SOMPORT - JACA Length 30,9 Km
The first stage of the Aragonese Way crosses the valley of the river Aragon in the heart of the Pyrenees. This is an adventure that demands some prudence, but that will leave the pilgrim deeply satisfied and full of wonderful memories because it contains some of the most beautiful panoramas of the Way.
Between Somport and Jaca we flank the Sumus Portus surrounded by peaks and cliffs, areas of sparse vegetation or low mountain: supremely dramatic landscapes of great that will leave no pilgrim indifferent. Some areas of the Camino run very close to the N-330, but in general the whole route will be through trails and dirt tracks through the mountains and valleys of Aragon.
Most of the localities that we cross or glimpse from the Camino are linked to the tourism of snow and nature. At the end of the stage we reach Jaca, the most important locality of the area, an historical town with a past deeply marked by the pilgrimage.
Puente de los peregrinos, Canfranc, Commons Wikipedia, autor: Miguelheneres
Km 1.0 Somport
The Camino starts very close to the Candanchú ski resort. Its first section is downhill and takes the pilgrim to the ruins of the medieval hospital of Santa Cristina. After crossing the N-330, we find the steepest slopes, walking at the foot of the Coll de Ladrones and its fortification. The landscape is of low hills, firs and pines, trees that successive administrations have planted so as to stop the avalanches of snow. The Camino runs along the Aragón River until reaching the old train station of Canfranc.
Km 7.3 Canfranc Station
After reaching the beautiful pavilion of the station, today a luxury hotel, the pilgrim continues along the main street of Canfrac station, a built up area that leads on through numerous roads and tracks to the tunnels of the Somport. Next to the Tower of the Fusileros the river is crossed and then continues on beside it until reaching the old town of Canfranc. Old Canfranc was somewhat abandoned with the construction of the station and the creation of a new urban centre around it, but its old road route still forms part of the Camino de Santiago. The Camino leaves the village next to the cemetery, crossing a bridge of medieval origin, from which it continues along a path along the river to Villanúa.
Santa María de Iguacel, Castiello de Jaca, Commons Wikipedia, autor: Dirocris
Km 16.4 Villanúa
The Camino skirts the village of Villanúa without entering it, advancing by a stop that runs along the N-330. At some point the pilgrim must cross the N-330 and start a fairly tough climb up stony ground. At the end of the climb he will reach Castiello de Jaca.
Km 23.0 Castiello de Jaca
The road crosses the historical center of the village, descending a steep slope to the road. This road continues, passing a hotel and then crossing the river Ijuez. One step more will lead the pilgrim to a road which will finally give him access to the path that, parallel to the river, leads him to Jaca. The entrance in the capital and end of this stage is the Avenue of France, that takes the pilgrim to its historical center.
WHAT TO VISIT?
The peak known as Sumus Portus reaches 1,632 meters in height. Since ancient times it has been one of the most frequented passages across the Pyrenees, since good weather conditions prevail throughout almost the whole year.
We know of its use by pilgrims since at least the end of the eleventh century, as we know that in 1104 the Santa’s hospital was founded- one of the oldest and most emblematic pilgrimage hospitals in the Christian world. This hospital is cited in the Codex Calixtino as one of the three most important that existed in the twelfth century. We know that it ceased to function in the seventeenth century and today only its ruins remain, part of its foundations and some architectural remains that, fortunately, have been preserved.
Coll de Ladrones
We mention this port since it is a fort is constructed on a rock more than 1300 meters in altitude. This fortification is quite recent, dating from the 19th century, when it was constructed with the purpose of watching and protecting the passage of walkers through the valley.
The Canfranc International Railway Station is a magnificent building that was built at the beginning of the 20th century and was inaugurated in 1928 by Alfonso XII. It was created to welcome the numerous foreign visitors who arrived in Spain by train. Its architecture is eclectic, comprising of many influences and styles, with a large central pavilion that has recently been converted into a luxury hotel. Among the many anecdotes that pepper its history, one is that some scenes from the film Doctor Zhivago.
In the modern town that arose around the station, a tower known as Espelenuca or the Fusiliers, probably built in the XV century, is now preserved and now houses an exhibition on the Camino de Santiago.
Ruinas del hospital de Santa Cristina de Somport, Commons Wikipedia, autor: Oroel
Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago de Jaca
Canfranc Tourist Office
Jaca Tourist Office
Albergues / Youth Hostels
Canfranc Station. Hostel Pepito Grillo
Pilgrims Hostel of Jaca
Conde Aznar, s / n. Tel .: 974 36 08 48 www.jaca.es
General information hostels