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Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax



Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax - Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax
icono pie de fotoCaves of Urdazubi/Urdax
Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax - Cueva de Ikaburu
icono pie de fotoCueva de Ikaburu
Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax - Entrada a la cueva de Urdazubi/Urdax
icono pie de fotoEntrada a la cueva de Urdazubi/Urdax


Caves of Urdazubi/Urdax
The small Pyrenean village of Urdazubi/Urdax hides a number of attractions. Mediaeval bridges, majestic country houses, ancient constructions such as the Romanesque church of San Salvador or prehistoric caves. Ikaburu, the only one that can be visited, is located below the green meadows of the slopes of north-western Navarre and a few kilometres from the coast and the French border.

It is a a grotto that originated some 14,000 years ago as a result of the erosion of the river Urtxuma that runs through it. A guided tour through its galleries- the only way to visit it - will open up a whole universe of stalactites and stalagmites as well as evoking the memories of people of legend: the soldiers and smugglers who used to occupy the caves in earlier times.

Witches, inquisitors, smugglers, pilgrims and monks have forged the identity of Urdax/Urdazubi, also known asla embrujada(bewitched place). Two routes cross the village, the Ruta del Brujería (witchcraft route) and the Camino de Santiago Baztanés. (Baztan valley section of the Pilgrims' Way yo Santiago). The epicentre of both is the Romanesque monastery of San Salvador, built in the 11th century and is part of the place's historical memory. Inside, the Inquisition carried out its investigations that led to the cruel Auto de Fe of Logroño in 1610. Later on, it was a pilgrims' hospital. Get to know the church, its museum, cloister and the old mill that is still working nowadays.

The entrance to the Caves of Ikaburu lies a few kilometres from the Bay of Biscay and just a few minutes from the French border at Dantxarinea, in the district of Leorlas de Urdazubi/Urdax. The grotto was discovered by a shepherd in 1808 but it originated way back in time, some 14,000 years ago, as a result of the waters of the river Urtxuma perforating the limestone rock and giving rise to the beautiful formations of stalactites and stalagmites that we can see today.

The flint remains found in the caves reveal that they were inhabited by Prehistoric Man. Many centuries later, they served as a hideout for smugglers and as a refuge during the War of Independence and the Carlist conflicts. Indeed, local legends say they are the abode of the lamia, mythological beings that are half fish and half woman.

With the aim of conserving this natural enclave, it can only be visited with specialist guides. The 40-minute visit follows an organised route with steps and lighting through the infinite forms that the water has created over the centuries in the form of the "Reception Room", the "Room of the Three Kings" and the "Column Room". Take a look at the sparkles that reveal the presence of magnesium in the rocks and let yourself be lulled by the sound of the river Urtxuma as it flows through the galleries.

An easy track with just a slight incline links the Caves of Ikaburu with those of Zugarramurdi and Sara, these last caves being on the other side of the border. The journey, around 6,75 kilometres there and back, is signposted by little painted horses and runs peacefully through meadows and woods.

  • Recommended route for visiting the area around the cave of Urdax.

  • Did you know that...?

    Esta cueva ha sido galardonada con el certificado de Excelencia de Tripadvisor 2016.



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