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Is this the CF best kept secret? (Alternative route after Villatuerta or Estella)

LauraL

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
French (starting late July)
The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers
 

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Bob Howard

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF 2016 2018 2022
It’s not a secret. It’s just that Estella is one of the most charming towns on the Camino, irrespective of the wine fountain. Estella is very much a Spanish city independent of, yet still very much part of, the Camino. I imagine the alternative route avoiding Estella is little discussed on the forum because most people want to experience Estella. If you become a Camino addict and walk again, give it a chance. I’ll wager you will like it.
 

wisepilgrim

Camino App Maker
Time of past OR future Camino
Many
The detour which goes to Luquin but which starts shortly after the Irache monastery/fountain is the one that I always recommend. It was closed for a few years (or rather it was inaccessible) during the A-12 construction but for many years now there is even an albergue in Luquin (here).

I will say that the stretch from Villatuerta directly is not nice enough to skip Estella... for me.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
It's no secret. That alternate route is shown in my ten year old Brierley guidebook, so I would guess millions have seen it. I've stayed in Villatuerta and Estella before. Both nice. No complaints. I couldn't recommend one over the other when I stayed at both. Just depends on one's walking route plans. Obviously Estella has more infrastructure, if that's a deciding factor for somebody.
 
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NualaOC

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
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The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers

Thanks @LauraL for sharing this. While this route is known to many forum members and mentioned in guidebooks, most pilgrims seem to follow the mainstream options.

I learned about this when forum member @annakappa posted about it some years ago - as a new forum member, I was very grateful for that gem of information. I'm sure others will equally appreciate your post.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances (2022)
The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers
I ended up on that alternate route accidentally after visiting the wine fountain. It was a pleasant walk through the forest, even in the rain. It wasn't until I got to Los Arcos and was asked which route I took that was I aware of my detour 😊
 

A Kerryman

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2018,2019, 2021
The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers
I took this route on a really hot 🥵 day by accident and it’s a long hard slog uphill till Luquin with no stops. I went the the other way this year for the second time and I preferred it but Luquin was a nice village to stop in so it’s definitely worth doing the alternative route
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I had taken the main route from Estella to Villamayor de Monjardin in 2015. In 2017 when I brought family members, everything in Monjardin was booked. I was very disappointed as I had really enjoyed the Dutch muni before. It was then suggested we make a little "detour" from there and head south to Luquin, where the four of us stayed in the new albergue and had it all to ourselves. It was bliss after quite a long day.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Hola - @LauraL Thanks for a great, informative post. I too stayed at the Casa Magica in Villatuerta. I did look at walking the Brierley Green Option Route, but actual info was hard to come by. Your post hopefully will encourage more pilgrims who want to get away from the crowds and heat. Cheers
 

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Time of past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers
I always like to hear of different variants on the CF. I suppose that Eunate from Obanos to Puenta can be classified as a detour? @mspath has posted quite a few variations- she must be one of THE experts on the CF.
I doubt if there was a hard and fast ridged route 1000 years ago. Indeed , Estella was but a Hamlet when the CF was in it’s infancy?
We should probably think of the original CF as a band of towns a few miles wide.
I always enjoy walking through Corporales and Morales on the way to Granon.
Thanx for your selfless share👌🙏
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Interesting to know! but, at the same time, skipping monumental Estella, Irache and sweet Villamayor de Monjardín does not sound like a great idea, I have done the official path, and I found it beautiful, it would not be easy to beat Estella, definitely!
 

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I lived in Luquin and worked in Villamayor de Monjardín. My friends are still doing that. It seems that the last couple of years the numbers through Luquin have been increasing. And they are renovating a former convent in Barbarín, and have pondered whether there might be a future path through there. "Official path" is somewhat of a strange idea, since it has been re-routed many times and originally (centuries ago), what mattered was Santiago by any path.
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
The other day I posted about my good experience at a new albergue in Villatuerta, and said I would talk more about an advantage of staying at Villatuerta (as opposed to Estella) on a separate thread. Here it is:
At the albergue, I found out about an alternative route that goes via the Zaraputz ruins and Lúquin. This was in fact the original route, before Estella was built. I had never heard of this before. I did a search of this forum and only found a couple of threads that mention it, both very old.
I took this alternative route and can say it was very nice, passing through some lovely forest areas with lots of shade, and it was very peaceful except for the occasional bike riders passing by.
Lúquin was like a little oasis on a hot day. There's a municipal pool with a bar and I sat there in the shade for a while, slowly savouring my Calippo.
I can't compare it to the standard route because I haven't done it. Once you find your way to the start of this route, you'll see Camino markers all the way, so it's clearly an official route. It just puzzles me that it's never mentioned 🤷🏻‍♀️
People who are determined to have a sip or more at the wine fountain in Irache might want to stick with the most popular route, though apparently there's a path that takes you there too (see attached).
Cheers
It is no secret but don't tell everyone :) I stayed there and loved the walk from Estella. If you walk it in the morning, you have shade almost all the way. It would be hot walking in the afternoon once you are out of the more treed area. The path is absolutely gorgeous and the albergue is lovely. The little plaza is a great place to spend time over a beer or whatever.
 
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