It's nothing new to say that the Navarre Pyrenees is one of the natural areas with the greatest environmental value in the entire country. This is a unique place to connect with nature and culture, both of which have managed to keep their essence and authenticity.
Here we've got the gentlest mountains in all the Pyrenees and, although you'll find it hard to believe, this really is a good thing.
Why? because they're really accessible mountains, ideal for rambling, for going into the heart of impressive woodlands such as the Bertiz Natural Park or the Irati Forest, or for observing the limestone gorges, such as Lumbier or Arbaiun, with vultures flying overhead... The Pyrenees is a breathtaking area, with beautiful valleys such as Roncal-Belagua, Salazar and Aezkoa and with picture postcard villages: cobbled streets, sturdy farmhouses and rich cuisine. What's more, it holds some well-known treasures of architecture such as the Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles or the sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar.
In the heart of the Atlantic Pyrenees lies the most noble valley in Navarre, a land of hidalgos (noblemen) and adventurers, artisans, witches and smugglers.
Baztan is a patchwork of meadows that are always green, picturesque villages, beautiful red stone farmsteads and clumps of geraniums, delicious cuisine and a culture that is really deep-rooted. Its rolling hills trace the silhouette of towns such as Elizondo, Amaiur/Maya, or Ziga where water is always present, such as the Xorroxin Waterfall and the Molino del Infierno or flour mill of hell.
This valley is part of the Way of St James, although you can also get an insight into its more occult history through the stories of witchcraft and mythology that surround this place.All about the Baztan Valley
The Roncal Valley, which lies in the heart of the Pyrenees of Navarre, appears to have been created by some romantic painter. Villages with cobbled streets and impressive houses, smoking chimneys and geraniums colouring the streets. All in a valley that is proud of its history and traditions and enhances their value at its fiestas.
Villages with their own separate identity, such as Isaba, Burgui or Roncal itself, surrounded by breathtaking countryside, give you more than enough reason to organise a break to the Roncal Valley. And there's more to come! Its impressive cuisine - don't miss the migas de pastor (shepherd's breadcrumbs) and, of course, the D.O. Roncal cheese - and its age-old festivals such as the Tributo de las Tres Vacas, are set to put the finishing touch to your visit to this valley.
Without leaving the Roncal Valley, from the village of Isaba take the route to Belagua, the only glacier valley in Navarre. This valley has a long-standing farming and livestock tradition, in which ancient customs are still continued today.
It has several protected areas, one of which is the Nature Reserve of Larra, comprising one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. The black pines making their way between the limestone rock will make you reach for your camera immediately. What's more, it's also a really tempting valley for speleologists, given that it has more than 3,000 catalogued chasms. Another of its attractions is the fact that it holds the highest mountain in Navarre, namely the Mesa de los Tres Reyes (2,242m). This makes the valley an idea place for rambling and cross-country skiing. In short, it's a sweet place for mountain lovers.
Another beautiful little valley at just 25 kilometres from Pamplona. It offers something for everyone: the Orgi Wood, an age-old oak grove; undulating meadows; well-tended traditional stone farmsteads; a golf course in a stunning oak grove; and delicious home-made junket that you could die for. Also worth a mention here is the Ultzama Mycological Park, which is extremely popular in autumn thanks to its wealth of wild mushrooms.
It's time to take shelter under oak and beech trees, and appreciate the sounds of the woodlands in Navarre, where the fauna and flora go hand in hand to create a fresh ambience full of different shades of green in spring and summer, turning russet in autumn.
One of the most iconic natural areas in Navarre and the Pyrenees. And we're not just saying it, it's really true! Irati is one of the largest and best-preserved beech and fir forests in Europe.
It's a place to take your breath away and comfort your soul at any time of year. Its more than 17,000 hectares of almost virgin nature offer a host of sport and leisure options, including rambling among meadows, beech trees or alongside the Irabia reservoir, trail riding on your MTB or painting a picture with the autumn colours.All about the Irati Forest
Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park
This was the first place to be declared a Natural Park in Navarre. Over the centuries, the Atlantic has had a marked influence on this area, to create this wood full of beeches, cypress oaks and oaks.
Take a stroll through the park and botanical gardens, which are a showcase for biodiversity, with species from all over the world. Admire its ponds and pools and visit the palace.
What's more, its Interpretation Centre will give you an insight into this beautiful place.All about Bertiz
Impressive oak groves
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
- Thousand-year old oaks in Etxarri Aranatz. This trail can be extended to include the dolmen trail.
- Oak grove of Altsasu/Alsasua
We're aware that the beech woods of the Irati Forest are the most sought-after, but make no mistake, all beech woods convey an aura of peace and tranquillity. To mention but a few:
- Iturburua in Bertiz
- Dronda- Mata de Haya in Belagua
- Basajaunberro woodlands in Orreaga/Roncesvalles
- Tres Hayas Trail, which is one of the bunker trails at Auritz/Burguete
- Quinto Real Forest
Mainly populated by beech and oak trees, although meadows and bracken are abundant, as are various conifer types.
But there's more to Leitzalarrea than nature alone. The megaliths scattered around the land demonstrate that humans have been in this area since time immemorial. Mining was also important for centuries and there are still many vestiges and remains of the former foundries.
