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Advice requested for solo pilgrim - Somport start

SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Hi all past pilgrims of the Aragonese route
I have the opportunity to take a few weeks off to walk probably starting around 17th Sept. I would really love to walk the aragonese route starting from Somport.
I have a couple of Qs but first some context ....
I have walked a few caminos and often have walked solo (or at least started that way) - specifically the frances and the VDLP from Salamanca. So while I am always a bit nervous in the planning stage, I am quite happy walking alone - plus its nice but not essential to have evening company too.
Having said that I am a bit concerned re walking this route on my own in terms of the route being mountainous and quiet - e.g. risk of injury, risk of getting lost etc
If you have walked this route i would really appreciate any advice in this regard. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?

My other question is has anyone accessed this route from Lourdes? I can fly to Lourdes and it looks like I can get a train to Bedous and then a bus - if anyone has done this journey I would really appreciate any info or feedback.
(I know from other threads that it is possible to take a train from Zaragoza which i would love to visit but in practice means 2 days of travelling before starting to walk).

Many thanks in advance

Siobhán

P.s. apologies in advance for misspellings my laptop autocorrects in strange ways!
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Really good decision to walk the Aragones - I enjoyed it very much.

I started from Somport and found waymarking excellent, so I would not worry too much about getting lost or the terrain being too mountainous. I did not walk to San Juan de Pena though, so I can not comment on this particular stretch.

I travelled by train from Pau to Oloron, stayed there overnight (it is a nice place), took a bus to Somport in the morning and then started walking. Trains and busses went rather frequently, if I remember well. Did you check rome2rio for more details about the bus and train connections ? https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Lourdes/Somport

Of course it is also a possibility to start walking in Oloron (just to give another option....).
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I took a train from Pau and started in Oloron-Ste Marie, that walk is very lonely, it was just me and my thoughts about tumbling off the path into the raging river way below or meeting up with a bear. You should consider starting in Canfranc Estacion instead of Somport so you can see the train station and new albergue. Frankly, I would have preferred to start in Barcelona and walk to Jaca via Zaragosa. I think the advice about walking to San Juan de Pena is more logistical than for safety reasons, it is a long walk up hill and many, many kms from Jaca or Santa Cilia. There are taxi services that can take you there and back from either place and the way they control entry to the cliffside chapel is by "tour" bus from the hotel on top of the hill. I have never seen anyone with a backpack there, so I'm not sure they allow public access other than people on the buses but it is definitely worth the time to visit there.
 

good_old_shoes

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés ('15, '19)
Via Coloniensis ('16)
Trier-Nancy + Le Puy-Fisterra ('17)
Aragonés ('18)
The Aragones is a nice route. You'll most certainly enjoy it if you're fine walking on your own most of the time.

There's not much choice in regard to accomodation, so you probably should check what's open, especially now during Covid times. Some very nice albergues on this path, small and friendly, with a good pilgrim spirit. You'll most likely meet the same few pilgrims each night since there's not much choice where to stay.

I walked it 2018 from Canfranc, late october. First it was warm and sunny, then changed to freezing cold with snowy rain and strong wind quickly. Somport is higher up than the Napoleon route, so be prepared for mountain weather, especially in the beginning!
Apart from that, I don't remember the path from Canfranc to be very demanding or dangerous. But some longer distances without albergues, cafés or bars in between towns. I think on our last day to puente la Reina, we had horizontally pouring cold rain with strong wind all day, and there was nothing open for about 30 or 35km. Only a vending machine in a small shelter, and that was broken. So, be prepared to carry your own snacks and drinks.

I went there via Toulouse and Oloron, by bus, which was easy. Didn't go to San Juan de la Pena, so can't say anything about that.

There's an alternative path at some point going through a canyon (foz de lumbier, I think) that I wanted to take (saw some beautiful photos) but sadly the weather was so bad that some locals advised not to go that way that day. Maybe you'll have more luck.

Since you say you've walked several Caminos before, I'm pretty sure you'll be fine on the Aragones as long as you follow the usual rules for mountain walking and your common sense.

Happy planning and buen Camino!
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I tried the variant from Jaca directly to San Juan de la P -- I think they mean the route through Atarés. When I last did it (in 2005), after about 3km out of Atarés the marked route fades away, and you must use a GPS or very good directional sense for about 5km of rough walking alongside farmed land, then through scrub and rocks-- I would not have said that there was a path unless I entirely missed it. San Juan de la Peña is such an extraordinary site, reaching out of a forested hillside like a Max Parrish painting (although minus the diaphonously clad nymphs), that I wanted to try it again, so checked with the turismo to see if marking had improved. The representative, who had done his military training with the mountain division of the Spanish army and fell in love with Jaca (and a Jacena!), told me that it had not, and indeed had deteriorated. That was over ten years ago, so it would not hurt to check again locally, but I could not honestly advise it unless work had been done.

