Section 8 - La Rioja

Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Belorado - 26Km

Leaving the city, the route goes through the agricultural roads of Corporales and Morales, making you enjoy a soft and undulating landscape where you can start to see more cereal crops. In the foothills of the region, we finally reach the Carrasquedo hermitage, a natural place for rest, and the municipality of Grañón. From its viewpoint, which already has a view of Castilla León, the route heads towards the plains of the neighbouring region, between farmlands, through a dirt path.

We enter Castilla y León at Redecilla del Camino in the province of Burgos. The “Radicella” of the Codex Calixtinus is a typical example of the development of towns along the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago.

Among several houses with coats of arms a simple pillory appears which has been declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. The parish church, which was rebuilt in the 16th century, is noted for its Romanesque 12th-century font. Castildelgado contains the Casa de Gil Delgado of the 16th to 18th centuries, the 16th-century parish church, and the 13th-century Chapel of Santa María La Real del Campo.

Your itinerary through the province of Burgos will reveal lanes, roads, paths, and cattle tracks of spectacular beauty. The locals are ready to help you if you have any difficulties. Emblematic monuments, historical hospitals, charming chapels, and refreshing fountains mark the route. It should be taken into account that this land is special in that several of the saints related to the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago were born here. Viloria de Rioja, the next hamlet on the route after Castildelgado, is associated with the birth of Santo Domingo de la Calzada in 1019. According to tradition this saint was born in a house opposite the parish church.

On the whole of this stage we pedal on the French Route to Santiago on dirt tracks in good condition.

In Castilla y León we find not only the yellow arrows of the Route to Santiago but also the EuroVelo 1 signs.

Villamayor del Río has traditional houses with wooden frameworks. After this village we come to the town of Belorado which has a great historical legacy. This includes an interesting monumental ensemble of houses with wooden frameworks, a porticoed Plaza Mayor of houses with coats of arms, the ruins of a castle, and an ensemble of churches and funeral chapels of great artistic value.

Points of Interest

  • Santo Domingo de la Calzada owes its name to its founder, Domingo, and its raison d´être to the roadway along which pilgrims travel towards the tomb of Santiago the Apostle. This town is a major milestone on the Jacobean Route in La Rioja. It was born as a result of and in order to serve the Pilgrims' Route as from the 10th century, which marks the beginning of its historical, urban, and architectural development. The Cathedral is therefore the most important milestone; it is defensive in nature and its interior is noted for the Renaissance altarpiece of Damián Forment and the Romanesque ambulatory with richly decorated capitals. In the crypt lies the sepulchre of Santo Domingo and a very curious touch is provided by the 15th-century Gothic henhouse, which even today still contains a live rooster and a chicken in memory of the saint's miracle.

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  • In the style of Juan de Herrera, nowadays it holds a Parador de Turismo (state-run hotel) and the diocesan workshop where works of art are restored.

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  • The Casa de la Cofradía del Santo is today one of the best hostels on the Pilgrims' Route to Santiago. It is the headquarters of the welfare brotherhood founded by Santo Domingo in the 11th century, the oldest on the Pilgrims' Route.

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  • The former building of the Chief Magistrate of La Rioja today contains one of the few 18th-century prisons to survive in Spain. Its cells and in particular its small outer patio retain inscriptions written by prisoners of different periods.

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  • This building of masonry was constructed between the 15th and 18th centuries and consists of a single nave in three sections. It contains a magnificent Renaissance altarpiece which was restored in the last holy year of 1993, inspired by the Catedral de Santo Domingo.

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  • We enter Castilla y León via Redecilla del Camino in the province of Burgos. The "Radicella" of the Codex Calixtinus is a typical example of the development of towns along the Pilgrims' Route to Santiago. The Church of the Virgen del Camino, which was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries, is noted for its 12th-century Romanesque font. Among several houses with coats of arms appears a simple pillory which has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.

    Coordinates: 42.438709,-3.063180

  • Artistic coffered ceiling and screens - Decorated with stone bulls on the façade from the Las Merchanas hill fort.

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    Coordinates: 42.437749,-3.084325

  • The font where Santo Domingo de la Calzada was baptised is preserved here; the saint was born in this hamlet in a house opposite the church.

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    Coordinates: 42.426405,-3.101275

  • It is of great geological beauty and is over four kilometres in length; it is considered to be the sixth cave in the world of its type. Excavated in an area of puddingstone cemented with limestone motifs from the Oligocene deposited 35 million years ago, it is located near the hamlet of Puras de Villafranca. In its lower part a river runs through the cave. This beautiful place with numerous formations, towers, helictites, outflows, stalactites, stalagmites, and columns left by lithogenesis on its floors, ceilings, and walls is one of the world's top caves. It surprises us with three superimposed storeys, the top two of which contain the most magnificent and most outstanding formations with their grandeur and geological originality.

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    Coordinates: 42.374090,-3.245032

  • Declared a Site of Cultural Interest. This is a pertinent and outstanding historical testimony to the extraction of manganese in Spain both as a result of the series of constructions associated with this mine and of the series of material and immaterial testimonies and their effect on the territory in which it is established. The mine has survived to this day so as to allow us to reconstruct both physically and mentally the social and labour relations established here for a time.

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    Coordinates: 42.378612,-3.243596

  • The Pilgrims' Route to Santiago or the Jacobean Route, as it is also known, was declared the First European Itinerary of Cultural Interest by the Council of Europe in 1987. Moreover, the route is considered by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Asset. The so-called French Route is the way to Santiago par excellence, the best-known, the most frequently travelled, and the best prepared of all. It starts in Roncesvalles in Navarra and finally reaches the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia after 750 kilometres. More than half of this distance corresponds to the territory of Castilla y León (450 kilometres).

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Section 8

Santo Domingo de la Calzada - Belorado - 26Km: 26

  • Elevation
  • Heritage
  • Shops and cycling services