The Spanish region of Navarra sits in the north of the country, bordering the Pyrenees to the north and nestled in between Aragón and the Basque Country. It’s a region filled with lots of religious history, natural parks, castles and even wineries. Here are our 20 must-visit sites in Navarra.
Santa María de Ujué is both a church and a fortress. It was originally built in the 11th century in a Romanesque style, on the site of an ancient temple. It was declared a National Monument in 1936.
The Camino de Santiago runs right through the small town of Puente de la Reina, which is named after an impressive bridge. The bridge over the Arga River joins two pilgrim paths – one from the direction of Roncesvalles and one from French city of Toulouse. Built in the 11th century, it features seven Romanesque arches and was created to help pilgrims across the river.
When in Pamplona, one of the top things to visit is of course the famous bullring, where parts of the San Fermín festivities (Running of the Bulls) takes place. Holding 19,720 spectators, it was built in 1922 and is the second biggest bullring in Spain, and third largest in the world.
One of the best examples of Romanesque styles in Navarra, a visit to the Church of Santa Maria in the town of Sangüesa is well worth it for architecture lovers. It was built on the site of a Romanesque temple and also features a Cistercian-style church, which was added later. The highlight is the facade with its interesting stone carvings, columns, and scenes from the Old and New Testaments.
Bodega Inurrieta is located in Navarra’s Ribera Alta district and was only built in 2002, despite the fact that the family’s ancestors had been growing vines on the land for centuries. Today, they grow six types of grapes here – Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Graciano and Syrah. One of the most interesting places for visitors is the bodega’s grand cask room, which you can see on a guided tour.
Founded in 1674, Bodegas Chivite is one of the oldest wineries in Spain. This renowned winemaker has been producing wines for eleven generations, and the grapes are grown 120 hectares of land which has been in the Chivite family for many years. It’s worth a visit here to tour the winery, see how the drink is made, and of course taste the produce.
Away from the cute little towns, historic monasteries and churches, Navarra has many natural areas to visit too. One of the most impressive is the Bardenas Reales, a natural desert and protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of 40,000 hectares. It’s located just over one hour’s drive from Pamplona.
PARQUE NATURAL URBASA-ANDÍA
Another of Navarra’s natural sites is the Parque Natural Urbasa-Andía, characterised by wide lush valleys, rivers and leafy forests. The natural area was created thousands of years ago when a gigantic tectonic slip occurred that led to the opening of a wide passage between the mountain ranges of Urbasa and Andía. It’s a great spot for hiking.
PARQUE NATURAL DEL SEÑORÍO DE BERTIZ
The Natural Park of Señorío de Bertiz is more like a giant botanical garden than a park. It sits in the western Pyrenees and comprises 2,040 hectares. The park features plants from around the world including gingkos from China, sequioas from California and chestnut trees from the Balkans. Not only will you find plants, but also sculptures, historic gardens and elegant greenhouses.
PAMPLONA OLD TOWN
If you’re in Navarra, be sure to pay a visit to its capital – the atmospheric city of Pamplona. Although Pamplona is mostly known for the Running of the Bulls, it has a lot of interesting history and architecture too. One of the best places to explore in the city is of course the Old Town.
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