Gate of the Judgment of the Cathedral of Santa María de Tudela

Cultural tourism in Navarre

Historical splendour which has survived to this day

Cultural tourism in Navarre appeals to you. And there’s no shortage of reasons.

Because this land is a crossroads, with a rich and varied past which comes to us through the heritage of prehistoric peoples, Romans and Muslims.

Together with the splendour of Christianity, they have all left their mark on Navarre’s villages and towns, turning them into destinations of enviable artistic wealth. Prehistoric archaeological sites, Roman settlements, Romanesque and Gothic churches built along the Way of St James, monasteries where even today Gregorian chants can be heard.

The Community of Navarre was a kingdom until the 16th century; hence the royal crown on its coat of arms. It’s also the only autonomous community in the country with the adjective Foral in its official name, which affords it a unique form of autonomy upheld for hundreds of years.

And we can’t fail to mention the traditional local festivals held throughout the community — the San Fermín festival, carnivals, patronal and folk festivals — are a clear reflection of the idiosyncrasy and essence of Navarre.

Another exponent of Navarrese culture is the Basque language, the only non-Indo-European language spoken in western Europe. It’s a co-official language, along with Spanish, in the north of Navarre.

After such an introduction, what do you say we start with all the things you shouldn’t miss?

Descubre el Románico de Navarra

Descubre el Románico de Navarra

Si no quieres perderte ningún detalle del arte más genuino del Medievo, te informamos de los 54 monumentos románicos declarados BIC de Navarra, organizados por zonas.

Monasteries of Navarre

  • Monastery of Leyre

    Monastery of Leyre

    Mysticism and nature accompany this medieval monastery, a true icon of Navarre.

    Currently inhabited by Benedictine monks, its walls contain the tombs of monarchs, a Romanesque crypt, a Gothic vault and the famous Porta Speciosa doorway.

  • Monastery of Irantzu

    Monastery of Irantzu

    This magnificent 12th/14th-century Cistercian abbey can be found in the Yerri Valley.

    The Theatine fathers who live there will be delighted to share a word as you admire the monastery's austere but elegant Gothic cloister.

  • Monastery of Fitero

    Monastery of Fitero

    Fitero was the first Cistercian monastery established on the Iberian peninsula and has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest.

    Its abbey church is one of the order’s most important seats in Europe. Be sure not to miss the rest of the monastery, its renaissance cloister and walls dating from 1185.

  • Monastery of Iratxe

    Monastery of Iratxe

    Pilgrims' hospital, university, war hospital and religious college.

    ​​​​​​​These have been some of the functions that this beautiful monumental complex located next to Estella-Lizarra, right on the Way of St James, has served. Don't miss its Romanesque church (12th century), Plateresque cloister and Herrerian-style tower.

  • claustro del monasterio de urdax Urdax Monastery

    Urdax Monastery

    The monastery was built in the 10th and 11th centuries. There was once a pilgrims’ hospital here, but only remains of that Medieval time the church and cloister. Above the cloister is a museum with audiovisual displays and info panels about the history of Urdazubi/Urdax and its links with the Way of St James.

  • Monastery of La Oliva

    Monastery of La Oliva

    An oasis of peace built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the most outstanding parts of which are the cloister, chapter house and church, one of the most authentic examples of Cistercian art in Spain.

    ​​​​​​​Discover not only its art but also the liturgies chanted in the vernacular by the monks who live there and, of course, the wines they make on-site.

Enjoy live culture

In Navarre, we celebrate the musical avant-garde, live music, drama and the performing arts at major venues and in charming little theatres, in historical buildings and in the heart of nature. 

Natural and cultural spaces which have made Navarre a prime location for commercials, series and films. Want to relive the emotion and intrigue of Game of Thrones, the Baztan Trilogy or 3 Caminos? 

Experience culture and cinema in Navarre and visit natural movie sets such as the Bardenas Reales desert, the Baztan Valley and the Way of St James.

Live culture and cinema in Navarre
Enjoy live culture
Historical roads

Historical roads

  • The Way of St James and its cultural heritage

    The most famous of all roads, the road to Santiago de Compostela, has been swelling every part of Navarre through which it passes with history for hundreds of years.

    Little can be added to what’s already been said about this road. It’s one of the best-known routes in the world, attracting thousands year in, year out, and has for a long time now been a member of the select group of World Heritage sites.

    Those travelling the Way have a very clear objective: to reach Santiago. But as every ending must have a beginning, we invite you to start via Orreaga/Roncesvalles and let yourself be captivated by the culture and history you can find on any of the four branches of the Way.

    Have your phone at the ready, because there’s a lot to photograph on this real must as far as cultural tourism in Navarre is concerned.

    Take me to the Way of St James
  • The Ignatian Way, a route that goes against the flow

    To follow in the footsteps of San Ignacio de Loyola on his most famous journey, you have to follow the Way of St James in the opposite direction from that marked by the yellow arrows.

    Because the ultimate destination of this pilgrimage is another holy city, Jerusalem, to which a young Ignatius decided to walk in 1522, crossing paths on his way with numerous pilgrims who wanted to put him on the ‘right track’, the road to Santiago.

    His feat has now been recreated by the Ignatian Way, which follows the path taken by the founder of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, over 650 km in 27 stages from Loyola — Azpeitia, Gipuzkoa — to Manresa in Barcelona.

    On the way, you’ll come across gems like Tudela and the Cortes Castle, to name but a few.

    For sure, a little-known but bright star of cultural tourism in Navarre.

    Take me to the The Ignatian Way

Rural Sports in Navarre

Herri Kirolak — rural sports — have their origin in the work traditionally performed on farms and on the mountainsides.

The centuries-old tradition of holding these sports events now attracts crowds all over the Kingdom, gathering to enjoy the championships and competitions that take place all year round.

Many local festivals also include exhibitions of rural sports, so take a look at the programme and don’t miss them.

  • Rural Sports in Navarre

    Wood chopping

  • Rural Sports in Navarre

    Stone lifting

  • Rural Sports in Navarre

    Sokatira (tug of war)

In a nutshell, cultural tourism in Navarre is what you get when an exceptional historical legacy meets local pride in showing visitors all the best this land has to offer.

And the great thing is that there's still much more for you to see and do:

Cultural activities, let others guide you and tell you about everything

If you want to discover everything about our history and culture, we recommend you find out in the company of one of our local guides, professionals who are proud of their land and know it inside out. The best way to make the most of your time and get the most out of your visit.

Check here all the cultural activities

More ideas for your visit to Navarre

  • Good food

    Good food

    Treat your palate to authentic Navarrese cuisine. All washed down, of course, with local wine.

  • Wellness and wellbeing

    Wellness and wellbeing

    A walk, breathing in the fresh air, a spa session or a good massage are some of the best ways to recharge your batteries in Navarre.

  • City break

    City break

    A weekend goes a long way when you're in Navarre. Culture and pintxos join forces to bring you the best of urban leisure.