At the foot of the majestic Sierra of Aralar
, a town with several traditional houses with ashlars on their corners and elegant windows and coats of arms on their façades. The town centre is located around the parish church of San Juan Bautista, an 18th-century building with a single nave and a circular header.
From Lekunberri it is easy to reach the Vía Verde del Plazaola
, a 'green route' along the old railway line of the same name that used to link Pamplona and San Sebastián. You can travel from Mugiro to Andoain along this route by bicycle or on horseback or on foot.
The road that goes up to the Sierra de Aralar also starts in Lekunberri. Aralar is great karstic massif that runs between Navarre and Guipúzcoa and offers excellent excursions for mountaineering and trekking enthusiasts. In Astita is the cave of Mendukilo,
a 60-metre long and 20-metre high cavity that reveals three spectacular chambers with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
At the top of the sierra, at 1,341 metres above sea level, is the Sanctuary of Aralar
, a small church with three naves rounded off by three semi-circular apses. A Baroque image of San Miguel is kept in the chapel, and the 12th-century Romanesque altar
piece is considered one of the best enamel works in Europe. The area around the sanctuary offers delightful views of the Arakil valley below and the Sierra of Andia opposite. The area surrounding the sanctuary offers beautiful views of the Sierra de Andia and the Arakil Valley corridor, from where you can also access the sanctuary along a track. Crossing the Arakil Valley, you arrive at Etxarri Aranaz, the starting point of the route of the dolmens.
On the way to Leitza
, with its grey-blue stone arched church, its elite sportsmen and its park-museum dedicated to stone, Peru-Harri
stop off in the pretty villages of Uitzi and Gorriti
, both of which have imposing noble houses. The Kornieta windpark
, reached along a track that starts at the Usategieta pass, provides spectacular views of the area with meadows, woods and livestock against a background of mountain peaks.
In the green Ultzama valley
, reached from Pamplona along the N-121-A road (turning left at Ostiz onto the NA 411), lies the Orgi wood
, an 80-hectare oak grove more than 4,000 years old that has been converted into a Recreational Nature Zone with a view to combining the maintenance of the area's natural wealth with leisure activities.Gastronomy
The most typical product of the valleys near Aralar is sheep's cheese; it is sold under the Idiazabal
designation of origin, which is shared by Navarre and Guipúzcoa. Other outstanding products are cold meats, beef and lamb, and cider.
You should not leave the Ultzama valley without trying its excellent sheep's milk cuajada (junket) or - in the autumn - the prized hongo beltza (black mushroom).Events
In Alsasua the main fiestas are Santa Águeda
(February 5th), in which young people take the leading role; the carnavales, with its traditional character the momotxorro; the popular pilgrimage to the hermitage of San Pedro (June 29th); and the livestock fair in September.
On the last Sunday in August Uharte Arakil is the scene of the Artzai Eguna
(Day of the Shepherd), which includes sheepdog trials and a cheese-making competition.
In Leitza the dance of the ingurutxo
on August 10th is a much-loved tradition in which the entire town dances in the streets as part of its fiesta. The ingurutxo, which is danced by couples, is the biggest group dance in Navarre.