There are impressive places in Spain, such as Las Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert landscape that reminds one of westerners. Here is where movies such as Airbag, and James Bond were filmed, for example.
In this natural park and biosphere reserve we must stop at Castildeterra.
The mountain’s peak has different forms, depending from where you are looking at it. The northern part, known as Bardenas Blancas, has a path that surrounds the park and takes you to the most interesting places.
To get there you have to take small agricultural paths, closed to the public traffic, so I recommend that you are prepared to walk, cycle or book an excursion around the area.
The landscape is spectacular, especially at sunset, there are amazing corners everywhere, yet some are difficult to access.
A good and quick way is to travel Las Bardenas Reales by Segway. It allows you to get to the best places and it is easy to drive.
There are many stops on the way, and you must take a small break to admire the landscape. The journey is about 4 hours, the price is 80 Euros, since this vehicles are expensive, they cost about 8000 Euros.
It was declared National Monument in 1925 and it is one of the main attractions of Navarra.
It is located 42 kilometers from Pamplona and it has something charming about it, maybe because it is located inside the town, or maybe because of its towers, I don’t know, but everyone who visits it will fall in love with this beautiful palace built in the 14th Century, during the reign of Charles III, in gothic style.
There are two things that should not be missed: the impressive white mulberry tree that is more than 300 years old and it was declared Natural Monument of Navarra, and the second thing is the egg shaped well that is 10 meters deep and is found in the back of the castle; it was used to store ice. The entrance ticket is 3.12 Euros.
One of my favorite things about traveling is the element of surprise. No matter how well planned a journey is, there will always be something, a little corner or landscape waiting to be discovered.
The surprise of the day was the cave of Zugarramurdi. It is a town of 230 inhabitants located north of Navarra, about 80 kilometers from Pamplona. We heard about it by chance, and since we still had time, we went to visit it.
When we got there we saw that the cave was spectacular as well as interesting because of its relationship with witchcraft. In fact, the cave receives names such as “Cave of the Witches” or “The Devil’s Cathedral”.
The space is quite big, with a height of about 12 meters. It has different cavities, formed by the stream called Olabidea, also known as “Hell’s Stream” (Infernuko Erreka” (in Basque).
The relationship with the cave and the world of witchcraft started around the year 1600, with pagan celebrations. With Christianism, these activities were considered heresy, and they were seen as orgies where they practiced all kinds of rituals, sacrificies to worship the devil, homosexual practices and even cannibalistic practices.
In 1610 the court of Logroño sent an inquisidor to inspect the town. He received over 300 complaints of witchcraft.
The Inquisition took 12 lives from Zugarramurdi, burning them at the stake. All this facts are surrounded by legends and superstition, available to all who wishes to listen, believe them and fear them.
In front of us there was a couple who hesitated about going up to one of the cavities…finally they decided not to. Everyone has its reasons…
After the Black Forest in Germany, the Irati Forest has the greatest concentration of beech and fir trees in Europe, with 17,000 hectares of a millenial forest that has been preserved until today.
The best part of the reserve in that they don’t allow the access of motor vehicles, which contributes to its preservation so that we can enjoy such a beautiful place, walking or by bicycle.
There are many interesting places, such as the reservoir, the highest mounts, which are found in the French part, and even a necropolis from the Iron age.
A must see for nature lovers.
This is probably the most famous street in Pamplona, since here is where the bulls run before getting to the bullring.
We can see the holes where the barrier is installed. The remaining of the year it is a centrally situated street with lots of people and souvenir shops and bars. It is really nice to walk the street and see the shop windows, they have classic and very interesting facades.
This beautiful work of art by Rafael Huerta is located in the city center, overlooking the bullring. It's amazing how everything is prepared to the smallest detail, the drawings of the soles of the sandals, the wrinkles in the scarves, the faces filled with anguish of the runners ... Shame it was raining!
To enter Foz, you have to cross two ancient train tunnels by foot. The first one is shorter and with bad visibility. The second one is longer and it is completely dark, so you should take a flashlight.
Once you go out of the tunnel you will find a spectacular landscape, with vultures flying over your head, the wonder of the canyon and the sound of the river.
It was declared Nature Reserve and special area for the protection of birds. It has a cobbled path, conditioned for bicycles, strollers and wheel chairs.
The parking is 2 Euros for the whole day.
