Navarre is not just the entry point of the Way of St James. It's also - luckily - a land of many paths. Proof of this are the thousands of kilometres of trails, paths, rail trails and tracks, so you can get into nature and get away from it all!
A countryside that is splashed with colour. Because Navarre is a land of diversity, and each of its landscapes comes with its own particular shades. That's another thing that we're lucky about.
And listen up! Yet another good thing about our land is that there's something for all levels of experience and fitness. There are a host of options open to you, ranging from pleasant walks for all the family right up to climbing the peaks of the Pyrenees. That's to say 2,000 metres, which isn't exactly high-altitude climbing.
So, as you can see, there's no end of options. Bring your family, your partner, your group of friends or whoever you want. And, if anything, let your legs set the limits.
Where to start? The essentials trails
Let's see, we're going to do two things. Here’s a leaflet and the essential trails:
Trail leaflet: with thirty carefully selected trails.
Essential trails on the Wikiloc Turismo Navarra: in our profile, you'll find these same trails and a few more, with their maps, tracks, profiles and even some comments from other trail walkers.
So get your boots on!
The best trails at out TOP nature sties and also...
The Ignatian Way
Mountain climbing and GR Routes
Easy-to-do walks: Rail Trails and Arga River Walk
Let's start with the most accessible trails, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. These can also be done by bike. On your marks, get set, go!
Rail Trails in NavarreCheck out all the Rail Trails in Navarre
Take some time to switch off and enjoy visiting or walking along some pleasant, well-kept tracks. Thanks to the greenways this has never been easier!
These routes that run along the former narrow-gauge railway lines are full of history and with hardly any transit. That's why they're an easy and safe option to get into nature. These natural paths are perfect for families, persons with reduced mobility, senior citizens and those who just love enjoying simple things.
Take a walk and experience the beauty of nature in all its greenery on any one of the five rail trails in Navarre.
Arga River walk through Pamplona
Although it's not a greenway as such, it does need to be mentioned.
An almost 35 kilometre long path through the Pamplona Basin - of which 12 kilometres go through the city - going through market gardens, crossing bridges, around water mills. During your walk you're sure to come across all types of farm animals as well.
If you're in the area and you're into walking, then this river walk will make you feel as happy as a lark.
Trails to discover the must-visit nature spots in Navarre
A section that you must have been looking forward to! Walks though the most beautiful spots in Navarre.
As there are loads of trails to choose from, we're just going to highlight the most popular ones and give you access to the rest.
And the best trails in the TOP nature sites
1. Irati Forest
3. Baztan and Zugarramurdi
6. Urederra and Urbasa-Andía
7. Sierra de Aralar
1. Trails in the Irati Forest
There are two starting points, the village of Ochagavía in the Salazar Valley and the village of Orbaizeta in the Aezkoa Valley, so here's a suggestion for each access point.
From the Salazar Valley
If you choose to start the trail at Casas de Irati reception area, then you can start with this path.
Errekaidorra: an easy and fascinating walk that will allow you to discover the forestry uses through museum points that recreate the way in which the wood from the forest was used to produce masts, oars, furniture and charcoal. So, all in all, this is an open air museum. More info on Wikiloc
If you're setting out from the Irati-Abodi Mountain Centre, then we'd recommend the following trail to get started.
Gartxot trail: a slightly more demanding loop trail of almost 12 kilometres, offering some spectacular panoramic views towards the peaks of the Pyrenees and the valley. Its name refers to the legend of Gartxot the bard. More info on Wikiloc
From the Aezkoa ValleyMore info on Wikiloc
Los Paraísos-Erlán: a loop trail suitable for all levels. Some 5.5 kilometres with hardly any changes in level. Access is from the Irabia reservoir car park, which offers a beautiful panoramic view. This trail goes around part of the reservoir, affording some stunning views of the magnificence of this forest. Don't forget to listen to the woodpeckers, who'll put the music to your walk.
2. Trails starting out at Orreaga-Roncesvalles
Orreaga-Roncesvalles, a blend of culture and scenery.
Its architectural complex is captivating, standing in harmony with, and perfectly integrated into its surroundings.
Art and greenery, wherever you look.
The Basajaunberro Wood
A loop trail that is easy to walk and takes just over an hour to do, so it's perfect for families. It starts out from the collegiate church and passes through beech and oak trees that add even more magic to the setting in which the akelarres (witches gatherings) are said to have been held. The last stage is the Way of St James, but in the opposite direction.Check out the trail on Wikiloc.
The canons’ path
This is the only walk that the canons were allowed to do outside the walls of the collegiate church. It offers a nice panoramic view of the whole complex, passing by the fountain of Roldán where, as the legend goes, the knight Roldan was wounded, and by the fountain of the Virgin, the place where some shepherds discovered the image of the Virgin of Roncesvalles.
