Burgos at the Start of San Olav Way

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With such a long history it should come as no surprise that the fiestas and festivals celebrated in Burgos range from solemn to spectacular. Among the more notable celebrations are the processions of Semana Santa (Holy Week), Corpus Christi (a moveable feast, celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which depends on Pentecost Sunday, which of course depends on Easter Sunday… the place to be is at the Monastery of Las Huelgas), and the festival of San Pedro and San Pablo (known together as Sampedros) in June.

Additionally, there are a number of more archaic events, some Moorish in origin and others pagan, that take place throughout the year. Burgos is a lively city.


Burgos was originally founded at the end of the 9th century in a bid to repopulate these northern plains.  From the expulsions of the Muslims (around the end of the 11th century) it quickly became one of Castilla’s most important city. It was here that the Catholic Kings Isabel and Ferdinand welcomed home Christopher Columbus after his second voyage to the new world, and it was here where General Francisco Franco was publicly proclaimed as Generalísimo in 1936 and which would serve as the dictators base of operations until the end of the civil war.

Set along the wonderful río Arlanzon, the city was built with massive walls and even more massive gates. In spite of this, the territory of Burgos (but more to the point Castilla) was widely disputed. The seed for much of the fighting was the will of King Fernando-I, who although wise enough to rule over the northern regions, was not too clever in managing his estate. He chose to divide the north into three regions upon his death, with each region going to a different heir.

Alfonso VI received León, García received Galicia, Sancho II received Castilla, and his daughter Urraca received the city of Zamora.

More land disputes followed and in the end it was Alfonso that reigned over the whole territory and was crowned the emperor of the Iberian Peninsula. This was at the end of 11th century, and the wealth collected by Alfonso from tariffs throughout the peninsula was transformed into palaces and a Cathedral, catapulting Burgos into prosperity.

Burgos is also the home of El Cid, a fierce warrior, and cunning politician. He was banished from the city by King Alfonso for having forced him to take an oath attesting to his innocence in the death of his brother Sancho. El Cid would eventually turn down an invitation to return and fight for Alfonso, and instead traveled east to Valencia where he maneuvered himself into a kingdom of his own. He is now buried in the Cathedral.

The Road:

The way out of Burgos is waymarked along the Calle del Carmen: take right after the bridge and follow Calle del Carmen to the left; but I followed the Calle Madrid, which is simpler: When you have crossed the bridge, the Calle Madrid is straight ahead.

The Burgos bus station is in the building to the left. Follow the Calle Madrid straight on. This guide describes the route via Calle Madrid.

When you arrive at a large roundabout, take the right hand street, to the right of the the red building. After a short walk you will pass a small park to your left. Just go straight on. Soon you will find the first waymarker of San Olav. From this point, the way is well marked to Los Ausines (see details later). As you walk on out of Burgos, you will have a trafficked road out to your left (the BU-800). After a few 100 m. you will find the first marker of San Olav.

After the exit from Burgos, this is an easy walk on a plain stretch. Shortly after the namesign of Cardenadijo, you come to a small crossing. If you want a rest, take to the left and then take the first street to right to get to the only bar/cantina.

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Accommodation in Burgos at the Start of San Olav Way