If you approach San Juan de la Peña from Jaca, my advice would be to take a room in Santa Cruz de los Seros, and then just hoof it up, view the spectacular site, and then return on foot. You will be passed by tour buses full of curious tourists, but I would not worry about them. They offer a lovely sello at the souvenir booth, so it can be said that they are used to pilgrims. The new monastery (17c, I think) has an interpretation centre; there once was a pricey new hotel built into it, but I do not think that it is open any more.

I should also add that I have seen the site between tour groups and it is ethereal and breath-taking when unpopulated.

There is a direct route down a path from the old monastery to Santa Cruz which I tried, but could not complete--- I have a poor head for heights and there was a stretch which approched a technical climb, and I could not do, so I returned back by the road. At least it's downhill.

Returning to the Camino Aragonese from Santa Cruz, you can take a left through a nice little hill village of Binacua (12c church) and join on to the Camino just east of Santa Cilia. Another possibility is to take a taxi, either from Jaca, or from Taxi Santa Cruz, which seems to be located at the Hotel Aragon, just by the turnoff from the Camino Aragonese and the road up to Santa Cruz (I stayed at the Hotel Aragon in 2005 and, while a basic hotel of the 1960s, it was acceptable.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I agree with biarritizdon re San Juan de Pena
I disagree about needing to be in a tour group.

I saw the monasteries on my way to Santa Cilia while walking the Camino Catalan in early November 2019. I came upon the new monastery first (new being 17th century). I bought tickets there for both monasteries. After a quick look in the museum of the new monastery (I was the only one there) I walked to the old monastery. There was a hut across the road where you could get a descriptive handout in various languages and maybe pay for admission. I didn't pay attention because I had already paid. (By the way, at the museum at the new monastery all the signs describing the exhibits were in Spanish only.)

Somehow you MUST see the OLD monastery.

Perhaps your could take a roundtrip tour from Jaca and then continue along the Aragonese. Or get an early trip from Jaca one-way and walk to Santa Cilia or beyond from the monasteries. Weigh a one-way taxi fare against a round trip bus taken one way (be sure to inform the driver).

You are likely to have more transportation options from Jaca than Santa Cilia.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. I
I don't understand why they do that. It's not a particularly arduous day, a little under 30km from Jaca to Santa Cilia vía San Juan de la Peña. Some quite steep rises and descents but, if you've just crossed the Pyrenees, nothing extraordinary.

A short detour from the "new" monastery is the mirador of the Bálcon de los Pirineos, I think the best mountain panorama I've ever seen - much better than the view from the other side at Pau, which Lamartine claims is "la plus belle vue de terre du monde"

DSC_0420.jpg

There was virtually nobody at the old monastery when I got there (c1pm in early October 2019). A wonderful place, well deserving of Unamuno's praise: "En aquel refugio, casi caverna, bajo la pesadumbre visual de la peña colgada, se le venía a uno encima una argamasa de relatos históricos, de leyendas." Although I still don't quite understand why you would want to build your monastery under a cliff.

DSC_0446.jpg

But the capitals are glorious - almost surreal:

DSC_0447.jpg

The descent down to Santa Cilia is possibly more difficult than the ascent, but still with lovely views of the mountains, and a couple of nice churches at Santa Cruz de los Serós on the way. And the albergue at Santa Cilia was very comfortable. Quite a strenuous day, but most rewarding.
 

Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I arrived in Canfranc Estacion by train from Zaragosa and missed the bus up to the Somport Pass because I wasn't paying attention. So I walked up to the pass mostly by the road, got a sello and a beer and started walking back down. I did find Jaca to Arres by the monasteries the toughest day though. I hope to get in a couple of day hikes in the area next month...
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Yes to all the advice above!!! I actually reverse-walked to Lourdes from Sanguesa on the Aragon plus walked Jaca to the CF, so I can speak to the entire path you are considering!

See SJdlP, but don’t take the old path through Atares - it is unmanaged, rough, and awful if it’s been raining. Instead, follow the road - it’s not heavily traveled and doable in all types of weather (we had snow in early May!!!!)

As for the route between Lourdes and Somport, it is spectacularly beautiful: exceptionally green (and a bit wet) compared to the sun and heat of the Spanish side. You generally follow a roadway but will definitely be walking alone, so your worries about getting injured by yourself are valid, but unless you are truly accident-prone, it’s not an issue as assistance is never too far away. There are a few sketchy parts on elevated portions above the river, but you can skip those by walking the highway.

Accomodations in France are available as walk-in, but I’d advise calling the night before each to guarantee that it’s open and someone will be there with a key. Due to all the French holidays, definitely carry a bit of food so you are not caught unprepared by a village of closed shops and cafes (happened to us TWICE in one week 🙄). Your choices are limited, so no need to give you tips on “the best” place to stay at each stop since “the best” and “the only” tend to be the same!