Go up the Ibañeta mountain pass
How about doing a stage of the Way of St James in the opposite direction? This is the real way to go up the Ibañeta mountain pass and enjoy the amazing view of the collegiate church. Another equally valid option is to go as far as Auritz/Burguete and then return.
Trail of the bunkers at Burguete
If you're a history enthusiast, then this trail will place you in the turbulent 20th century. Following the border marked by the peaks of the Pyrenees and along 3 marked trails, you'll discover the vestiges of the fortified line that was already planned during the Spanish Civil War itself.Check out the trails here.
3. Baztan Valley
This is an age-old valley in which legends, nature and folklore merge into one. The peace and beauty of this valley are set to surprise you, as you explore its paths at your own pace.
And very close by stands Zugarramurdi, the village of the witches with a trail that links the caves in the area.
And the fact is that there's nothing lacking in this area!
6.9 kilometre loop trail, ideal for doing with your kids.
Traditional houses, stone bridges, beech and chestnut woods will be your companions along the way, until you reach the Xorroxin waterfall. This beautiful waterfall is the ideal place to take a short break.More info on Wikiloc
Trail of the Pottoka Azul
A loop trail of almost 35 km through the cross-border area of Xareta and which links 3 caves: the Urdazubi/Urdax caves; the Zugarramurdi cave and the one at Sara (across the border). This trail is also known as the smuggler's route and is marked with a small blue pony painted on the stones along the way. Don't panic! the stretch in Navarre is just 12 km long.More info on Wikiloc
4. Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park
Bertiz is a really spectacular nature park. With its historical gardens, its Art Deco buildings and its enthusiasts. Paths that will take you through an Atlantic wood that is in a fantastic state of conservation, with a biodiversity that will take your breath away.
And we're going to suggest a trail that will allow you to really get to know it. Don't forget some supplies, as time simply flies by at the Señorío de Bertiz.
An easy- to-do trail that's less than 6.5 kilometres long and with a difference in height of 182 metres. It's part of the main Bertiz trail and along the way you'll come across plane, oak and beech trees. The end is marked by a small waterfall known as the "cascada del Suspiro" (whispering waterfall).
You'll also see the remains of buildings relating to shepherding and charcoal making, bringing to mind the traditional uses of the woodland.More info on Wikiloc
Leurtza reservoir trail
And very close to Bertiz, there's an attractive surprise. Reservoirs surrounded by beech woods, that look like they've been taken out of a fairytale. Along their easy-to-walk trails, you'll be able to see the uses, fauna and flora in the area and, what's more there's a picnic site that makes this natural area an ideal spot for families.More info on Wikiloc
5. Las Bardenas Reales Natural Park
A unique setting, given that you're looking at a desert that's just 120 kilometres away from the Pyrenees. You're right in thinking that we're not going to be boasting about leafy woodlands or the turquoise waters of the rivers.
Here nature is something very different. Dry, barren. And tremendously enigmatic. You've got 3 trails to explore on foot. Here's a snapshot of the most popular ones.
The Cabezo de Castildetierra rocky outcrop and Las Cortinas ravine
A very easy route of little more than 1 km and with no change in height. Make sure you've got plenty of water with you and a hat, because the sun really beats down here. What's awaiting you: wild landscapes, moon-like rock formations right out of a film, and endless space.More info on Wikiloc
El Fraile TrailMore info on Wikiloc
6. Urbasa-Andía Natural Park
The Urbasa and Andía sierras form a karst massif located no more nor less than at an altitude of 1,000 metres, with a beautiful combination of woodlands and large tablelands where cattle graze. This land, which for centuries was home to hunters, shepherds, lumberjacks and charcoal makers, has a number of hiking trails to enjoy. One of these is in actual fact to be found in the foothills of the sierra and is perhaps the most popular trail in Navarre. Yes, you've got it! The Source of the River Urederra.
But there's more to come...
Source of the River Urederra
The source is the natural outlet of the aquifer formed in the Karstic massif in the Urbasa-Andía Natural Park. This is a path of just over 6 km (there and back) running alongside the river with its turquoise, yes turquoise, waters which, together with its pools and small waterfalls, are sure to amaze you.More info
As you're probably already familiar with the Urederra river source trail, we're going to tell you about another trail that is right in the heart of the woodlands.
A magical setting with some beech trees that are more than 20 metres high and others with strange shapes - a submarine, a dragon or a giant mushroom - that's why this area is known as the «Enchanted beech wood of Urbasa».More info on Wikiloc
Trails in the Tierras de Iranzu area
To the south of the Urbasa-Andía sierra and very close to the town of Estella-Lizarra, lies the area of Tierras de Iranzu. An area that offers a host of attractions of interest such as visits to the salt flats or the cheese dairies, safaris among fighting bulls, water activities on the Alloz reservoir or places of great artistic interest such as the Monastery of Irantzu. And, what's more, you've got a score of easy-to-do trails allowing you to leisurely explore this beautiful area in Central Navarre.I'd like to learn more about the Tierras de Iranzu trails
Trails through the Sierra de Aralar
A great karst massif that combines blind valleys, hills, limestone pavements, caves, green meadows and endless beech groves. Here the myths and legends of Navarre play an important role and there are numerous megalithic vestiges. You'll see dolmens and even cromlechs, serving as a reminder that this land has been inhabited for thousands of years.
