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From Lourdes to Jaca - any advice highly appreciated:)

bogusia

New Member
Hello,

I'm considering a short Camino from Lourdes to Jaca and would really appreciate some advice. :) From reading the posts on this forum and having a look at Gronze my understanding is that it takes around 7 days. I'm just wondering if this is doeable in late November/early December when it comes to weather conditions and availability of accommodation?
Any advice, tips and personal experience from walking this route highly appreciated! :)
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Seven days would be too short for me, but it is a great route. If it has been raining a lot, the route from Lourdes can be a swamp in the low areas! Have fun!
 

Felipe

Veteran Member
I can tell you only about the Lourdes-Oloron traject (I continued to Saint Jean Pied de Port). I did it in late September, and some sections were quite muddy -and there are some steep descents. In many parts there are two routes -the jacobean and the GRs. Avoid the latter -more scenic, but much more difficult, and lonely. It is possible to go from Lourdes to Oloron by the paved roads (local roads, with scarce traffic, actually quite nice); consider it as a "plan B", and carry a map.
Make reservations whenever possible -in winter, it is no joke arriving to a place to discover that there are not beds available or the albergue is closed because it is "off season".
Buen camino!
 
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O Peracha

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago (2014)
Annapurna Base, Nepal (2014)
GR 5 - Holland to Pompey, France (2015)
Lisbon to Finesterre (2016)
I did this in 7 days as part of a longer camino, this May. On the French side, call ahead to make sure gites are open and if restaurant or grocery store available otherwise you're going to have to carry your food.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked Jaca to Lourdes in early May, 2019. Even during the “normal” walking season, trail conditions, food availability, and lodging was a bit difficult. A beautiful route worth walking, but you definitely need to plan and prepare a bit more than on the Frances.

Weather can definitely be an issue over the Somport Pass (they put ski resorts there for a reason!). Gronze.com covers the Piemont and Aragon routes, so check that site out (use Chrome to translate to English).

If you’d like to read my wife’s blog on that route, PM me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
"Camino from 2013 to 2019" paused for now...
Hi @bogusia Check if the heavy rain has passed through. It could be v muddy underfoot. I can only speak of Lourdes to Oloron S Marie. In Summer Albergues are thin enough on the ground so check ahead. Towns will have shops but the small
French village will have little, if in luck a bakery...
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
I have walked that route twice. 7 days is doable. My advice is to stay off the paths and walk along the roads. That is What I did the second time and enjoyed it far more. You see so much more and avoid muddy paths. We had snow on top of Somport path in May. If it is impassable you can always take the bus through the tunnel.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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
It's a beautiful route!
Joe and I walked it in 2012.
It took us 7 days but you do need to plan ahead.
And because of the deep mud, we skipped a bit.
I don't think I"d want to walk it in the winter.

Here is a link to our blog.
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
please see signature
My advice is to stay off the paths and walk along the roads. That is What I did the second time and enjoyed it far more. You see so much more and avoid muddy paths.
Great advice @jennysa . For similar reasons I generally walk the roads. In addition, if trail signage is lacking, the road signage more than makes up the lack.

Kia kaha
 

Anthony Rocco

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
Hello,

I'm considering a short Camino from Lourdes to Jaca and would really appreciate some advice. :) From reading the posts on this forum and having a look at Gronze my understanding is that it takes around 7 days. I'm just wondering if this is doeable in late November/early December when it comes to weather conditions and availability of accommodation?
Any advice, tips and personal experience from walking this route highly appreciated! :)
We did a very long walk three years ago starting in Lourdes, then continuing on the Aragones all the way to the Frances, then to Logrono, then on the Ignaciano all the way to Barcelona. The walk from Lourdes was lovely and we had no particular issues. You can do this easily in a week. Here's our itinerary:

Sunday, September 4
Asson, 23.4 km, 6 hours walking. Stop at Lestelle-Betharam to see the grottoes, 15.5km from Lourdes. 0vernight at Gites accueil Saint Jacques, only for pelerins, 05 59 71 04 83. Very small, must reserve in advance. Other options: see guidebook. Monday, September 5
Bescat, 22.4km, 6 hours walking. Overnight at Chambres d’hotes Le Balcon de L’Ossau, 17, rue de Bourg, 05 59 21 05 46, chambres-hotes-ossau.fr or Chambres d’hotes Aux pieds des pics, 15, rue de Bourg, 05 59 05 22 68, auxpiedsdespics.com. Other options: see guidebook. Tuesday, September 6
Oloron St. Marie, 24.8km, 6 hours walking, overnight at Accueil Pelerins le Relais du Bastet, 12 Place de la Resistance, phone: 06-44-80-70-96. If full, try Hotel Restaurant de France, 21 Avenue Sadi-Carnot, tourisme64@orange.fr, phone: 05-59-39-01-63.
Visit Quartier Cathedrale S. Marie and Eglise Sainte-Croix. Dinner at La Part des Anges, 13, Place Catedrale or Creperie La Goguille, 18 Place St. Pierre Wednesday, September 7
Sarrance, 22km, 5 hours. Stay at Monastery hostel, phone 05 59 34 47 78. Also accueil pellerin d’Accueil Notre-Dame, 05 59 34 71 17. Maybe a better bet with 20 places. Also L’auberge de Sarrance, aubergesarrance@yahoo.fr. Phone 05 59 34 56 92.
If nice day, and walking fast, could go 5.5 km more to Bedous (Gite Moulin d’Orcin or Gite Le Rucher). Thursday, September 8
Borce, 23km, 5 hours. Stay at Gite d’Etape communal, 05 59 34 86 40, lecommunal64@gmail.com or Auberge Le Toison d’Or, 05 59 34 57 12, aubergetoisondor.com
If walked farther previous day, can walk to Urdus, 26.5km. Gite Communal, 055939386, lecompostelle_urdus@operamail.com. There is also a good size albergue just across the Spain border, Refuge Aysa, aysa.somport@gmail.com Friday, September 9
Canfranc Estacion, 22km
Albergue Rio Aragon, Avenida de los Aranones, 10 euro
Albergue de Canfranc Estacion, Plaza del Pilar, 2, 11 euro
Albergue Pepito Grillo, Avenida Fernando el Catolico, 2, 12 euro
Or…if walked farther previous days, could go to Villanua, 21.8km Albergue de jerunesse Santa Maria del Pila, 974 378 016, Albergue de Villenua, Camino de la Selva, 18, alberguevillanua.es 608 642 745, or Castiello de Jaca, 29km, Casa La Englata, Raquelle, Calle La Fuente 11, 627 031 828 or 974 350 027.
Saturday, September 10
Jaca, 24km
Go to the Oficina de Turismo, Plaza de San Pedro, 11-13. Hours open: 9-1:30, 4:30-7:30 to check on bus to San Juan de la Pena AND whether possible to take route north of Rio Aragon. See the Cathedral of S. Pedro, and the adjacent Diocesan Museum of Romanesque Painting, a MUST visit. If time, also Iglesia Santiago and Benedictine Convent.
Albergue Municipal, Calle Conde Aznar, 9, 10 euro; Albergue Juvenil Escuelas Pias, Avenida Perimetral, 2, 15 EU ; Albergue Turistico Casa Mamre, Calle de Arco, 1, 11 EU
 