Overall, Lourdes to Puente la Reina is gorgeous and filled with amazing historical sites, though be prepared for a lot of solitary walking.
 
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Bert45

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
(2003) Francés, (2014) Francés, (2016) Portugués , (2016) Aragonés, (2018) del Norte to Primitivo,
I walked from Lescar to Somport, having flown in to Lourdes. I recommend you read Charl Durand's blog of his walk with Adeline from Lourdes, crossing the border at Portalet. I didn't find my route very difficult, but I didn't visit the monastery.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
You may enjoy this old thread:

I walked from Somport, alone and female, and loved it. I did not have a phone, but if you had one and also downloaded the ‘what3words’ app (it can pinpoint your location in case of need for emergency services), you may alleviate any worries about being injured in a remote location.

The trail parallels an infrequently used road in places, giving you an option.
 

Happy Penguin

Rainy day in Castilblanco
Past OR future Camino
2021
In 2017 I went to Lourdes, spent there a day, stayed overnight and early morning I set off to reach Somport. It was an easy ride. I took a train to Pau, changed to a train to Bedous, in Bedous there was a bus waiting for the passengers. This bus was going all the way to Canfranc in Spain, but I went only to Urdos which was the last village in France because I wanted to start walking from the bottom of the mountains, not from the top (to cross the Pyrenees like on the Napoleon route from SJPP).
The train from Lourdes left at 6:30, changed the train half an hour later at Pau, at 8:40 I changed from train to bus in Bedous, at 9:10 I arrived to Urdos. From there I walked along marked GR653 trail to Somport pass (the altitude gain from Urdos village to Somport is similar as if you started CF in Orisson and walked to the top of the Napoleon route).
I was at the pass around 13:30, I had an hour long coffee break enjoying breathtaking views from the terrace of the bar, and I walked down to Canfranc where I arrived around 17:00. I stayed in albergue Pepito Grillo which doesn't exist anymore (but there is a new one).

I just went to modalis.fr and found out that this train/bus connection from Lourdes is still alive:
Lourdes Urdos.jpg

(side note: don't use RomeToRio when you look for local buses, it is so bad, if it doesn't have access to a given schedule, it will tell you there's no connection available, which is not true)

Some photos from 17th July 2017:

Final train stop in Bedous - time to switch to a bus
IMG_8134.JPG

The bus to Canfranc (in Spain) is waiting for you close by
IMG_8135.JPG

Following GR653 from Urdos
IMG_8148.JPG

Some pilgrims on the way to Somport
IMG_8150.JPG

Bar at the border crossing at Somport Pass
IMG_8151.JPG

Camino Aragones goes this way
IMG_8157.JPG
IMG_8155.JPG

I think starting from Canfranc rather than Somport would be a major mistake. The views coming down from Somport are unbelievable. One more advantage of starting at the bottom of the mountains in Urdos: I arrived at Somport in the early afternoon and had excellent views from the top and on the way down the Aragon valley. Quite often in the morning there is a thick fog near Somport. Those who choose to stay in Somport albergue at the top, often walk down in that fog and miss all the breathtaking views on the way down.

Buen Camino Aragones!
 
Past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
In re a Lourdes start --- a bit dated, but worth looking at is Anniesantiago's photo blog

https://caminosantiago2.blogspot.com/2012/05/lourdes-again.html

In 2018 I did Lourdes/Oloron/Somport/Jaca and would do it again in a heartbeat! Most gorgeous scenery imaginable! .... Also did Jaca/Puente La Reina; much less pleasant IMHO; won't likely do that bit again.

1630863929572.png
 
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pinkwadingbird

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
I took a train from Pau and started in Oloron-Ste Marie, that walk is very lonely, it was just me and my thoughts about tumbling off the path into the raging river way below or meeting up with a bear. You should consider starting in Canfranc Estacion instead of Somport so you can see the train station and new albergue. Frankly, I would have preferred to start in Barcelona and walk to Jaca via Zaragosa. I think the advice about walking to San Juan de Pena is more logistical than for safety reasons, it is a long walk up hill and many, many kms from Jaca or Santa Cilia. There are taxi services that can take you there and back from either place and the way they control entry to the cliffside chapel is by "tour" bus from the hotel on top of the hill. I have never seen anyone with a backpack there, so I'm not sure they allow public access other than people on the buses but it is definitely worth the time to visit there.
Why wouldn't she be able to see the train station and the albergue if she starts in Somport?

The beautiful new albergue is actually in Canfranc Pueblo, not CE. The Pueblo is 4.5kms further down the trail from CE which is an important distinction to make regarding timing. I walked the Aragones as a solo female and never felt unsafe. If you want to visit the Monastery there is a bus from Jaca that goes there. Tourist information in Jaca will have the latest schedule. I was quoted 100€ round trip by taxi for the Monastery from Jaca. For me it was too expensive. Maybe you can find other pilgrims to split the cost. To walk to the Monastery from Jaca the route was described to me as steep and poorly marked. Since I was walking alone I decided to pass on that option.

