It’s been a while since I wrote about the various towns that line the Camino. The last update was 4 months ago (!!!) and I talked about the places of Maneru, Melide, Molinaseca, Manjarin and Mansilla de las Mulas. Molinaseca is a favourite of mine. In this post, I’ll talk about the towns of Najera and Navarrete in the La Rioja region of Spain and Obanos in Navarra. Only 3 towns this time, but it will lead me into a longer post next time around. Again, if you have stayed in any of the below towns, please let me know how you got on in the comment box below!
Najera is a small town in the region of La Rioja. It is nearly 27km from the city of Logrono and has a population of over 7000 people. The Najerilla river splits the town in two and on a sunny day, relaxing by the river after a long walk is a great idea! I passed through Najera myself in 2013 and 2015, and it looked like the town had been built out of steep cliffs. It is visually stunning. The main sight in Najera is the church of Santa María la Real which was founded by García Sánchez III of Pamplona in 1052.
There are many different options of accommodation in Najera. I have stayed here on one occasion in 2013 while I preferred to move on to Azofra in 2015. If you are walking from Logrono and feel up to walking more than 25km, staying in Najera is a good options. However, Ventosa seems like a good alternative.
Navarrete is also situated in the La Rioja region, 12km from Logrono. It is the town in the photo at the top of my blog. I remember seeing it first in 2013. It was my first day walking and it was pretty warm. I was thinking of calling it a day but I knew I had a few more kilometres left to walk that day. I stopped for a moment and saw the town at the top of a hill ahead of vineyards and that gave me the energy to keep going. After an Aquarius, of course!
Over 2,000 people live in this small town, which is based at the bottom of a hill. The streets are small and winding but it is a lively town. There is a castle at the top of the hill and there is one theory that the castle was used for defensive reasons. Nafarrate in Basque means “Door of Navarre”. Anyway, Navarrete is a welcoming place nowadays and treat peregrinos like their neighbour. There are many different places to stay here, both municipal and private. I stayed in Albergue La Casa del Peregrino and I’d recommend it.
Ok, so even seasoned veterans will find it hard to remember this town. It is that minute. We move from La Rioja to Navarra where Obanos is situated. It has a population of around 700 people. It is the final town before Puente la Reina and many choose to stay here during busy times. The Camino de Aragones from Somport and the Frances meet here and continue to Santiago. Obanos holds the Gothic church of San Juan Bautista which celebrated it’s 100th anniversary in 2012. I found it amusing on passing the town in 2014 to find the same banner hanging from the church.
There are a number of places to stay in Obanos however the majority of people prefer to walk an extra few kms to Puente la Reina. Keep an eye out for the town’s fiesta however, as the people who live there put on a play every second year for the pilgrims who pass through.