LiesbethSA

Living a life less ordinary
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues -Barcellos to Santiago (2012)
Muxia to Finnistere (2012)
Camino Frances - SJPdP to Santiago Sept - Oct (2014)
Walked September 2019 from Oloron to Puenta de Reina and on to Burgos. Walked with Gronze guide and stages. Started in Oloron and stopped in Sarrance, Borse, Somport, Jaca, Arrés, Ruesta, Sangüesa, Monreal, Puenta la Reina Loved the northern slope of the Pyrenees - we were 3 hikers on this stretch - for an person from Africa the landscape was a special treat. Walked the Camino Aragon from Somport with 8 Spanish, 1 Italian and two French companions. No English or Afrikaans or any other language that I know but the camaraderie was awesome and the history of the lands of the Kings of Aragon fascinating - Walked stretches on old Roman roads, saw the Moorish influence on windows and doors and enjoyed the quality of light of this beautiful autumn landscape! I recommend an Autumn walk up the Pyrenees and through Aragon!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Having walked both Lourdes-Jaca and Lourdes-SJPP -- frankly I'd recommend the second over the first.

Starting at the Somport is a great idea, and starting at Lourdes is an even better one. But the hike up from Oloron to the Somport, even if at Arudy you take the short cut and skip Oloron entirely, is tarmacacious, closed-in, boring, and long -- despite those 2-3 very excellent places to sleep at along the way up.

Now, when I was up there last time, they were in the process, on the French side, of completely re-making the route and with very different waymarks, and as far as I could tell, it was being made much friendlier ; so my impressions are therefore out of date ; but that doesn't alter the geography of the place, which remains very closed-in and centred around the heavy traffic on the main road up through the pass.

If the railway line had been completely abandoned, a lot of it could have become a hiking path ; but they are still trying to re-open the line, so that's not happening.

---

I suppose another alternative, if you're keener than most on mountain-hiking, would to get up from Lourdes onto the Pyrenees GR and make your way to the Somport along that ? (that trail hits the Camino at a village that's one day's hike before the Somport on the Arles Way, and that village has one of the aforementioned 2-3 very excellent places to sleep at along the way up ... plus that's the point beyond which the way up to the Somport stops being boring)
 

peregrino_tom

Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
Some partial knowledge/idea from me, following on from JabbaPapa's post above:
I'd add that if you head into the mountains and picked up the GR10 at Cauterets, the important thing would be to diverge off the GR10 when you get to lac d'Ayous. Impossible to miss as you'll have Pic du Midi Ossau right there on your left shoulder. If you fork left it's less than a couple of hours level-ish pathed walk over to Somport. If you don't you descend 1500m+ to Etsaut/Borce and the valley road and face the same issues mentioned above on the walk up to Urdos then Somport.
FWIW I see there's something called the Voie Verte des Gaves, which is a 20km cycle path along a disused railway line which connects Lourdes with Cauterets...
Having said all of that, I'll concede that in Nov/Dec this route might not be possible, but thought it worth logging anyway.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Follow the variant to Urdos, which has an amazing place to sleep. The valley really does start opening up from that point onwards.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Personally, I LOVED the Somport-Oliron walk! Did it in 2019 and though there was some roadway walking, overall it was spectacular. I guess to each his/her own. 🤔
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2011,2012 2013,2014, 2015 Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016,2017 Primitivo 2018,2019
I guess we all have different experiences - I have walked from Lourdes to Somport Pass twice now and have loved the scenery and the experience and would walk up it again tomorrow. From my experience, the scenery at the top is wonderful and the walk down to Canfranc is spectacular, particularly if you do it in Spring. One exercise in the hospitalero training course we have run is to ask people to pinpoint their high points and low points on a map of the Camino Frances - amazingly, every single time, many of the high points for some were low points for others and vice versa.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
From my experience, the scenery at the top is wonderful and the walk down to Canfranc is spectacular
Same here, but it's the loooong hike up to the top through that valley that I disliked.
 

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