IMO this route is beautiful and I can't understand why it isn't more popular but to each their own. Having company in the evening is a matter of luck with your timing. In the end of August when I was hospitalera at the new albergue in Canfranc there were evenings where we had many guests and some nights none.

Buen Camino whatever you decide.
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
If you have walked this route i would really appreciate any advice in this regard. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?

My other question is has anyone accessed this route from Lourdes? I can fly to Lourdes and it looks like I can get a train to Bedous and then a bus - if anyone has done this journey I would really appreciate any info or feedback.
(I know from other threads that it is possible to take a train from Zaragoza which i would love to visit but in practice means 2 days of travelling before starting to walk).
San Juan de la Peña: When I hiked the Aragones in 2016, I took the 9:30 morning bus to the monastery. It was 14 euros, including entrance fee. Recommend HIGHLY that you not walk up to the monastery. Take the bus, visit the new and old monasteries, hike down the hill to Santa Cruz de los Seros, visit the Convento de Santa Maria, then continue to Santa Cilia de Jaca, and stay at the albergue there.

Route from Lourdes: Flew to Toulouse, and took the train to Lourdes. I started my hike from Lourdes, headed to Oloron, and then south to go over the mountains at Somport. In addition to beautiful scenery, the water is wonderful!!

Buen Camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I have walked from Lourdes. It is a beautiful walk, very well marked, but you must make reservations ahead of time.

I've also walked the Aragones several times from Jaca. Again, it's a beautiful walk, and well marked. I also advise against the walking to the Monastery from Jaca. It was the one time I was driven to tears and really felt like I got lost. Not a good trail at all. I was rescued by some nice French folks who gave me bread and water and took me to the main road.
Instead, take a day in Jaca and nab the bus that goes to the Monastery. You can see both new and old, then bus back to Jaca, then begin walking next morning.

I'm 69 years old by the way, if that makes a difference. I did not find the route difficult, but it WAS spectacular! We hit snow one year in Confanc, so I took a train that stage that time. Remains one of my favorite routes.
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Hi all past pilgrims of the Aragonese route
I have the opportunity to take a few weeks off to walk probably starting around 17th Sept. I would really love to walk the aragonese route starting from Somport.
I have a couple of Qs but first some context ....
I have walked a few caminos and often have walked solo (or at least started that way) - specifically the frances and the VDLP from Salamanca. So while I am always a bit nervous in the planning stage, I am quite happy walking alone - plus its nice but not essential to have evening company too.
Having said that I am a bit concerned re walking this route on my own in terms of the route being mountainous and quiet - e.g. risk of injury, risk of getting lost etc
If you have walked this route i would really appreciate any advice in this regard. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?

My other question is has anyone accessed this route from Lourdes? I can fly to Lourdes and it looks like I can get a train to Bedous and then a bus - if anyone has done this journey I would really appreciate any info or feedback.
(I know from other threads that it is possible to take a train from Zaragoza which i would love to visit but in practice means 2 days of travelling before starting to walk).

Many thanks in advance

Siobhán

P.s. apologies in advance for misspellings my laptop autocorrects in strange ways!
If you are happy walking solo and want to be cautious then I would suggest hiring a personal locator beacon. This is carried on you, is small and light weight. It is easy to set off if you become injured or lost. Of course, if your injury causes you to lose consciousness then it won't help but for almost any other emergency situation they are a very valuable safety aid and here in Aotearoa New Zealand are recommended for wilderness hiking and similar pursuits in the backcountry.

Here is one of many ANZ sites where you can hire them so that you can see what is involved but you would, of course, hire one in Spain rather than here when you are walking in Spain.


You can buy one rather than hiring it and if you do this then please register it before you leave. They can be used anywhere in the world.
 
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jascreative

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2011)
Le Puy & parts of Frances (2013)
Aragones & parts of Frances (2015)
Primitivo (2016)
Hi Siobhan, Camino Aragones is a lovely & historical route but definitely a 'quiet' path. When my dad & I walked it in June 2015 we didn’t see any other pilgrims until Jaca. The trail from Somport is spectacular (and recommend) but one where we had to carefully watch our steps going down the mountain. The sound of running water from snow-capped peaks accompanied us in this stretch & was a special treat.

Our itinerary included: Somport, Villanua, Santa Cilia de Jaca, Arres, Artieda, Undues de Lerda, Sanguesa, Izco, Tiebas, Puente la Reina – There are alternate paths, which others have discussed, so you’ll have choices – The climb up to Arres was a bit challenging but worth the view – also the Roman roads walked on were historical wonders but hard on the feet (I wear thinly padded ‘footies’ over my socks, which keep the balls of my feet from getting sore).

