Where to stay in Navarre, Spain
Due to its central location, Pamplona is the best choice to stay in Navarre (Spain) if you want to visit all or most of the places I mention below. Here are some of the best hotels to stay in Pamplona:
Splitting up your stay into many hotels is a smart choice if you have enough days to spend in the area. In addition to Pamplona, the vicinity of Olite or Ochagava makes a nice place to base yourself.
Things to do in Navarre, Spain
Are you ready to explore the best of this autonomous community? Let’s get started!
1. Pamplona, the capital of Navarre
This compilation of things to do in Navarre couldn’t start anywhere else but Pamplona, the capital of the region. World-famous for the Festival of San Fermín, this city has much more to offer than you might think. Its old town boasts numerous charming streets, historic monuments, and green spaces. Additionally, its gastronomy is renowned for its excellence.
In your tour of Pamplona, you shouldn’t miss places like Plaza del Castillo, Estafeta Street, the Cathedral, Pamplona City Hall, or the Taconera Gardens. If you want to discover everything you should visit during your time in the city, don’t miss my blog post on 18 things to see and do in Pamplona. You’ll need at least 2 full days day.
On the other hand, if you’d rather not worry about organizing your visit, I recommend taking this private tour of Pamplona, allowing you to explore the city with a knowledgeable guide. You’ll delve into the city’s culture and history!
2. Olite and the Royal Palace
There’s a small town in the heart of Navarre that, despite being known for its beautiful palace, boasts many other charms. I’m talking about Olite and the impressive Royal Palace of Olite. This town, located just over half an hour’s drive south of the capital, is one of the best day trips from Pamplona. If you have enough time, you shouldn’t miss it.
In addition to exploring the interior of the beautiful castle, for which I recommend booking a guided tour, be sure to stroll through the charming streets of Olite to discover more of its attractions. You can visit the Church of San Pedro, the Church of Santa María la Real, or Carlos III the Noble Square. Don’t forget to enjoy a drink in one of its terraces as well.
3. Estella, in the heart of The St James Way
This town, nicknamed ‘Estella the Beautiful’ for centuries, is one of the finest examples of civil Romanesque architecture in Spain. It also stands out as one of the main stops on the French St. James Way, which from the very beginning helped boost trade and development in the area.
During your visit to Estella, don’t miss places like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Weevil Bridge, the Church of San Miguel, the Palace of the Kings of Navarre, or the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa.
4. Nacedero del Urederra, a natural wonder
One of Spain’s greatest natural wonders is located in Navarre, and it is the Nacedero del Urederra. If you visit this region to connect with nature, this place will provide you with that and much more. Thanks to a beautiful trail, you can walk alongside the river while marveling at the beauty of its waters.
Don’t miss my blog post about everything you need to know to visit the Nacedero del Urederra, one of the greatest treasures of the Urbasa Range. On the other hand, if you’re traveling from Pamplona and don’t have your own vehicle, you can book a tour of Urederra.
5. Balcón de Pilatos, a viewpoint in the Urbasa Range
Located in the Urbasa Range is another recommended thing to do in Navarre, Spain. This time, it’s a viewpoint that will leave you breathless. If you enjoy experiencing the places you visit from high points, be sure to visit the Balcón de Pilatos, also known as the Mirador de Ubaba.
From this cliff, boasting a sheer drop of 300 meters, you’ll have spectacular views of the Améscoas Valley. Be sure to walk along the trail that borders the cliff to enjoy an unbeatable stroll.
6. Zamariain Viewpoint
When it comes to viewpoints, another one that doesn’t go unnoticed is the Zamariain Viewpoint, located in the Aezkoa Valley, very close to the Irati Forest. Thanks to a simple 25-minute (one-way) walk, you can enjoy a charming landscape. What stands out the most about this site, however, is the piece of rock jutting out from the cliff, not suitable for those with a fear of heights.
7. Bardenas Reales, one of the best things to do in Navarre (Spain)
The Bardenas Reales are one the best things to do in the region and, therefore, one of the must-see places in Navarre, Spain. The reason? Its arid lands feature unique geological formations. It’s quite striking to encounter a desert of this magnitude so close to beech forests and woodlands. This is just one example of the diverse landscapes in this Spanish region.
The best way to visit the Bardenas Reales is by car, bicycle, or on foot. If you’re short on time, the place you can’t miss is the Castildetierra mountain rock formation, where you’ll find the most famous postcard view of this location. Guided tours on a Segway or 4×4 are also available.
