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The Pyrenees

Art, museums and traditions

The Pyrenees are renowned for their natural splendour, but for those that also love culture there are a number of interesting options. The traditions, language, music, dance, legends and gastronomy of these lands have been carefully preserved, and the ethnography of these customs can be discovered in the small local museums. 

The Camino de Santiago also crosses the central Pyrenees into the peninsula, rewarding us with artistic jewels such as the Collegiate Church of Roncesvalles and the Romanesque Sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar situated a little further on in the extreme north-west of the region.
If you want to become better acquainted with the Pyrenean way of life, be sure not to miss any of the following.

Art and monuments

Hórreo de Villanueva de Aezkoa

What period of history most interests you? This is an important question, since in the Pyrenees you can discover the traces of man from prehistory through to the present day. Megalithic monuments await, such as the dolmens of Aralar, along with Romanesque treasures like the Sanctuary of San Miguel or the hermitages of the Arce valley or Muskilda in Ochagavía, not to mention the magnificent Gothic temple in Roncesvalles, medieval towers such as the Donamaría tower or the raised granaries of Aezkoa and other agricultural constructions.

The astonishing ruins of the Eugi and Orbaitzeta munitions factories are testament to the industrial revolution of the 18th century, and the hundred-year-old mills of Urdazubi/Urdax or Zubieta are still working today.

List of art and monuments in the Navarre Pyrenees


Museums and other leisure and culture spaces

Museo de las Brujas Amongst the cultural sites are the Baztan and Witches of Zugarramurdi ethnography museums, those dedicated to trades, such as the River Rafting Museum in Burgui, or small gastronomy museums which exhibit traditional produce such as honey or the famous Roncal cheese. And for those more interested in the natural environment, don’t miss a visit to the environmental interpretation centres in Bertiz or Ochagavía and others dotted throughout the Pyrenees.

For a spot of relaxation, fun or a real adrenalin rush, try the Elgorriaga Health Spa or the exciting Irrisarri Land and Bertiz adventure parks.

List of leisure and culture sites in the Navarre Pyrenees


Fiestas and traditions

Tributo de las Tres Vacas

And finally, why not take part in some of the lively local festivals and traditions? Ancestral rural carnivals such as those in Ituren and Zubieta or Altsasua kick off the festive season, and during the Semana Santa (Holy Week) visitors can enjoy the lovely dance of the Bolantes of Luzaide/Valcarlos

Spring ushers in fiestas such as the Día de la Almadía (Day of the River Raft), religious pilgrimages to Orreaga/Roncesvalles or races such as the Irati Xtrem. The highlights of the summer season are the Tribute of the Three Cows, and festivals such as the Baztandarren Biltzarra brotherhood festival, Orhipean de Ochagavía (which recreates local life 100 years ago) and Artzai Eguna (Day of the Shepherd).

A little later, colourful autumn landscapes form the backdrop for celebrations such as the Day of the Pigeon Hunters of Etxalar, mushroom gathering and hunting, and medieval livestock festivals such as those held in Doneztebe/Santesteban or Lesaka. And at Christmas time don’t be surprised if you bump into Olentzero on your trip down the mountains, the affable coal merchant who comes to shower the children with gifts.

List of fiestas, traditions and events in the Navarre Pyrenees