We didn’t have any problems with lodging availability at that time (made a couple reservations but mainly stayed in municipals). In Izco we had to call a number posted on the albergue door to have the manager open it up for us -- were glad when she answered since it was raining! The Izco albergue was part of a community center complete with pelota court & included a ‘cupboard store,’ the only place in town for food (at least then).

We spent an extra day in Jaca to see the ‘old’ San Juan de la Pena monastery – In the morning took a bus up to the ‘new’ monastery & checked out the museum there -- then walked down to the old, which is an art historical treasure. During our visit we discovered the next bus back to Jaca didn’t come until the evening so ‘hitched’ a ride from a couple who were traveling in Spain by car & had stopped to see the monastery (ironically, it turned out they had a cottage in a small town on a lake where my dad grew up).

I’d advise to keep water bottle(s) filled and some snacks handy for the more isolated stretches -- also emergency #s if needed (especially on a solo walk) and to enjoy the “Road less traveled”!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I walked alone from Oloron Ste Marie through the Somport Pass to the Aragones in 2016. I did not find it a difficult walk, although there were some challenges. It was not a particularly solitary route, and there were others everywhere I stayed. I asked at the tourist office in Jaca for the bus schedule and took a bus up to San Juan de la Pena, and down again in the afternoon. Most of us on the bus had our packs with us and were let out at the bottom to walk to the albergue at Santa Cilla. San Juan de la Pena is my favourite pilgrim location in Spain. I am busy visiting as many as I can of the rest, just for comparison, but I hope to return to San Juan de la Pena someday.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
See SJdlP, but don’t take the old path through Atares - it is unmanaged, rough, and awful if it’s been raining. Instead, follow the road - it’s not heavily traveled and doable in all types of weather (we had snow in early May!!!!)
@Vacajoe, do you mean to take the road up to Atarés and then walk on the path from there, or are you referring to the road that goes through Santa Cruz de Serós? I’m asking because on these wikiloc tracks, the author recommends:

1. Jaca to turn-off to Atarés on the N-240
2. Road from the turnoff to Atarés
3. GR path marked from Atarés to San Juan de la Peña

I have read a lot of posts about people who say the path through Atarés is awful, but I wonder if they are talking about the part before Atarés, in which case this idea of walking on the road to Atarés would be a good solution.
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
@Vacajoe, do you mean to take the road up to Atarés and then walk on the path from there, or are you referring to the road that goes through Santa Cruz de Serós? I’m asking because on these wikiloc tracks, the author recommends:

1. Jaca to turn-off to Atarés on the N-240
2. Road from the turnoff to Atarés
3. GR path marked from Atarés to San Juan de la Peña

I have read a lot of posts about people who say the path through Atarés is awful, but I wonder if they are talking about the part before Atarés, in which case this idea of walking on the road to Atarés would be a good solution.

The path to Antarés was workable, but I have walked the unpath from Atarés and assure you that if it was marked, it was signed so poorly that I could not find a trail and boy did I look for one. I operated by general direction (i.e., head south an you'll hit the highway leading to SJdlP.

The road will get you to Atarés but I would need assurance and photographs to believe that the GR path exists. I will defer to the experience of anyone who's done it recently, but I cheerfully claim that the wikiloc tracks author writes from a parallel universe.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022_ViadelaPlata_Sanabres_hopefully
Hi Sia

Another endorsement for the beautiful Aragones Way. I walked for the second time in September 2019. Loved it as much as the first time. The first time we arrived walking from France as we’d been on the Arles Way. The second time we arrived by train from Zaragoza to Canfranc.

You already have lots of great information in the posts above. Just a few other things -

1. The Aragones joins the Frances in Obanos (a kilometre or two before Puenta La Reina) so if you’re concerned about accommodation at that time on the Frances which will no doubt be busy, you could also look in Obanos
2. On our first time on the Aragones at the end of the Arles Way, we stayed in Obanos and the next day we walked as ‘reverse’ pilgrims back to Pamplona, which was fun, as we were taking a bus from there. It’s a lovely section of The Way no matter which direction you walk it in 😌

Buen Camino. 1630902696799.jpeg
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Oh let me make it clear that while you CAN walk the “original” path enough Atares, I wouldn’t recommend it!!! When I said follow the road, I meant the A-1603 from the N-240 to Santa Cruz and then up to SJdlP. All the footpaths up to the monastery are poorly maintained and hazardous when raining or snowing.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Hi Sia

Another endorsement for the beautiful Aragones Way. I walked for the second time in September 2019. Loved it as much as the first time. The first time we arrived walking from France as we’d been on the Arles Way. The second time we arrived by train from Zaragoza to Canfranc.

