Stage 4: Pamplona – Puente la Reina Distance 23.5km
The Camino is well marked through Pamplona. Turning off the Calle del Carmen at a small plaza keep straight on along the Calle del Carmen, turning right into the Calle de Mercadores
Continue to the Plaza Consistorial then turn right into the Calle san Saturnino and keep straight until you come out at parkland surrounding the Cuidadela.
Follow the flagstone path and when it turns in front of Pamplona’s Cuidadel (citadel) take a right onto the road and follow the markers on towards Cizur Meno.
You’ll come to a bridge over the Río Sadar, cross over and then again over the Río Elorz. Keep straight on crossing a railway track, go to the top of the hill which descends into the village of Cizur Menor.
The 13th Century Iglesia San Miguel Archángel has been restored, it was once converted into a warehouse.
The doorway is Romanesque – Gothic in style with a Greek monogram of Christ in the tympanum.
The Romanesque parish church is on the right and has also been recently restored.
There are several bars and restaurants in the area as well as a chemist, farmacia.
Leaving Cizur Menor take the main road downhill and then right down footpath on the left hand side of the frontón and turn left. Keep on straight heading towards the line of 40ish wind turbines on the Alto de Pérdon. These turbines provide Pamplona with some of it’s electricity supply.
The camino now takes you to the church and through the village of Guenduláin, across a stream bypassing the ruins of Guenduláin Palace. Keep on towards the turbines across a minor road. Go straight uphill towards the top of Alto de Pérdon and the village of Zariquiegui. On the way up you get a great view of Pamplona.
Zariquiegui’s 13th century Romanesque Iglesia de San Andrés is on your right as you walk into the village. You will also pass a splendid fountain. As you leave the village the paths takes you left and uphill to the Alto de Perdón and the line of wind turbines.
Just before you get to the top you pass the Fuente Reniega (Fountain of Renouncement).
Legend has it that a tired and thirsty pilgrim was confronted by the devil disguised as a fellow pilgrim The devil offered to show him a hidden fountain on the condition that he renounced God, the Virgin Mary and St James. The pilgrim refused and St James, disguised as a pilgrim, came to his rescue and led him to a hidden fountain where he was able to quench his thirst with the help of his scallop shell.
Passing the fountain you arrive at Alto de Perdón. On your right you will see an iron sculpture depicting a parade of male and female pilgrims, horses, donkeys and dogs all making their way to Santiago.
From here you can see the next village of Uterga as well as Obanos and on a clear day Puente la Reina.
Crossing to the other side of the road follow the way marks down a stony track, which leads to the base of the valley through vineyards and almond trees. Keep going straight on, cross a small river and walk uphill into the village of Uterga.
Go straight through the Uterga, passing the Albergue Camino del Perdón and continue along a quiet road for 2km to the village Muruzabal.
You pass an almond grove on your right as you enter the village. Walk past a frontón and the walled Iglesia de San Estaban.
In the main square you will find a bar and a chemist / farmacia
Pass through the village and take a right at a metal cross and walk along the side of some fields. Continue on to the top of a hill and take a right which will lead you into Obanos passing the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista and the albergue.
It is well worth taking a walk through the beautiful streets and squares of Obanos. You’ll find a grocery shop and a butcher shop near the church.
It’s monuments include the Nuestra Señora de Arnotegui Shrine, where the legend of the Mystery of San Guillén and Santa Felicia has its origins.
This story is closely linked to the Camino de Santiago and is played out by 800 locals every two years in July.
Legend of the Mystery of San Guillén and Santa Felicia
“Of Santa Felicia’s martyrdom and San Guillén’s penance”, gives name to a legend of the 14th century. It’s the story of the Duke of Aquitanie’s children. After going on pilgrimage on the way to St. James, the princess Felicia felt religious vocation and decided to abandon the comforts of the court and live the life of a hermit in Navarra. Her brother Guillén found her and killed her, after her refusal to assume her class responsibilities. Santa Felicia’s grave is in Labiano (Aranguren Valley).
Guillén obtained sanctity after going on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and spent the rest of his life in the close to Obanos Arnotegui Hermitage, consoling the pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago and helping the poor, where his relics are still worshipped.
Leaving Obanos proceed straight to Calle San Juan then turn right into Calle Julian Gayarre. Take a left and continue through an archway and go straight, following the road as it bends to the right passing the town frontón and fountain opposite.
At the Ermita San Salvador the road becomes a rough track running along the side of a farm. Keep straight on until you come to the main road. Cross over and turn left down a footpath through some allotments. You will then rejoin the road by Hotel Jaque, which is an albergue as well as an hotel.
There is a modern statue of Santiago Peregrino at the junction of the Camino Frances and the Camino Aragonés. Turn left after about 300m along the Carretera Pamplona for 300m to Puente la Reina (Gares).
Puente la Reina (Gares)
Puente la Reina’s main albergue is the first building on your left opposite the Romanesque Iglesia del Crucifijo.
Puente La Reina (Ponte de Arga) got its name at the beginning of the eleventh century. Doña Mayor, wife of Sancho “el Fuerte” III (though it may also have been Doña Estefania wife of Don Garcia, Doña Mayor’s niece) was the queen who gave her name to the town. She built the six-arched bridge over the Río Arga for the use of pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela.
Puente la Reina doesn’t have the plazas and squares you find in most other towns in Navarra. The main monuments can be found along the Calle Mayor. The Iglesia del Crucifijo, built in the twelfth century by the Knights Templar, had a second nave added three centuries later to house an impressive Y-shaped gothic crucifix carried from Germany by a pilgrim.
One end of the Calle Major is flanked by two towers. On both sides all the way there are palaces, large houses decorated with shields, projecting eaves and graceful balconies covered with geraniums.
At the other end, a fortified gateway gives access to the famous six arched Romanesque bridge, a superb example of medaieval construction. The bridge gave its name to the town.
You should make a point of checking out the facade of the Iglesia de Santiago. It has Moorish influence in it’s south portal, carved with saints & sinners, and gargoyles.
Inside the church you can see a Baroque painting depicting scenes from the life of Saint James. In the left hand aisle you’ll find a statue of Santiago Peregrino, also known in Basque as Santiago Beltza (Black Santa)
Tourist Office, Calle Mayor, 105. Tel: (0034) 948 34 08 45
Enjoyed this article?