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Yesa Reservoir

Attached to the Birding club
Lakes and reservoirs


Yesa reservoir
Embalse de Yesa


Yesa reservoir
At the foot of the Sierra de Leire, a huge green and blue stain spreads for 10 kilometres, even further beautifying a landscape dominated by Portuguese oaks, beech and pine woods which herald the proximity of the Pyrenees.

This is the Yesa reservoir, a water wonderland that has been called the "Pyrenean Sea" and offers the opportunity to practice watersports, sailing, fishing or simply relaxing in stunning surroundings.

Its excellent climate, with 90 more sunny days a year than Pamplona, just 47 kilometres away, and its proximity to many other sights of interest such as the Monastery of Leire, the Castle of Javier, the Roncal Valley and the Lumbier and Arbayún gorges, make the reservoir an important centre for nature and tourism.

The Yesa reservoir, in the municipality of Yesa, is fed by the river Aragon and the river Esca and is the largest navigable body of water in Navarre. A paradise for ramblers and watersports enthusiasts, most of its surface area belongs to Zaragoza (Saragossa) and part of it runs alongside the road that leads to the eastern Pyrenees of Navarre. Opened in 1960, it is 10 kilometres long by 1-2.5 kilometres wide and has capacity for 470 km3 of water.

This area enjoys 90 more sunny days than Pamplona. The cierzo, or northerly wind, swoops down from the Sierra in powerful gusts that can even reach Force 9, although the most common wind is the southerly one reaching up to Force 5 that ripples the surface of the water; this is the sailor's favourite wind. All this makes the reservoir the ideal spot for sailing, windsurfing, waterskiing or speedboat rides.

It is also a favourite with fishing enthusiasts, who generally get good catches of trout, carp and American perch.

Although there are no signposted hiking trails, it is a great place for walks along the shore and surrounding areas, keeping the reservoir as a point of reference. If you have time, you can encircle it on the northern side as far as its tail, under the formidable limestone outcrop of the Sierra de Leire; and if you go further into the green undergrowth, on peaceful days you can hear blackbirds and robins singing or the elusive sounds of mountain cats, hares, foxes, dormice, weasels and genets.

The dam, further upriver close to the town of Yesa, is 400 metres long and 75 metres high.

In Yesa you can visit the remains of the Roncaleses bridge over the river Aragon, which was built at the end of the 11th century. Seventy metres long by two and a half wide, it still has three of its five original Roman arches. Its name stems from the belief that there was a decisive battle here against Arab troops at the beginning of the Reconquest, in which the inhabitants of the Roncal valley took part. The battle is reflected in the valley's coat of arms.

Near the reservoir you can visit Sangüesa, a monumental city crossed by the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago, or the Castle of Javier where the patron saint of Navarre, St Francis Xavier, was born. If you like the idea of listening to Gregorian chant in a medieval building perched at the top of a mountain, make sure you visit the Monastery of Leire. From there you will also get a magnificent view of the Yesa reservoir.
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Remarks: entrada gratuita.


**Viewpoints to admire the reservoir: from the monastery of Leire and on the road that runs parallel to the reservoir, where there are more open place to park cars and enjoy the landscape. The best points are at the entry to the campsite and around the picnic area.

Opening hours, dates and guide prices. We recommend you confirm with the entity in question.