You already have lots of great information in the posts above. Just a few other things -

1. The Aragones joins the Frances in Obanos (a kilometre or two before Puenta La Reina) so if you’re concerned about accommodation at that time on the Frances which will no doubt be busy, you could also look in Obanos
2. On our first time on the Aragones at the end of the Arles Way, we stayed in Obanos and the next day we walked as ‘reverse’ pilgrims back to Pamplona, which was fun, as we were taking a bus from there. It’s a lovely section of The Way no matter which direction you walk it in 😌

Buen Camino. View attachment 108575
Jenny@zen,
What a happy picture this of you, Canfranc station and the mountains! Thanks for sharing your memento of easier times.
 

lovingkindness

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
.
... On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia? ...
Hi there, @SioCamino
One can take a bus up to Saint-Jean de la Peña… but if you miss the bus there is always hitch hiking. The tourist officer in Jaca can tell you about the best spots to begin. There are two ways up to the monastery.

I hitched a ride from a gas station as far as the turn off just before the village of Bernués then hitched a second ride to the monastery. Afterward I followed a hiking trail down to Sta Cilia. The views were awesome. (The gas attendant knew some of the drivers. He stood by me as I enquired)

Jaca Tourist Office to Monastère Saint-Jean de la Peña : https://goo.gl/maps/TjPqqKbRfYzab7D97

Cheers,
Lovingkindness
 

Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I took the turn off the road at about 5km after Jaca and up through Atares and I remember having to back track a few times. After the monasteries it was difficult ground going downhill. This was in fine weather and it wasn't the easiest day..
Oh let me make it clear that while you CAN walk the “original” path enough Atares, I wouldn’t recommend it!!! When I said follow the road, I meant the A-1603 from the N-240 to Santa Cruz and then up to SJdlP. All the footpaths up to the monastery are poorly maintained and hazardous when raining or snowing.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
Hi all past pilgrims of the Aragonese route
I have the opportunity to take a few weeks off to walk probably starting around 17th Sept. I would really love to walk the aragonese route starting from Somport.
I have a couple of Qs but first some context ....
I have walked a few caminos and often have walked solo (or at least started that way) - specifically the frances and the VDLP from Salamanca. So while I am always a bit nervous in the planning stage, I am quite happy walking alone - plus its nice but not essential to have evening company too.
Having said that I am a bit concerned re walking this route on my own in terms of the route being mountainous and quiet - e.g. risk of injury, risk of getting lost etc
If you have walked this route i would really appreciate any advice in this regard. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?

My other question is has anyone accessed this route from Lourdes? I can fly to Lourdes and it looks like I can get a train to Bedous and then a bus - if anyone has done this journey I would really appreciate any info or feedback.
(I know from other threads that it is possible to take a train from Zaragoza which i would love to visit but in practice means 2 days of travelling before starting to walk).

Many thanks in advance

Siobhán

P.s. apologies in advance for misspellings my laptop autocorrects in strange ways!
You can visit Juan de la Peña from Jaca. Ask at the tourist office there and they will tell you how to get the shuttle bus from the bus station. It is used mainly by local people who work there, and does the return journey in the afternoon. Accommodation around the monastery is expensive. The Aragonés is a beautiful camino, and I wouldn't describe it as mountainous - it is no more rugged than parts of the VdlP, some of it is flat meseta. Pre-Covid it had good infrastructure and although it was not crowded, there were always other pilgrims to walk with if you wanted company. From Lourdes, you can walk to Ste Marie d'Oloron, then pick up the Chemin d'Arles. Most people do it the other way having followed the Chemin d'Arles from Toulouse. If it is a GR route (I think it is), waymarks won't be any problem. If you don't want to walk, France has a pretty good system of inter-city buses. You could even walk from Bedous over the Col de Somport. Buen Camino.
 

dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
One more thing, from Sangüesa, you can take a variant through the Lumbier Gorge.
 
Past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
One more thing, from Sangüesa, you can take a variant through the Lumbier Gorge.
The variant route through the Lumbier Gorge is about 7.5 km longer than the main route (and the main route is 27 km from Sangüesa to Monreal). When checking in at the albergue in Sangüesa the hospitalera told us pilgrims about an early morning bus that left nearby that could be taken to shorten the Lumbier walk. I didn't walk the Lumbier variant and so I have forgotten the details but be sure to ask about the bus if it isn't mentioned at your checkin.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
The variant route through the Lumbier Gorge is about 7.5 km longer than the main route (and the main route is 27 km from Sangüesa to Monreal).

When I walked the Lumbier Gorge variant, I walked from Sanguesa to Izko but I think the albergue in Izko is closed now. If you stayed overnight in Liédena instead of Sanguesa (which is an interesting town), you could shorten that day.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
We did Sanguesa to Lumbier and then Lumbier to Monreal. No albergue in Lumbier, but there’s a great hotel that offers a small pilgrim discount. It has fabulous food and is pretty much the only place in town.
 
