Slightly later than planned, I am bringing you the 3rd chapter to the “Towns Along the Way” series. And with very little surprise, I am going to look at towns than start with “C”. There are loads of them…so I will split this post up in two. I have only stayed in two of these towns myself, so this may be the perfect chance for me to learn something about them, as well as pass on some information to you! And as always, if you have any feedback about these places, please feel free to comment.
So let’s get started..
Cizur Menor (map)
The first town you encounter on leaving Pamplona is Cizur Menor (or Zizur Menor locally). It is approximately 5km away from there and is also located beside it’s sister town Cizur Mayor, which is just off the Camino Frances. It holds a population of roughly 2400 people. It has a number of albergues (www.gronze.com) and should you wish to avoid Pamplona, this would be a good option. I haven’t stayed here myself but passed through at 7am on the way to Puente la Reina. I was glad I didn’t however, as there was a fiesta ongoing right through the night. On the whole though, it is a quiet town with all the amenities you will need.
The town of Ciruena is unique. Not only does it lie slightly off the Camino but before reaching the town itself, you are greeted by hundreds of empty houses…a ghost town. They were built to accommodate members of the local golf club which is just around the corner. Ciruena itself has a population of 131 people and strangely enough has two albergues (www.gronze.com), both of which have received positive reviews. I have previously chosen not to stay here, opting to stay in the town previous to it (Azofra in 2015) and the town following it (Santo Domingo de la Calzada in 2013). I have met some people who have enjoyed their time here however.
Another blink and you’ll miss it town on the Camino. It is located 20km from Ciruena and in the province of Burgos. At this point, you are 560km from Santiago and just becoming used to being a pilgrim. Castildelgado offers little to the pilgrim but should you wish to call it a day, there is a pension (www.gronze.com).
Castildelgado is located between Santo Domingo de la Calzada and Belorado and lies beside the busy N-120 motorway.
Cardeñuela Riopico is a town located in the province of Burgos. It is actually 13km from the city itself and has a population of just over 100 people. You will encounter this little town as you leave either San Juan de Ortega, Ages or Atapuerca making your way to Burgos. I have previously chosen to stay in Atapuera and had breakfast in the either of the albergues here, whichever was open! There are three albergues here (www.gronze.com). A further 2km on down the road from Cardenuela is it’s sister town Orbaneja Riopico.
Convento de San Anton (map)
The ruins of San Anton is not so much a town but rather a place. They are located on the outskirts of Castrojeriz. The Convento de San Anton was built in in the 14th Century, and was originally the King’s Palace. It was later turned into a hospital for passing pilgrims on their way to Santiago. Since 2002, the tradition of offering shelter to pilgrims holds as volunteers maintain a donotivo refugio in the ruins (www.gronze.com).
I haven’t stopped by during my previous Caminos as it has not been open unfortunately, but one day I would like to stay here.
Castrojeriz is a town located in the province of Burgos and is a popular stop along the Camino. The town is based at the foot of a hill which has a lookout castle in ruins. The town was built along one main road which circles the hill. There are more than 1,000 people there. As it is a popular stop along the Way, there is plenty of accommodation (www.gronze.com). I haven’t stayed here myself, choosing to stay in Hontanas. I have however stopped here for breakfast. I would recommend Hostel El Manzano. It is also wish that you stock up with refreshments as you have the difficult Alto de Mostalares to climb once you leave Castrojeriz. Enjoy it – the Meseta has well and truly kicked in at this stage!