Urbasa-Andía Natural Park

The Urbasa-Andía Natural Park is a beautiful nature reserve known for its varied landscapes, rich flora and fauna, and impressive geological formations. It is located in the northwest of Navarre. It also has more than 21,000 hectares of beech forests and lawns dotted with juniper and heather. In 1997, this nature park was declared a nature reserve. The highest point of the Urbasa-Andía Natural Park is the mountain of San Donato (1,489 meters), which is crowned with a hermitage.

Hermitage of San Donato at an altitude of 1,489 meters

One of the park's striking features is its limestone subsurface, formed by sedimentation of marine organisms millions of years ago. The area was still under water at the time. This limestone has led to the formation of spectacular karst phenomena, such as caves, ravines and cliffs. These phenomena give the park's landscape a unique character.

Impressive rock formations in Urbasa

Flora and fauna

The Urbasa-Andía Natural Park is also home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. The park's forests are composed mainly of deciduous trees, including beech, oak, maple and birch, which provide a colorful display during autumn. In addition, there are also grasslands and rocky areas with diverse plant life, such as wild flowers and herbs.

Natural Park of Urbasa-Andía

In terms of wildlife, the park is home to several animal species, including deer, wild boar, foxes, golden eagles and even some protected species such as the European mouflon. Bird watchers can enjoy observing various bird species, such as vultures, hawks and woodpeckers, found in the park.

What to see in the Urbasa-Andía Natural Park

The Urbasa-Andía Natural Park offers unique views and hiking opportunities. The most famous locations are described below. However, there are many more enchanting places to discover in this area.

Nacedero del Urederra

One of the most spectacular places in the nature park is the Nacedero del Urederra (“Source of the Urederra River”), a natural spring with a striking turquoise water. Visitors can enjoy walks along well-marked trails that wind along the riverbank and provide beautiful views of the waterfalls and pools.

Balcon de Pilatos

Located 8 km from the source of the Urederra River is the Ubaba Viewpoint. This is also known as it Balcon de Pilatos (“Balcony of Pilatos”). This is a beautiful cliff overlooking the Amescoa Valley, with the town of Estella at the end. This place offers a special walk along the edge of the cliff, where you can admire the natural park. It is an easy walk that takes about 1 hour from the parking lot.

Bosque Encantado

Additionally, located 10 km away from the Balcón de Pilatos is the Bosque Encantado ("Enchanted Forest"). This forest is known for its unique geological formations and its beech trees. The walk through this lush Navarrese forest is easy and offers sites full of charm.

The origin of the name of this beech forest in Urbasa goes back to a folk tale told many years ago. This story claimed that giants terrorized the shepherds and residents of nearby villages. It is said that they actually did no harm, but simply lived with nature. One stormy night, out of fear, the people invaded the forest to deal with those creatures. The father giant hid his young son in the deepest recesses of the forest, hoping to save him from that human horde. Unfortunately, when it was all over and he returned to look for him, he was no longer there.

Monastery of Iranzu

It is also located in the area Monastery of Iranzu (“Monastery of Iranzu”) among the rocky mountains of Yerri, close to the town of Estella. The monastery was founded by Benedictine monks. In 1176 the Cistercian reform took place thanks to a donation from the Bishop of Pamplona to his brother.

The construction of the monastery, which took place from 1176 to the early 14th century, shows Cistercian and Romanesque-Gothic styles. In 1942, a large-scale restoration of the monastery was carried out.

Monastery of Iranzu

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