8. Ujué, one of the most beautiful villages in Navarre
Another medieval treasure in Navarre is Ujué is this small village with steep stone streets located in Eastern Middle Navarre. One of the things that stands out the most is its location, as it sits atop a hill, allowing you to enjoy spectacular views of the surroundings. However, you shouldn’t miss the views of the village of Ujué itself from the Cruz del Saludo either.
Once inside the village, be sure to wander through its streets as you uncover all its secrets. Don’t miss the Municipal Square, Queen Doña Leonor Square, the fortress-sanctuary of Santa María de Ujué, and the Hermitage of San Miguel.
9. Elizondo, in the Baztan Valley
One of the places you can’t miss in the charming Baztan Valley is Elizondo, a beautiful village. This name may sound familiar to you because Elizondo, along with other sites in the valley, is the setting for the famous Baztan Trilogy by Dolores Redondo. A stroll through its cobbled streets will allow you to discover all the hidden gems of this locality.
Some of the must-see places in Elizondo include the Txokoto Dam and Bridge, the Church of Santiago, and Los Fueros Square. If you want to enjoy the typical postcard view of Elizondo, head to the Plaza de la Coral and look out over the river from there. You’ll see the traditional houses reflected in the water. It’s quite a show!
10. Zagarramurdi Cave, exploring myths and legends
I’ve already mentioned that Navarre boasts true natural wonders and some of them are found underground. This is the case with the Zugarramurdi Cave, located just 400 meters from the village of Zugarramurdi, known as the village of witches. It is situated in the northern part of the Baztan Valley, very close to the border with France.
In the Zugarramurdi Cave, you can explore large galleries carved by the strong waters that once flowed through here. The cave stretches for a total of 120 meters in length and reaches heights of up to 12 meters. This cave will not only amaze you with its dimensions but also with its myths and legends. The entrance fee is €5.50.
11. Irati Forest, the second-largest beech forest in Europe
A trip to Navarre (Spain) would be incomplete without visiting the incredible Irati Forest, especially if you visit in autumn. During this season, you can enjoy a true spectacle of colors. Something you should know before visiting this place is that you can access it either through the Aezkoa Valley or through the Salazar Valley.
In the first case, Orbaiceta will be the gateway to the forest, and in the second, you’ll pass through Ochagavía. Both areas offer a wide variety of hiking trails. My recommendation is to first visit an information booth where they can suggest a route based on your available time and your hiking preferences.
Check out my Irati Forest guide (available soon). There, I explain how to get there, what routes you can take, and what to see in the surrounding areas. On the other hand, if you don’t have a car, you can book this organized day tours to the Irati Forest from Pamplona.
12. Puente la Reina
Visiting Puente la Reina is another thing to do in Navarre, Spain. As its name suggests, the main attraction of this town is its beautiful Romanesque bridge from the 11th century. However, there is much more to see in Puente la Reina. Don’t miss the Plaza Julián Mena, the Paseo los Fueros, the Main Street, the Church of Santiago, and the Church of San Pedro. Although the best thing you can do in Puente la Reina is to wander through its streets.
13. Señorío de Bértiz Natural Park
If you’re in search of nature, you should visit the Señorío de Bértiz Natural Park. This place not only features trails that allow you to explore all its charms but also houses a beautiful modernist-style garden. It’s located right at the park’s entrance in the town of Oieregi and has a history of over 100 years.üedad.
Within its 2,040 hectares, you can find oak, beech, and alder trees. Regarding the fauna, there are various types of birds, roe deer, wild boars, and deer among the inhabitants of this forest. There is also an interpretation center, a covered picnic area, and a children’s playground, making it an ideal place to visit with kids.
14 The Gorges of Lumbier and Arbaiun
To witness the remarkable effects of water over time, don’t miss Lumbier Gorge and Arbaiun Gorge. In both places, the power of the river has carved out an extensive and profoundly beautiful canyon. Be sure to take the delightful hiking route along the Irati River in Lumbier Gorge and enjoy incredible views of Arbaiun Gorge (shaped by the Salazar River) from the Iso Viewpoint.
15. Monastery of Leyre, one of the most important historical buildings in Navarre, Spain
Located very close to the Yesa Reservoir, in a beautiful natural setting, stands the Monastery of Leyre, one of Navarre’s most important historical buildings. The first reference to this place dates back to the 9th century. Visiting its interior will allow you to discover places like the church, the crypt, or The Porta Speciosa.
16. Ochagavía, a charming village
This town is one of the gateways to the Irati Forest and also one of the most beautiful villages in Navarre. For this reason, if you’re visiting this northern part of the region, you must explore its narrow cobblestone streets while admiring its traditional-style houses. The most striking building is the Church of San Juan Evangelista in Ochagavía.
