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The Sierra of Aralar

Mountains and Sierras


The Sierra of Aralar - The Sierra of Aralar
icono pie de fotoThe Sierra of Aralar
The Sierra of Aralar - The Sierra of Aralar (Plazaola station)
icono pie de fotoThe Sierra of Aralar (Plazaola station)
The Sierra of Aralar - The Sierra of Aralar
icono pie de fotoThe Sierra of Aralar
The Sierra of Aralar - The Sierra of Aralar
icono pie de fotoThe Sierra of Aralar
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The Sierra of Aralar
The Aralar mountain range covers a large area (208 square kilometres) between Navarre and Gipuzkoa. It is a large karstic massif with a varied landscape of rock grooves, hidden valleys, caves and chasms and another, more serene scenery, of evergreen meadows and multi-coloured beech woods.

The Aralar range can be reached from the north from Lekunberri, Iribas orr Astitz and from the south from Uharte-Arakil, a town that is well-known for itsArtzai Eguna (sheepdog trials day). This area of the Navarre Pyrenees provides unforgettable sights all year round and a wide range of activities to enjoy.

There are of different degrees of difficult, gentle ascents to natural viewpoints such as the Sanctuary of San Miguel, sources of rivers that flow hidden inside the mountain range such as the Iribas, dolmens as witnesses of ancient times, caves that take you inside the Aralar range like Mendukilo in Astitz and legends like the one about Teodosio Goñi... Basically, a series of marvels that help to enhance the magic of this Pyrenean landscape.

The beautiful woods and meadows in Aralar give the mountain range an extremely high ecological value. Beech, oak and hazelnut trees stand alongside pasturelands across which dairy sheep and horses roam. And although nature is the main protagonist here, stone also plays an important role. It has also left us a multitude of dolmens scattered across the whole range, beautiful farmhouses such as those at Madotz, Astitz and Baraibar, mills such as the one at Aitzarrateta and chapels such as Santiago de Itxasperri. Undoubtedly, however, the most notable monument is the medieval sanctuary of St. Michael of Aralar. An emblematic location inside which the chains that - according to legend - were worn by Teodosio de Goñi as penitence for having killed his parents-in-law after being tricked by the Devil. He was freed after invoking San Miguel (St Michael) and thus defeating the dragon of Aralar. Remember to pass undeneath the chains three times, apparently it will bring you luck.

Different access routes to this spot lead to the visitor to special places. Those who ascend from the north (Larraun valley) from Lekunberri, 12 kilometres further on amid a beech wood, can stop off at the Campas de Albi. There stands the close-up dolmen of the same name. At kilometre 13 you can stop at the car park and take a walk that starts off from the Forestry House; a trail ascends through the beech woods until the path opens up and you reach the Aralar flats. After a 6-kilometre walk, with an ascent of some 300 metres, you will be able to see the peak of Irumugarrieta and find, amongst shepherds' huts, livestock, beech trees, oaks, bracken and lush green meadows, dolmens scattered across the entire range. From Lekunberri you can also take the Plazaola Greenway through a green and refreshing landscape.

In the same valley, Iribas offers the visitor another of the essential walks along the mountain range. An easy 5-kilometre walk allows the visitor to discover the waters of Aralar that combine with the limey soil at the springs of Ertzilla and Larraun.

A little further to the south of the Larraun valley, la cave of Mendukilo, at Astitz allows you to explore the entrails of the sierra. Used for centuries as a stable for livestock, it has now been adapted for visitors so they can view the three spectacular galleries, with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites in these galleries of up to 60 metres long and 20 metres wide.

Those who prefer to reach Aralar from the south can do so by starting from La. From Uharte- you can climb up to St. Michael on foot. The climb is less than one kilometre but it involves an ascent of almost 400 metres, from where you can see dolmens such as Arzabal. For enthusiasts of prehistoric remains, there is a thematic route from the campsite at Etxarri-Aranatz. This is the path of the dolmens, almost 15 kilometres long with a difference in height of more than 600 It leads the walker through oak and beech woods and past ten monoliths.

  • Recommended route to get to know the area around the Aralar mountain range.
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