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This time we are heading to the flatlands to the south, the Ribera of Navarre, known as the kingdom of vegetables. The river Ebro has a large part to play, as it creates a fertile land as its runs its course, where delicacies such as asparagus, artichokes, and borage sprout from the ground, as well as the famous Piquillo peppers. But as well as the gastronomy, La Ribera offers some other pleasant surprises, such as the historical part of Tudela, with its cathedral, Renascence and Baroque palaces, and its Islamic history, which can be seen in the Jewish quarter; the Cistern monasteries of Fitero and Tulebras; or Sendaviva, a leisure park that is perfect for a fun-packed family day out. To top it all off, there is the impressive natural park of the Bardenas Reales.
Estimated duration of the route: 1 day, not including the alternatives marked with an asterisk (*)
Given the unique nature of its landscape, the Bardenas Reales has been chosen as the film setting for a whole host of advertisements, series and movies, such as "The Game of Thrones", "The World is Not Enough" featuring agent 007, or "Airbag", to name but a few.
In this case, a natural park does not mean green vegetation. When we reach this enclave, declared a Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO, we are met by a semi-desert landscape in which the erosion of the clay, gypsum stone and sandstone that compose the ground, have sculpted a landscape of impressive shapes with an almost lunar appearance. Cover the almost 25 km of track that circles the area called “the flats”, or hire a tour in a 4x4, segway, buggy or quad. (read more)
The capital of the Ribera is known for its rich gastronomy and exquisite vegetables. Founded in 802, it is one of the most important cities of Islamic origin in Spain and Europe. For over 400 years, it was home to Muslims, Jews and Mozarabs alike, who all left their mark of heritage - a blend of cultures - that you can admire as you stroll through the winding streets, passages, walls and watchtowers. Don’t leave without visiting the cathedral, constructed around 1180 on the remains of the former Mosque; the Church of the Magdalena (12th century); the palaces of the Marquis of San Adrián (16th century) and of Huarte (18th century) and the Muñoz Sola modern art museum. (read more).
If you enjoy walking, we recommend climbing up the Santa Bárbara Hill from where you can see spectacular views over the city and the vegetable plots of la Mejana, where the famous vegetables are grown. In front of this is the Monreal Tower, a hexagonal watchtower from the 13th century which still preserves the medieval well, and which offers a unique view of Tudela through the dark room.
It was the first Cistercian nunnery founded in Spain. Its mark: purity and austerity that can be seen in the church, the cloister and the abbey palace. You can also visit the museum, which displays a fascinating collection of religious art. Did you know that, since its construction in the 12th century, the monastic life has continued in this monastery? The religious inhabitants also make delicious home-made pastries, artisan honeys and natural cosmetic products. (read more)
Located in the historical spa town of Fitero, again a Cistercian monastery and declared a national monument in 1931. Erected between the 12th and 13th centuries, its was coveted for centuries by kings, popes, bishops and noblemen. The grandiosity of the abbey church is surprising, and inside it houses an important collection of Arab chests, medieval jewel cases and a beautiful Gothic reliquary made from enamel from Limousin. (info)
In the town of Arguedas with views over the Bardenas sits one of the largest family leisure parks on the Spanish mainland, Sendaviva. If it fits into your travel schedule, we would recommend spending an entire day here. Here you can enjoy hands-on contact with local farm animals, and observe more exotic species such as cappuccino monkeys, ostriches, zebras, wolves, bears... What’s more, around thirty fun attractions await visitors, both young and old, such as the haunted house, the water maze, the giant water slide with floats, the bob-sleigh or the free-fall zip-line. Included in the entertainment shows, the birds of prey exhibition is unmissable. You can stay to eat and sleep. (read more)
No puedes irte de la Ribera navarra sin haber degustado in situ las reinas de la mesa: tiernas y delicadas verduras como el cardo, las alcachofas, los espárragos, o su mágica conjunción, la deliciosa menestra. También muy ricos son los aceites elaborados en las almazaras locales y no digamos, sus vinos tintos, madurados en algunas de las bodegas con más solera de la región.
Aprovecha para vivir una experiencia auténtica y diferente: descubrir el Parque Natural de Bardenas Reales en 4x4, quad, segway o buggy. Además no faltarán las visitas guiadas al interesante patrimonio de esta zona de Navarra, ni las opciones de senderismo y BTT, que te llevarán por huertas y llanuras, tal como lo hace la Vía verde del Tarazonica (+info)