15 kilometers away you will find the queen of the canyons, the Foz de Arbayún. You can visit a part of it from Usún. If you prefer, you can go to the Iso viewpoint, located on the road that goes from Lumbier to Navascués, where you have the best views of the canyon.
You can get more information on the Centro de Interpretación de las Foces, located on the Plaza Mayor, (Lumbier). The telephone Lumber is 948 88 08 74.
Another interesting point is the viewpoint located on the national highway, you can see hundreds of birds of pray flying over the viewpoint.
It is located in Navarra, 8 kilometers from Sangüesa and 53 kilometers from Pamplona. It is another place that you must visit if you are in Navarra. The place where it is located is wonderful and its architecture is another example of Navarra’s history.
We went there on a Saturday morning and it was very calm, so we could visit it peacefully and enjoy the view of the castle-museum and learn a bit more of the life of the patron saint of Navarra.
The next thing on the list is to enjoy the “Javeriada”, the first two weekends of March.
In Puente la Reina the hotels are full by 4 pm. Dinner is served from 7 pm and breakfast is at sunrise.
This beautiful town is full of pilgrims that decorate the place, a colorful landscape where old traditions mix with foreign languages, backpacks, bicycles, canes, and whose background is made up of narrow cobbled streets.
The beautiful church of Santiago, a calm square and noble houses. It is landmark, since it is the place where Camino Francés (French Way, which starts in Roncesvalles) joins the Camino Aragonés (Aragonese Way, starting in Somport).
Legend says that Puente la Reina owes its name to the magnificent Roman bridge built over Arga River that was ordered by a queen of Navarra in the 11th Century.
Today, the bridge is an unforgettable image for all of the pilgrims on their way to Santiago. The green and still waters of the river reflect the sunset, making it a magical liquid bridge.
Built in an oriental style, this park was designed in 1997 by Japanese landscapers, so it contains all the elements of a garden that is imported from the culture of the Rising Sun. That means it includes all its pampering, refinements, and delicacies. The park is a symbol of the twinning of the cities of Pamplona and Yamaguchi, near Hiroshima, which took place in 1980. It was built as a reminder of the evangelization of St. Francis Xavier, patron of Navarra since the sixteenth century.
The first time you come here you don't believe it is the famous San Fermin Square that looks so great on TV. It is exactly that what attracts thousands of people every year to kick off these parties. Check out the council, a solitary building with a very pretty and ornate facade.
Ochagavía has something that is unforgettable: it is blunt, strong, like of its surrounding mountains.
Its architecture is built with a grey stone. Its old bridges over the Anduña river, its steep roofs, masonry facades, typical doors from Navarra, the church of San Juan Evangelista, speak of the fame this town had throughout the years.
Located north of the Salazar valley, where the Zatoya meets the Anduña, the town spreads to both sides of the river and it is the ideal departure point for hiking and cycling routes. The best plan is to visit the fantastic Irati Forest, an enormous and virginal forest in the Pyrenees of Navarra.
This military construction dates back to 1571 when Philip II aimed to address the attacks of the French army against his country. Currently aimed at cultural uses, it is surrounded by a large green area which is the heart of the city of Pamplona. Not that this place particularly drew my attention, but it is a peaceful place to wander around while enjoying the outdoors.
What pleasantly surprised me was what I found at the data points in the area. Besides the typical informational signs there were other plates, also related to the Citadel, but these, instead of being printed, were recorded in the Braille alphabet (this is a writing and reading system for the blind). These details show, in my opinion, that there are things that people don't do simply because there is no interest, not because they are not able to do it.
The Plaza del Castillo joins the old zone with the new zone of Pamplona. It's a large, open, pedestrian space where you can relax with a drink on a terrace while admiring the surrounding buildings, or attend some of the many events and markets that are held here in the area. You will see a lot of activity in this square, which is the nerve center of the city.
Taconera Gardens are one of the greatest places in Pamplona. The gardens are old but give a very romantic flavor to the city. It is nearly 90,000 square meters in size, where you can walk among trees, manicured gardens, along the ramparts and moats ... Throughout these walks you find numerous fountains, statues and monuments such as Julian Gayarre or the the Mariblanca that once presided over the famous castle. Children can have fun on the swings there. There are lots of animals living in the gardens, including deer, goats, rabbits and peacocks.