If your children like walking, then a good plan for all the family is to go on a trail. In Navarra, you'll find trails of all types, but in general they are almost all easily walkable, even in the mountain area, given that the Pyrenees in Navarra have relatively gentle slopes. There are thematic trails relating to trades of the past, dolmens, bunkers, Roman roads or railways that are no longer in use such as the greenways of the Plazaola or Bidasoa, among others.
And you can either go on your own or, if you feel like having a guided tour with someone to tell you anecdotes, cool facts and the most interesting points of the trail, then a good alternative is to be accompanied by an expert guide. They offer their services for all types of tours: on foot, by bike and even on horseback.
For active families, take the opportunity to spend a day at one of the leisure and adventure parks in northern Navarra. Don't miss the giant zip lines that fly over some stunning scenery, safe climbing routes, paintball, Tibetan bridges, MTB circuits, and a long etcetera. And for our winter visitors, during the snow season, how about hiring some snow shoes or doing cross country skiing, amidst some stunning scenery?
BEAUTIFUL VILLAGES TO CONNECT WITH THE ESSENCE OF LIFE
You'll see traditional stone houses with their coats of arms, large balconies, vegetable plots with hens and rabbits... and just take a stroll in the surrounding area and you'll most certainly find horses, cows, pigs and sheep. Something that's really natural but is not part of their everyday lives, that's why they love it. You're sure to be able to buy home-baked bread, eat txistorra (fresh paprika sausage) in the bar or a good home-made dish in the village restaurant, the best way to round off your walk.
WARRIORS' CASTLES, PALACES FOR PRINCESSES AND MEDIEVAL TOWNS
Much of the CENTRAL AREA, with its landscape of gentle grain fields and vineyards, is crossed by the Way of St James as it passes through Navarra, so take the opportunity to explain to your children exactly what it is, take a look at the pilgrims' attire, the hostels where they stay. Be sure to visit some of the fine examples of Romanesque architecture through a guided tour of Santa María of Sangüesa, Eunate or Estella. Medieval imagery is sometimes so ingenious that, well told, it can even be a source of entertainment for them. And, if you're travelling around this area, don't forget to check out the Tierras de Iranzu programme of activities: water sports on the Alloz reservoir, visit to a salt mine with activities for children, rides in a horse-drawn carriage among the vines,...
A must-visit in this area is the Palace of Olite, which slightly brings to mind Eurodisney. They'll really enjoy going round the palace and climbing up the different towers. And be sure to take the children's or dramatised tour, because you can be certain that they won't miss a thing! Very close by is the medieval village of Ujué, where you can enjoy Migas (breadcrumbs with serrano ham) and Garrapiñadas (caramelised almonds) and your children can let off steam running through the labyrinth of cobbled streets. To learn more about all the dramatised tours +info
Another good option is the Castle of Javier, where the patron saint of Navarra, St Francisco Javier was born in the 16th century. And very close by stands the beautiful monastery of Leire. Do you think that you'll be able to get them to relax listening to the Gregorian chants?
IN THE SOUTH, A FUN AND LEISURE PARK FOR ALL THE FAMILY AND A SURPRISING NATURE PARK
In the Sendaviva park your children will get the opportunity to see all kinds of animals, ranging from those that are native to Navarra to exotic ones such as lions, bears and tigers. There are some thirty rides to enjoy, such as the water labyrinth, lake boats, tubing, zip lines, bob-sleigh, free fall... and entertaining shows such as the circus and the impressive exhibition of birds of prey.
ON THE SUBJECT OF FOOD...
This sword of Damocles which sometimes drives us mad in the holidays (and it wouldn't be a bad thing to simply forget about it for just a few days...), well there may be a solution in our region, where you're guaranteed good local produce.
Villages offer menus with home-made dishes that are normally well received; more contemporary restaurants offer children's menus with safe bets; and, at a pinch, you could always resort to the tapas that are readily available in the bars in Navarra and, while your children sample the basic ones of txistorra (fresh paprika sausage), omelette or ham, you can take the opportunity to try some of the more innovative delicacies.
If they're not fussy eaters, then it could also be a good time to get them to discover our popular vegetables: medley, artichokes, cardoon, borage... Seize the opportunity to encourage them to broaden their taste!
As in any place, there are hotels and apartments of all categories to suit your pocket, campsites in the heart of nature where holiday homes can also be rented, hostels if you're all-rounders, or the "Casas Rurales" (holiday houses in rural areas) an option that is typical of Navarra. These can either be rented by rooms or the complete house, and many include agrotourism activities, ideal for your kids.
And, if you'd like to surprise them, how about staying in a cave-house? Or a tree? Or a luxury cabin? One or two different nights, may make your holidays even more enjoyable...
We hope to see your family soon! Enjoy your stay!