddles the north and east sides of the hillside, formerly used as a threshing floor.
The origin of the Alcázar is Muslim and the structure was built on the ruins of late Roman and prehistoric settlements. During the Middle Ages, the structure was in full splendour. During the 15th and 16th century, the Manrique family of Lara remodelled the structure, with the medieval compound giving way to a Renaissance palace.
In 1520, it was assaulted by the Comuneros who devastated the city. At the end of the 16th century, the Alcázar ceased to be the residence of the Dukes of Nájera and the palace gradually began to deteriorate. In 1659 it was declared to be in ruins.
In 1822, the Duke yielded the use of the lands to one of the residents of Nájera and little by little the lands were turned into threshing floors. In the 20th century, a varied collection of archaeological remains was found on the hillside of the Alcázar, which seemed to indicate that a luxury palace once existed here.
In 2002, archaeological excavations were initiated by the town council, with economic backing from the province of La Rioja.
Convent of Santa Elena
The convent of Santa Elena is in Nájera, on the Camino de Santiago. It was founded in the mid-16th century by Aldonza de Manrique de Lara, a descendant of the Dukes of Nájera. This building is made of ashlar, brick and stone masonry. It is currently home to the Congregation of the Franciscan Poor Clares.
The church dates back to the 17th century and is the work of Pedro Ezquerra de Rozas and José de la Puente Liermo. It has a structure in the form of a Latin cross and its nave is divided into four sections. The transept and chevet have a rectangular structure.
The chevet has Tuscan-style columns, ending in semicircular arches that form a barrel vault. The transept is protected by a dome supported by pendentives decorated with polychrome, from the 17th century.
Inside, we can highlight the main altarpiece, the image of Santa Elena, as well as a series of Baroque altarpieces.
Hours: Open every day (from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, and from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm).
Mass hours: Weekdays (7:00 pm) and holidays (10:30 am).
Najerillense Historical Museum
The Najerillense Historical Museum was built in the 18th century. For several years, it was the home of the abbot from the monastery of Santa Maria la Real.
The museum is composed of three rooms that house a permanent exhibition on the archaeology of the Najerilla valley, all the way from prehistory to the modern age.
Hours: From October to June, closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Saturday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm), Sundays and holidays (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm). From July to September it opens every day. From Monday to Saturday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm), on Sundays and holidays (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm).
Royal Chapel of the Santa Cruz
The parish church of Santa Cruz is located in Nájera and dates back to 1052. It was located in a chapel of the monastery of Santa María la Real, until its separation in 1230 by order of Pope Honorius III.
The current temple was built in 1611 and designed by the architect Juan de Raona. During the Civil War, between 1936 and 1939, the chapel suffered serious damage and was later restored in 1940.
The building is made of ashlar masonry and consists of three naves and a hemispherical dome. Inside, it houses several neoclassical altarpieces and various carvings and canvases. It features a Christ in a Gothic style located in the sacristy, dating back to the 13th century.
Mass hours: Mass takes place every day. Weekdays (8:00 pm) and holidays (9:30 am and 1:00 pm).