Camino Aragones | Camino de Santiago Forum
Camino Forum App now available
Camino Forum Android APP Camino Forum iOS APP
Search 30 000 Camino Questions right here... your question might have been asked before
Camino Guides (for sale) | Camino Guides made by pilgrims
By Signing up to the forum (free) you will be able to:

-- Ask any Camino related question you might have
-- Participate in the camino conversation on this forum
-- Get an weekly e-mail (Saturdays) with the most popular topics from the last 7 days
-- Be able to download pdf's and other Camino Resources
Sign

Weekly forum email Daily forum email Luggage Storage in Santiago de Compostela
Dismiss Notice
Have a question you would like to ask? Here is how you do it!

Camino Aragones

Discussion in 'Camino Aragonés' started by JuneM, Dec 12, 2016.

  1. JuneM

    JuneM New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Aragones, Ruta de Salvador, Camino Primitivo, Camino Finisterre (2017)
    Three of us will be walking the Aragones beginning next April from Jaca to Puente la Reina. Will we be able to find accommodations on the San Juan de la Pena alternate route? Any additional comments/suggestions regarding this route would be most welcome.
     
    MuireM likes this.
  2. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,495
    Likes Received:
    13,426
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    This Gronze.com guide in Spanish lists accommodation for the San Juan Pena section of the Argonese camino. By location pilgrim albergues are cited as well as regular tourist places. Booking.com links are also given.

    http://www.gronze.com/etapa/jaca/atares/arres

    The old royal monastery of San Juan de la Peña, cloister, and pantheon are truly extraordinary and very beautiful. Cut into the rocky hillside, the site is unforgettable.
    I have not walked there, but the mountain road driving up is steep; be prepared!

    It has been my professional privilege and personal pleasure to visit many special places, but San Juan de la Peña belongs in that unique category of sublime timeless perfection.

    Happy planning and Buen camino!
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016
    Tamas and falcon269 like this.
  3. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    13,053
    Likes Received:
    13,455
    Location:
    USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    yes
    Taxis are available; you might consider taking one for one direction (or both directions if you just want a side trip to the monastery).
     
    Tamas likes this.
  4. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Hi, June, Welcome to the forum.

    The litle hamlet down the road from San Juan, Santa Cruz de Seros, has a couple of nice looking private places. Probably a little pricey.

    Or you can take a day detour from Jaca and continue walking the next day.
    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...juan-de-la-pena-and-return.43068/#post-442864

    I see that you're starting from Jaca. If the weather is good, you might also consider starting from the pass at Somport. From Somport down to Jaca, the mountain scenery is stupendous, but of course the weather might be dicey at that time of year.

    Great albergues on the Aragones, and very little traffic. Buen camino, Laurie
     
    Sarita Louise and Pingüigrino like this.
  5. Margaret Butterworth

    Margaret Butterworth Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Perth, Australia
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
    2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
    2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
    2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
    I stayed in Santa Cruz de Seros in early June and walked up to the monastery (slowly) in about 3 hours on the mountain track. Returning by the road, I begged a lift from a Spanish couple who had stopped to take photos. They were happy to oblige as it was a hot day. Both the church at Santa Cruz and the monastery of San Juan de la Pena were fascinating and a "must see". There is a bus route between Jaca and Pamplona, and a stop on the main road about 4 Kms from Santa Cruz.
     
    Sarita Louise likes this.
  6. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    928
    Camino(s) past & future:
    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
    When I first went on the Aragonese, I stayed at the Hotel Aragon on the N240 by the turnoff to Santa Cruz de los Seros and San Juan de la P, and found it basic but comfortable. The meal was good and the innkeeper friendly and helpful -- or at least he was 10 years ago!
    About 8 years ago when I went through, I stayed at the Hosteleria in Santa Cruz itself-- it was busy and tourist-focussed, but I had a very nice room with balcony overlooking the church, and the staff was friendly and helpful-- the food was good if not outstanding. Prices were fairly reasonable at the time.
    The third time I went through (2009 IIRC), there was a fiesta in the village and the staff at the Hosteleria warned me that the speakers were set up right in front of the rooms, and there would be no chance of sleep that night. They called to the Hospederia Monasterio up at the new monastery at San Juan de la Pena (new meaning 18th century-- it's about 1-2 km beyond the historic monastery) and with some energetic bargaining, negotiated the price down for me from stratospheric to outrageous (about 80 euro). My room was very comfortable, although big enough for a small albergue. Unlike most tripadvisor reviewers, I found the food fairly good-- the menu was 12 euro-- and the breakfast decent, although the staff in the morning seemed more than a little sleepy and hungover. I shared the place with a quad club from Barcelona with their machines-- they were very friendly, and gave me a lift to the old monastery in the morning with a very formal and impressive 8-vehicle escort. There's little like a pilgrim arriving thus in front of the morning's first few tour buses.
    I recommend San de la Pena enthusiastically. It is like a Maxfield Parrish painting with the pine-covered hills framed by intricate Gothic arches. The cloister carvings by the Master of San Juan are incredible-- they have a vigour and completeness which we could not have understood before Picasso. I count it among the best-kept secrets of Spain and among my top-ten-ever travel experiences.
     
