How to get to Roncesvalles
There are many pilgrims who contact us to ask us how to get to Roncesvalles, from Pamplona or other cities, and where to sleep. As we mentioned in the article we dedicated to the first stage of the Camino Frances, given its toughness, many people prefer to start their pilgrimage from Roncesvalles.
That is why in Santiago Ways we have decided to develop this small guide about Roncesvalles. In it, we explain how to get to the small town, where to sleep and what to see in Roncesvalles.
If you want to do the Camino de Santiago from Roncesvalles organized by a specialized company, we can help you. Tell us more details about the adventure you would like to have and leave the rest in our hands.
To get to Roncesvalles, the easiest thing is to get to Pamplona and from there take one of the transport options that connect the capital of Navarra with the small town. Here’s how to get to Pamplona from the main Spanish cities.
How to get to Pamplona in order to go to Roncesvalles
To go to Pamplona, and then head to Roncesvalles, you have many options. You can take a plane, a bus, a train or use a private vehicle, it all depends on your place of departure and the time you have to get there.
The fastest option, but also the most expensive, is to go by plane. From the airport you will have to take a taxi to go to the centre of Pamplona, if you want to take a public transport to Roncesvalles.
The airport is located about 6 kilometres from the city, and the taxi ride costs between 15 and 18 euros. Another option, if you have little time, is to take, directly, a taxi from Pamplona Airport to Roncesvalles.
From Madrid, there are several direct connections per day, with the Iberia airline. The journey takes approximately one hour and prices can vary between 60 and 250 euros, depending on the time of year. Other carriers also offer flights, but with stopovers.
If you come from any other Spanish capital and want to go to Pamplona, to get to Roncesvalles from there, you will hardly find any direct flights. Most connections are offered by Iberia, with stopovers in Madrid.
Seasonal flights are sometimes offered that connect the main Spanish cities with Pamplona. However, the price of these flights is usually quite high.
Another option is to reach Pamplona by train. From Madrid, there are three departures a day and the trip takes approximately 3 and a half hours. From Barcelona, you will also find three daily connections and the journey takes 4 hours.
In both cities, if you come from an international flight you will find metro and train options to get from the airport to the train station. It’s not the fastest option, but it’s cheaper than the plane.
The simplest and most economical way, if you have time, to go to Pamplona, and then get to Roncesvalles, is to take the bus. We say this because the connection between Pamplona and Roncesvalles is made by bus and you will not have to make an intermediate transfer.
From the centre of Madrid or from Barajas Airport you will find buses to Pamplona. The journey takes approximately 5 hours.
From Barcelona, the tour is shorter and takes only four hours. However, they only leave from the city centre.
How to go from Pamplona to Roncesvalles
To go from Pamplona to Roncesvalles you have two options; take the bus that departs from Pamplona station or a private vehicle. Here are both options.
Bus to Roncesvalles
The bus line connecting Pamplona with Roncesvalles has only one departure per day. Its schedule changes it according to the time of year, therefore we recommend that you check the timetable in this link.
If you are going to do the Camino de Santiago by bike and want to take it from Pamplona to Roncesvalles by bus, you will not have any problem. Paying an extra for it you can store it on the bus and arrive in Roncesvalles with it.
Going from Pamplona to Roncesvalles by private vehicle
If you prefer to travel by private vehicle, going from Pamplona to Roncesvalles, you have several options. One is to take a taxi, the other is to use one of the private transport services like Uber, etc.
However, you should know that if you contract the organization of the Camino de Santiago with a specialized agency, like us, we can manage your transfer from Pamplona to Roncesvalles. If you are interested in this option, we recommend that you consult this article in which we explain what it involves doing the Camino de Santiago with an agency. You can also call us or contact us on Facebook and our team will give you all the details.
Where to sleep in Roncesvalles when you arrive
Now that we have made it clear how to get to Pamplona and how to go from there to Roncesvalles, it is time to take care of where to stay on the Camino de Santiago the first night. That night is very important because the next day the adventure begins, and it is important that you rest well, if your nerves and emotions let you.
In Roncesvalles, you will find various types of accommodation to sleep in, both hostels and hotels. In fact, taking into account how small the place is, Roncesvalles has a solid offer of quality hotel services.
This shelter in Roncesvalles dates back to the Middle Ages, although it is now much renovated. The first pilgrims to arrive in Roncesvalles, can be accommodated in the main building, where the facilities are of quite quality. The rest will be forced to occupy some of the 200 bunk beds in the metal barracks buildings that they have installed in the gardens.
Roncesvalles also has other options to sleep in. In its centre you will find a hotel, two hostels and various apartments. If you do the Camino Frances in high season (July or August) we recommend that you book in advance because places are reserved very quickly.
What to see in Roncesvalles
It is worth getting to Roncesvalles with time to visit the town. If you don’t have time in the afternoon, book some time the next morning to visit the village before starting the Roncesvalles-Zubiri stage. Here are some places you can visit during your stay in Roncesvalles.
Colegiata de Santa Maria
The Colegiata de Santa Maria Church dates back to the 12th century, but was heavily renovated in the 17th century. It is a Gothic-style temple.
If you have the opportunity, we recommend visiting its interior. The church has rosettes that provide beautiful light inside the temple.
Entrance to the church is free. Its doors are open from 9.00 to 20:30 hours.
Portal de peregrinos
Next to the façade of the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria is the Pilgrim’s Portal. The half-point arch dates back to the 19th century.
The Chapel of Santiago
The small Chapel of Santiago was built in the 13th century. For many years it was abandoned, and in the 20th century had to be restored. The temple features both Romanesque and Gothic elements.
Inside the temple you can see the sculpture of Santiago the Apostle. If you wish, you can join one of the guided tours of the chapel.
Silo de Carlomagno
It is thought that this silo is the burial place of Charlemagne and Roldan. It is also known that, during the Middle Ages, it was used to give burial to pilgrims, since bones from various eras have been found here.
If you want to visit its interior, you can arrange the guided tour that includes the Silo de Carlomagno, the Chapel of Santiago and the Museo-Tesoro. The duration of the tour is 45 minutes.
The Treasure-Museum was a canon’s residence. Inside, it houses a collection of jewellery, paintings, books and sculptures.
What to eat when you arrive in Roncesvalles
We do not want to say goodbye without first giving you some recommendations so that you can enjoy the gastronomy in Roncesvalles, during the night you spend in the town. Here are some regional dishes:
- Idiazabal , Roncal or Ossau Iraty cheeses
- Trout stuffed with ham
- Stews cooked in clay casseroles
- Txantxigorri cakes
- Navarre wine, Pacharan and cider.
We hope you found this guide to Roncesvalles helpful, in which we explain how to get to the small town from Pamplona, where to sleep and what to do. Remember that if you want to have the support of an agency specialized in the Camino de Santiago, in Santiago Ways we will be happy to assist you.