Breathe in the air and allow yourself to be seduced by the natural treasures hidden in each of the valleys of the Navarre Pyrenees. From the Roncal valley to the Urbasa-Andia Natural Park, take your time experiencing the beautiful wilderness in the north of the region: the Lumbier and Arbaiun gorges, the Irati Forest, the Baztan valley, the Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park or the Urbasa Sierra are just some of the options. They all share a common denominator: the perennial greenness of their landscapes.
- Roncal and Salazar valleys
The Eska and Salazar rivers form the backbone of these deep valleys, shaping the landscape and giving meaning to traditions such as river rafting and transhumance. To the north of these waters is the vast Balagua valley and the Larra Karst, and to the south, wedged between precipices, the beautiful Lumbier and Arbaiun gorges with griffon vultures soaring overhead.
The Roncal valley comprises seven villages each with a unique character forged from ancestral traditions, nature in its pure state and delicious cuisine which includes the cheese of the same name. In the neighbouring Salazar valley the town of Ochagavía is the beautiful gateway to the spectacular Irati beechwood forest.
- Orreaga/Roncesvalles and the Erro, Esteribar and Aezkoa valleys
Luzaide/Valcarlos marks the beginning of the French Way (one of the Camino de Santiago routes) at the border. Crossing the Roncevaux Pass leads to Orreaga/Roncesvalles and is considered one of the greatest milestones along the St. James Way in Navarre. The route continues through the Erro and Esteribar valleys. The former holds one of the most beautiful forests in Navarre, the Quinto Real, at the edge of which is the Eugi reservoir. Heading east, the picturesque villages in the Aezkoa valley are the site of old raised granaries as well as the ruins of the Orbaitzeta royal munitions factory.
- Baztan and Tierras del Bidasoa
The north-west of Navarre is eternally green thanks to the influence of the nearby Cantabrian Sea. It is formed by a network of peaceful valleys which combine nature with tradition, steeped in legends of the witches and covens
of the caves of Zugarramurdi
. The Señorío de Bertiz Natural Park
flaunts its lush vegetation at the banks of the Bidasoa river, and the landscape is scattered with pretty country houses which are often available as rural accommodation. The Malerreka
region entices the visitor with its with folkloric tradition and famous carnivals
such as those in Ituren and Zubieta.
- Sierra de Aralar and the valleys of the north-west
The Aralar sierra
is a karst landscape traversed by a multitude of hiking trails. It reveals ancient remains such as the Romanesque jewel that is the Sanctuary of San Miguel
, a site which also offers stunning views. The main access point is from the Larraun valley, itself guarding other hidden treasures: the caves of Mendukilo
, the Vía Verde del Plazaola
trail and the Iribas
spring head, amongst others.
Another beautiful site awaits where the cirque of the Aralar peaks plunges towards the Araitz valley: the las Malloas
mountains. The Leitzaran valley
is situated further north and is a land of great beauty and firmly rooted traditions encompassing celebrations, sport and gastronomy. Finally, in a distant corner of Navarre lies Goizueta, which hides an unspoiled natural haven: the Artikutza reservoir.
- Sakana and the Urbasa and Andía sierras
, experienced through nature and traditions.
Bordered by the Aralar sierra to the north and the Urbasa and Andía
sierras to the south, la Barranca or Sakana is an extraordinary region which has managed to maintain its traditions, and boasts a rich natural heritage of hills such as the beech- and oak-covered Beriain-San Donato. The Urbasa-Andía Natural Park lies at the edge of the region. There, meadow and beech landscapes are harmoniously combined in a landscape riddled from within by potholes and cracks.
The groundwater of the Urederra spring
head spills out in a beautiful cascade. And the districts of las Améscoas hold a diverse and valuable natural, historical and cultural richness, bordered to the south by the dramatic and precipitous slopes of the Lokiz sierra
. Close by, the Cistercian monastery of Irantzu
stands impressively in the Yerri valley.