Make a visit and check out the information panels showing the different trails and walks.More information on Leitzalarrea
Bardenas Reales: the largest desert in Europe
The Bardenas Reales desert is a Natural Park covering 42,500 hectares, sculpted by the elements to become a desert with an almost lunar landscape featuring gullies, plateaux and curious, solitary hills.
A place that is so extraordinary that you shouldn't be surprised to see a film or TV recording team there.
When water plays the leading role
Source of the River Urederra
This river source is a natural outlet for the aquifer formed in the Urbasa-Andía Natual Park and the exceptional colour of its waters led it to be named Urederra which means "beautiful water" in the Basque language.
To check this out for yourself, simply follow the 7 kilometre path running alongside the river to get some colourful views: the turquoise of the waters, the greens and russets of the vegetation, the azure of the sky... An easy-to-walk trail that will take you, following the pools, to one of the most luxuriant spots in Navarre.All about the Source of the River Urderra
Gorges of Lumbier and Arbaiun
And the fact is that, here in Navarre, these canyons or ravines are called gorges; it has taken the rivers millions of years to carve out these narrow valleys in the limestone. The result is an extraordinary landscape, with narrow corridors and currents of air that give us a really unique ecosystem which is a haven for numerous birds of prey.
The most well-known gorges are the Gorge of Lumbier, carved by the river Irati and now a greenway, and the Gorge of Arbaiun, whose panoramic views from the Iso pass should not be missed.All about the Gorges of Lumbier and Arbaiun
Amid the woodlands in the Atlantic area of Navarre, these mountain lakes emerge as an attractive surprise. Surrounded by beech woods, they 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.All about the Leurtza reservoirs
Very close to Estella-Lizarra, you'll find this reservoir with calm, turquoise waters surrounded by gall oaks, thickets and pine trees. It's the perfect place for water sports or to take a dip in summer. It's ideal for getting started in sailing or paddle surf with no worries about currents. While, if you're after something relaxing, you can hire a water pedal boat, canoe or book a boat trip. Picnic areas, toilets, shade, car parks and bathing areas are all there. Everything ready to enjoy a sweet day on a freshwater beach!All the activities available on the Alloz Reservoir
Journey into the centre of the earth
Caves in Navarre
Today, you're offered the possibility to visit these caves and to explore the depth of nature in Navarre.
Cave of the Witches of Zugarramurdi
Here nature goes hand in hand with a mysterious and disturbing history of witches. Ideally, visit the Cueva Grande or great cave and discover the setting, with a magnificent viewpoint and the Infernuko Erreka, the "stream of hell" responsible for the formation of the caves.
Cave of Urdazubi/Urdax
Although it comprises a number of caves, it is only possible to visit the Cave of Ikaburu. This cave has progressively been formed over several hundreds of thousands of years. It is open to visitors, allowing you to enjoy a magical universe of stalactites and stalagmites.
Cave of Mendukilo in Astitz
This cave was used for centuries as a stable and, today, it's a really interesting tour among stalactites and stalagmites in the depths of the Sierra de Aralar. A journey into the centre of the earth.
The TOP most sports to enjoy in the open air
Bikes and MTBI'd like to tour Navarre by bike
For a relaxing tour to enjoy every change of scenery, choose one of its five greenways. This will allow you to combine your hobby with a little bit of history about the place. Another option is to do one of the stages of the Way of St James or the EuroVelo Route. However, if you 're looking for complete freedom, then pay attention to our MTB spaces.
Are you game for doing the Way of St James?
And, during your journey, you'll find wild nature, with a peppering of popular traditions and a truly exceptional historical heritage.
Where can you start the Way of St James? Well, look, you've got up to four starting points. Your choice will depend on your physical condition and your scenery preferences.
From Orreaga/Roncesvalles up to Viana
French Way of St James
From Sangüesa to Puente la Reina
French Way of St James (II)
From Urdazubi/Urdax to Arre
Way of St James through the Baztan Valley
Monasterio de Urdazubi/Urdax
From Cortes to Castejón
Way of St James through the Ebro Valley
Castillo de Cortes de noche
These locations fuse nature, sport and fun. The ultimate “all in one”.
You can come here to whizz down ziplines, walk over hanging bridges, enjoy water activities, and even see animals in their natural habitats, but they have so much more to offer.
All in a perfectly integrated natural setting: smiles guaranteed.See all adventure parks
Baztan Abentura Park
Bertiz Abentura Park
Artamendia Adventure Park
Beigorri Adventure Park
Looking for even more adventure? Then Active Tourism is for you
And, if you're into air sports, then you can do paragliding, hire a balloon ride or a two-seater plane: you decide how you'd like to explore Navarre.Ver todas las propuestas de turismo activo
Nature plans organised by professionals
Rural tourism: accommodation in contact with nature
Country guest houses: either renting a complete property and doing as you please, or renting bedrooms with breakfast.
Country hotels: if you're looking for convenience and places with character, yet without missing out on the essence of the natural setting.
Campsites: ideal for those looking for adventure or for families.
Hostels: the best option for groups and sports enthusiasts
Unique accommodation for those looking for adventure
And, to end, one on historical buildings. We're highlighting the Parador de Olite, which offers you the possibility of staying in a real 15th century castle, which still holds that magical medieval air.