  7. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    When I visited San Juan de la Peña, I was coming at it from "behind," as I was finishing up the Camino Catalán with LTfit. We stayed in a private albergue in Botaya, about 6-8 km before San Juan. Our hospitalera drove us up to the monastery in the afternoon so we could visit it at leisure. Then the next morning we just walked on by. I will add that the descent from San Juan de la Peña to Santa Cruz is probably the worst descent I have ever experienced on a Camino. It makes the descent to Zubiri, El Acebo, etc etc, look like a walk in the park. And I had a messed up knee for months afterwards to prove it!

    But I have to second oursonpolaire´s recommendation, the monastery is an absolutely not to be missed stop. Hard to believe that I was there on a summer day in June and we shared the site with about four motorcyclists. Another Camino secret. Buen camino, Laurie
     
    Sarita Louise likes this.
  8. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    928
    Camino(s) past & future:
    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 would second Peregrina2000's note3 about the descent from San Juan de la Pena to Santa Cruz de los Seros-- it is downright dangerous and could be classed a technical climb. I could not manage it, so hoofed back to the monastery and walked along the road. While it was about 2-3km longer, I was much happier.
     
    Sarita Louise likes this.
  9. BlueBowers

    BlueBowers Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2015
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Aragones 2016
    Frances 2016
    Fisstere and Muxia 2016
    I came through Jaca in late September and had planned on going to San Juan de la Pena but was told at the tourist info office that a fire in August had destroyed all the signage. There is a mini bus that takes workers and other passengers there but it is not a year round service and I'm not sure when it starts in the spring. I really enjoyed the Aragones, and would second the recommendation of starting at Col Somport or in France.
     
  10. biarritzdon

    biarritzdon Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,744
    Likes Received:
    3,689
    Location:
    Biarritz and Naples
    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF 2011, CF 2012, CP 2013, CF 2014, CA 2015, S. Anton 2015, CF 2015, CI 2015
    Ditch Pig 2016, CF (2017)
    I drove there a week ago after spending a night at Leyre. They are both must sees. First week of December the road was covered with black ice, I suspect April could be similar. There are some minor logistics issue regarding buying an entry ticket at the interpretation center and either walking or taking a bus back down the hill to the old monastery.
    I had planned on walking to San Juan de la Pena in 2015 from Jaca, the guide I was using underestimated the distance from Jaca, it was a hot day so I elected to go on to Santa Cilia for the night. There were flyers for taxis at albergue.
    As far as walking there, I would compare the road to the monastery as the Valcarlos on steroids.
    On the way to Puente la Reina you can stop at Eunate but it is only open special times of the day or when a tour bus has arranged for an opening. With a little research you could arrange to stay the night in Obanos and segue it with visitng hours.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2016
    Sarita Louise likes this.
  11. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Oh, lucky you. I so vividly remember spending a night there, years ago well before I walked any camino. Going to vespers in the church was, to use a word that might sound trite or cliched, magical. I still have an image of the multiple arches in the front of the church marking off the naves, not perfectly symmetrical but one side a little wider than the other. And the window above them off center as well. I thought I could sense the devotion, humility and sacrifice that went into the building of this place, it was just oozing with it. I am not a religious person, but the humanity and scale of the romanesque always makes me reflect on stuff like that.

    Too bad that there isn't a good walking detour from the Aragones, or at least I didn't know about one when I walked past a few years ago.

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  12. mspath

    mspath Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2009
    Messages:
    5,495
    Likes Received:
    13,426
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2016
    Tamas, OTH86 and falcon269 like this.
  13. annakappa

    annakappa Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Messages:
    1,508
    Likes Received:
    1,879
    Location:
    Costa Rica
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
    We took the local bus from Jaca up to the old monastery, which is definitely my Number One highlight of all the places I have ever visited on our multiple Caminos. We didn't go up to the new monastery.
    The walk down is long and difficult. I 'did' my knee in going down and 2 days later, had to take a couple of days rest.
    My other two favourite places are Eunate, conveniently on the path of the Aragonez and, off track of the Francés, but now on the Invierno, is As Médulas.
     
  14. filly

    filly Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    London/Lewes
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
    I was there in late September having walked from Arles originally and on that day started in Jaca ( or rather about 2kms from an Albergue which was 'alternative' and somewhat bizarre... ). I would second that the alternative signage is very difficult to follow and I would NOT recommend. Follow the road.... But DO go. Fab-U-lous as a location, stupendous in terms of sculpture and very moving. The capitals especially.

    My serendipitous solution was to arrive at the hotel at Santa Cruz de los Seros at about midday. The lady running the show gave me a special rate for a delightful twin room with a full bathroom and great views - less than 40 Euros if I recall. I had lunch after showering then hiked up without my backpack in two hours. I hiked down in an hour at six pm, went to the local church, then another shower and dinner! Fabulous meat cooked on an open fire and a lovely busy ambience. Few staying at the hotel but probably worth booking ahead.

