Sights

Navarre may not be well known among tourists, but it is a beautiful region in the north of Spain that offers a perfect alternative to the hustle and bustle of the Spanish coast. Be enchanted by the picturesque landscapes of Navarre, where green valleys, vast vineyards and majestic mountains come together. Explore picturesque villages with narrow streets and centuries-old stone houses, where every corner tells a new story.

Whether you need to relax in the middle of nature, dive into its rich history, or simply enjoy delicious food, Navarre has it all! If you want to know what to see and do in Navarre, below you will find a list of the top 13 sights in Navarre that you must visit when you are in Navarre.

13. Javier Castle

The Castle of Javier is considered one of the most important castle fortresses in Navarre. It served for many years to defend the Kingdom of Navarre. In this castle San Francisco Javier (“Saint Franciscus Xavier”) born on April 7, 1506. He lived in the castle until he was 19 years old.

The castle can be visited from the inside with a guided tour or on your own. There is also a museum inside with objects from the old castle and three-dimensional exhibits about the life of San Francisco Javier.

Since the prayers to San Francisco Javier helped overcome a cholera epidemic in Navarre in 1886, pilgrimages are made each year by thousands of people from all over Navarre. These are usually held on the first two weekends in March and are also known as Javieradas.

Middeleeuws kasteel met gras aan de voorkant
Castle of Javier

12. Artajona

Artajona is a small village completely surrounded by medieval towers and fortified walls, known as El Cerco de Artajona (“The Walls of Artajona”). This wall was built in the 11th century. This also served as protection for the Kingdom of Navarre.

The dolmens are located just 4 kilometers from Artajona Portillo de Eneriz and of the Mine of Faranagortea. These are two of the rare examples of gallery tombs with perforated doors, a specific tomb architecture typical of several areas around the western Mediterranean.

Vijf middeleeuwse verdedigingstorens in Artajona
Wall of Artajona

11. 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. 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 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.

Uitzicht van het natuurpark Urbasa-Andía, met veel bomen en een dorpje onder het vallei
Beautiful views in Urbasa-Andía

10. Puente la Reina

Puente la Reina was founded in the 12th century to populate the regions surrounding the pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago. A walk through this village takes the walker back to the Middle Ages. If something is characteristic of Puente la Reina, it is the famous Romanesque bridge over the Arga river, on the outside of the village.

The temple of Puente la Reina is located a few kilometers from Puente la Reina Santa Maria de Eunate, an important temple for the Knights Templar. This temple served as protection for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.

Romaanse brug over een rivier in Puente la Reina
Bridge of Puente la Reina

9. Forest of Irati

The Selva de Irati (“Forest of Irati”) is the second largest and best preserved beech and pine forest in Europe, after the Black Forest in Germany.

Every season of the year offers a unique experience in the Forest of Irati. In the spring the forest awakens to life with the fresh green of new leaves and blooming flowers. The summer months invite you to take walks along the winding paths and cool off on the banks of the Irati and Urbeltza rivers. In the autumn transforms the forest into an enchanting color spectacle. The leaves turn into a beautiful palette of red, yellow and orange. Even in the winter the Forest of Irati has its charm. The snow-covered landscapes provide an idyllic backdrop for winter activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Foto onder een brug naast de rivier en op de achtergrond de kleurige bomen van Irati
Color spectacle in the Forest of Irati

8. Pamplona

Pamplona or Iruña (in Basque) is the capital of Navarre. Among tourists, Pamplona is best known for the celebrations of San Fermín. But Pamplona is also a very nice city to visit outside these busy parties. Pamplona offers many beautiful places and buildings that can be visited in one day.

The San Fermín celebrations, also known as the Sanfermines, are an annual festival that takes place in Pamplona. The Sanfermines are especially known for it non-stop partying, where people party both at night and during the day. It is tradition to wear white and red clothing during these celebrations, with most people wearing a white shirt and pants with red accessories.

Kleurrijke straat met op de achtergrond een kathedraal
Pamplona Cathedral

7. Ochagavia

Ochagavía is a picturesque village near the Pyrenees with beautiful stone streets and a natural environment, enriched with ancient traditions that allow it to preserve the essence of the life of its ancestors. In addition to the beautiful houses and the various bridges along the Anduña river, the religious architecture is also striking.

