Monasterio de Urdax
Start your tour in the village of Urdax, also known as Urdazubi, which sits just 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) from the French border. While historians don’t know the exact date of Monasterio de Urdax’s construction, a hospital for pilgrims was established on the site in the 11th century. Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the hospital expanded and turned into a magnificent monastery created from pink stone. Over the years, two fires destroyed parts of the building; however, today, the church and the cloister still survive. Inside, visitors will be able to see a collection of contemporary paintings and sculptures.
Real Colegiata de
Santa María de Roncesvalles
Continue your tour south, briefly popping into France to the town of Saint Jean Pied de Port, where the Camino de Santiago begins, and then follow the route back to Spain, to the small village of Roncesvalles – the next stop along the Camino. Here you’ll find the Royal Collegiate of Santa María de Roncesvalles, where you can visit the magnificent church and the museum, which houses a collection of carvings, canvases and old manuscripts, as well as pieces of gold and silverwork and jewels. Today, part of the collegiate is also a hostel for pilgrims walking the Camino, so you can even stay the night here.
Monasterio de Iranzu
Monasterio de Santa
María de Irache
Just 13 kilometres (8.1 miles) south of the Monasterio de Iranzu, you’ll find the Monasterio de Santa
Monasterio de Leyre
Travel one hour east, back through Pamplona, to the Monasterio de Leyre. Built during the 9th to 11th centuries, it comprises a beautiful crypt, Gothic vault and Romanesque porch. The monastery is still in use today and is home to a number of monks. If you’re lucky, you may be able to hear them do their Gregorian chant, which dates as far back as the 8th century. The monastery also houses a beautiful hotel and restaurant.
Monasterio de Leyre, Yesa, Navarra, Spain, +34 948 88 40 11
Monasterio de la Oliva
Follow your tour 54 kilometres (33.5 miles) south-west to the Monasterio de la Oliva. Built during the 12th and 13th centuries, it’s one of the most beautiful examples of Cistercian art in Spain and comprises a stunning cloister and chapter hall. Today, it’s still home to 26 Cistercian monks, who you may be able to see walking around the cloisters and praying. Visitors can also get the chance to stay here at the simple accommodation on offer.
Monasterio de Fitero
Approximately 60 kilometres (37.2 miles) further south-west is the Monasterio de Fitero. Originally constructed between 1185 and 1247, it was enlarged during the 16th and 17th centuries. Declared a National Monument in 1931, it is one of the most important of the Cistercian buildings in Europe and has true architectural splendour – think elegant Renaissance cloisters, Arabic-style arches and medieval vaults. Visitors will also find picturesque nature walks surrounding the monastery.