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dick bird

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
We did Sanguesa to Lumbier and then Lumbier to Monreal. No albergue in Lumbier, but there’s a great hotel that offers a small pilgrim discount. It has fabulous food and is pretty much the only place in town.
I second that. We discovered home-made vermouth there too, or rather it discovered us. Nice little town and a good feeling of ordinary Spanish life off the camino.
 

Karl G

Member
Past OR future Camino
August and September 2019 - Arles
Hi all past pilgrims of the Aragonese route
I have the opportunity to take a few weeks off to walk probably starting around 17th Sept. I would really love to walk the aragonese route starting from Somport.
I have a couple of Qs but first some context ....
I have walked a few caminos and often have walked solo (or at least started that way) - specifically the frances and the VDLP from Salamanca. So while I am always a bit nervous in the planning stage, I am quite happy walking alone - plus its nice but not essential to have evening company too.
Having said that I am a bit concerned re walking this route on my own in terms of the route being mountainous and quiet - e.g. risk of injury, risk of getting lost etc
If you have walked this route i would really appreciate any advice in this regard. On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?

My other question is has anyone accessed this route from Lourdes? I can fly to Lourdes and it looks like I can get a train to Bedous and then a bus - if anyone has done this journey I would really appreciate any info or feedback.
(I know from other threads that it is possible to take a train from Zaragoza which i would love to visit but in practice means 2 days of travelling before starting to walk).

Many thanks in advance

Siobhán

P.s. apologies in advance for misspellings my laptop autocorrects in strange ways!
I took the train to/from Lourdes/Bedous and the bus from Bedous to Somport in October 2019. They were very convenient. If the schedule dictates an overnight in Bedous I highly recommend Maison Luard run by Jane and Eric. Opt for the evening meal and you won’t be disappointed. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Of course you can always walk to Somport from Bedous which is very nice. If time crunched you can take the morning bus to Urdos and walk to Somport from there. It’s a wonderful stage. However, if it’s been raining I’d recommend not walking it. It can get very muddy on the flats and very slippery on the the hillsides.

Bonne route!
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
The Aragones is a nice route. You'll most certainly enjoy it if you're fine walking on your own most of the time.

There's not much choice in regard to accomodation, so you probably should check what's open, especially now during Covid times. Some very nice albergues on this path, small and friendly, with a good pilgrim spirit. You'll most likely meet the same few pilgrims each night since there's not much choice where to stay.

I walked it 2018 from Canfranc, late october. First it was warm and sunny, then changed to freezing cold with snowy rain and strong wind quickly. Somport is higher up than the Napoleon route, so be prepared for mountain weather, especially in the beginning!
Apart from that, I don't remember the path from Canfranc to be very demanding or dangerous. But some longer distances without albergues, cafés or bars in between towns. I think on our last day to puente la Reina, we had horizontally pouring cold rain with strong wind all day, and there was nothing open for about 30 or 35km. Only a vending machine in a small shelter, and that was broken. So, be prepared to carry your own snacks and drinks.

I went there via Toulouse and Oloron, by bus, which was easy. Didn't go to San Juan de la Pena, so can't say anything about that.

There's an alternative path at some point going through a canyon (foz de lumbier, I think) that I wanted to take (saw some beautiful photos) but sadly the weather was so bad that some locals advised not to go that way that day. Maybe you'll have more luck.

Since you say you've walked several Caminos before, I'm pretty sure you'll be fine on the Aragones as long as you follow the usual rules for mountain walking and your common sense.

Happy planning and buen Camino!
Great advice
 

Barbara

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
I cycled from Poitiers via all the French routes (in segments with links) via Lescar then Somport and on to Estella before returning home. The Foz de Lumbier is on my "don't miss this" list. So is Arres albergue, and if you get in early you can have lunch at the restaurant.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
Hi, I walked this camino in 2018 and thought it wonderful.
On Gronze for example they advise against walking the variant from Jaca to San Juan de Peña solo. If this variant is not taken, I'm guessing it must be possible to take a break day and visit the monastery from Santa Cilia?
I walked from Jaca to the Monastery and then down to Santa Cilia and it was indeed a very demanding day. The trail up can be quite rugged, so if you got injured it might be problematic. Nice views though. There is a village half-way up which has a fountain but no bar, so take some lunch with you, and plenty of water anyway. I was so creased when I reached the monastery that I walked down to Santa Celia by the road, rather than the track. There is another village half-way down and this one has a shop where you can get food and drink. The albergue at Santa Celia is run by a lovely woman who speaks several languages (excluding English) and will cook dinner for you. Your alternative route of doing a day-trip from Santa Celia is likely to prove much less exhausting.
 