Stenen brug over een rivier met op de achtergrond witte huizen
Bridge over the Anduña River in Ochagavía

6. Ujué

Ujue is a beautiful medieval village and is listed in the list of Los Pueblos más Bonitos de España (“The Most Beautiful Villages in Spain”). With its steep, labyrinthine streets, Ujué is also home to one of the most important monumental buildings of Navarre's medieval architecture. This is the shrine-fortress of Santa María. Inside this fortress is the valuable treasure of both the inhabitants of Ujué and many people from Navarre: the sculpture of the Blessed Virgin of Ujué.

A special day in Ujué is the Day of the Migas, which is celebrated annually on the third Sunday of September. Migas is one traditional dish with humble origins. It used to be made with stale bread, lamb fat, garlic, water and salt. Nowadays, more ingredients are used, such as tomato, serrano ham and mushrooms, achieving a perfect combination of flavors, colors and aromas.

Huisjes op een heuvel met op de top een heiligdom-fort
Ujué with the shrine fortress at the top

5. Baztan

The scenic region Baztan is located in the north of Navarra. It is famous for its beautiful landscapes, lush forests, winding rivers and imposing mountains, but also for its rich history. One of the most important villages in the Baztán region is Elizondo, also the capital of this region. The village of Elizondo is characterized by its beautiful streets with the typical white houses.

The famous one is also located in Baztán waterfall of Xorroxin. The walk up to the waterfall is perfect for relaxing with the whole family.

Witte huisjes naast de rivier met de rode vlaggen van Navarra
Typical white houses of the Baztán region in Elizondo

4. Foz de Arbayún and Foz de Lumbier

The Foz de Arbayun (“Arbayún Gorge”) and the Foz de Lumbier (“Lumbier Gorge”) are two spectacular gorges in the east of Navarre. The beauty of the Foz de Arbayún can be admired from various places. To see the grandeur of this area, it is best to drive to the Iso viewpoint. This viewpoint is easily accessible by car as it is located along the road.

Although the Foz de Lumbier is less spectacular than the Foz de Arbayún, it is more popular. The reason for this is that Spain's first electric train ran along this route between 1911 and 1955. The development of new train routes led to the closure of this route, but the memory remains visible in the so-called Via Verde (“Green Road”).

Prachtige kloof met een rivier
Foz de Arbayún from Iso viewpoint

3. Olite

Olite is a small town about 35 minutes drive from Pamplona, the capital of Navarre. This is where one of Navarra's most popular tourist attractions is located Royal Palace of Olite. In addition, Olite has beautiful medieval streets and buildings, tasty restaurants and many wineries that can be visited.

Olite is also known as the wine capital from Navarre. The big party, the Fiesta de la Vendimia (“Vine Harvest Festival”), place. A tradition during this festival is that some young people stamp grapes with their feet, after which there is the opportunity to taste different types of wines.

Middeleeuws kasteel met kegelvormige daken en een wijngaard op de achtergrond
Royal Palace of Olite

2. Source of Urederra

The source of the Urederra river is an idyllic place, as its name indicates (in Basque “Ur” means water and “eder” means beautiful). It arises from the bowels of the earth and is best known for its striking turquoise water. The water leaves a spectacular path of turbulent waterfalls and calm pools.

Visitors can enjoy walks along well-marked trails that wind along the riverbank. These trails also offer beautiful views of the waterfalls and pools. It is an ideal place for nature lovers, hikers and photographers who are looking for peace and the natural beauty of the area.

The walk is surrounded by a very diverse flora, such as beech, oak, elm and maple. There is also a rich fauna, with many species of birds and fish.

Turkoois waterpoel met groene vegetatie
Turquoise water pool in the source of the Urederra River

1. Bardenas Reales

The Bardenas Reales is a semi-desert in the southeast of Navarre. This is one of Navarre's most popular attractions thanks to its enchanting gorges and plateaus that look almost moon-like. In the year 2000, UNESCO declared the Bardenas Reales a biosphere reserve. In recent years it has become more popular among tourists due to the appearance of this place in the TV series Game of Thrones.

The Bardenas has over 700 kilometers of back roads for the enjoyment of nature lovers. There are many companies that offer guided tours of this magical place, with the possibility of visiting the Bardenas by segway to visit with 4×4 all-terrain vehicles, buggies or quads even by horse. It is also possible to rent (electric) mountain bikes and 4×4 all-terrain vehicles from these companies.

The Bardenas is also located nearby Senda Viva, An theme park with a combination of attractions and various animal species. It is the largest family recreation park in Spain.

Zonsondergang bij woestijnachtig landschap met een hoge rotsformatie in het midden
The most famous rock formation of the Bardenas Reales, Castildetierra

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