- Source of the River Larraun. Iribas: an easy walk that will allow you to explore the sources of the river Iribas, offering some delightful spots where you can enjoy the beauty of the cool waters and the luxuriant vegetation. The river sources are the magical result of the water filtering through the limestone of the Sierra de Aralar. This loop trail will allow you to visit two river sources: Aitzarreta which is the source of the river Ertzilla, and Basakaitz, where the river Larraun rises. Check out the trail on Wikiloc.
Hiking in the Roncal-Belagua Valley
Another exceptional area of the Pyrenees in Navarre. A mountainous area in which beeches, firs, pines and oaks grow in abundance.
This is an ideal valley for family hiking, given that you'll find a host of trails that are suitable for everyone. And we're going to tell you about one of these right now.
Artikomendia Trail: this 10.5 km trail has three interesting stops: the Ibon cave; the Belabarze waterfall; and various Romanesque bridges.
Zemeto Trail: a 4.5 km loop trail that starts at the Belagua refuge. It allows you to enjoy the contrast between the karst area and the immense pasturelands. And the prize: a stunning panoramic vista from the viewpoint.
Dronda-Mata de Haya: a 5km loop trail that is enjoyable, easy to walk and suitable for families, and will take you into the very heart of the Belagua Valley.
Trails among oak trees
Majestic trees, some are hundreds while others are thousands of years old. Their strange shapes create mysterious atmospheres and their incredible size is simply jaw-dropping. The following are well worth a visit:
Orgi Wood in the Ultzama Valley.
Monumental oak trees in Jauntsarats in Basaburua
Other easy trails to enjoy
We're going to end our section on hiking in Navarre with some final suggestions for places that are ideal for having a good time as a family, with friends, or just by yourself.
Here they are:
ANOTHER WAY OF WALKING
Nordic Walking Centres in Navarre
Nordic Walking is the in thing and it's come to Navarre to stay. But there's much more to this activity than simply walking with the aid of special poles... the Nordic Walking lifestyle is ideal for those who want to travel, yet without neglecting their health.
With the excuse of doing this really complete sport, you can discover the history and rich cultural and landscape heritage of our land.
Each centre has a number of trails of different levels of difficulty. The green and blue trails are for beginners while the red and black trails are for more experienced walkers.
Javier Nordic Walking Centre: enjoy Nordic walking with the Castle of Javier as the starting point and the Sierra de Leyre as the backdrop.
La Bizkaia Nordic Walking Centre: trails with contrasts between the Izco sierra, fields and vineyards, around the municipalities of Aibar, Sada and Leache.
Kaparreta Nordic Walking Centre: trails which pass through the villages of Gallipienzo and Cáseda and which cross the Kaparreta Natural Reserve.
Santa Ágata Nordic Walking Santa Centre: trails with history, age-old hermitages, ruins of the Roman city of Santa Criz, the villages of Lerga, Eslava and Ayesa and vineyard scenery.
Are you up for it?
You're bound to have heard that Navarre is the gateway of the Way of St James into Spain. Haven't you?
Well, it may not be the right moment to go the whole way, but you might like to walk a section of it, no? Just out of curiosity, to see what it feels like to be a pilgrim along the Way. Well, come on, here are your options for the Way of St James through Navarre. These may even give you the itch to do the whole thing, so that you end up in Santiago sooner than later.
The Ignatian Way
This is another age-old route although perhaps not so well-known. This is a recreation of the route travelled by Ignacio de Loyola in 1522 following his spiritual conversion. The knight set out fom Azpeitia, Gipuzkoa, to reach the Catalan town of Manresa, with the intention of sailing for Jerusalem.
Well, 2 of the 27 stages forming part of the route, go through the central and southern areas of Navarre, passing through towns such as Genevilla, Lapoblación, Cortes and the monumental city of Tudela. We've mentioned it here just in case priest Ignacio gives you the inspiration to put on your walking boots, shoulder your backpack and get going!
GR routes and mountain climbing
It's a difficult choice, isn't it?
We know, there's a lot to explore. So don't let yourself get overwhelmed and select your trails one by one, slowly but surely. Navarre will still be here and you can walk along its trails at any time of year. And, of course, come as many times as you want!
Iranzu River Canyon and tasting
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Iranzu River Canyon and tasting
Abandoned village of Peña
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Abandoned village of Peña
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Sierra de Illón: gorges, hermitages and the Faulo Dolmen.