When we think in Navarra or Pamplona, the first image that came to our mind is San Fermín but the fact is that this spanish area offers much more. In fact, in Navarre we find an incredible diversity for its small extension: high mountains, deserts, rivers, lakes, natural parks, medieval cities, sanctuaries, prehistoric monuments, the entrance of St. James Way (Camino de Santiago), gastronomy…
Three days have not been enough to know Navarra, but we can have an idea of what it has and offers in this land of rich history.
The tour has had as base camp at Castillo de Gorráiz Golf & SPA Hotel, located on the outskirts of Pamplona, a quiet and comfortable place where you can enjoy the nature of Navarra.
On the first day of the tour we drove towards the north of Navarra, making a stop to visit the former Royal Orbaizeta arms and munitions factory. This company was created by king Carlos III in 1784 and was in operation until 1884 and was the most important military center of the North of Spain until during the War of Independence when was occupied and later destroyed by French army. Today is one of the best examples of industrial architecture.
After the interesting visit we continue the journey through the amazing Irati Forest, the second largest and best preserved beech forest in Europe, after the Black Forest in Germany. This forest is an immense green spot of about 17,000 hectares that remains almost virgin. Irati is divided between the Valleys of Aézcoa and Salazar in the North of Navarra on the Spanish slope and Pays de Cize and Pays de Soule, both belonging to the Pyrenees-Atlantiques region on the French slope.
Irati Forest or “Selva de Irati” is a natural treasure with great ecological value in which different figures of protection coexist like the natural reserves of Mendilatz and Tristuibartea and the integral reserve of Lizardoia.
Dense beech, spruce and fresh water paint a vividly colored landscape that transforms with each new season, but which charges an incredible color precisely during the fall.
To finish the morning the group of MG Club Catalunya crossed until French territory, to re-enter Spain driving through the spectacular Port of Larrau of an altitude of 1,578 meters.
The meal of the day was in Ochagavía, in a typical cider house of this beautiful and picturesque town of Navarra.
On the second day of the tour we drove to the centenary Olite, a small Navarre town located just 45 kilometers far from Pamplona which has a rich historical and artistic heritage.
Although the area was populated since Roman times, a period of which remains of walls and villas were found, the city was founded by the Goths in the 7th century. It is in the Middle Ages when the city acquired importance, thanks to the fuero granted by the king of Navarre García IV Ramírez “the Restorer”. This jurisdiction provided the population with farmland, tax advantages and self-government, which led to a remarkable demographic and economic growth.
As early as the fifteenth century, King Carlos III and his wife Leonor de Trastámara ordered the construction of the Royal Palace of Navarre to begin in Olite and since then the walls and the palace are the symbol of this beautiful city, where the group made an unbelievable guided tour as they toured the majestic building.
The day ended with a pleasant meal in Ujué, another beautiful medieval town. Ujué, listed as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, was an ancient defensive enclave perched on the faults of a mountain surrounding the church-fortress of Santa Maria.
Three days driving across the roads of Navarra knowing some of the most important natural and historical areas of this region, one of the most spectacular regions of Spain. We are sure that this days will be a wonderful memory for all.