    I had originally planned to stay at the luxury hotel at the top. If you are walking then I would not recommend it if you are aiming to walk down on the track as you would need good daylight... It demands concentration. The views towards the Pyrenees are simply the best.

    The next morning, you can leave early from the in at Santa Cruz. The innkeeper had prepared me a tray breakfast with a 'buen camino' message and a lovely extra of a delicious lunchtime sandwich.

    This stop was the undisputed highlight of my 1,000 kms hike.

    I aimed to see Eunate to contrast and compare (same sculpture) only to find it was closed on a Monday (and otherwise open 10.30 to 13.30
     
    OTH86 likes this.
  15. filly

    filly Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    London/Lewes
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
    I also second Laurie's suggestion to get the bus up to the Somport pass. You will then get a chance to see the ruins of Santa Cristina which was such an important pilgrimage stop. More contemporary though is the fascinating Canfranc Estacion. You can wander round the back to appreciate the enormity of this 'folly'.

    ps it was only due to a forest hunter that I found my way to Santa Cruz de los Seros via Atares. There is practically no-one, no traffic and no houses and most importantly no water... Take the road!
     
    oursonpolaire likes this.
  16. falcon269

    falcon269 sidra; no commercial interests

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Messages:
    13,053
    Likes Received:
    13,455
    Location:
    USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    yes
    Wandering is over. It is well fenced now. The lobby was restored in 2014, and tours are available to see it. When wandering was permitted, it was quite an activity; lots of roof leaks and rust. Cats had taken over many of the abandoned coach cars, but the former elegance of the station was still apparent. "Folly" is probably a good description. It was the largest train station in Europe when it was built, but its success would be dependent on cooperation between France and Spain, always a commodity in short supply! It may have seemed appropriate in the heyday of trains in the 1930's, but it never achieved its potential. Track damage in 1970 on the French side was never repaired, and the station declined rapidly thereafter. You can take a train from in front of the station today, and go to Jaca and Zaragoza.
     
    Tamas likes this.
  17. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Just a quick correction -- the hotel at the top in the "new monastery" is closed, or at least it was in 2015. I think staying at Santa Cruz de Seros would be very nice, but if I were to walk down again from the monastery, I would definitely take the road, though it is several kms longer than the plunge straight down, I'm sure.

    About the Canfranc Station -- Though it is true that you can't wander around inside, we were able to walk all around outside. We missed the tour, but I would really love to take it. If someone does, please report back!

    There is a story of intrique connected with the Canfranc station having to do with Hitler spiriting gold stolen from German Jewish citizens across into Spain and using that money to buy war munitions, which were then shipped back across on that train line. A French taxi driver came across a bunch of documents detailing the deals. I have some details here: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-camino-aragonés-june-2015.36782/#post-348729.
     
  18. filly

    filly Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    London/Lewes
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
    The hotel by the 'new' monastery was open in late September of this year. For confirmation check TripAdvisor, if necessary! but has varied appreciation.... Walking down on the track was not THAT demanding though I would not do it in wet weather. There was actually a 7pm bus. However, the walk down as I have said had the most stunning vistas. A further recommendation would be to stop before or after Ruesta - the albergues were very welcoming indeed!
     
  19. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Thanks for the update, filly, looks like that hotel opened up again after we went through. The people at the ticket booth had said it was not entirely sure what was going to happen, but maybe this is another indicator that the recession in Spain is ending, at least for some people.

    You must have more mountain goat genes than I do, because I found the descent from San Juan to Santa Cruz to be the most difficult I have done (and by a long shot) on any camino over the past 15 years. And the weather was dry and clear. Maybe I'm just getting old.
     
  20. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2007
    Messages:
    1,123
    Likes Received:
    928
    Camino(s) past & future:
    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, too, have done the route via Atares, and must underline that it was very difficult, and I think it was nigh-miraculous that I found a route to follow. When I returned two years later, I asked at the turismo in Jaca if that path had been improved, and was told that it had deteriorated. Unless something positive is done about it, I suggest that we just forget about its existence.
     
  21. filly

    filly Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    London/Lewes
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
  22. filly

    filly Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    53
    Location:
    London/Lewes
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Frances, via de la Plata, Sanabres, camino de Levante, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles, Santiago to Muxia and Fisterra, part chemin in France, der Oekumenische Pilgerweg/via Regia, via Tolosana, Aragones, 2017 April/May Lisbon to SdC
    Margaret Butterworth likes this.
  23. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2006
    Messages:
    9,680
    Likes Received:
    11,775
    Location:
    Champaign, Illinois, USA
    Thanks, filly! If I had the choice, I'd definitely stay down in Santa Cruz. Though it's a little town, the monastery is totally isolated out in the middle of nowhere. But it would give you time to walk out to the Balcon de los Pirineos to see the gorgeous views! Buen camino, Laurie
     

Share This Page

This site is run by Ivar at
Casa Ivar
in Santiago de Compostela