17. Leurtza reservoirs, for nature lovers
The Leurtza reservoirs were built in 1920. Today, this natural area has become an attractive destination where you can engage in various activities. There are numerous trails around the reservoir, allowing for a circular route. The route is straightforward and has very little elevation gain, making it perfect for the whole family.
There is also a picnic area with tables and grills. Furthermore, it is possible to swim in the reservoir’s waters. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more relaxed plan to enjoy in Navarre, spending the day at the Leurtza Reservoir, especially during the warmer months, is a fantastic idea. For all these reasons, the Leurtza Reservoir is one of the best places to visit in Navarre during the summer.
18. Ojo de Iruaitzeta, for hiking enthusiasts
If you enjoy hiking, I have a great suggestion for you. The Ojo de Iruaitzeta is located in the Urbasa Range and is a curious rock formation that offers some very cool views. To visit this place, you need to take a linear hiking route of about 12 kilometers, which also passes by the Santa María Hermitage.
19. Roncesvalles, start of the French Camino de Santiago
Roncesvalles is probably one of the most magical destinations in Navarre because it is a place with a lot of history and legends. Its name may sound very familiar to you, as it is the first stop in Spanish territory on the French Camino de Santiago. While some begin their journey from this Navarre town, others do it from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.
Beyond the Way of Saint James, this remote town in the Navarrese Pyrenees has many other charms. One of them is the tranquility and mysticism that can be felt in its streets. But we also cannot fail to mention the surrounding nature, which allows for various hiking routes. Of course, we must not forget to mention the Royal Collegiate Church of Santa María de Roncesvalles.
20. Javier Castle, another must-see in Navarre, Spain
Javier Castle is another remarkable historical site in Navarre, located just a few kilometers from the town of Sangüesa. It is the birthplace of San Francisco Javier, the patron saint of Navarre. As you approach the castle, you’ll be able to admire its beautiful battlemented towers from a distance. Once inside, you can explore a museum.
21. Eugi, located next to a reservoir
Eugi is not one of the most popular things to do in Navarre (Spain) but it is one of the most charming. This small village stands out for its wonderful location next to a reservoir surrounded by meadows, forests, and mountains. If you go to the other side of the reservoir, you can see the houses of Eugi reflected in its waters. A truly beautiful sight! Near this town, you can visit the Royal Arms Factory of Eugi.
Located in the south of Navarre, Tudela is the second-largest city in the region after Pamplona. It was founded in the 9th century, and Jews, Muslims, and Mozarabs lived together in it until the arrival of the Christians. This cultural blend is reflected in its architecture.
Some of the must-visit places in Tudela, include Plaza de los Fueros, the Church of La Magdalena, the Cathedral of Santa María, and the Ebro Bridge. If you want to explore this town, you can book this tour of Tudela.
23. Xorroxin Waterfall
Navarra has several waterfalls, mainly located in the northern part of the region. One of the most notable is the Xorroxin Waterfall, situated in the Baztan Valley. You can embark on a beautiful 7.5-kilometer circular hike along a trail with both dirt and cobblestone sections that will lead you to this attractive waterfall. The trail begins in the town of Erratzu.
24. Olazagutía Viewpoint
Despite not being a well-known place, visiting this viewpoint is one of the best things to do in Navarre (Spain), in my opinion. To reach this viewpoint, from which you’ll have incredible views of a winding road, you just need to take the road that leads from Olazagutía to the Sierra de Urbasa. I discovered it by chance when I was heading to the Urederra Spring, and it amazed me.
25. Artajona, a medieval gem in Navarre
We conclude this list of 25 must-see places in Navarre, Spain with the beautiful medieval town of Artajona, located about half an hour’s drive south of Pamplona. As you stroll through the narrow streets of this magical town, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The best thing to do during your visit is the Cerco de Artajona, a collection of towers connected by a 12th-century wall. Inside, you’ll find the Church of San Saturnino.
Map of things to do in Navarre, Spain
In the following map of things to do in Navarre, Spain, I’ve marked all the places mentioned in this blog post. This way, you can clearly see the geographical distribution of all the places I recommend visiting. I’ve also highlighted the hotels where I recommend staying in Pamplona, along with their respective links to Booking.
Finally, I want to mention that I recommend spending at least 7 days in Navarre to have time to visit most, if not all, of the places I mentioned earlier. If you have less time available, you can check out this 3-day itinerary for visiting Navarre (available soon) or this 5-day itinerary for Navarre (available soon).
Don’t miss my Spain travel guide if you plan to visit other regions of this country.
I hope this article has been very helpful for you in organizing your visit to Navarra, Spain. If you think I should add any other place or if you have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment or write to me by email. Until next time!