Camino Frances Day 9 Viloria del Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca

We’re walking from Viloria del Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca on Day 9 of our pilgrimage on the Camino Frances.  After 8 days on the Camino and walking nearly 200km so far we have decided to do a shorter day and rest up in the afternoon sunshine.

Day 9 Overview

  • Distance – 23km
  • From – Viloria del Rioja
  • To – Villafranca Montes de Oca
  • Min/Max Elevation – 756m/949m
  • Elevation gain – 321m
  • Steps – 30,000

We ended up having a great meal last night in Viloria del Rioja cooked by our hosts in this fantastic donativo called the Parada Viloria (well worth staying here) Its a one stop village but very peaceful and chilled out.

The sleeping arrangements were a bit close but its an albergue and we coped.  Never stayed in an albergue with bunk beds so close to each other.

dinner in an albergue in Viloria del Rioja

After yesterday’s long walk we have a short 23km to Villafranca Montes de Oca. We’ve decided to head for this town and wait up here as we have a large mountain to get over the day after and the next stop is nearly 15km further away. 

Camino Frances elevation map

It’s about an 8km walk to Belorado before we get to stop for our first breakfast. We we’re very hungry Pilgrims.


Breakfast in the central square in Belorado was very good. The square is full of some really funky trees and we ate in the early morning sunshine amongst bars , cafes and lots of other Pilgrims on the Camino. 

One to remember for my next Camino Frances….

The castle ruins here are a sign of the towns defensive past straddling the old border of Castile and its roman origins. The area at its base known as El Carro was granted the first ever license to have a ‘town market’ by Alfonso 1st in 1116. 

Belorado is also known for the Feria Alfonsina festival including some bull running in the town.

the square in belorado

We then hit the trail and had a 10km slog through wheat fields in the hot sun. This section was a little bit boring but we powered through just chatting with other pilgrims as we walked. 

It was so hot today I really did need my Camino Buff to keep the sun off my head.

It was an amazing and feels great to be alive. We’re feeling fitter and  stronger the more walking we do and my calf muscles seem to be growing in size too.

We have decided to treat ourselves a little and are staying at an old 14th century pilgrim house in Villafranca Montes de Oca called Albergue San Anton Abad. The building is amazing.

albergue san anton abad
villafranca montes de Oca

We checked in and came out and discovered a Spanish wedding about to happen.  What a brilliant experience to see everyone so full of joy.

Villafranca montes de Oca

Nestled in the shadow of the old “dangerous” Mountains of Oca, this centre has been known, since the founding of the Camino, as the last stop before tackling the complicated next stage.   

The mountains of Oca were legendary landscapes, evocative and feared in the middle Ages due to the continued presence of bandits who, protected by the dense surrounding woods, assaulted the pilgrims.

The Codex Calixtino refers to this place as Nemus oque. Today, however, it is solitude and silence that presides over this place of great beauty, a natural division between the Ebro and Duero

In search of a cold beer we found a locals bar, ordered a couple of beers and asked for some tapas or ‘pintxos’ as they call it here. We didn’t know what we would get but god was it nice !  

bar in Villafranca Montes de Oca

Our Pintxos included chicken, pork, rabbit, black pudding, chorizo bread and olives ! More protein than we’ve had for a week. It literally was a meat feast and one of the best meals we had on the whole Camino Frances. 

I recommend eating at Bar Nuevo Meson

chorizo in a bar in Villafrance Montes de Oca
Pilgrims in a bar

Villafranca Montes de Oca Albergues

We stayed at the wonderful Hotel San Anton Abad in Villafranca Montes de Oca. It is a fabulous hotel and no doubt expensive but the owner has walked The Camino de Santiago and wants to give ‘something back’ so they have a hostel for Pilgrims and we thoroughly enjoyed it

Casa Rural La Alpargateria

Hotel San Anton abad

I hope you enjoyed reading about the walking stage on Day 9 Viloria del Rioja to Villafranca Montes de Oca.

Enjoy reading about Day 10 which sees us walking from Villafranca Montes de Oca to Burgos.

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