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SioCamino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015, CPo 2016, VDLP[Sev-Các] 2017, VDLP[Các-Sal] 2018
Thanks again to everyone who replied with so much useful information, I really appreciate it. I'm booked to fly to Lourdes next week, plan to overnight in Pau and then get the train/bus to Somport the next day and start walking from there, stopping in the albergue in Canfranc pueblo. As it turns out, my brother is joining me for a week of walking, he is hoping to get as far as Sanguesa before he has to head home. I am planning to continue onto the francés route for further couple of weeks. So it will be lovely to have the mix of company. Can't wait to get back to Spain & the Camino, it feels like a very long 2 years since my last camino trip.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022_ViadelaPlata_Sanabres_hopefully
In case it's of interest / useful - here is my blog from Sept / Oct 2019 when I last walked The Aragones. This was a 'bespoke' Camino we (a friend and I) put together to walk in Spain for a month. I had walked all of these paths before and was thrilled to revisit.

Camino Aragones - Canfrance to Puenta La Reina
Camino Frances - from PLR to Estella (a day on the Frances for old time's sake!)
Short bus ride from Estella to Irun - then walk a couple of kms to Hondarribia (which I far prefer to Irun and the Norte is way marked from there)
Camino del Norte - Hondarribia to Bilbao
Bus from Bilbao to Oviedo
Camino Primitivo - Oviedo to SdeC.


On the Aragones, just a couple of things I'd mention in case it's useful.

Day 2 from Jaca - The first time I walked there in 2016, we walked up the hill to Arres, an atmospheric hamlet with rich history and spectacular views. We stayed at the small refugio, which had a wonderful community feel (and communal dinner) but I did not sleep a wink due to small full dorm with lots of snorers. There is sometimes a possibility of private room at the bar there but at that time (and again in 2019) it was very hit and miss in contacting them.
So, the second time (in 2019) we didn't go up to Arres - but stayed 'down the bottom' in Puenta la Reina de Jaca, at Hotel Anaya - which was v comfortable. The next day you can either go up to Arres to have a look, or continue on the lower path. The two paths meet before too long.

Day 3 to Ruesca - we walked to Ruesca, but there is also the possibility of breaking this day up and staying on the hilltop village of Artiedes. We took a detour up there and had lunch and spent some time relaxing in the shade, before returning to the Way and on to Ruesca. If you are not staying there, it's definitely worth the short detour to visit.

This blog is two years old now so don't know what has changed? Also, we chose to have a private room wherever possible - and it was possible at each stage - as we both decided our dorm days are behind us.

Buen camino
Jenny
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
We stayed in Artiedes in 2019 during our second walk: adequate rooms at the albergue but PHENOMENAL food!!! Gourmet non-Spanish dinner by the professionally-trained hosts. Not sure if they are still around post-COVID, but a fine place to stop.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022_ViadelaPlata_Sanabres_hopefully
We stayed in Artiedes in 2019 during our second walk: adequate rooms at the albergue but PHENOMENAL food!!! Gourmet non-Spanish dinner by the professionally-trained hosts. Not sure if they are still around post-COVID, but a fine place to stop.
That’s for sure. We had a great tapas lunch there and a swing in the hammock and a lovely chat with Diego. Was hard to leave after a 90 minute lunch break - but Ruesca a fine stop too. 🎒
 
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sharon w

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
We asked the hospitalero at the Jaca albergue about the bus to the monastery. He was very helpful. We caught the bus up with some workers. This was in 2018. There was still a functioning hotel at the interpretive centre. Also, we met some pilgrims who had walked up. They said it wasn’t too bad.
We stayed in Saint Cilia afterwards. However, the hospitalero in Jaca told us if we had wanted to stay back there for the night it is fine to stay the 2 nights in Jaca.
 

chinasky

Italian Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
Aragones, Frances, Inglese, Primitivo, Via de la Plata, Invierno, Portoguese. From Torino to Rome.
Thanks again to everyone who replied with so much useful information, I really appreciate it. I'm booked to fly to Lourdes next week, plan to overnight in Pau and then get the train/bus to Somport the next day and start walking from there, stopping in the albergue in Canfranc pueblo. As it turns out, my brother is joining me for a week of walking, he is hoping to get as far as Sanguesa before he has to head home. I am planning to continue onto the francés route for further couple of weeks. So it will be lovely to have the mix of company. Can't wait to get back to Spain & the Camino, it feels like a very long 2 years since my last camino trip.
HI!
I will arrive in Lourdes on Monday 27th and I will start walking the next day following the GR that leads to the Somport. On October 2nd I should be in Canfranc at the new albergue.
In 2013 I took my first steps on the Camino de Santiago right from Urdos, after taking a train from Lourdes and a bus from Oloron. This time, thanks to the experience of all the caminos walked, I would like to reach Santiago by walking all the way from Lourdes. Who knows you don't cross paths along the way!
 

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