We've been getting things going in spring,
but now it's time to ring the bells because ...
summer's finally here!
It's arrived and it's here to stay for three heavenly months. No more, no less. And it's time to carefully plan those much-awaited, well-deserved holidays because we're halfway through the year and there's a lot to be dealt with in six months...So now we're going to press the stop button and give us time to think a little about our own needs and dreams, we're going to forget about times and schedules and we're even going to enjoy the dolce far niente. But with no guilty conscience. Because that's how things are. Because it's our turn.
And, when organising your summer holidays, the good thing is that you can chose a getaway that gives you time to explore it. This is at least possible in Navarra, as it's easy to explore from north to south and from east to west. If you're looking for variety and contrasts, accompanied by good cuisine, then this is the place for you and we're going to tell you why.
are located in the north. Here you'll discover picturesque little villages, each with its church and beautiful traditional stone-built farmhouses with their balconies covered in flowers; lovely green valleys
such as the rugged Roncal
valley, or the peaceful Baztan
with the impressive source of the river Urederra
; rivers and streams, some with natural pools
where you can be refreshed by nature, and a host of trails and greenways that will lead you to shady woodlands
, something that is much appreciated in summer.
And enjoy truly natural experiences
. Drink fresh water from the fountain, buy home-made village bread, play a ball game in the Jai Alai court, take a dip in the river if you can stand the cold mountain water, set up a picnic on the banks of the Leurtza reservoirs
and discover villages and scenery, either by yourself or through an entertaining guided tour. Some of these tours will help you to better discover traditional trades and professions such as those in cheesemaking dairies
, flour mills
....which generally end with the tasting of cheese or cornflour pancakes with chorizo sausage.
It doesn't sound bad at all!
And talking about cuisine, you could start by purchasing one of the D.O. Roncal or Idiazabal cheeses or the irresistible chocolates in the town of Elizondo. Or sit down for a meal and sample asparagus, vegetable medley, fresh white beans, steaks, cod in garlic sauce and delicious desserts such as junket, cream horns and sweet fried bread.
You'll find this mouth-watering menu
in the north and throughout Navarra.
Also in the Pyrenees you can enjoy stronger thrills at the numerous adventure parks set in the heart of nature and featuring zip lines, safe climbing routes and free fall, such as Irisarri Land and the Bertiz Abentura Park.
Let's leave the mountains behind and visit the capital city of Navarra. As Pamplona
is located in the centre of the region, it's a good base to stay and gradually explore Navarra with ease. The old quarter
of this green, welcoming city is well conserved and full of life
. In summer, there's something going on almost every day.
Must-do activities include a visit to some of the local bars, to taste the delicious home-made tapas
" as they're called in Pamplona. With a great selection ranging from traditional to innovative food, you're sure to enjoy them! Do the bull-running route, visit the cathedral's Gothic cloisters, lose yourself in the maze of narrow, cobbled streets and discover the city's medieval churches. Do some shopping
, go along the old city walls and visit the parks... In a season as beautiful as summer, it's really enjoyable to simply stroll through the city.
THE CENTRAL AREA
Now we're going eastwards to the town of Sanguesa, to admire the incredible Romanesque doorway
of the church of Santa María
. Get information on it, because it really is incredible. And from there, go on to the medieval castle
in which St Francisco Javier, our patron saint, was born. At the monastery of Leire
, perched high on the sierra for the last eight centuries, don't miss listening to the Gregorian chants
. Very close by stand two limestone gorges, where you can observe griffon vultures
and enjoy walks through the Foz de Lumbier
gorge or the stunning views from the Foz de Arbaiun
Stop for a moment
and look around at your leisure.
And now westwards! Following the Way of St James, you'll discover the intriguing octagonal church of Eunate, slender Romanesque bridges such as the one at Puente la Reina, small historic towns such as Viana or Estella-Lizarra, known as the "Toledo of the north", and old monasteries such as Irantzu and Iratxe. As well as the wealth of artistic treasures, close by there is a turquoise reservoir that is full of activity. At Alloz you can choose between sailing, stand-up paddle boarding, guided boat tours, etc. and a thousand and one activities in the nearby area.
Going southwards, you'll come across another of the must-visit monuments of Navarra, namely the Olite castle, a fairytale Gothic palace with crenellated towers and which also has a Parador. And, just a few kilometres away, lie medieval villages with cobbled streets, such as Gallipienzo or Ujué. In the latter, you can sample its popular Migas or shepherd's breadcrumbs and its char-grilled lamb chops. Ah, and don't forget to get some caramelised almonds to take back with you. Will you be able to resist temptation and get them back unopened?
THE SOUTHERN AREA
And the last stop on your tour of Navarra is Tudela
, the capital city of the southern area of Navarra known as La Ribera, famous for its market gardens, whose vegetables have been highly acclaimed by chef Ferrán Adriá himself
. Be sure to visit its beautiful cathedral, its palaces and its lovely Plaza de los Fueros square. Also in the area are the pink-coloured Monastery of Fitero, the Castle of Marcilla and the spectacular Bardenas Reales Nature Park
, declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Due to the formations of its arid land and the moon-like appearance of its landscape, a host of adverts and films have been shot here, one of the latest being the Game of Thrones. So, even on a hot day, find a way to protect yourself from the sun, as it's well worth a visit.
And if you're on a family holiday, then the Sendaviva family leisure park
is very close by. If your kids behave themselves while on holiday in Navarra, then reward them with a fun day out at this theme park. You'll find exotic and farm animals, children's rides and attractions, and also some more thrilling rides as well as a hair-raising show with birds of prey.
Fun for all the family!
FIESTAS AND CULTURAL EVENTS
With all these things to do and see, it's impossible to get bored! All the same, if you still want more, then Navarra is the place for you! Like the rest of Spain, summer is packed full of local fiestas and many cultural events From the 6th to 14th July, Pamplona is an explosion of fun and gaiety, with everyone dressed in traditional red and white to celebrate the world-famous fiestas of San Fermin
. From then onwards, patron saint feast day fiestas
are held all over Navarra. In the fiestas in the north, you'll discover the Txistu
(Basque flute), country dancing and rural sports, while in the south there are regional dances, Jotas
(regional songs) and the running of cows and bulls.
What's more, this is the season for reliving traditions
related to our history
and our idiosyncrasy.
Such as the Tribute of the Three Cows in the Roncal valley, the Artzai Eguna - Shepherd's Day- at the village of Uharte Arakil, the fiesta of Orhipean of Ochagavía, that takes us back to the start of the 20th century, or the Transhumance Day of Cáseda.. Noteworthy cultural activities include the Festival of the city walls of Pamplona, the Flamenco on Fire festival, which is also held in this capital city, the Drama Festival of Olite, and the interesting Kultur program that organises art, music and regional dancing in many natural and monumental settings of interest throughout Navarra.
As you can see, during the summer season, Navarra offers us the best of its culture and a chance to get to know the local people through its fiestas and events. There are also a host of options to allow you to peacefully experience art, nature or to simply sit down for an enjoyable meal with your family.
Experience summer in Navarra.
Don't miss it!