Navarre is a landlocked region but it has various reservoirs where the pursuit of water sports is common throughout the year, although especially so in the warmer months and when the wind is favourable. The most noteworthy are the Yesa and Alloz reservoirs, located in the eastern and western Middle Zones respectively, though only the one in Alloz is surrounded by infrastructures and services. There is also a smaller lake - la Morea - around Pamplona, which is ideal for beginners’ windsurfing.
Each discipline has its particular features. The greatest attraction of Windsurfing is in the ease of transporting the material needed, though it does require some guidelines to learn how to sail properly; the hardest part is making the positions. Balance and direct contact with the wind are a passionate combination.
Sailing, which has quite a following in Navarre, offers various options depending on the size of the vessel; the main difficulties in this case are a knowledge of the vessel, technique and coordination between the crew. It requires a more laborious technique, especially in terms of preparing the material, but in a relatively short space of time you can enjoy the tranquillity and excitement of this sport.
In stand up paddle (SUP), also known as “paddle surfing”, the surfer gets around in the water using an oar, whilst remaining in a standing position on the surfboard. The origin of this discipline is from Polynesian villages.
It is an excellent sport as it is non-impact and uses both the core muscles and balance. It is also easier than other water sports such as surfing or windsurfing, and can be enjoyed from the age of 6.
Water skiing can only be carried out on the Yesa reservoir, which does not have other services.
To carry out water-skiing and sailing, the Ebro Water Confederation requires the completion of a Liability Declaration to sail on the reservoir, required 15 days before embarking on either reservoir. It also requests valid qualification of the person steering the engine boat, where applicable, and the corresponding Civil Liability. In terms of windsurfing and stand up paddle, the elements used are considered to be bathing accessories, therefore no specific permit is required to practise them. Tourists can access these local reservoirs that are open to water sports, either on their own with their personal materials, or via a beginners’ or advanced course on the Alloz Reservoir.
Spanish Waterskiing Federation: www.feen.es
Ebro Water Authority: www.chebro.es
Navarre Sailing Federation: www.federacionnavarradevela.com
Navarre Sailing Federation
C/Paulino Caballero 13, 4º 31002 Pamplona
Tel. And Fax: +34 689 70 14 95
Navarre Sailing School (Sailing and Windsurfing Courses)
Aritzaleku (Lerate) Campsite on the Alloz reservoir
Tel.: +34 689 70 14 95
FRAM Sailing School (School offering sailing qualifications)
Tel.: +34 948 21 16 11
Companies that carry out this activity:
The rivers of Navarre are especially attractive to the visitor for the pursuit of water sports, since the countryside through which they run is very diverse. In the north their waters carve out the valleys and gorges of the Pyrenees, in the central region they run through age-old cities, and in the south they meander gently through the market gardens of the Ebro valley.
The rivers belong to two hydrographical groups, the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, according to which sea they flow towards. The first are concentrated in the northeast; the volume of water they contain is low, since their sources are close to their estuaries, and regular, due to the abundance of rainfall in the region. The second, on the other hand, vary according to the stretch of river and the season.
Particularly noteworthy is the chance to practise or get started in canoeing, either in a canoe or a kayak, which can be done in the main cities in Navarre; on the Arga as it passes through Pamplona, on the Ega as it passes through Estella-Lizarra, and on the Ebro in Tudela. Rafting, which consists in descending down white river waters on a raft without an engine, is carried out down Pyrenean rivers.
The perfect time for the Pyrenean rivers is the spring. During the winter the rivers have been filled with the snow that has covered the mountain ridges and is starting to thaw; they are fed equally by rain and snow, which creates stretches of water of difficulty level 3-4. The main Pyrenean water courses are: Urrobi, Irati, Areta, Salazar and Esca. Given that there are different types of stretches, we will highlight the most recommended ones, indicating their main characteristics:
|River||Embarkation point||Disembarkation point||Kilometres||Level|
|Urrobi||Auritz-Burguete, after 2.5 kilometres on the N-135 road, take the diversion on the NA-4251 until you get to the embarkation point next to a small house at the side of the river.||Under the bridge that leads to Arrieta||6 km||III-IV|
|Irati||Aribe (Aezkoa Valley). Access from the NA-140 which connects Auritz-Burguete with the Salazar and Roncal valleys||Oroz Betelu, where the Itoiz reservoir starts||9 km||III-IV|
|Salazar||At the bridge on the NA-138, turn off to Bigüezal||Bridge over the River Salazar at Usún, which you reach after going through Domeño on the NA-138||8 km||III – with sections of level 4 |
(Take great care at the dam on the final stretch, difficult access and exit)
||After the dam at Burgui, on the NA-137, leading to Roncal.||On the bridge at Salvatierra||7 km||III-IV (Dams on this stretch)|
On the Atlantic side , the Bidasoa is also a springtime river, although less difficult than the Pyrenean rivers.
In the central zone and on the southern plains of ‘La Ribera’ the rivers contain more water, which ensures an even flow more suited to navigation throughout the year. We would highlight the Ega, the Arakil (from Izurdiaga), the Arga, the Aragón and the Ebro, with an average difficulty level of 1-2.
Each stretch of river has sections of variable technical difficulty, which means you need to obtain information in advance about the level of difficulty and be aware of the critical points on each one. The watercourses in these areas are navigable with open or closed-in canoes.Useful information
To carry out water sports, it is necessary to obtain a navigation permit (free of charge). It is issued by the relevant water authority, after meeting certain requirements.
Cántabrico Water Authority
Ebro Water Authority
Organisations and companies
Companies that carry out this activity
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