Bridges and Bandits… along the Camino de Santiago

Bridge of the Bandits (puente de los banditos) crossing the Rio Arga in Larrasoana on the Camino de Santiago

Bridge of the Bandits in Larrasoaña

Bridge at Irotz

After leaving Zubiri, the camino continues on its downhill march toward Pamplona, closely following the course of the Rio Arga. Five kilometers after leaving the town, a footpath spanning the river appears on your right, This single arch Romanesque style stone bridge (12th century) leads into the village of Larrasoaña. Legend states that bandits would lie in wait for medieval pilgrims to cross the bridge and then relieve them of their wordly goods. It is little wonder that it is still known today as the Bridge of Bandits – El Puente de los Bandidos. At its peak, Larrasoaña offered a pilgrim’s hospital as well as a lovely church (still standing). A further five kilometers along the camino and the pilgrim once again passes over the river.  At the exit to Irotz, another 12th century Romanesque stone bridge makes a graceful crossing. This is the Puente de Iturgaiz with its three arches. Soon you will be descending into your first and largest city of the camino – Pamplona. And there will be more of the river to cross ahead.