Navarra is a region in the north of Spain, bordering the French Pyrenees to the north, the Basque Country to the west and Aragon to the east. The famous Camino de Santiago pilgrim route runs right through the region, which is characterised by mountainous peaks, Romanesque religious architecture and verdant green fields. Here’s our pick of the most beautiful towns and villages to visit in Navarra.
Puente de la Reina is a charming little town, located right on the Camino de Santiago. In fact, the Camino goes straight through the town’s main cobbled street. It has picturesque caramel-coloured buildings with wrought-iron balconies, and gets its name from this elegant stone bridge at the edge of town.
Olite is situated just south of the city of Pamplona and just east of Logroño in La Rioja. It’s surrounded by old Roman stone walls and is filled with exquisite pieces of medieval architecture. Besides the grand Royal Palace of Olite, there are several churches and monasteries.
Ujué lies a half hour drive to the northeast of Olite and sits on top of a lush green hill, offering spectacular views across the valley. The village is topped by the incredible church-fortress of Santa María de Ujué.
Another village sat directly on the Camino de Santiago is Roncesvalles, it’s actually the first place you reach in Spain, after crossing the Pyrenees from France. It’s famous for the huge monastery and pilgrim hospital. Today, this grand monastery is actually an albergue for pilgrims, so you can spend the night here.
Sanguësa lies along the River Aragon, it’s very green and is surrounded by mountains and pastures. Look closer and you’ll see that it’s filled with architectural treasures, the most impressive of which is the Romanesque-style Santa María church, which has been declared a National Monument. Sanguësa is also an important stop on the Camino de Santiago.
Estella used to be known as ‘La Bella’ in medieval times, because it was so beautiful. It’s located along the pilgrim route and is set along the Fiver Ega. Along the river, you’ll find an array of spectacular Roman and Gothic monuments.
Even though the centre of the village of Javier was only built in 1960, it made our list because of its magnificent castle and smattering of other interesting buildings, such as the 18th century church and a medieval mill. The castle is where San Francisco de Javier was born in the 16th century.
Corella is located on the edge of Navarra and La Rioja, and is on our list for its elegant array of religious buildings. There are two convents – the Carmelite convent and the convent of Nuestra Señora de Araceli, the baroque hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Villar, and the baroque churches of San Miguel and Rosario. Besides its religious architecture, there are also a number of charming old houses and two sparkling lagoons nearby.